Thursday, January 29, 2009


Sometimes “simple” is best, you know? I mean, ok, a villa on the Mediterranean, a Ferrari and a super model can be nice but...a nice house in the suburbs, a comfortable amount of scratch, a cherry ’68 Camaro & my wife & kids sounds awfully good to me. Such is life, and when I heard “Twisted” by THE COTTON SOETERBOEK BAND, I was pretty damn happy. You see, with all the progressive-dark-new-old-rock-metalized-punk-&-roll that crosses my desk here at the ‘Realm, it’s nice to hear a simple hard rock album that kicks butt. Sure, the first thing that crossed my mind when “Set Me Free” came tumbling out of the speakers was vintage Whitesnake. Still, as the album proceeded through “Twisted,” the bluesy “Little Sister” and the southern hard rock of “Colorado,” I was feeling a band who had their own thing. Buoyed by the rawk-steady rhythm section of Wim Den Boer (bass) & Wilfried Broekman (drums), Robert Soeterboek’s commanding vocals & Alan Cotton’s cutting Les Paul drive this vintage roadster right down the classic rock highway. I recently spoke to Alan & he helped me navigate the band’s current trip.

RAY - I kinda came into THE COTTON SOETERBOEK BAND blind, meaning that I heard the CD without having any prior knowledge of any of the musicians and what they’ve been involved in before. Since, I’ve learned that there is a history involving bands like Halford, as well as the vocalist (Robert Soeterboek) being involved in Ayreon’s band. With prog and metal involved in some of the pedigree here, how did the band end up doing such straight-ahead hard rock?

ALAN - We wanted to record an album of the music we loved and grew up on. Blues based hard rock and we wanted to record it like they did in the old days. Just trying to capture the magic of the moment. Just a good old Rock and Roll album. The band started out all Americans and one Dutch member, now it's all Dutch members and one American haha. Bassist Wim den Boer and drummer Wilfried Broekman joined the band soon after we had completed recording the album. Robert and I couldn't be happier since they have joined and we can't wait to hit the road together with the new line up.

RAY - I understand that the band released an EP before this full-length album. Was it pretty much the same style?

ALAN - Yes, the EP is along the same lines as “Twisted”. Robert and I try not to write the same songs twice. Since the EP is only two songs, it's hard to get a full picture of the band, but if you listen to it back to back with “Twisted”, the songs fit right into place.

RAY - How did the band end up settling in Colorado?

ALAN - It's one of the most beautiful places in the States to live. I can see Pikes Peak from my front yard. I had just gotten fed up with the rat race of LA and New York and needed a change. I can take care of most business from here and fly to LA when I need to so it has worked out really well so far.

RAY - What are the chances of Coors Brewing Company giving you an endorsement? Do most of the people in Colorado actually drink their beer or do you think it’s just typical weak American shit? Is it true what their ads say, that if you address an envelope simply Coors, Golden, Colorado it’ll get to them? Are you wondering why I’m asking you this crap?

ALAN - Chances of endorsement with Coors? Probably pretty good because we have a song about Colorado. Most people here in Colorado do drink Coors. I won't say anything bad about them in case they want to give us a wheelbarrow full of money to use one of our songs, but our preferred drink is Heineken. And yes, if you address an envelope as Coors, Golden, Colorado it will get to them. The Coors factory takes up the whole side of a mountain. This is definitely one of the most entertaining questions I have gotten in a long time.

RAY - To me, the album has a great sound that reminds me of classic British bluesy hard rock. It has a real nod to the best parts of a band like Whitesnake without being anything like a clone. Is that the kinda vibe you guys were trying for?

ALAN - Thank you so much. That's it. We play blues based hard rock, so we fall into the same category with bands like Whitesnake and Deep Purple, but we try and bring our own unique take to the music.

RAY - That being said, there’s also a track like “Colorado,” which not only pays tribute to your home state but also has a distinctly Southern rock feel. It’s a track that has a very rich, honest feel, almost like some of Skynyrd’s better melodic numbers. Care to comment?

ALAN - I'm actually a Southerner with Colorado being my adopted state. Southern music was such a huge influence on me growing up, so we just tried to bring that honesty to our music.

RAY - RED LIGHT CHALLENGE: Miss Colorado walks up to you at a COTTON SOETERBOEK show and says “I’ll give you a choice! A lifetime supply of Coors, a vintage Les Paul or me for the night.” Which one do you choose?

ALAN – That’s an easy one. The vintage Les Paul. Haha.

RAY - Alan, one thing that strikes me about “Twisted” is your guitar solos. The thing I like about ‘em is the fact that they’re not long but they just fit perfectly in the songs, they’re lyrical in the sense that they say something very concise and yet powerful in each track. Again, I’m reminded of the Marsden/Moody work in Whitesnake. Or am I just a musical ignoramus?

ALAN - Once again thank you for your kind words. My take on it is just play for the songs. That's the most important thing you can do. Bernie Marsden and Mick Moody were also influences on my playing. For somebody that has probably sold 20 million records, Bernie Marsden is such an underrated guitarist. Not only is he a soulful and melodic player, he's a fantastic song writer.

RAY - How’s it going with the band as far as live shows go? Done a lot in the Denver area? How about elsewhere, have you taken this show on the road yet?

ALAN - Because of the delays between the EP and getting “Twisted” out, we decided to do a full tour behind the second album. We will let you know how it goes.

RAY – What’s next for the COTTON SOETERBOEK BAND as far as recording, any new tunes in the pipeline? Any chance we’ll see you doing a “Nostradamus”-styled concept box set about a race of guitars that rise up out of the country hills and take over the world? Gotta love that album cover?

ALAN - I've have just begun writing the second album this week. It should be a pretty eclectic mix of songs and there will be a few heavier and faster songs as well. Concept album? Haha. I tend to like shorter and more concise songs. I think it would actually be pretty hard to keep a common thread tied through out one of our albums but I do like your suggestion. How about just a four minute song about guitars ruling the planet? Haha.

RAY - Tell me something crazy. Tell me a story, an anecdote, a bizarre tale or a wild story about the most unusual, insane or God knows, obscene thing that has ever happened to the band in it’s history, either onstage, on the road, etc. Be as truthful or creative as you can without flat-out lying!

ALAN - Just being in this business is crazy enough. OK, one night after a show, somebody was so touched by my playing they gave me a Fender Stratocaster! How cool is that? Just thinking about it right now, where did that guy get the guitar? I hope it didn't belong to the opening band Haha.

RAY - Any final comments for the Raysrealm readers?

ALAN - Thank you Ray for this interview and also for supporting new music like ours. To all of Raysrealm readers, thank you for taking the time to read it. Please stop by our website or myspace page and check out the band. Help support the music you enjoy and also support websites like Raysrealm that make interviews like this possible.

If you listen to a classic hard rock station in your town and they’re not playing cuts from THE COTTON SOETERBOEK BAND’s “Twisted” between tracks from Skynyrd, Whitesnake & Stevie Ray Vaughan, then, like most classic rock programming directors, they’re idiots. And, hey, if you’re reading this site, then what the hell are you doing listening to the radio anyway?! Get off yer ass & order this CD now!

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