Bettie Serveert’s Keepsakes: De Artsen

BettieServeert852The members of Bettie Serveert are alt-rock survivors. They have been performing in various incarnations since 1986, and they released critically acclaimed debut album Palomine in 1992. Joining the core lineup of vocalist/guitarist Carol van Dyk, guitarist Peter Visser and bassist Herman Bunskoeke on new album Pharmacy Of Love (Second Motion) is drummer Joppe Molenaar (of fellow Dutch band Voicst). The group recorded the LP in relative isolation in Waimes, Belgium, in order to better concentrate on honing its sound, and the result is a mix of the classic Bettie Serveert vibe with new modern-rock flourishes. Van Dyk, Visser and Bunskoeke will be guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with van Dyk.


Carol: From left to right, that’s Peter Visser (guitar), Reinier Veldman (drums), Herman Bunskoeke (bass) and Joost Visser (guitar and vocals). Let’s get one thing straight: Peter and Joost are not related to each other. Visser is just a common name in Holland, like Smith or Jones in the U.S. In the early ’80s, Peter, Joost and Reinier met each other at the art school in Arnhem. Herman was a part-time nude model (not kidding), and they all had basically the same taste in music, art, books and movies. None of them was a really good musician, but after a lot of practicing and cooking meals together (Herman was already a great cook) and sometimes squatting in empty buildings, they derived a sound that was quite unique: a monotone meandering cross-over between the Velvet Underground, the Fall and Joy Division, with bits and pieces of Television Personalities and Daniel Johnston. Their concerts were enigmatic: They either sucked or were brilliant. It was at some party when they decided to call their band De Artsen (“the Doctors”), because Peter was wearing a white doctor’s jacket. I was one of their biggest fans and their live mixer, and why they ever stopped is beyond my comprehension. But they made two records; one is called Conny Waves With A Shell, recorded by Edwin Heath (who used to be the live mixer of Nirvana back in the day and also one of the two mixers of Bettie album Palomine). You might be able to find that one on CD somewhere. The other one was a limited vinyl edition of home recordings and practice-space stuff, Out Of Sack. They still have a demo and a live recording of a great German concert, both of them unreleased. Don’t look at me: I already asked them several times 🙂

Video after the jump.