Monday, April 7, 2014

1st Avenue

Origin: (Netherlands)

1st avenue Arko Bommer - Nop Ton - Gil Lopez - Peter Strykes - Chris Allister
Arko Bommer - Nop Ton - Gil Lopez - Peter Strykes - Chris Allister

Tears and Triumph - 1992
Daily Battle - 1994 (with lyrics)


- For the history of this Dutch AOR band, we have to go back to the year 1987. Keyboard player Robert Kempe (later known as Robby Valentine) had just left the band Line and decided to start an AOR project. Looking for a suitable vocalist, he sent a tape with some of his new songs to Peter Struijk (aka Peter Strykes), who gained the necessary experience in bands like Horizon, Vandenberg and Avalon. Having had a difficult time behind him, Struijk wasn’t that keen to join Kempe at first, but the quality of the material won him over. From then on, things went pretty quick for 1st Avenue, with guitarist Gil Lopez, bass player Arko Bommer and drummer Nop Ton rounding off the line-up. There was a great chemistry between Kempe and Struijk and in a period of only three months, over twenty songs were written.

A second try-out (in January 1988) was of overriding importance for the new band. Producer Okkie Huysdens was among those present and suggested to record three songs for Rob & Ferdi Bolland. Being highly successful musicians themselves, the Bolland brothers were also known as producers and music publishers. With their help, 1st Avenue was able to sign a deal for two albums with the Indisc label shortly after.

But … things went probably a bit too quick for the two leading men. According to Peter Struijk (who I interviewed in September 1992), Robert Kempe wanted to rule the roost too much, which ultimately led to his dismissal in the mid of 1988. A little later he was replaced by Joby Bosboom (k).

Once that line-up problem was solved, a long period of writing, recording and selecting material for the debut platter started.  After four years of doctoring, the debut album “Tears And Triumph” was finally ready for release in April 1992. Featuring the singles “Heaven In Your Arms” and “Once In A Million Years” (two excellent ballads), the album oozed quality with great vocals and huge keyboards.

A second album, “Daily Battle”, followed in 1994 and although it was another great album, it would become 1st Avenue’s swan song.

Chris Lambert


- 1st AVENUE's 1992 debut album 'Tears And Triumph' is regarded as a cult Melodic Rock classic. The album featured material written by famed keyboard performer Robbie Valentine. Keyboards for this first effort would be in the hands of Joby Bosboom, superseded by Chris Allister of BAD LOVE repute for the 1994 follow up 'Daily Battle'.

1ST AVENUE was formed by vocalist Peter Strykes after the demise of VANDENBERG. Strykes had joined that band in the twilight of their career although he had recorded an album's worth of material before Adrian Vandenberg accepted an offer to join WHITESNAKE that he simply couldn't refuse. Amongst the former members of 1ST AVENUE one Robbie Valentine can be counted as having filled the keyboard slot at one time. He quit the group for a solo career. -


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