Johan (band)

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Origin Netherlands
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1996–2009
Labels Excelsior Recordings
Website Official website
Members Jacco de Greeuw
Maarten Kooijman
Diets Dijkstra
Jeroen Kleijn

Johan was a Dutch band fronted by singer/guitarist Jacco de Greeuw.[1] Their music has been primarily influenced by bands such as The Beatles, Crowded House, and The Byrds.


Jacco de Greeuw founded Thank God For Us in the late eighties, after having played in several other bands. The band was renamed Little Mary Big when joined by Marike Groot. With this band, he reached second place at the Grote Prijs van Nederland, an important music competition in the Netherlands. However, arguments with female vocalist Marike Groot (who later appeared on Always..., the debut album of The Gathering), forced them to break up the band. De Greeuw formed a new band named Visions of Johanna after a Bob Dylan song. In 1992 they competed once again in the Grote Prijs competition, reaching the semi-finals this time.

After some changes in the line-up, the band signed a contract with Excelsior Recordings in 1995 and released a single (Swing). One year later, in 1996, the band’s name was shortened to Johan. Under this name the band released a self-titled debut album. The album was received well by Dutch critics and became a commercial success.

SpinART Records signed the band for the US region. When legendary record executive Seymour Stein heard the band’s music he became interested, and travelled to the Netherlands to see the band play. Impressed, he licensed the record from SpinART in order to release it on Sire Records. Subsequently the band toured Stateside with Sloan, but then all went awry. For inexplicable reasons Sire pulled out of the deal and failed to give the album a proper release.

The band planned to record its second release in 1998, but De Greeuw’s clinical depression took its toll. Three more years would pass before Pergola was released, in 2001. The album received rave reviews and got a lot of airplay on national radio stations. That summer Johan featured on the Pinkpop festival. The following year the band even received the Dutch Edison award for Best National Pop Group.

After an international tour, hardly any news was heard from Johan until 2004, when members Wim Kwakman and Diederik Nomdem left the band. Jeroen Kleijn stepped up and became the band’s new drummer, and Diets Dijkstra became the band's bassist. After this Johan started playing live again, and recorded its third album THX JHN, which was released in May 2006.

The first single of the album, Oceans, became a great success. This was helped by the song’s video in which an actual fan from Argentina travels from her home country to the Netherlands to see Johan play live. The fact that we see a real fan documenting her trip gives the video something special. The theme of fans thanking Johan (THX is short for ‘thanks’) is also applied to the album’s booklet where various fans from other countries appear. The video’s original concept and the question of the authenticity of the clip’s footage made for a serious online buzz.

The single stayed in the Dutch charts for more than 25 consecutive weeks. Johan played a sold-out club tour and released two more successful singles, Walking Away and She’s Got A Way With Men. Through a deal with V2 Records the album was also released in Germany and Italy. Although the album deal for the debut with Sire fell through in the 90’s, the band still has a steady following in the US.

The fourth album, titled 4, was scheduled to be released on December 22, 2008, but was eventually be released on April 30, 2009, breaking with the tradition of a new record every five years.

On 26 August 2009 Johan announced they were disbanding at the end of 2009. On December 22 they played their last show, at Paradiso in Amsterdam. At this show they received a gold record for 'Pergola'. A DVD of their last show was to be released at the end of 2010, but this has not happened to date.


Current members[edit]

  • Jacco de Greeuw: lead singer, guitar (1996–2009)
  • Maarten Kooijman: guitar, backing vocals (2000–2009)
  • Diets Dijkstra: guitar (1999), bass, backing vocals (1999–2009)
  • Jeroen Kleijn: drums (2004–2009)

Live members[edit]

  • Matthijs van Duijvenbode: keyboard (2007–2009)

Former members[edit]

  • Remco Krull: guitar (1996–1998)
  • Niels de Wit: bass (1996–1998)
  • Wim Kwakman: drums (1996–2004)
  • David Corel: bass, backing vocals (1999–2001)
  • Diederik Nomden: guitar, keyboard (1999–2004)



  • "Swing" - Excelsior Recordings - 25.11.1996
  • "Everybody knows" - Excelsior Recordings - 17.03.1997
  • "December" - Excelsior Recordings - 04.08.1997
  • "Pergola" - Excelsior Recordings - 26.03.2001
  • "Tumble and fall" - Excelsior Recordings - 25.06.2001
  • "Day is done" - Excelsior Recordings - 05.11.2001
  • "Oceans" - Excelsior Recordings - 22.05.2006
  • "Walking away" - Excelsior Recordings - 17.08.2006
  • "She's Got A Way With Men" - Excelsior Recordings - 20.11.2006


  • Johan - Excelsior Recordings - 04.11.1996
  • Pergola - Excelsior Recordings - 23.04.2001
  • THX JHN - Excelsior Recordings - 22.05.2006
  • 4 - Excelsior Recordings - 04.05.2009

External links[edit]