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Zipps history

In the autumn of 1965, the Zipps were formed in Dordrecht, The Netherlands.  Peter Nuyten (guitar) and John Noce Santoro (drums) came from the guitar group, The Moving Strings.

  Philip Elzerman (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Jan Bek (vocals) came from the skiffle group Beat Town Skifflers, while Theo Verschoor (bass) came from The Twilights.

 Singer Jan Bek quit before the first single ("Roll The Cotton Down" / "Highway Gambler") was released on the Op-Art label in February 1966.

This lineup played on every subsequent recording through 1967:

  "Kicks And Chicks" / "Hipsterism" (Relax/1966);  "Beat And Poetry,
Parts 1 And 2" (Relax/1966); and "Marie Juana" / "Dutch Milk" (Relax/1967).

Because of their psychedelic sound and Zeta-light-show, The Zipps became known as the 'Dutch Pink Floyd'.

 In interviews, Philip Elzerman openly advocated the use of illicit drugs, particularly marijuana and LSD-25.  One of their most popular live numbers, in fact, was titled "LSD-25", though, unfortunately, it was never released as a single.  During concerts, purple stickers with the phrase "Be Stoned! Dig: Zipps Psychedelic Sound" were handed out to fans.

 In 1966, in their milk ad series, the nederbiet teen weekly Hitweek   ran a picture of Philip Elzerman with a glass of milk in his hand.  Not ones to waste this opportunity, they quickly decided to rename the title of their next single "The Struggle for Ice-Cold Milk Of Benzi The Bass-Player Or How To Promote Original Dutch Milk".

 However, their label, Relax, refused to release the 45 "Marie Juana" b/w "The Struggle for Ice-Cold Milk Of Benzi The Bass-Player Or How To Promote Original Dutch Milk", unless they changed the lyrics to reflect the evils of marijuana and Benzedrine!  Here's a sample of the original, uncensored lyrics to "Marie Juana":

Marie Juana, make love with me
Marie Juana, I have you in my eye
Marie Juana, well let's get stoned
Marie Juana, make me feel high

The lyrics to the Relax release of "Marie Juana" were changed to:

Marie Juana, get out of my mind
You are replaced by my psychedelic sound
Marie Juana, there ain't no love
I've got my music and that'll be enough


On their first visit to Paris, they met the French singer Philippe Salerne.  He had been
hit by a strike of French studio musicians who were demanding higher fees for session work, so The Zipps stepped in to back up Salerne for two 45s on the Relax label.

     In 1967, John Noce Santoro left the group, and was replaced by Wim Klein who played drums on "Lotus Love".  This song was recorded in April of 1967, but was not released until 21 years later in April of 1988, when it appeared as the b-side to (the previously released) "When You Tell It, Tell It Well..!" on the I Go Ape label.

In December 1967, the Zipps were the supporting act for the Electric Prunes and Soft Machine at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

1967 also saw the departure of Theo Verschoor and Peter Nuyten.  Wim Klein, who had just joined the band, left  as well.  The group officially broke up, but only for a few months, and then reformed to pick up where they left off.

In 1968, John Noce Santoro returned to play drums for the Zipps.  To round out the lineup, Philip Elzerman recruited two members of Blues Incorporated, Dick Visschers (rhythm and lead guitars) and Ruud van Seventer (bass).  This lineup managed to record one song in February of 1969, "When You Tell It, Tell It Well..!".  The song was played and distributed at the 29th Congress of the Dutch Advertising Society.  Invited guest of honor, his royal highness Prince Bernhard, left, appalled, halfway through the song (he was a square, and didn't like it, I guess?!).

"When the Dutch Advertising Association asked Marian de Garriga of MG Jingles to compose a theme song for its 29th congress in the Hague, the brief was:  make it trendy, and that was it, no looking over her shoulder - just the creative enlightenment of a very loose rein.  The example couldn't have been better suited to Marian's philosophy on selling sounds.  In turn, she wrote words and theme and passed them over to the interpretive abilities of others. 'I usually write music to other people's words', she says, 'so it was wonderful to be so extravagant'.  Result:  When You Tell It....  sung free and easy by the Zipps pop group, and plugging that vital product that Marian (and all of us) hope to sell well:  communication."- (from the original liner notes)

After the 1969 release of "When You Tell It, Tell It Well..!", the Zipps were no longer cutting records, and were primarily an on-again, off-again band, playing only occasional concerts and reunions.  A plethora of musicians passed through the group, with Philip Elzerman and John Noce Santoro being the only constant original members of the Zipps.


*Zipps family tree compiled/illustrated by Frank van Dijl
It originally appeared in De Dordtenaar, 22 September, 1971

For ages, Dutch beat collectors have scavenged the Lowlands for Zipps records, mostly in vain.  Over the years, a few tracks turned up on various bootleg compilation LPs, alerting collectors to the unique, hip sounds of the Zipps.  In 1999, a full 30 years after their last official release, the Dutch record label Pseudonym released a great Zipps retrospective entitled Be Stoned! Dig: The Zipps.

Released on both vinyl (limited to 500 copies!), and CD, this collection of songs chronicles every 45, every studio recording, several choice live cuts, two Philippe Salerne songs featuring the Zipps, unreleased stereo versions of "The Struggle for Ice-Cold Milk Of Benzi The Bass-Player Or How To Promote Original Dutch Milk" and "Kicks And Chicks", and an interview with Philip Elzerman about LSD-25.  Needless to say, this is a must for anyone who digs the Zipps!

Also in 1999, Platenclub Utrecht, a small Dutch label, released an excellent Zipps 45 containing two Zipps oddities: "Mad Man's Diary" / "Marie Juana".

"Mad Man's Diary" was recorded live at the Artisjop Festival in 's-Gravendeel, The Netherlands, August 9th, 1969.  Oddly enough, Jan Bek (the original Zipps singer from the first lineup, who quit before the first 45) is the featured vocalist, and Philip Elzerman is credited as Philip Byron (vocals, guitar, harmonica, flute, tambourine).  This lineup also featured Janco Barut on guitar (he and Bek were in the band Heatwave - see family tree), Ruud van Seventer on bass, and John Noce Santoro on Drums.

The b-side contains the uncensored lyrics to "Marie Juana", and was recorded in a rehearsal room in Dordrecht, The Netherlands, December 18th, 1966.  It features the four original Zipps from the first lineup (Philip 'Byron' Elzerman, Peter Nuyten, Theo Vershoor, and John Noce Santoro), as well as organist Job Maasse.

Both sides of the 45 are unique to this release (they aren't included on the Pseudonym retrospective), making this a must-have for all Zipps fans, as well.  The packaging is great, too, as it includes a nice picture sleeve, a photo-copied insert with several old Zipps articles/photos, and a complimentary purple Zipps sticker.

Click here for very exciting news regarding The Zipps reunion!!!!