List of Focus members

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Two lineups of Focus in 1974 (top) and 2014 (bottom).

Focus are a Dutch progressive rock band from Amsterdam. Formed in November 1969, the group originally included keyboardist, flautist and vocalist Thijs van Leer, guitarist Jan Akkerman, bassist Martijn Dresden and drummer Hans Cleuver. The group broke up in 1978, but later reformed with various personnel changes in 1985, 1997 and finally 2002. The current lineup includes van Leer, drummer Pierre van der Linden (originally a member from 1971 to 1973, again from 1975 to 1976, and most recently since 2004), guitarist Menno Gootjes (originally from 1997 to 1998, and since 2010), and bassist Udo Pannekeet (since 2016).

History[edit]

1969–1978[edit]

Thijs van Leer, Jan Akkerman, Martijn Dresden and Hans Cleuver originally formed Focus in November 1969.[1][2] Shortly after the release of the band's debut album Focus Plays Focus, Dresden and Cleuver were replaced by Cyril Havermans and Pierre van der Linden, respectively, both of whom had previously worked with Akkerman as members of Brainbox.[3] The new members debuted on the follow-up Focus II, before Havermans was replaced by Bert Ruiter in September 1971.[4] The lineup remained stable for Focus 3, before van der Linden left in October 1973 due to musical differences with van Leer and Akkerman.[1] He was replaced by Colin Allen,[5] and Focus released their fourth album Hamburger Concerto in 1974.[6] Allen was later fired after recording just one track for the follow-up album.[7]

Released in 1975, Mother Focus featured drums recorded by session musician David Kemper.[8] van der Linden subsequently returned,[9] although by early 1976 he had departed again and Kemper had taken his place on tour.[10] The tour in question also featured new guitarist Philip Catherine, who joined on short notice after Akkerman suddenly left in February due to increasing tensions with van Leer.[11] By mid-1977, the group's lineup had changed drastically – P. J. Proby took over lead vocal duties, Eef Albers joined as a second guitarist, and Steve Smith replaced Kemper on drums.[12] Focus con Proby was released in 1978; the band never performed live with Proby, returning to tour the following year with new drummer Richard James.[1] After the tour concluded in August 1978, the group disbanded.[1]

1985 onwards[edit]

In 1984, van Leer and Akkerman reunited for a set of recordings under their own names, which were released the following March as Focus.[13] The newly reformed group was intended to tour in promotion of the release, but disbanded again shortly after the album's release due to continued tensions between the two.[1][14] Five years later, the pair reunited with former members Bert Ruiter and Pierre van der Linden for a performance of new and old material on a television special in the Netherlands, although it did not evolve into a full reformation.[1] van Leer and Akkerman subsequently performed together again at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 1993,[15] before van Leer attempted another short-lived Focus reformation with Ruiter, original drummer Hans Cleuver and new guitarist Menno Gootjes in 1997.[16]

2002 onwards[edit]

In early 2002, Thijs van Leer reformed Focus again with new guitarist Jan Dumée, bassist Bobby Jacobs and drummer Ruben van Roon.[17] Bert Smaak replaced van Roon shortly after the reformation to complete work on the comeback album Focus 8, and remained until August 2004 when van der Linden returned to the band.[18] Dumée was replaced by Niels van der Steenhoven in time for Focus 9 / New Skin in 2006,[19] before Gootjes returned for a second stint in 2010.[20] After the band released Focus X and Golden Oldies, Udo Pannekeet replaced long-time bassist Jacobs in December 2016.[21] The Focus Family Album and Focus 11 followed in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Members[edit]

Current[edit]

Image Name Years active Instruments Release contributions
Thijs van Leer 2014 (14136035756).jpg
Thijs van Leer
  • 1969–1978
  • 1985
  • 1990
  • 1997–1998
  • 2001–present
  • keyboards
  • synthesisers
  • piano
  • flute
  • vocals
all Focus releases
Pierre van der Linden.jpg
Pierre van der Linden
  • 1971–1973
  • 1975–1976
  • 1990

  • 2004–present
  • drums
  • percussion
Menno Gootjes.JPG
Menno Gootjes
  • 1997–1998
  • 2010–present
guitar
Udo Pannekeet 2016–present bass
  • The Focus Family Album (2017)
  • Focus 11 (2018)

Former[edit]

Image Name Years active Instruments Release contributions
Jan Akkerman 2.JPG
Jan Akkerman
  • 1969–1976
  • 1985
  • 1990
  • guitar
  • lute
  • occasional bass and percussion
  • all Focus releases from Focus Plays Focus (1970) to Ship of Memories (1976)
  • Masters from the Vault (2002)
Hans Cleuver
  • 1969–1970
  • 1997–1998
  • drums
  • percussion
  • occasional vocals
  • Focus Plays Focus (1970)
  • Ship of Memories (1976) – one track only
Martijn Dresden 1969–1970
  • bass
  • backing vocals
Cyril Havermans 1970–1971
  • Focus II (1971)
  • Masters from the Vault (2002)
Focus - TopPop 1974 6.png
Bert Ruiter
  • 1971–1978
  • 1990

  • 1997–1998
  • all Focus releases from Focus 3 (1972) to Focus con Proby (1978)
  • Live at the BBC (2004)
Focus - TopPop 1974 6.png
Colin Allen 1973–1974
  • drums
  • percussion
David Kemper
  • 1975 (session)
  • 1976–1977
drums
  • Mother Focus (1975)
  • Ship of Memories (1976) – two tracks only
  • Live at the BBC (2004)
Philip Catherine 01 (fcm).jpg
Philip Catherine 1976–1978 guitar
  • Focus con Proby (1978)
  • Live at the BBC (2004)
Eefalbers2006.jpg
Eef Albers 1977–1978 Focus con Proby (1978)
P.J. Proby 2007.jpg
P. J. Proby 1977 vocals
Steve Smith on drum, with Vital Information, 18th Eventus DrumFest Opole 2009.jpg
Steve Smith drums
Richard James 1977–1978 none – live performances only
Bobby Jacobs 2002–2016
  • bass
  • backing vocals
  • Focus 8 (2002)
  • Live in America (2003)
  • all Focus releases from Focus 9/New Skin (2006) to The Focus Family Album (2017)
Jandumee.jpg
Jan Dumée 2001–2006
  • guitar
  • backing vocals
  • Focus 8 (2002)
  • Live in America (2003)
Ruben van Roon 2001–2002 drums none – live performances only
Bert Smaak 2002–2003
  • Focus 8 (2002)
  • Live in America (2003)
Niels van der Steenhoven 2006–2010 guitar
  • Focus 9/New Skin (2006)
  • Live in Europe (2009)
  • Live in England (2016)

Timeline[edit]

Lineups[edit]

Period Members Releases
November 1969 – November 1970
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Akkerman – guitar
  • Martin Dresden – bass, backing vocals
  • Hans Cleuver – drums, percussion, backing vocals
November 1970 – September 1971
September 1971 – October 1973
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Akkerman – guitar
  • Bert Ruiter – bass, backing vocals
  • Pierre van der Linden – drums, percussion
November 1973 – May 1975
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Akkerman – guitar
  • Bert Ruiter – bass, backing vocals
  • Colin Allen – drums, percussion
May – June 1975
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Akkerman – guitar
  • Bert Ruiter – bass, backing vocals
  • David Kemper – drums (session)
  • Mother Focus (1975) – remaining tracks
  • Ship of Memories (1976) – two tracks only
June 1975 – February 1976
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Akkerman – guitar
  • Bert Ruiter – bass, backing vocals
  • Pierre van der Linden – drums
none – live performances only
March 1976 – June 1977
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Philip Catherine – guitar
  • Bert Ruiter – bass, backing vocals
  • David Kemper – drums
  • Live at the BBC (2004)
June – late 1977
  • P. J. Proby – vocals
  • Thijs van Leer – keyboards, flute
  • Eef Albers – guitar
  • Philip Catherine – guitar
  • Bert Ruiter – bass, backing vocals
  • Steve Smith – drums
Late 1977 – August 1978
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Eef Albers – guitar
  • Philip Catherine – guitar
  • Bert Ruiter – bass, backing vocals
  • Richard James – drums
none – live performances only
Band inactive 1978–1985
1985
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Akkerman – guitar
none – tour in support of Focus
Band inactive 1985–1990
1990
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Akkerman – guitar
  • Bert Ruiter – bass, backing vocals
  • Pierre van der Linden – drums
none – live performances only
Band inactive 1990–1997
1997–1998
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Menno Gootjes – guitar
  • Bert Ruiter – bass, backing vocals
  • Hans Cleuver – drums
none – live performances only
Band inactive 1998–2002
February – April 2002
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Dumée – guitar, backing vocals
  • Bobby Jacobs – bass, backing vocals
  • Ruben van Roon – drums
none – live performances only
April 2002 – August 2004
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Dumée – guitar, backing vocals
  • Bobby Jacobs – bass, backing vocals
  • Bert Smaak – drums
  • Focus 8 (2002)
  • Live in America (2003)
August 2004 – 2006
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Jan Dumée – guitar, backing vocals
  • Bobby Jacobs – bass, backing vocals
  • Pierre van der Linden – drums, percussion
none – live performances only
2006–2010
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Niels van der Steenhoven – guitar
  • Bobby Jacobs – bass, backing vocals
  • Pierre van der Linden – drums, percussion
2010 – December 2016
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Menno Gootjes – guitar
  • Bobby Jacobs – bass, backing vocals
  • Pierre van der Linden – drums, percussion
December 2016 – present
  • Thijs van Leer – vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Menno Gootjes – guitar
  • Udo Pannekeet – bass
  • Pierre van der Linden – drums, percussion
  • Focus 11 (2018)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Randall, David (May 1991). "Focus" (Scan). Record Collector. No. 141. London, England: Diamond Publishing. pp. 102–107. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  2. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Focus: Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Interview with Jan Akkerman - from "Radio 538 magazine", 24-11-1973" (PDF). Jan Akkerman. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Focus: Meet The Artists..." Focus Tribute Homepage. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  5. ^ "For the Record" (Scan). Cash Box. Vol. 35 no. 27. New York City: Cash Box Publishing. 17 November 1973. p. 30. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  6. ^ Davies, Ben. "Hamburger Concerto – Focus: Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  7. ^ "In And Out of Focus... Colin Allen Interviewed in December 2008". theozymandiasprogject. 17 October 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Inside Track" (Scan). Billboard. Vol. 87 no. 20. New York City: Billboard Publications. 17 May 1975. p. 74. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  9. ^ "From the Music Capitals of the World" (Scan). Billboard. Vol. 87 no. 23. New York City: Billboard Publications. 7 June 1975. p. 83. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  10. ^ "From the Music Capitals of the World" (Scan). Billboard. Vol. 88 no. 12. New York City: Billboard Publications. 20 March 1976. p. 56. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  11. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil (6 March 1976). "If You Look Like This..." Sounds. United Newspapers. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Proby to Focus as Lead Singer" (Scan). Billboard. Vol. 89 no. 28. New York City: Billboard Publications. 16 July 1977. p. 79. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  13. ^ Hoos, Willem (30 March 1985). "Hocus Pocus: Focus Is Back" (Scan). Billboard. Vol. 97 no. 13. New York City: Billboard Publications. p. 47. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  14. ^ Hudson, Martin (2003). "Martin Hudson talks to Thijs Van Leer" (Scan). Classic Rock Society. Rotherham, England: Classic Rock Society. pp. 42–43. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Jan Akkerman & Thijs van Leer Band". North Sea Jazz Festival. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  16. ^ Baugh, Timothy (February 1998). "Exclusive Interview with Thijs Van Leer for Expose Magazine". Focus Tribute Homepage. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  17. ^ progcroc (28 October 2015). "Go Focus Yourself... The Thijs van Leer Interview". theozymandiasprogject. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  18. ^ "Thijs van Leer – Flute Centre". Adams Musical Instruments. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  19. ^ Severa, Alan. "Focus 9: New Skin – Focus: Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  20. ^ Savić, Nikola (12 September 2012). "Focus Sign Deal for Next Album". Prog Sphere. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  21. ^ van Leer, Thijs (9 December 2016). "Udo Pannekeet". Focus. Retrieved 16 December 2017.

External links[edit]