Name: Alex van de Graaf
Date and place of birth: 27 juli 1970, Voorburg
Longshanks Member since: 1987
From the age of ten my musical inspiration has been
hardrock. Infected and super inspired by my big sister
Anita (six years my senior) I was already an outcast
at Elementary School, wearing AC/DC and Iron Maiden
patches and buttons on my denim jacket. Old tape recorder
in my schoolbag, so the auditorium regularly reverberated
with sweet heavy metal sounds by e.g. Judas Priest
("Breakin' the Law"!!)
When in Highschool (HAVO) I soon found fellow 'Denim-and-Leather'-sufferers
and it wasn't very long before I joined my first Heavy
Metal band (called Trasher) at the age of 14. As I
had always been too lazy to learn to play an instrument,
I chose to become a singer, which worked out reasonably
well for me.
We pulled off three fun-packed gigs at various school
parties (much to the shock of those representing the
Often the band would go to Delft for 'a night on the
town' (in 'de Koornbeurs' and 'biercafé Locus
Publicus'), where I met Rob Boshuijzen (a talented
young drummer) and got to know him better through
regular drinking sessions.
In 1986 Rob asked me whether I would like to become
the lead vocalist in an Iron Maiden cover band, that
also had songs of their own. After an audition with
this band at their rehearsal location ('Don Bosco'
in Rijswijk ZH) I was accepted (I could do hard and
high well enough...) and I embarked on a 7 month musical
adventure with the band Enforcer. This is also where
I met Peter ten Haaft (Big Peet), Peter van Heijningen
(Little Peet) and Guus Linneman.
As Enforcer we recorded two songs in the 16-track
Don Bosco Sound Studio, called: "Twilight Moon"
& "The Warlords". Allas, shortly after
the band fell apart because of diverging musical opinions
and differences in personal ambitions.
Rob and Big Peet wanted to continue making music
together and Big Peet knew a good guitar player from
his musical past with TnT, called Peter van Es. I
was to join them as their singer. They hired a rehearsal
accomodation at 'het Haags Popcentrum' (they would
not let me pay anything, being the youngest and still
a school kid
) and in no time at all we were
performing glorious Priest and Maiden covers, and
Peter van Es gave birth to a song that Rob dubbed
"The Shuffle". Rob also came up with the
name for the band: CC-Superstar.
At the end of 1987 I said farewell to these guys
(HTS college, girlfriend, getting serious, etc.),
but halfway through 1989 I revisited the band. From
then on we spent many sundays at 'de Koornbeurs' rehearsing
a set of 7 delicious swinging old-school hard rock
songs. Ultimately, 1991 or something, we did one last
gig together at 'de Koornbeurs' at the occasion of
a 'bands' night. That topped it off, we had had our
fun, it was closing time.
Nowaddays guitar player Peter van Es sadly isn't among
us anymore, he passed away in 2007.
In the mean time
. In this same period (1987
) I came into contact with André Kamer,
through Rob and Big Peet. André was planning
to record a musical composition with them and he was
looking for a singer. Having profiled myself in the
past as "Enforcer front man", soon the link
was established via Rob, Little Peet and Big Peet.
So, at the beginning of 1988, I found myself back
at the Don Bosco Sound Studio again, to record the
song "Cycles & Circles" with them.
I had a good connection with André, and his
ideas on making music fitted very well to my personal
wishes (creating music (not just repeating someone
elses) and not being in some rehearsal accomodation
the same day each and every week
). So I gradually
got involved in his "The Quest"-project,
where I also met the sisters Alexandra and Karin den
Heijer. For more info: see the Longshanks 2 page at
the History section. In those days I got real close
to singer Alexandra, so close that we actually had
a relationship for 3.5 years.
From 1993-1994 I was drafted for Military Service,
and when that was over, I decided to grow up and get
a job. My relationship with Alexandra ended soon after
that. From then untill 2007 I've never again been
involved in seriously making music (the closest I
got was singing Marco Borsato covers at company parties
After having had a successful career for 13 years
and having fulfilled all my hearts desires (including
finding my 'soul-mate' and nowadays 'wife' Bregje
Kaasjager) I decided to google my old 80's musical
friends and found myself at André Kamers website
(www.imagesandmusic.nl). Triggered and slightly annoyed
by the last sentence on his Longshanks page ("Alex
lost interest in Longshanks and then the project bled
") I decided to take a chance and
called him on the phone in december 2006. The rest
is history (See the Longshanks 5 page at the History
I have become convinced of at least one thing: making
Music was, is, and will always be an essential part
of my life. It has shaped me, and moreover continues
to shape me untill this very day. It makes me a succesfull,
happy and complete human being.
And sorry for André Kamer: he and (our) Longshanks
are part of that