Kayak are a Dutch progressive rock band founded in 1972 by Ton Scherpenzeel and Pim Koopman. In 1973, their debut album "See See The Sun" was released, including 3 hit singles. Against their own will, they were immediately declared "Holland's new supergroup" in the press. Their main popularity was in the Netherlands, with their top hit (Ruthless Queen) reaching #6 on the Dutch charts. They disbanded in 1982 after releasing nine albums.
In 1999 the band was asked to perform on the TV show De Vrienden van Amstel Live. After this performance, they decided to reform and have released five studio albums and three live albums since. Their latest studio album was released on 4 January, 2008. It is titled "Coming Up For Air". That same day saw the start of their 35th anniversary-tour. On 7 october 2008, they ended the tour at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. The concert was released on CD and DVD as "The Anniversary Box" in december 2008.
At the releaseparty of the DVD, drummer Pim Koopman revealed that a new Kayak studio album was in the making. It will be released in september 2009, immediately followed by a tour.
Co-founder Ton Scherpenzeel is the only member that plays on every Kayak album. Apart from keyboards, he also plays accordion, occasional bass guitar (for instance on the entire "Nostradamus" album) and double bass. He also provides backing vocals, and sings lead vocals on the song Love's Aglow on the original "Merlin" album.
Singer/drummer Max Werner does lead vocals on the first 5 albums. Being bored with his own singing voice, he switched to drums and percussion for the following 4 albums. In 1999 he returned as lead singer for the "Close The Fire" album. After that album he did a short tour with Kayak, but left the band in 2000. Max has made 4 solo-albums, and he had a hit in Europe in 1981 with the single Rain In May.
Johan Slager played guitar on every album until the split in 1982. He joined the band for the occasional live performances in the nineties, but he was not involved in the reunion of 1999. He was replaced by Rob Winter, who played on 3 albums before Joost Vergoossen became the next (and current) lead guitarist.
Drummer Pim Koopman was also a founder member. After "The Last Encore" he decided to leave the band. This was due to health problems/stage fright, but it also helped that he was offered a job as a full-time producer. As a producer he was quite successful with Dutch artists as Maywood, Valensia, Robby Valentine and Petra Berger. He came back as drummer of Kayak in 1999 and has not left the drum stool since. Apart from drums, Pim plays occasional keyboards and guitar, as well as providing lead and backing vocals.
Original bass player Cees van Leeuwen left in 1975 to concentrate on his studies. He became a lawyer, and in 2002 he became the Dutch State Secretary of Culture and Media. Unfortunately, the government he was part of only lasted for a couple of weeks.
He was followed up by Bert Veldkamp, who played bass in 1975-1976 and returned for the 1999 reunion. After the 2003 album "Merlin - Bard Of The Unseen", Bert left Kayak because he could not combine his work in a band with his own career.
Peter Scherpenzeel, Ton's younger brother, was Kayak's roadie in the early days. In 1978, he joined as the band's bass player, when Theo de Jong left after just one album. Peter played bass on Kayak's best-selling album "Phantom Of The Night", as well as on the 3 following albums. He now owns a Tiffany lamp studio in Amsterdam.
Long time Kayak fan Edward Reekers became lead singer in 1978, when Max Werner changed to drums. The first song he recorded was "Ruthless Queen", which became Kayak's biggest hit. He remained lead singer until 1982. After that he did 2 solo albums, and earned his money as a backing vocalist, doing commercials, and lending his voice to cartoon movies and children's TV-shows. When singer Bert Heerink had other commitments in 2003, Edward replaced him at some "Merlin" concerts. It was the beginning of his comeback, which became reality with the "Nostradamus" album in 2005 on which Edward plays the part of the monk. After that album, Bert Heerink left the band and Edward was Kayak's only lead singer again. That is, male lead singer; in 2003, female singer Cindy Oudshoorn had joined Kayak for the "Merlin" album and tour, and she decided to stay.
Bert Heerink (ex Vandenberg) was asked to help the band out on their 1999 tour. The plan was that on stage he would do the songs that Edward Reekers did originally, leaving more room for Max Werner to do his own Kayak songs and play percussion. But when Max left, he was not replaced, so Bert became lead singer. He did 4 studio albums and one live album, before concentrating on his solo career.
Rob Vunderink joined in 2001, as extra guitarist and vocalist. Rob is an experienced musician, who played in many Dutch bands since the sixties. Most notable was his collaboration with Pim Koopman in Diesel. (This band reached the 25th place in the Billboard Hot 100 with the single "Sausalito Summernight".)