Batmobile is a Psychobilly band from the Netherlands with an infectious sound. Without them the Psychobilly scene would not be what it is today. Forming nearly 30 years ago they have inspired many generations of psycho’s and are still going strong today. Here’s to another 30 years gentleman!! If you’ve never heard Batmobile is definitely a band you want to touch. The are one of the few Psychobilly bands that I have not seen live hopefully that will change soon. I had the honor of interviewing Jeroen Hammers and here’s the man in his own words…
BBM: What’s you name and what do you do for the band?
I’m Jeroen Haamers, singer and guitarplayer for Batmobile
BBM: How did you come up with the bands name?
After a few rehearsals and discussions about the band’s name, our drummer Johnny brought a dinky toy Batmobile to the rehearsal and suggested to name the band after it. We all were Batman fans so that was a done deal.
BBM: What was your first major experience with music and how did you know you wanted to start a psychobilly band?
For me personally it was growing up with an older brother who played the guitar and the moment I bought my first Elvis album. For the band the moment of truth was when Johnny came up to me in school asking me if I wanted to start a rockabilly band with him.
BBM:Three words that describe the band?
BBM: How does it feel to be the longest running original psychobilly band?
It feels normal for us, we’re best friends/family so a different line up seems impossible for us. But when you take a step back to look at things it’s pretty fucking cool to be together after almost 30 years.
BBM: In 2000 what made you stop playing psychobilly?
Personal stuff like families, other business, even health issues. Plus the fact that we had the feeling we didn’t grow as a band anymore. So it seemed a logical moment for a break.
BBM: Tell us about the Jukebox tour. Was it difficult to paly what the audience chose?
It was funny I think. We started every show with 3 or 4 songs we thought of before but then we had no setlist. So just asked people what they wanted to hear. It led to a great interaction with the audience and every show was a surprise for us as well. Though sometimes it was hard to hear what the crowd was shouting and sometimes they asked for songs we hadn’t played for many many MANY years.
BBM: What was the biggest curve ball request given?
Una Paloma Blanca (George Baker Selection) was a pretty hard one to do.
BBM: After all these years how would you say the sound has changed and how do you keep the sound fresh?
The sound changes throughout the years, not that we are actively looking for different sounds anymore (we did that all the time when we were recording albums back in the days), but I think changes happen mainly because of the fact that you learn new things, make up new stuff on your guitar which leads to totally different playing styles. I still play the same guitars I have played 25+ years ago, so that’s not the reason that sound changes.
BBM: Favorite place to tour and why?
My home town cos I don’t have to travel.
BBM: Funniest touring moment?
The shitting on a bucket story in Nurtingen (Germany) was a not so funny but memorable moment. I was very sick but we wanted to finish the tour we were doing in Germany. And the hall in Nurtingen was really packed to the max. So we went on, but that didn’t fly really. So after each 2 or 3 songs I had to run backstage to shit on a bucket and then run back on stage again to continue playing. We have quite a lot of piss, puke and shitstories, with which I won’t bother you now.
BBM: What was your reaction to the tribute album?
I was amazed that someone came up with the idea and even more amazed when they found so many bands to contribute to that. Pretty damn cool indeed!
BBM: In 2003 you did a live performance and decided to start doing live shows again. What was that turning point?
After the 3 year break a befriended German promoter asked us to do one show for him on his festival. We decided to do that and we realized that we had missed playing for a live audience a lot. But we didn’t want to be touring all the time anymore. So we thought of a way to keep it fun for ourselves and to fit it all in our busy lives.
BBM: What is a fun fact about the band some people may not know?
That Johnny blows up the huge balloons himself that we use on stage these days……..otherwise I really wouldn’t know
BBM: Where do you find inspiration in life?
Family, Elvis, good food and wine
BBM: How has the scene psychobilly scene has changed compared to the band first starting?
When we started out it was a UK scene mainly, I think we were the first band from the continent to headline psychobilly festivals. But now there are so many bands from all over the world, with people with all kinds of backgrounds, musically and culturally, which leads to all kinds of influences and new sub-styles within psychobilly. I think it’s also cool that the last few years there are younger bands that really take off. That gives you the faith that the scene will last.
BBM: What are some words of wisdom you would give a youth wanting to start a psychobilly band?
Start a pop band instead, you’ll get more pussy.
BBM: Where the best place to pick up merch/albums of the band?
BBM: What’s coming up for you in the future?
The Bedlam festival in the UK after that we will have a break for a few months because Eric our bass player has to undergo some surgery. But when he’s recovered we’ll pick up where we left off and we’ll be playing all over the world soon again. Also we’re still working on new songs so maybe some new recordings will emerge next year.
BBM: We wish him a speedy recovery! Any last words anything you want to add?
I’d like to thank you for having us and I’d like to thank the audience for all the support they have been giving us for almost 30 years now. Keep it up guys and stay crazy!
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