Biography RJ STIPS
>—— LONG ——<
|04 02 1950
RJ was born in The Hague, the Netherlandsmother Joke Stips – Wubbels (1906 – 2000)
sister Freke (1936)
sister Hans (1938)
brother Wouter (1944)
father (Johannus Herminus) Stips (1900 – 1964) came home with a grand piano
First piano lessons (Yoli Buriks)1959
first public appearance at the van Heutz elementary school, playing accordion.
Played the piano on the yearly ‘Farewell Evening Show’ at elementary school.Parents divorced
Accompanied the complete ‘F. E. Show’ at his old school 1961 and won the cultural contest at (Thorbecke) high school. Saw the first (school)band ever at the same cultural contest.
Moved house and changed school (Grotius Lyceum).—- for more details > long & super long version —
Making a necessarily habit of winning the yearly cultural contest, to rebalance his further mediocre results at school (dreamer).
1964: Father died.
Was invited by Marco Vrolijk to come and play with school band ‘the Blubs’, with the original members:
Arnold Slagter (later:Visser) – (tea box) bass
Gerhard Smidt – guitar, clarinet, vocals
Marco Vrolijk – drums
Robert Jan Stips – piano*, vocals, mouthharp.
* When they rehearsed (on Sundays) at the attic of the house of Marco’s parents (his father then was Minister of Culture) RJ played the piano and sang. Most places, however, where they performed, there was no piano at all, or it was hard to amplify with the poor ‘vocal-boxes’ in use then ( PA’s did not even exist then), so mostly Robert Jan was front man singer, playing tambourine and mouthharp when not climbing into the curtains…
who later changed their name to :1965/6’The Q-Provocation’, later to ‘Provocation’
with new comer guitarist Theo Nijenhuis (later respected economy reporter at the NRC news paper)
playing in different line ups with all members from the same (Grotius – later Segbroek) high school:In the same period he was playing the piano for a chlidren ballet/operette company called ‘Morgenstond’, earning his first organ.The group was first managed by Bart Spoelstra, who felt they needed someone who knew more about the fast developing new music scene and introduced the band to economy student Dick Zwikker, who took over.The Provocation playing more and more frequently now with Ron van Eck on bass.1966
A unique performance with the Provocation (and the children ballet) was the one in the garden of palace Soestdijk, celebrating Queen’s Juliana’s birthday It was breaking news in national and international press: BEAT MUSIC IN PALACE !!1967
Sacha van Geest joins the band on flute, the band getting under influence of the alternative and hippie movement in the person of Rob Douw, who turned the shy school band into an experimental group, with :
Sacha van Geest – ao flute, vocals
RJ’s instruments now were an Ace Tone organ (1 manual) and a Hohner Pianet, on both instruments he used two effect pedals: wah wah and fuzz.
Following the time spirit, they started to do research into new directions, playing underground and alternative music, performing together with lightshows, action painters, poets and dancers.
SUPERSISTER 1968 – 1974 /1999 – 2000
4 of them decided to focus on music only, adopting the name Supersister:
RJ left school to go study (classical) piano with piano professor Simon Admiraal at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague. What started as a ‘dream come true’ slowly changed into a disillusion, caused by a unbridgeable difference in the approach of music and mentality, in the end winding up ”more like a spy than a student “.
—- for more details > long & super long version —-
As one of the few Dutch groups Supersister played on the main stage at the Kralingen Pop Festival, Rotterdam, the first real big (80.000) continental pop festival. At the same time Supersister’s first single ‘She was Naked’ became a big summer hit, created by heavy rotation on Radio Veronica. First album: ‘Present from Nancy’ on Blossom label, Polydor, also produced by Hans van Oosterhout.
Supersister now really ‘hot’, sharing the nr.1 place in polls with Golden Earring and playing throughout the whole country + Germany, France, England and Italy.
The band and therewith almost 10 years of cooperation between Marco and RJ, was nearing a natural ending.
Charlie Mariano – altsax, bass clarinet,
The new band took off for England (Manor Studio’s) to record the fourth Supersister album: ‘Iskander’, produced by Georgio Gomelsky.
—- for more details > medium & long version —-
1974/5 Golden Earring
RJ joined Golden Earring surprising friend and fiend. First as an ‘extra’ musician, later as a member of the group. Touring the USA, coast to coast, Europe and UK. For RJ this was the sex, drugs and rock ’n roll high school, showing a complete different view over the music-biz’ landscape.
Records posthumous Supersister album: ‘Spiral Staircase’ with Sacha van Geest.
Records first solo album: ‘Nevergreens’
receives the Dutch Export Award and a gold copy of Golden Earring compilation album.
And meanwhile in Amsterdam a group called ‘the Nits’ is founded
1976 / 1978
while on tour with Golden Earring in the USA, RJ met Bertus Borgers (again) and they came to the agreement that after Golden Earring they would at least pay contribution to each others solo albums. Bertus’ solo album was called ‘Sweet d’Buster’, which also became the name for the group, existing of the same people who recorded the album – in the Soundpush Studio with Jan Schuurman as engineer/producer):
producing GRUPPO SPORTIVO
When still playing in Sweet d’Buster, RJ takes over the production of Gruppo Sportivo from Barry Hay. The group became immensely popular, big hit successes with singles (Rock & Roll, Hey Girl, Disco Really Made It) as well as albums: ‘Ten Mistakes’, (over 50.000 copies) went gold, ‘Back to ’78‘(over 100.000:) platinum.
Huba de Graaff – violin, keybrds, vocals
RJ gets his own group together, no big names or fully experienced colleagues. In an amazing short period the new group recorded ‘Zig Zag’ and toured in Holland for a year.
RJ ‘s production work kept on growing, in the summer of 1979 three recording sessions in a row were realized : Transisters ‘Zig Zag’, Hans Vandenburgs ‘Buddy Odor’ and… the first recording session with a new, promising group from Amsterdam :
THE NITS 1979 / 1996 / 2003 / …
Alex Roelofs – bas
In this first session 4 songs were recorded, the main purpose was to get 1 or rather , 2 A and B sides for at least one successful single, to get the name Nits into the books of Dutch pop. The songs recorded were : The Young Reporter, Harrow’s Accident, Umbrella and Tutti Ragazzi
Aad Link and RJ founded a new agency in the Hague ‘Rock in Waterland’ and contacted the Nits for a recording contract with CBS.
* under construction *
Second NITS album ‘New Flat’, co-produced by RJ
RJ contributes to the live tour of Danny Lademacher’s Innersleeve
RJ’s second solo album : ‘U.P.’ Recorded at the Arnold Muhren Studio in Volendam. Engineered by Aad Link
RJ produces Gruppo Sportivo album ‘Pop Goes the Brain’
RJ joins the Nits, at first to replacingbass player Alex Roelofs who left just before their second German tour.
RJ now full Nits member.
Later that same year mini album ‘Kilo’.
album : Adieu Sweet Bahnhof
Founding new agency and studio with Aad Link: Buro GeluidsManipulatie – BGM .
Radio Freedom Gala, Carré A’dam. First encounter on stage with Freek de Jonge.
* under construction *
NITS trio (Rob, Henk & RJ) album: ‘HENK’.
‘In The Dutch Mountains’ (recorded on two track) album & single top 10, European break through.
Petra leaves the group.
hit single ‘J.O.S. Days’
Henk, Rob, Joke and RJ record the succesfull mini album ‘the Hat’ (top 11) with two hit singles ‘The Dream’ and ‘The Train’.
RJ mixes Gruppo Sportivo single ‘Mexican Radio’
Nits double live album ‘Urk’ (platinum), (single Adieu , Sweet Bahnhof)
The Nits receive the Gouden Harp (Conamus) for their complete oeuvre so far and also the BV Popprijs, for the latter an amount of money was included, something like 10.000 guilders. After a lot of trouble and hassle the worn out band made it to the festivities between two German gigs – to see that their drinks were are already drunk and to hear that they didn’t get the money involved, because the organisation had already used it for their airplane tickets…!!
RJ produced, arranged and mixed Gruppo Sportivo’s ‘Sucker of the Century’
After more than 3 years Joke Geraets decided to leave the Nits, mainly because of a muscle-problem-disease MS and because she felt her position in the band was not prospering the way she felt it should. After this sudden turn in her life she started studying direction for choir and until this day (dd april.2006) she’s practicing her new profession with success and lots of pleasure.
new album: Giant Normal Dwarf, recorded by the trio Henk, Rob, and Robert Jan.
Monique Olivier and Robert Jan get married
Hjuvi – A Rhapsody in Time
* see the HJUVI special in Nits Torni *
NITS CD + tour : ‘dAdAdA’
After 14 years working and creating together intensively, RJ felt that Nits were not anymore on that high spirited level they should be – Robert Jan took the (hard) decision to leave .
NITS – jan : Luxemburg, D – Karlsruhe, Austria – Vienna
may : TV special item about RJ in NOVA (Tonko Dop)
RJ writes the strings arrangements for Golden Earring album ‘LoveSweat’
june: first rehearsals ‘STIPS’ trio,
NITS play Thessaloniki, Greece
july: NITS play Canada, Reading and Bern
august 25 : Last NITS concert with Robert Jan,
RJ writes songs to lyrics of Freek de Jonge for the show they would play together the season, including 6 weeks in the famous Carré theater in Amsterdam : ‘Gemeengoed’ : a vast Dutch tour and CD, from which the single ‘Leven na de Dood’ reached the top position in the Dutch charts: RJ’s first (and so far only) No 1 !
the STIPS group also played the 2 Meter-Session with
* under construction *
Rapsodia – live in Paradiso, Amsterdam with Freek de Jonge.
* under construction *
RJ’s solo CD : Greyhound, on tour with Mark Boon – guitar and Judith Sijp – violoncello.
RJ & Monique move back to The Hague
* under construction *
de Grens : 10 different (TV & theatre) shows in one year with Freek de Jonge.
great news : first child of Monique and Robert Jan, lovely daughter Floyd is born
In the Hague is a big Rembrandt Exhibition in the Mauritshuis. A bit further on, in a magnificent old banking building on the Kneuterdijk is a big alternative exhibition organised by Marcello and Els + Jossip with some 20 contemporary artists participating under the name Rembrandt 2000. RJ was asked to contribute the ‘live’ music for this exhibition, resulting in the CD ‘Rembrandt 2000.
And… out of the blue an e-mail arrived in Aad Link’s Inbox from the ProgFest (Festival for Progressive Rock) Los Angeles with the question if Supersister still did exist and if so, if they would be willing to give their American fans a real good time to perform at this festival in LA October this year.
great news again : their second child, beautiful sun Nomee is born
More Supersister concerts in Tilburg (013), Groningen (Oosterpoort), the live recording at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, the last concerts in The Hague (Kon. Schouwburg).
Release of live album ‘Supersisterious’.
Sacha van Geest all of a sudden dies of an hart attack while on holidays on Malta.
NITS ‘1974’ CD & TOUR
Henk Hofstede vocals, guitar, banjo
In Januari NITS appear at the 7-nights-mega-concert of ‘Vrienden van Amstel’ at the Ahoy, Rotterdam as special guest with Di-rect.
Henk Hofstede and Robert Jan appear also as special guest at the (DVD recorded) Ahoy concert of BLØF.
Also manager Aad Link had re-joined NITS forces : apart from the already ‘conquered’ Nits-territories like France, Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and (the French speaking part of) Canada, new places like Barcelona and Winnipeg, Canada, appeared on the Nits tour schedule.
A live DVD ‘1974’ had been recorded at the end of the Dutch tour in May ’04 at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, released fall ’04.
At the end of August 2004 an immense Freek de Jonge project started, called ‘de Vergrijzing’, a theatre/television marathon contending 15 weekly new 55-minutes complete theatre shows, each one freshly created and performed live in the week before the – VPRO – broadcasting weekly on Sunday. RJ provided the leader and live music for each episode, plus the film music for the final one: the movie that was shot ‘ in between’ (!): de Kerst van een Clown, broadcasted on Christmas Eve 04.
March 2005 RJ and Freek were given the Annie M G Schmidt Prijs for their song ‘Vergeet Mij Niet’.
New recordings with the basic Rob-Henk-RJ NITS trio, the material came quite easy and Jasper leClerq completed the atmosphere with his arrangements for string-quartet. Mixed by Paul Telman, a new NITS highlight was born: the album ‘Les Nuits’. Released in the autumn of 2005, it was internationally very well received (especially in France) and many a fan or journalist was greatly surprised by the fact that NITS had been able to produce such an original fresh and high-spirited CD like ‘Les Nuits’ as their 19th album!
Elder brother Wouter Stips had successfully been working on his life as a painter these days . In 2005 he was working on the book ‘Zoveel Ongeveer Hou Ik Van Jou’, together with a CD of songs based on Wouter’s lyrics in ‘heavy rock’-style with guest singers like ao Mathilde Santing and Barry Hay. For one, more intimate track Wouter asked RJ, which resulted in the track: “Ogen Voelen’ , sang by Meg.
In September ‘05 Jelle de Jonge, sun of, produced a television series clled ‘Kortgehouden’ with Freek and other artists featuring in short sketches and conferences. RJ delivered the leader music and the music for about 9 of the (about 80) short movies.
RJSOLO mini tour in Feb/March
FREEK de JONGE ‘de TOESCHOUWER’ TOUR
FREEK de JONGE ”de TOESCHOUWER’ TOUR
RELEASE FREEK de JONGE ‘de TOEHOORDER’
RJSOLO tour in Nov/ Dec
RELEASE new NITS album – Doing the Dishes
NITS Doing The Dishes Tour 1st LEG
RJSOLO tour in Sept / Dec
RELEASE RJSOLO CD/ DVD ‘ROND’
NITS Doing The Dishes Tour 2nd LEG
May / June – recording new NITS album: Strawberry Wood
June/ July – RJ writes 8 songs for VPRO documentary.
Oct / Dec – NITS Strawberry Wood release and tour, 1st leg : Dutch theatres, Helsinki, Paris.
RJSOLO tour in Jan/Feb/March
NITS STRAWBERRY WOOD TOUR, 2nd leg
At PARKPOP 2010 RJ organizes a big event,
– under construction –
SUPERSISTER and NITS both plays on DUTCH TV – Nacht van de Nederpop.
RJSOLO tour in jan, feb, march.
– under construction –
RJSOLO tour in Jan/Feb/March
RELEASE new NITS CD MALPENSA
RJ misses first leg of MALPENSA tour, due to an operation on his left hand ( bacterial infection).
summer : NITS play festivals in Switzerland and Holland.
NITS MALPENSA THEATRE TOUR , mainly in Holland + small European trips – oct/nov/dec.
– under construction –
RJSOLO tour in jan /feb
NITS – MALPENSA THEATER TOUR ctd. – march/april/may/
the year in which NITS celebrated its 40 years anniversary. first they played material from their first 10 years up in the small concert place upstairs at the Paradiso A’dam, where they played 40 years before as well, there first gig at the Paradiso, 1974. a few weeks later followed by a big concert down in the big Paradiso concert hall with a collection of songs from the ‘rest’ of the 40 years, a memorable night, also because between concert and encores the major of Amsterdam van der Laan appeared on stage and held a speech in which he declared that his Majesty the King had decided to give the 3 NITS members the medals of being Knights in the order of Orange – Nassau !
in the meantime RJ was invited by theatre ‘De Wegwijzer’ in Zeeland to be the musical ‘chief’ for ‘O die zee’ , a high reaching and risky enterprise in order to realise a unique music-theatre-spectacle near the Westerschelde in the summer of 2014. Huub van der Lubbe (singer/author of ‘de Dijk’) writing the song-lyrics, Tom de Ket (ao de Verleiders) writing the script and directing, RJ inviting Dutch pop-composers of all ranges to write the music for one song, arranging, organising and playing them with the band, for which he invited ‘Ocobar’.
later that year RJ writes and records 10 special pieces for 10 paintings that are part of the special exposition of his brother, painter Wouter Stips entitled ‘Kind van 70’ (‘Child aged 70’) from September 21st at the Singer Museum in Laren, Holland.
Nits tour – Holland Finland Switzerland
solotour including the ‘three grand piano concert’ in the Beauforthuis – resulting in the release of “Present tot the Highest RJS plays Supersister
summer: Music for ‘new TV Channel ‘ONS’
october ” Frits (Freek & Nits)
jan/feb/march/may – RJSolo
june / first performances with NITS and Scapino
sept / october / TING!
music for NTR docu series about the dutch connection with South Africa ‘Goede Hoop’
nov/dec / RJSolo and NITS
jan / feb / FABELHAFT theater tour
apr / may / RJSolo
june / july / NITS recording CD ‘angst’
aug / sept / release CD ‘angst’,
jan / feb / RJSolo
march /NITS ‘angst’ NL theater tour
summer : NITS Festivals and RJSolo
sept / october / Reprise TING! in Carré – A’dam and de Nieuwe Luxor – R’dam
october / recording NTR documentary about RJS