The story begins when Canadian-born, Netherlands - reared Carol van Dyk was hired as the live-sound mixer for the celebrated underground band de Artsen (the Doctors). Bunskoeke and Visser were already members, Dubbe was their roadie and the musical side project in which all four friends participated became bettie serveert. (Since you ask, the name means 'Bettie to serve' after Dutch tennis player Bettie Stove, who lost the Wimbledon Ladies Final in 1977).
After a false start in 1986 when they dissolved after only one gig, the band 'reformed' in 1991 and quickly caught the ear of Matador, Brinkman and 4AD's Guernica label for whom they kindly agreed to record their first album Palomine. Carol van Dyk's seductive voice, the band's bittersweet melodies and a cool cover of Sebadoh's Healthy Sick made for an impressive debut which endeared them immediately to the press :
Of Palomine, US magazine Spins enthused, 'The band's warm, engaging musical personality makes you want to be pals o'theirs. No matter how edgy or 'deep' the lyrics get, they rarely distract from the whiskey bar of aura of the music....awe-inspiring, with fantastic guitar sounds and lazy, sprawling leads. When did indie-rock ever sound this mature, this developed ?'
With its mournful, desolate feel, and Carol's typically striking lyrics, bettie serveert had, ahem, served an ace. A full year later in January 1995 the band recorded their second album Lamprey, which was hailed by Melody Maker as 'the most tangled, desolate, real' life guitar sound of the year'.
After extensive touring with the likes of Belly, Dinosaur Jr, Buffalo Tom, Superchunk, Come and Jeff Buckley, the band soon climbed to the top of the indie underground with their unique and unmistakeable heavy sweet guitar sound. In the increasing pile of flattering press coverage that now surrounds them they have been compared to Neil Young, The Lemonheads, The Throwing Muses, The Sundays, Velvet Underground...the list goes on. Let's just say they're the best thing to come out of Holland before and after 2 Unlimited.
1997 sees the return of bettie serveert in even finer form with the release of the long awaited third album Dust Bunnies. The product of a year hard work, during which songs were written, books were read, more songs written. It was the first time the betties benefitted from the studio guidance of producer Bryce Goggin, who's past credits include Pavement, Come, John Zorn, Kim Deal, Lemonheads and Spacehog. It's also the first bettie serveert disc that was recorded entirely within the contiguous United States, specifically at Bearsville studio in scenic Woodstock, New York.
In 1998 the group releases a live album of Velvet Underground coverversions 'Bettie Serveert Plays Venus In Furs'.
After touring with Counting Crows, Wallflowers and Wilco, Berend Dubbe left the band early 1998 and was replaced by Reinier Veldman, former drummer of De Artsen. Then, after a period of relative radio silence, bettie serveert proudly enters the new
millenium with their first studio album in two years.
To the amazement of friends and foes alike Private Suit turns out to be their most accomplished effort yet. Produced by John Parish of PJ Harvey fame they manage to deliver an intriguing album of almost majestic beauty. Private Suit was well received resulting in extensive touring in Europe (Crossing Border, Lowlands festivals) and the US (headlining and supporting Counting Crows and Live)
Then in 2001, the band decides to take a break.
The sabattical is spent re-fuelling and writing. Peter Visser is a hired gun for a while, Herman Bunskoeke learns a trade and Carol releases 2 records of inspired country songs under the guise of Chitlin’ Fooks (a collaboration with talented Antwerp based songwriter Pascal Deweze) . Chitlin' Fooks tour the US as a duo in the summer of 2001, an extensive club and festival tour through Holland and Belgium follows highlighted by succesful gigs at the Crossing Border and Pukkelpop festivals.
Then, by the summer of 2002 Carol van Dyk and Peter Visser are ready to go into the studio to record Log 22. After a year of relative silence bettie serveert re-emerges ( March 2003) with their 5th studio album Log22: wild, fresh & reckless. Pairing the elegant and accomplished beauty of it's predecesor Private Suit with the energy and reckless abandon of their classic debut Palomine, Log 22 is a veritable sonic trip and probably their best album yet. Written and produced by Carol van Dyk and Peter Visser and recorded at Weesp's E-Sound Studios and in Peter’s living room, Log 22 contains a wide variety of shades. The cd was mixed in Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium by Jan De Ryck and Peter Visser. The 13 tracks range from the fresh and the playful (the new single 'Smack', The Love-In') by way of the happy-sad and melancholy ('Have A Heart', 'Captain Of Maybe', 'Certainlie') and the sensually grooving ('Given') to all-out sonic blasts ('Not Coming Down', 'Log 22', ‘White Dogs’, 'The Ocean My Floor'). All compositions are laced with tasteful electronics, tapes, strings and horn arrangements and are delivered with an apparent effortless ease. Carol's singing sounds more intimately confident and sensual than ever and Peter's patented 'no holds barred' guitarwrestling matches and Log 22 will wriggle it's way into your skull intending to stay there indefinitely.
After extensive touring from March until November 2003 in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and USA, they receive their first Gold record for their cd Palomine in the Netherlands.
In December Peter and Carol start writting & recording new songs, again in Peter’s living room. March 2004 they play at SWSX in Austin, Texas and tour the East coast of the USA. By April they are ready to record tracks at an Amsterdam studio ( IJland Studio). Mixing is again done in Belgium ( Heist-op-den-Berg) by Jan De Ryck. On October 9th their new cd Attagirl is released in the Netherlands & Belgium.
The band takes their music a step further, experimenting more with samples, beats & keyboards then ever before. On Attagirl, the band's new freshness really finds its groove, and the songs are compact and exciting. Dreamaniacs, the opening title track and first single, starts with a smooth, catchy sample, giving a good kick-off for the rest of the album. Combining dance & rock (‘Versace’), jazz & Captain Beefheart guitarlicks ( ‘Greyhound Song’), or just one simple acoustic guitar & vocal ('You've Changed'),they continue to amaze both the listener as them selves.
Bettie serveert has never before taken such a huge step foreword. A good example is the title song, which Peter says surprised him with its Destiny's Child-like structure. The lyrics concern people who spend their lives searching for something. 'Attagirl is not so much about me, but about people I see and know,' says Carol. 'I think I've already found my own peace of mind. But I do see a lot of people who are still looking for something. And I'm like: If you ask me, I think you already have everything within yourself.'