Herman Brood

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Hermanus "Herman" Brood (pronounced "Hairmon Broat" /bro:t/; November 5, 1946 – July 11, 2001) was a Dutch musician, painter and media personality. Initially a musician who achieved artistic and commercial success in the 1970s and 1980s, and called "the Netherlands' greatest and only rock 'n' roll star,"[1] later in life he became a well-known painter.

Known for his hedonistic lifestyle of "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll," Brood was an Enfant terrible and a cultural figure whose suicide, apparently caused by a failure to kick his drug and alcohol habit,[2] only strengthened his controversial status. His suicide, according to a poll organized to celebrate fifty years of Dutch popular music, was the most significant event in its history.[3]


Musical career

Herman Brood was born in Zwolle, and started playing the piano at age 12. He founded beat band The Moans in 1964, which would later become Long Tall Ernie and the Shakers. Brood was asked to play with Cuby and the Blizzards, but was removed by management when the record company discovered he used drugs. For a number of years Brood was in jail (for dealing LSD), or abroad, and had a number of short-term engagements (with The Studs, the Flash & Dance Band, Vitesse).[4]

In 1976, Brood started his own group, Herman Brood & his Wild Romance, (and started work with photographer Anton Corbijn)[citation needed] initially with Ferdi Karmelk (guitar), Gerrit Veen (bass), Peter Walrecht (drums), and Ellen Piebes and Ria Ruiters (vocals). They played the club and bar circuit in Groningen, and in 1977 band released their first album, Street. They are still best known for their second album, Shpritsz—a play on the German word for syringe—from 1978. This album contained Brood anthems like "Dope Sucks," "Rock & Roll Junkie," and their first Dutch hit single, "Saturday Night." The band went through many personnel changes over the years; the best-known formation was Freddy Cavalli (bass), Danny Lademacher (guitar) (later replaced with David Hollestelle), and Cees 'Ani' Meerman (drums). A frequent contributor was Bertus Borgers (saxophone).[4]

Brood's outspoken statements in the press about sex and drug use brought him into the Dutch public arena even more than his music. He was romantically involved with the German singer Nina Hagen, with whom he appeared in the 1979 film Cha-Cha. He is reputed to be the subject of her song "Herrmann Hiess Er" (English title "Herrmann Was His Name") from the 1979 Unbehagen album,[5] a song about a drug addict. Brood relished the media attention and became the most famous hard drug user in the Netherlands. "It is quite common for an artist to use drugs, but not for him to tell everybody. I admit that it scared me that my popularity could make people start using drugs", he once said in an interview.[6]

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