Tik Tok

It’s 2022 and if you want everybody in the world to know that you’re releasing a book, you have to be present on tiktok. Although, that’s what the marketeers are telling me. So i’m thinking and breaking my head on what i should do. Shall I film myself when reading some chapters, do I do a little dance or should I film all the great things that are happening to me every week?
The only problem is that I don’t believe I have enough great experiences in a week. Especially not to promote the book! I even went to an outdoor (tiktok) event last Sunday. It rained all day. So my question is: can anyone involved with influencers or ‘content creators’ please contact me and explain how to get flashy, influential and book-promoting videos when you’re soaking wet?

Beyond Your Own Backyard

So, I must be fair. I’ve used the title of one of the chapters of ‘Never Work With Your Idols’, but it’s not exactly the same thing I’m talking about here. This one is about musicians finding their way into other forms of art. (In the book it’s more about business trying to be successful in other businesses)… But now: artists! How many artists have made the transition from rock/pop/country-star to painter, dancer or actor? Or the other way around, actors becoming musicians?
Now, I am sure that you can come up with at least 5 good examples of artists that succeeded. Lady Gaga, Elvis Presley, The Jackson 5, The Beatles, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Wood… Well, is that really a career switch? Elvis was kind of forced to be an actor, right? (according to the last movie…) Gaga made more albums than films. The Jackson 5 and The Beatles all played themselves… Bowie and Jagger: maybe it was just an experiment… And the paintings by Dylan and Wood… Have you ever seen one of them?
No. No musician really becomes successful in the other arts… And the other way around? Johnny Depp is trying to be a musician now… Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, Woody Allen… All musicians and without any doubt, I can tell you: don’t pay headline money for a gig. Ticket sales will be poor… We’ve seen it in the last two decades: empty rooms and a call to all cinemas to help promote the gig.
Let’s be honest: If you’re an actor, stay on the screen. If you’re a musician: stay on stage… Don’t try to mix it.
Thanks, I’m off managing acts, writing a book and making paintings now.

The Art of Splitting Up

“We decided to split up”. Remember those words? Oasis, One Direction, Take That, the Spice Girls, Daft Punk, ABBA, The Beatles, The Smiths (to name but a few). Bands split up. And it’s understandable, right? If you’re in a band, it’s like a marriage. And if you’re successful there’s a lot of pressure on the group. You’ve got to deal with stardom, money and a lot of decisions you might not want to take. And then there’s the pressure of the boy- and/or girlfriends. Have you ever heard of the Yoko Ono Syndrome?
‘The Yoko One Syndrome is used to describe when someone chooses to hate and vilify another person for the crime of dating a celebrity they find attractive, regardless of the massive odds against that person ever getting together with said celebrity themselves.’
Try to keep the band together if you’ve got fans like that!
Anyway, if you’re in a band and you want to split up, you need to get the timing right. Why? I hear you ask. Because eventually you’ll want to reunite! And there’s got to be at least ten years in between the break up and a reunion. Because then you’ve grown wiser, you can have the good old laughs from the past and the fees will be higher than they used to be. It worked for Motley Crue, the Police and the Backstreet Boys. But it doesn’t work for The Rolling Stones, Green Day and U2. They can’t split up anymore, they are too late now!
So get your timing right and don’t wait too long. Split up as soon as possible!

Saving the Planet

So, I was at a festival last weekend and a big issue at festivals nowadays is sustainability. Might not be the most sexy subject or your cup of tea, but you just can’t avoid it. It’s here and it’s here to stay. A lot of festivals are already working on sustainability with some of them looking at creative approaches for more than a decade.
But, there I was, at the festival. I drank my water from a reuseable bottle, charged my phone at a solar park, used toilets that don’t flush water and a million other things to save the earth. And it’s important that we find more ways to do so! I just don’t get it that the most obvious way to improve sustainability is never mentioned.
Building a festival is like building a small city, right? A small city for three days. Just three days! Why would you stop the machine when it has just been oiled? To make festivals more sustainable, you need to extend them! Festivals should last at least two or three weeks. Look at the benefits: you’re using the infrastructure more efficiently, you’re reducing travel and the bands can play on weekdays as well. There’s more time to rest between building and breaking the festival and if it’s bringing joy, why should you stop? I can only see the benefits, so if you want to save the planet give us long-lasting festivals please!


Yesterday, the three day music festival ‘The Big Climate Thing’ in NYC was cancelled. The festival was cancelled because they couldn’t produce the event in a way that met the high standards for sustainability. Maybe they should have added more dates…

Is it Live?

The biggest amusement park in Holland is called The Efteling and is well known for its lovely presentation of fairy tales. Beside these moving statues of gnomes, dragons and princesses they got a zillion rollercoasters and other wonderful attractions. Anyway, it’s like Disneyworld or Universal Studios, but without Mickey Mouse and Jurassic Park.
HItting the nail on the head there. Ever heard of Disney on Ice? Or Jurassic Park Live? Where Donald Duck is doing tricks on skates? Where an orchestra plays Dinosaur?
It was pretty successful and that’s what got the attention of the guys at the Efteling as well, I guess. Therefore you can now book your tickets to see “The Efteling In Concert”! If you turn amusement parks into liveshows, what’s next? Wallmart Live? IKEA the Musical?

To be honest, I’ve tried to put the ‘live’ word on quite a few ideas… There were two movies called “New Kids” and “New Kids Nitro”. A huge success, over a million tickets sold per movie. The characters, actors and films gained mythical status. That was when we thought: let’s get them to do a live show. Bring in some acts that feature in the film, like 2 Unlimited and Vengaboys. We had some great ideas about exploding cars & lots of fireworks. We booked the GelreDome in Arnhem, a 33 000 capacity venue. Even put a success option on hold there. We did a great press conference, even making it to the eight o’clock news. We did the biggest TV show in The Netherlands, with over 1.5 million viewers!
Now, I still don’t think there was anything wrong with the concept. The artwork was great, the trailers went viral, we had all the press, we had all the acts. Two days later the onsale started. First day sales were 1300, with over 30 000 tickets still to be sold. Everyone knows that’s a disaster and will never get you to two shows. Not even half a show! A couple of weeks later we had to pull the plug. Still don’t know what went wrong there. But I still think twice about putting the word ‘Live’ on a concept.


Have you seen Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99 yet? It’s a documentary about the third edition of the Woodstock festival on Netflix. The original festival was organized in 1969 by Michael Lang who is also the man behind the ’99 edition. And I could remember it! I was starting my career in the music industry and found out about the festival on the news. On television that was, long before high speed internet. On the news, it wasn’t about the announcement of the legendary festival or it’s line up. They said nothing about the line up. They were talking about riots, fires and sexual assault. A tragedy.

And now, almost 25 years later, there is this documentary that everyone in the music business has to see. It gives you a pretty insight in how shitty promoters work and think. And I’m not talking about the promoter’s decisions and actions from twenty five years ago. The responsible promoter, John Scher, was interviewed just a couple of months ago! As they say: ‘A fox will lose it’s hair, but not it’s tricks… ‘ It’s stunning to see what he did back then and what he is saying now about the events that weekend.

In chapter 27 of Never Work With Your Idols, I mention Woodstock ’99 as an example on how not to promote festivals. To quote myself:

“Crowd management and safety are the very first and most important aspects you must never save on. Wave goodbye to your ego in this respect and make sure you have people helping you out who really understand the subject. And don’t let money be the driving factor.”

Find out yourself and watch Trainwreck. You’ll be amazed.

Need more gossip!

The Dutch version of Never Work With Your Idols is published by Outliner Books, my own publishing house. It’s basically DIY (you will read all about DIY in chapter 25). My two reasons for self-publishing are quite simple:

1. I didn’t want to wait. I’m always in a rush, and if I want something, I want it now. I can’t wait because next week there will be other things I’ll want to do or explore. 

2. The Dutch publishers I spoke to all said the same thing: great book, but could you make it suitable for a broader audience by adding more anecdotes about the big stars? Answer: no, I can’t.

For the translated version, I’ve contacted over 70 publishers worldwide. From the US and the UK to India, I’ve contacted a lot of them. By submitting the manuscript, or parts of it. Didn’t get many replies. Although I did get one, asking if ‘I could adjust the book by telling some more juicy anecdotes about the big stars…’

So, DIY it is. For now…

Please Call

Don’t feel offended, or do. It’s just a typical phenomenon: not replying to messages. I’ve tried to find the best way to send them: e-mail, whatsapp, via Facebook or Instagram, to name but a few. But in the end it doesn’t matter via what platform or how you send anything: there are a lot of people who just don’t reply.Sending them music by a new artist, asking them for advice, trying to book an act… not a word back. And I’m not talking about bulk email or spam. It’s 100% hardcore personal messaging from 1 adult to another. Real people you know, addressed by their first name! And still no reply, how is that even possible? In my opinion, you always reply, no matter what the question is. I booked all Dutch acts on 4 major festivals: guess how many bands I got offered every week? I still replied to them all. I once got a request from a one-man band (yes, with drums on his back, tambourines on his feet and a flute in his pocket!) who wanted to perform at the 17 000 capacity Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. There was only 1 person who thought he could do it (the band himself) but hey, he still got a reply!Some people suggest it’s because of a fear of rejecting good things. It’s easier to get excited about something than to tell anyone you’re not excited at all. And possibly being wrong about a new act… is it a fear of failure? I don’t know, but I know one thing: it’s not that difficult to reply, you should try it!


Have you ever seen the Reading/Leeds festival poster from 1993? It’s a traditional line up poster, with Porno For PyrosThe The and New Order as headliners. I know those were the headliners, because their names are printed bigger than Rage Against The Machine and the Breeders.If you look a bit lower on the poster, the band names get smaller and smaller. Tool is there, Blur and RadioheadThe Posies and Dutch act Bettie Serveert printed even smaller. So, if we look at it now: why was Ned’s Atomic Dustbin bigger on the bill than Stone Temple PilotsAlice Donut above Primus?Probably because in 1993, Alice Donut sold more albums, singles, and tickets? Or they were more exclusive for the UK, or their manager was more important than the manager of Primus. We’ll never know. All we know is that, looking at that poster, The The was for some reason more interesting for the festival audiences in Reading and Leeds than Fishbone.Nowadays, it’s impossible to know who is bigger or better on a festival poster. Because of clashing egos, all band names need to be the same size. That way no one is offended (and people can’t figure out who’s getting the better fee). But in 20 years time, we won’t be looking at these line-ups again, knowing that smaller acts get bigger and big acts get smaller. It’s not the end of the world, but if you want to stop messing with history, accept your status and bring back the traditional way of billing!

Welcome to Never Work With Your Idols!

Here’s the deal. I started this newsletter because I want to sell my *soon-to-be-published* book Never Work With Your Idols. And I’m asking all of you to talk about that book. To your friends, family or your followers (online or offline). As long as possible and as often as possible.

Every marketeer I have spoken to has advised me to create my own ‘following’ to promote my specific business. One, just one, business only! So, I can’t tell you anything about the paintings & prints I produce. Can’t tell you anything about my family or my love for cinema (which I lack). Unless it helps growing the ‘following’. The following you are now part of. So thanks for subscribing and welcome to the following! It’s about the music industry and all its weirdness here.

Feel free to send input or contact me with your great ideas. And please note: the book will be released early next year, exact date t.b.c. Obviously, I will keep you updated here about the progress!