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Bots is a left-wing socially engaged Dutch language folk rock group from the southern city of Eindhoven that is successful in both the Netherlands and Germany. The band was formed in 1974 by Hans Sanders and is mainly known for the song "Zeven Dagen Lang" ("Sieben Tage Lang" in German, "Seven Days Long" in English). The first albums were produced by Peter Koelewijn. In 2005 a new version of Zeven dagen lang was recorded with the rapper Ali B on the occasion of the Muziek10Daagse. On 3 November 2007 Hans Sanders died at the age of 61.
- Bonkie Bongaerts guitar, piano, vocals
- Frans Meijer drums
- Hans Sanders guitar, vocals
- Kees Buenen guitar, piano, vocals
- Noudt Janssen bass guitar, vocals
- Peter de Vries bass guitar
- Piet Engel flute, saxophone
- Sjors Van De Molengraft flute, saxophone
- Anton Wannemakers bass guitar
- Bert Smaak drums
- Broer Bogaart drums
- Erik van Donkersgoed backing vocals, guitar
- Floris Teunissen Van Manen drums
- George Koenraad backing vocals, drums
- Sjoerd Van Bommel drums
1974 Bots is formed by Bonkie Bongaerts and Bertus Borgers. After leaving the band Dirty Underwear, Hans Sanders – stuck with a band with no pianist and no saxophone support – chose to team up with Bonkie Bongaerts and form the new group Bots (Dutch botsen: "to clash" / BO-nkie Bongaer-TS).
1975 The band records its first album Van Kwaad Tot Erger (From Bad To Worse) with producer Peter Koelewijn. The album places Bots in the centre of attention and the band also makes its debut on national TV. The singles "Het Lied Van De Werkende Jeugd" ("The Song Of The Working Youth") and "De Man" ("The Man") are released. The band tours frequently, also in Belgium. By this time Hans Sanders started to claim texts and lyrics he did not actually write. This was only discovered in 1981 when gold-record awards resulted in increased payments for Hans Sanders but not for the other band members.
1976 East Germany is interested in the band. The song "Zeven Dagen Lang" ("Seven Days On End"), a cover version of the Breton folk song Son ar Chistr popularised by singer-songwriter Alan Stivell and Bots' best known song today, ends up on the album Voor God En Vaderland (For God And Country). Co-producer of the album is Peter Koelewijn. The single reaches number 23 in the charts. Themes on the album include feminism, racism, solidarity and militarism. The music shows influences of both folk and pop.
1977 Bots tours East Germany. Bots records the poem "Rond" ("Round") by Bert Schierbeek.
1978 The third Bots album is called Wie Zwijgt Stemt Toe (Silence Lends Consent) and is also recorded with Peter Koelewijn. The band's line-up still includes the likes of Sanders and Bongaerts but also sax and flute player Piet Engel, Peter de Vries (bass) and Frans Meijer (drums). The single "Popmuzikant" ("Pop Musician") dents the charts. Together with Eindhoven-based theatre group Proloog Bots creates the musical Barst.
1979 Bots also works with Proloog on the Bots Rood Show. This musical theatre production is, however, not very successful. Bots also plays in West Germany. They begin by playing Dutch-language songs but soon they are asked to sing in German.
1980 Bots records the album Je Voelt Pas Nattigheid Als Je Droog Komt Te Staan (You Won't Smell A Rat Until You Come Across One) with producer Peter Koelewijn. In the autumn the band's first German-language album comes out. Aufstehn! (Stand Up!) contains German versions of songs like "Zeven Dagen Lang" (de:"Sieben Tage Lang" en:"Seven Days On End") and Ali. The songs are translated by German authors Günter Wallraff, Henning Venske and Peter Tobiasch.
1981 Bots sells over 400.000 copies of Aufstehn! and its follow-up Entrüstung (Indignation, also Ent-Rüstung = Dis-Armament (correctly: en:disarmament = de:Abrüstung) ). The songs are translated by German authors Günter Wallraff, Dieter Hildebrandt, Hanns Dieter Hüsch and Henning Venske. But the success also has a downside and there are many changes in the band's line-up. Bots now includes Broer Bogaart (drums) and Noudt Jansen (bass).
1981–1982 There was a major dispute within the band and between the band and producers/record companies. Hans Sanders had been holding back money from everyone. Due to the these disputes, the band's line-up changed completely. The band has not been supported by a major record company nor recorded a popular hit since.
1983 The third German-language Schön Krank (Considerable (slang) Sick) is recorded, with very little success or sales. The band is on the road a lot and plays for free in front of half a million people at the Künstler Für Den Frieden (Artists For Peace) festival in West Berlin. This was the last (desperate) action publicly recorded from the band (which could hardly be referred to as 'Bots' any longer).
1985 From 1985 until 1988 Sjoerd van Bommel is the band's drummer.
1986 German-language record Lass Die Sterne Stehen is released.
1988 The band plays in Germany.
1990 The Dutch-language album Paradijs (Paradise) is recorded and released on the Free label in May. The album is produced by Sanders and keyboard player/singer Kees Buenen. Bots sporadically performs in their hometown of Eindhoven.
1997 When football team PSV Eindhoven wins the national championships Sanders re-records his classic "Zeven Dagen Lang" and turns it into "Zeven Jaren Lang" ("Seven Years On End"). Former BOTS band members and fans were insulted by the way Sanders rewrote the song and publicly tried to claim Bots' heritage.
2001 Bots still tours (drives around) but seldom plays. During the Folkwoods Festival in August the band's line-up includes Sanders, Buenen, George Koenraad (drums/vocals), Erik van Donkersgoed (guitar/vocals) and Anton Wannemakers (bass).
2007 Lead singer Hans Sanders dies; band is looking for a replacement to sing the rest of the numbers written for the new album.