Eelco Gelling Biography
Eelco Gelling was born in Zwartsluis, Holland and he is considered by most to be one of the best guitar players ever to have come out of Holland. This self-taught guitarist started his musical career in the early '60s with such bands as The Rocking Hurricanes and the Rocking Strings.
Cuby + Blizzards - the beginning
In 1964 a singer named Harry Muskee joined Eelco's band. At the same time their musical style changed from a Shadows-style sound to a more blues-oriented sound and they changed their name to Cuby + Blizzards. In 1965 they recorded their first single: 'Stumble And Fall'/'I'm So Restless'. In 1966 they recorded several more singles and also their first LP 'Desolation', for which they earned an Edison award. Another notable fact was that this band from Drenthe had become a firm favourite with underground music magazines like 'Hitweek' and 'Aloha'.
Cuby + Blizzards became very successful not only in Holland but also abroad. In 1967 Eelco recorded an album with the American blues singer/pianist Eddy Boyd called 'Praise The Blues'. In the same year he - and his band that included Herman Brood - backed Van Morrison on a short but intense tour of Holland.
Cuby + Blizzards recorded one superb album after the other, like 'Groeten Uit Grollo', 'Trippin' Thru' A Midnight Blues', 'Live At Düsseldorf' and 'Appleknockers Flophouse'. Most of their singles became hits and many of them have gained classic status in the meantime. Eelco wrote most of their original material.
During his Cuby-period, Eelco undertook other projects, like playing in the superband Tower in the late '60s, together with Boudewijn de Groot among others. Before that he was asked to play with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (to replace Peter Green, who himself replaced Eric Clapton) and Van Morrison had also asked Eelco to form a band for his American tours. However, Eelco chose to stay with Cuby + Blizzards because it looked like they were going to make it internationally. However, due to Harry Muskee's often-unpredictable behaviour things didn't work out as planned. They split briefly but were re-united through the intervention of their record company and 1968 became C + B's most succesful year. They scored high in pop-polls like the one in 'Hitweek', had records in the Top Ten and their albums sold extremely well.
'Red, White 'n' Blue' - The Golden Earring
C + B disbanded in the middle of '72. The year after there was a reunion-concert in De Kolk in Assen and also in January '74 for the VARA television programme 'Nederpopzien'. This concert was recorded and released under the name 'Afscheidsconcert' (Goodbye-concert).
In 1975 Eelco started Red, White 'n' Blue. They made successful appearances at the Lochem and Pinkpop festivals and they released a self-titled album and a single. In '76 the band - now rejoined by Herman Brood - changed their name back to Cuby + Blizzards and they recorded 'Kid Blue'.
After this Eelco decided to quit C + B and he joined The Golden Earring. He played on a few of their albums and - finally - got to tour through the US. Eelco quit the Earring after a few years but still has some great memories of that period, especially the fact that they were able to play every day.
The Eelco Gelling Band
Back in Holland Gelling took part in many recording sessions, for the group Flavium amongst others, and he was also a member of the Freelance Band for a short time. In '83 he was reunited with Harry Muskee in the Muskee Gang for a short period. Eelco continued to play sessions and in 1996 he popped up as a guest-guitarist with the Leigh Blond Band, British top vocalist Chris Farlowe, blues harpist Kim Snelten and his old Blizzard-pals Herman Deinum and Hans Lafaille.
After this he met up again with his old friend Ron 'El Kroppo' Krop and together they formed a band: the Eelco Gelling Band. Over the following years they gigged with a succession of keyboard players and other guest musicians. They also recorded. Two songs were released on Krop's self-released album 'Out Of Time' (1999) and one on the compilation-album against random violence, 'Waarom?' (Why?).
Gelling's new line-up was a hit and gained a lot of respect over the following years. The reviews were constantly good and several reporters and writers became interested in the musician Eelco Gelling and his band again, which further helped to motivate the band. This long road to renewed recognition led to a record deal with Munich Records in mid 2004.
The Eelco Gelling Band decided not to take the easy road as regards their live shows; they didn't play material from Eelco's C + B-period but instead they chose to be adventurous and play more spontaneously. No two concerts are ever the same. Their fans are now familiar with this approach due to the number of concerts they play each year.
Their first CD for Munich Records was recorded between June 2004 and January 2005 at the Get Rhythm studios in Ridderkerk. Stephan Weeda produced the record. The CD 'On The Road' - which was inspired by Jack Kerouac's book - was released in February 2005 and the band undertook a heavy promotional tour to support it. Of course there were a lot of gigs in Holland, but promoters in both Belgium and Germany also showed a lot of interest in booking Eelco and his band.
'On The Road' is the crowning glory of Eelco's work to date but we certainly hope it is not the last album we'll hear from this legendary guitar player: Eelco Gelling.
(Aart Roza) (Thanks to Suzanne's Translation Services)