November 14, 1996, Thursday, Harmonie – Leeuwarden – Netherlands


30th day, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, Thursday, 14th of november 1996, Harmonie



From Lubeck to Leeuwarden is not a far drive. It’s a beautiful sunny day. Lloyd Brevett and I are running around the vans. The mood couldn’t be better.

3.30 pm we’re in the Netherlands have to stop to change money. Jeff  Lucas takes the wheel from Duncan. Duncan is very tired from all the driving.

Jeff Lucas driving the blue van to Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996
Jeff Lucas driving the white van to Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996

Bill Smith is talking about his loss in New York. I deeply touched. But I know this man is walking a good way in music. He’s such a talent in all kind of music.

Bill Smith in front of Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996
Bill Smith in front of Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996

7 pm time to have dinner. The Harmonie is an opera. The ganja is flying around our heads, it’s no question, it’s just everywhere. A lot of businessmen in the opera. And there is Bessa, back with the pack. We’re all happy to have him back.

My sesson will be on two turn-tables just beside the mixing desk, inside the audience. In the backstage, it’s huge, we can hear the tenors singing the scales up and down. The backstage is that far away from the stage, we have loudspeakers to realize what’s going on on stage. It’s all concrete. Our backstage is room number 19.

It’s here that Lloyd Brevett realize, that his hat is in the van. He asks me to get it for him. I take the chance to take a self-portrait with Lloyd Brevetts hat.

Ras Claude with Lloyd Brevett's hat at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996
Ras Claude with Lloyd Brevett’s hat at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996

The t-shirt is from the Burning Spear show in Lyon, where NoF-NoF took me with in 1994 where I met Winston Rodney and the whole band signed a poster (see Burning Spear Lyon).

In that backstage area we take another group session.

The Skatalites at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996
The Skatalites at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996
The Skatalites at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996
The Skatalites at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996

The warm-up band is starting at 9 pm with the Wailers tune “Hooligan”.

Die Gummipuppen at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996
Die Gummipuppen at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996

The venue is like a future space base. It’s hermetic isolated from the rest of the world. And outside you can’t hear a single note. The ambience is 100% inside. Barney is very lost outside.

Barney at the merchandise, at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996
Barney at the merchandise, at Harmonie, Leeuwarden, Netherlands 1996

I don’t know why, but I would like to record this show, but no one has an empty tape. I’m just beside the mixing desk and there is a recording machine, but not tape. It’s a pity. Specially because the following shows are some of the very best of the whole tour.

HOR is playing at it’s best. Cutty, Kirk, Bessa and Tony Looby are dancing together on stage. They call it the Splashdance. The club is not really full, but there is a lot of space to dance. Everybody is dancing hot.

Laurel Aitken and Tony Looby take another chance to dance together a real wild dance.

The Skatalites take over and Rolando Alphonso is playing an amazing show. It’s his absolutely greatest on this tour. I never saw him in this highest level. Every next solo is even greater than the one before. I stand there with almost open mouth and enjoy every note.

At the same time I can’t believe, that this show isn’t recorded. It’s the one that is thought forever, but it’s just for that short moment. While Rolando plays in higher range, the House Of Rhythm is asking me, if this is recorded. No empty tape. After the show, Rolando is asking me, if I have recorded it, but again, I have to tell him, that there is no empty tape. How sad. But I see that glimmer in Rolandos eyes. He knows, that this was godly and not re-produceable. And I will never forget the smile on his face.

Laurel Aitken and Lloyd Brevett are talking about new music. And how music is changing. Means, that Laurel wants to get into new music and styles, while Brevett wants to keep the fundamentals and the roots. I’m filling my diary with other episodes.

Nathan Breedlove is talking about Skamania. Joe Ferry wanted to take Nathan’s composition as opener for the album, but Tommy McCook didn’t wanted that. Tommy refused also to mix Reggae with Ska.

I remember a show in Lucerne with Mad Lighters in 1991. I promoted the show as Reggae and Ska show. Not many people came to that show. Why? Because at that time, not many knew, that this two musical styles have the same roots. Reggae was for long haired ganja smoking coolness people, while Ska was for skin headed bear drinking working people. Both didn’t like the other group. So why should one of them go to a show with both? In 1996 it was a bit better, but still, House Of Rhythm had a hard stand. It wasn’t easy with their intellectual influenced Ska with a meaning. And a nice portion of Reggae in it.

Overview Leeuwarden, Harmonie

  • audience: approx. 250 (capacity approx. 700)
  • catering: very good
  • backstage: room number 16, 17 and 18 for us, the other rooms for the theatre artists, loudspeakers in the backstage, because nothing from stage could be heard
  • diner: self-service, but very good
  • DJ-set: many eyes follow my fingers, because, I’m just beside the mixing desk in the audience, only 2 channel-mix with two turn-tables
  • Local band: Die Gummipuppen, playing some kind of hooligan sound
  • HOR: beside the stage, Will Clark is playing privately for me
  • Laurel Aitken: he loves the audience – the audience loves him
  • Skatalites: This is Rolando Alphonso’s evening, he’s playing divinely, no recording at all, I’m so sorry Rolando, but nobody had an empty tape
  • hotel: checked-in after show
  • room mate: Will Clark
  • driving the next day over the dam, very easy

Website today:

Come back tomorrow, when Eindhoven is on the plan. Only three days left.

5 thoughts on “November 14, 1996, Thursday, Harmonie – Leeuwarden – Netherlands”

  1. There is one picture I forgot to post. Maybe it can be updated with this comment. Let’s try and see…

    Will Skabone Clark beside the stage, while House Of Rhythm is on stage, Harmonie, Leeuwarden

  2. Bill’s loss in NY?
    I remember when Roland was really feeling it and after the show would ask me if it had been recorded! Sometimes yes and sometimes no. What emotions he went through in asking and learning the answer! Went through what you did with no blank tape also and resolved to always carry blank cassettes and blank DATs after.
    Nathan said Tommy refused to mix Reggae with Ska?
    Good point about their being diff audiences for Reggae and Ska back in early 90s. The Skatalites and a few other Jamaican acts like Toots could bridge that but folks don’t remember how split the scenes were back then.

    1. Bill told me so… a personal friend.
      At that time I wasn’t able to buy blank cassettes, because live in Switzerland is expensive and I had no real job at that time. So it was more expensive to be on this tour without earning money and to finance the home in Switzerland… there was no money for blank cassettes. How bad! I never understand, why Shay and Vin didn’t saw that chance in having simple recordings for the memory (not for the business!). Great to know, you have a priceless collection of recordings 🙂
      What I meant with the refusing of mixing Reggae with Ska was, that at that time (1996) there was no Skatalites record with Ska AND Reggae (as far as I know). The Ball Of Fire album released in 1997 without Tommy McCook.
      I remember that Skatalites show in Zurich back in the 90s that was weired, on the left side of the stage full of Skinheads, on the right side full of Dreadlocks. Peacefully thou, but truly explosive. 🙂

    1. Please do so. I’m happy, when more people will come around. But please be respectful. I do not earn any money with all this work. Thanks in advance. All the very best wishes always.

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