DUTCH PROGRESSIVE ROCK PAGE
From fan site to prog portal, Jerry van Kooten reveals DPRP’s humble origins and plans for the future.
“We must be doing something right because people keep coming back!” laughs DPRP cofounder Jerry van Kooten. It was the Dutch computer programmerturned-reviewer’s idea that led to the creation of one of the longestrunning prog websites.
Fanzines, paper fliers and pen pals may have kept the underground scene alive in the early 1990s, but the advent of the world wide web helped spread the word further afield. Arena fan Martijn Albering spotted the potential and set up a dedicated website to the British band in 1995. Van Kooten approached him with the suggestion of expanding the online portal to a general prog fan site soon after, and the rest is history.
“I’ve been a prog fan since the early 80s but, living in Holland, it was hard to get information,” reveals van Kooten of his inspiration. “I made some friends in England, who sent me information and mix tapes, but in the mid-90s there was nothing [dedicated] on the web. We were one of the first sites providing information on the genre so we got a very loyal following which has grown over the years.”
Early versions of the Dutch Progressive Rock Page included a news section and gig guide, but by the time 1998 swung round, reviews had been added and the pair even dabbled in promoting. The Dutch Progressive Rock Stage was held the same year, although the festival – which featured IQ’s Martin Orford, Abraxas, Helreidh Lizard, and Quidam – is an experience van Kooten has no wish to repeat.
“Musically, it was a success, but financially it was a disaster!” he admits.
Although Albering stepped down from his duties around 10 years ago, van Kooten still looks after and contributes to DPRP along with an ever-expanding team of contributors. The Saga fan, who’s currently digging the likes of Toundra and Russian Circles, will be relaunching the website this year with a new look.
“It’s no longer about spreading the information because that’s happening all over the internet so right now, so we’re focusing on telling people about new releases,” he says. “So we’ll keep on doing much the same… although that’s not very progressive, is it?” NRS
“We got a very loyal following which has grown over the years.”
INTO THE WOODS: DPRP’S CO-FOUNDING PROGRAMMER AND REVIEWER JERRY VAN KOOTEN.