The prog vet­er­ans round off 2017 at Hard Rock Hell Prog.

Classic Rock - - Live! -

Singer, Ham­mond or­gan­ist, flautist and yo­deller Thijs van Leer sets the scene for the Dutch band’s lat­est UK tour.

Fo­cus re­cently ap­peared at the Ram­blin’ Man Fair. Was it a good ex­pe­ri­ence for you?

Yes, it was great. What a re­ac­tion! It was just beau­ti­ful. We also had good weather.

A dou­ble al­bum called The Fo­cus Fam­ily Al­bum that com­bines band ma­te­rial and two solo tracks by each cur­rent mem­ber is about to be re­leased. How was it com­piled?

We had full di­rec­tion over it, we chose the tracks our­selves and we are happy that it’s com­ing out. It has some old and new tracks, so it’s a nice mix­ture.

Udo Pan­nekeet re­cently be­came the new­est Fo­cus bassist. Why did the band cheek­ily “con­grat­u­late” them­selves on his ap­point­ment? That’s be­cause Udo is an ex­tra­or­di­nary bass player. He was rec­om­mended to us. I called him up and asked whether he was will­ing to be in the band and he said yes.

Do you ever tire of play­ing your seven­ties golden oldies Ho­cus Pocus and Sylvia?

No. The thought of not play­ing them would never oc­cur to me. I still love them both, the audiences want to hear them, there’s no fric­tion of any kind.

Is there a stu­dio al­bum of new ma­te­rial on the way?

Yes, we are mak­ing plans for Fo­cus 11 and then Fo­cus 12.

As­sum­ing the band still ex­ist in 2019, it will mark their fifti­eth an­niver­sary. That’s quite an achieve­ment.

Yes, it would be quite re­mark­able, and we are hav­ing many thoughts about ways of com­mem­o­rat­ing such a mile­stone.

If gui­tarist Jan Akker­man, bassist Martin Dres­den and drum­mer Pierre van der Lin­den – the orig­i­nal line-up, as near as dammit – were agree­able to do­ing some­thing very spe­cial, would you be up for that?

It would be in­ter­est­ing, but as things stand, it’s still an open ques­tion. DL

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