The Curious Case of Ad Visser

Leave a Comment

Nederpop was Holland's foray into the pop music scene of the 1960s and 70s when bands like Shocking Blue and trucker CD mainstay Golden Earring (see "Radar Love") made significant inroads into English-language markets.  I bring this up, because as far as I can tell, Ad Visser's a bit of an odd figure here in the Netherlands, not to mention the rest of the world.  And while Dutch music has a significant place, Ad Visser seems to be a figure that vexes most in Holland.

Visser's musical career seems to have started the way many from his generation (post WWII) did with appearances on national TV programs.  His venture into music on the AVRO TV show with his group at the time, Blurp (no video found), must have kick started something, because Visser (despite being not the most striking guy -- think a skinnier and more Dutch version of Kurt Wagner from Lambchop) began hosting (in 1968) AVRO's Superclean Dreammachine, a radio program, and made the move to TV with Toppop.

Visser had a long tenure with the shows, hosting Superclean Dreammachine from 1968 to 1980 and Toppop from 1970 until 1985.  Various YouTube clips like the one above showcase the outlandishness of the late 70s/early 80s TV production.  It appears to be somewhat of a mix between Dick Clark and Carson Daly circa that show on MTV which I hated.  But while Clark is dead and Daly is relegated to behind the stage interviewing groupies for Blink-182, Visser took the high road: He wrote a sci-fi novel.

Or rather he wrote a sci-fi book to accompany his album, Sobrietas, a (you-guessed-it) "space opera." Like the heavily experimental electronic bent of Superclean Dreammachine, Visser went super heavy on Sobrietas's synths.  The album itself is a relatively unlistenable melange of bad sound effects, listless vocals, and enough synths to rule all of the prog-rock universe.  The hit, in the Netherlands, from the record was "Giddyap A Gogo."

If writing a book to accompany your first record weren't already strange enough, Visser's contributions to the 1990s were a pair of albums entitled Brainsessions which were written to shoot alpha waves into the listener's brain, inducing a trance-like experience.  The therapeutic turn that Visser's music has taken has lead to expansion of the mind and the body.  

Yep, that's the dude's last record:  Train Your Brian for Better Sex Ad Visser's Kamasutra Experience.  Visser's got what seems to be a rather large underground following, certainly for his numerous media appearances and electronic pioneering.  Though, as with the concert I stumbled into in Amsterdam the other day, Visser's following seems mystified by who he is now, particularly because of the strong role in their childhood.  Can you imagine if your source for music since 1968 suddenly starts putting out mystical sexy-time tunes?  

That's Ad Visser at the Over Het IJ festival here in Amsterdam which runs from July 5 to July 15.  Beardo behind him is Billy TK the "Jimi Hendrix of New Zealand" and Maori spokesperson between them is a guy in a bunny suit.  


Post a Comment