Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1968-69)

- Jan Akkerman - guitar, keyboards

- Kazimierz Lux -- vocals, guitar

- Andre Reijen -- bass

- Pierre van der Linden -- drums, percussion


  supporting musicians:

- Tom Barlacher -- flute

- Rob Hoeke -- keyboards


  line up 2 (1969-70) 

NEW - Herman Meyer (RIP) -- lead guitar (replaced Jan Akkerman)

- Kazimierz Lux -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Rudi de Queljoe -- guitar (replaced Jan Akkerman)

NEW - Frans Smit -- drums, percussion


  line up 3  (1970-71)

- Kazimierz Lux -- vocals, guitar

- Rudie de Queljoe -- guitar

NEW - John Schuursma -- guitar (replaced Herman Meyer)

- Frans Smit -- drums, percussion


  line up 4  (1971-72)

NEW- Michel van Dijk -- vocals, flute (replaced Kazimierz Lux)

NEW- Ronnie Meyes -- guitar (replaced John Schuursma)

- Frans Smit -- drums, percussion

NEW - Robert Verwey -- bass (replaced Rudi de Queljoe)


  line up 6  (1982-84)

- Rudi de Queljoe -- guitar

- Kazimierz Lux -- vocals, guitar

- Andre Reijen (aka Andre Reynen)-- bass

- John Schuursma -- guitar

- Pierre van der Lindeen -- drums, percussion


  line up 7  (2004-)

- Eric Bagchus -- bass (replaced Andre Reijen)

- Rudi de Queljoe -- guitar

- Kazimierz Lux -- vocals, guitar

- John Schuursma -- guitar

- Pierre van der Lindeen -- drums, percussion


  line up 8  (2010-2011)

- Kazimierz Lux -- vocals, guitar




- Advanced Warning (Pierre van der Linden)

- After Tea (Pierre van der Linden)

- Jan Akkerman (solo efforts)

- Akkerman and Lux

- Alquin (Michel van Dijk)

- Amsterdam (Robert Verwey)

- Big Wheel (Shell Schellekens)

- Cargo (Frans Smit)

- Chain of Fools (Rudi de Queljoe)

- Crypto (Pierre van der Linden)

- Boudeijn De Groot (John Schuursma)

- De Maskers (Frans Smit)

- Dragonfly (Rudi de Queljoe)

- Drama (Schel Schellekens)

- Earth & Fire (Ron Meyes)

- Ekseption ( Michel van Dijk) 

- Falvium (Rudi de Queljoe andPierre van der Linden)

- Focus (Jan Akkerman - Pierre van der Linden)

- Fontessa (Shell Schellekens)

- Fullhouse (Herman Meyer)

- Harlekijn Band (Cees van der Laarse)

- Rob Hoeke Rhythm and Blues Group (John Schuursma)

- The Hunters (Jan Akkerman)

- The Jay Jays  (John Schuursma)

- Johnny & His Cellar Rockers  (Jan Akkerman - Pierre van der Linden)

- Jumping Pop In  (Pierre van der Linden)

- Ladermacher's Innersleeve (Cees van der Laarse)

- Livin' Blues (Andre Reijen)

- Kaz Lux and John Schuursma

- Kazimierz Lux (solo efforts)

- Massada (Rudi de Queljoe)

- Minisink Townhouse (Andre Reijen

- Mushroom (Jan Akkerman)

- Penny Wise (Robert Verwey)

- Rudie de Queljoe (solo efforts)

- Rainbow Train (Shell Schellekens)

- The Rest (Shell Schellekens)

- Shell Schellekens (solo efforts)

- September (Frans Smit)

- Frans Smit (solo efforts)

- Solution (Kazimierz Lux)

- Swung (Pierre van der Linden)

- Sympathy (Andre Reijen)

- Trace (Pierre van der Linden)

- Twelve O'Clock (Andre Reijen)

- Pierre van der Linden (solo efforts)

- Michel van Dyke (solo efforts)

- Vitesse (Rudi de Queljoe)

- ZZ and De Maskers (Pierre van der Linden)




Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Brainbox

Company: Imperial

Catalog:  5C054.24082

Country/State: Amsterdam, Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 31220

Price: $40.00

Ever wonder about Focus' roots?  I see the two of you raising your hands ..


Guitarist Jan Akkerman started his musical career as the founding member of Johnny & His Cellar Rockers.  The band enjoyed some early-'60s regional successes, including recorded several singles for Decca.  By the mid-'60s the group had morphed into The Hunters who also enjoyed regional recognition with a series of 45s and a cover-heavy repertoire.  Following the band's break-up, in 1968 Akkerman turned his attention to recording a solo album ("Talents for Sale") and a collaboration with singer Kazimierz "Kaz" Lux and After Tea drummer Pierre van der Linden.  The collaboration turned into Brainbox.  By the time the group signed with imperial in 1969, they had added bassist Andre Reijen to the line-up.



Produced by Tim Griek, the quartet debuted with a blazing 1969 single that even saw a US release:

- 'Down Man' b/w 'Woman's Gone' (Elektra catalog number EKS 45673)


The single's success saw Imperial green light an album  Continuing their partnership with producer Griek, 1969's "Brainbox" offered up a mixture of original material and covers.  The results weren't particularly consistent, making the album difficult to categorize.  Blues-rock with occasional progressive touches?  Progressive with a blues-rock edge?  Just progressive?  Just blues-rock?  Guitar showcase? Forget trying to bin it.  While it had a blues base, the opener 'Dark Rose' rocked out with considerable energy.  In contrast their cover of Jimmy Reed's 'Baby, What You Want Me To Do' and the original 'Sinner's Prayer' were professional, if pedestrian Chicago blues-rockers.  A cover of Tim Hardin's 'Reason To Believe' was given a sweet country-rock arrangement.  'Scarborough  Fair' was treated to a toughened up arrangement making for one of the better covers of this classic tune.  Their heavy metal cover of 'Summertime' (from "Porgy and Bess"), was certainly one of the highlights.  Finally, about half of the seventeen minute opus 'Sea of Delight' was great, particularly the pop-oriented opening and the segment where Akkerman got to stretch out.  Interestingly, given Akkerman's front man status, one of the album's biggest surprises was that he didn't usurp more of the spotlight.  That's not to say Akkerman's dazzling guitar wasn't prominently featured throughout the album, rather his playing was tasteful and concise throughout the album.  Okay, he stretched out a bit on the extended closer 'Sea of Delight' .  The other surprise was Lux.  I remember being less than bowled over by his 1976 "Eli" collaboration with Akkerman.  Here his performances were uniformly impressive.




With the band poised for international success, manager John van Setten discovered Akkerman had been working with drummer Thijs van Leer on the side and asked him to leave the band.  A short-sighted decision since Akkerman complied, forming Focus with van Leer.






"Brainbox" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Dark Rose   (Jan Akkerman - Kazimierez Lux) - 5:24   rating: **** stars

I was quite surprised by the opener - built on a steam rolling Andre Reijen bass line and Jan Akkerman's instantly recognizable guitar, 'Dark Rose' featured a heavy blues-rock vibe; imagine Rory Gallagher hanging out with Golden Earring.  Sessions player Tom Barlacher was featured on the extended flute solo.  And even though I'm normally not a big flute fan, in this case the results were pretty enjoyable.  Frankly I would have picked as the lead off single over 'Summertime'.

2.) Reason to Believe   (Tim Hardin) - 2:25    rating: **** stars

Remember the earlier discussion of the band's bluesy sound?  Forget it.  Their cover of Tim Hardin's 'Reason To Believe' was done as a charming country-rock number.  Very Poco or Firefall ...  Rod Stewart seemed to have appropriated their arrangement of the song.

3.) Baby, What You Want Me To Do   (Jimmy Reed) - 2:37  rating: ** stars

Okay 'Baby, What You Want Me To Do' was more in keeping with the band's blues moves.  Sure, Akkerman displayed is blistering guitar moves, but to my ears it was one of the album's dullest performances.  

4.) Scarborough Fair  (Paul Simon - Art Garfunkel) - 6:28   rating: *** stars

It's hard not to thing about the Simon and Garfunkel version (the song was erroneously credited to them), but it you can get it out of your head, these guys turned in an impressive  version.  Musically is was instantly recognizable, though they slowed it down a tad and added a heavier feel.  I could without Tom Barlacher's extended flute solo and a little less tambourine, but all told quite impressive.

5.) Summertime (Theme from 'Porgy and Bess")  (Ira Gershwin - DeBose Heywood - George Gershwin) - 4:24    rating: **** stars

I always wondered why the album didn't include their debut single 'Down Man'.  Equally puzzling, Imperial's marketing folks did include the single's flip side 'Summertime'.  Frankly my expectations for this chestnut were pretty low.  It's one of those tunes that every rock band feels the need to cover and they seldom bring much to the party.  To their credit, slowing the tune down and slapping a molten rock arrangement on it proved quite enjoyable.  Nice framework to enjoy Lux's roaring voice.  The song was released as a single in various European countries:

- 1969's 'Summertime' b/w 'Dark Rose' (Imperial catalog number 5C 006.24076 M)


(side 2)

1.) Sinner's Prayer - 2:34   rating: *** stars

Standard Chicago blues that could have been mistaken for early Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall, Savoy Brown, Ten Years After, etc.  Competent, but not particularly exciting.

2.) Sea of Delight  C. Lux - Jan Akkerman - Andre Reijen - Pierre van der Linden)- 17:00   rating: **** stars (for the first half) and rating: *** stars (for the second half)

Typically a track that stretches out over ten minutes is going to face a bunch of challenges keeping a listener engaged.  One stretching over seventeen minutes ?  Good luck.  The tune opened up with a breezy, sunny afternoon type of melody, before abruptly shifting the focus to Akkerman and his multi-threat guitar work.  He covered the full water front including psych, jazz-rock moves and starting around the ten minute mark some surprisingly impressive funky moves (I suspect Niles Rogers would approve).  At the eleven minute mark the song slows down; Lux comes back into the picture with some Focus-styled scatting. And from there Pierre van der Linden pounded the track to it's conclusion.


Focusing on the first segment of the tune, a heavily edited version of the song was released as a single in Holland and Germany:


- 1969's  'Sea of Delight' b/w 'Amsterdam' and 'The First Days' (Imperial catalog number 5C-006 24027 M)