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FRUITCAKE (1982 ~ ?)

Breezy jazz/fusion group from the Netherlands.

Original members:

Benny Baan: Keyboards
Rob Taekema: Guitars
• Jan Paul Driessen: Bass
• Bart Adrichem[: Drums


4 Where's England? ('92) - ?

Starting from their 2nd album, the main driving forces were Benny and Rob using other musicians for support. Probably their most notable tunes are:

- I Like the Way
- You've Got Me Groovin'
- Wheelin' and Dealin'
- Heartbeat
- Lobster Fusion
- Casino Jump
- Rythm+Shoes

Currently Rob is a member of Harlem Delight. The where abouts of Benny are unknown. Probably chillin' in one of dem cafes in Amsterdam.

2. Fruitcake - Prog band from Norway

1990 was the year of the stinking rich. Not really, but that's what Norwegian band, Fruitcake, called themselves. Maybe a bit pompous, most of the lineup came from the wealthy west side of Oslo. A couple of lineup changes, a name change, the band finally rested on FRUITCAKE in 1992. Everything was solidified and the band consisted of Steffen Holthe (guitars), Tore Bø (bass and keyboards), Siri M. Seland (keyboards and bass) and Pål Søvik (Drums).

Released by Briskeby Records in 1992, FRUITCAKE were off and running with Fool's tapes. Any momentum, however, had to come to a slow crawl as Steffen Holthe had to fulfill commitments in the armed forces. Being a true band, they decided to wait for him, but worked on obtaining a better record deal outside of Norway.

The hard work paid off as FRUITCAKE were signed to Cyclops Records, a premier British progressive label. Meanwhile, Steffen's involvement with the band became increasingly uncertain, so they began recording the next album, How To Make It (which is described as having, "delicate songs with extended instrumental parts crossing over into the Pendragon and IQ/Jadis vein and tastes of Anglagard and Anekdoten), with session guitarists, Robert Hauge and Jon Barstad. The former was retained to play a few concerts in Sweden and the Crimson Festival. The organizers never paid the band and bassist/keyboardist, Tore Bø, left soon after to build his own recording studio and get his own solo career off the ground. As the band looked for a replacement, excellent reviews worldwide were coming their way.

Pressure from the record company for a follow-up forced the band back in the studio in 1995 with new bassist, Gunnar Bergersen, and guitarist, Jens G. Sverdrup. One song was delivered for a Cyclops sampler with plans to release an album the following year. However, yet another personnel change as Siri left the band to follow a career abroad. Enter Helge Skaarseth and the band re-entered the studio for rehearsals. Room For Surprise was released and is described on their site as, "a 'cracker'. At last the instrumental virtuosity which is given full rein at concerts is allowed to shine in the longer tracks Touch The Sky and A Whisper. Fluid inventive guitar breaks and wonderful keyboard work over the cooking rhythm section have produced a wonderfully inventive album."

The band continued but broke up in 1997. This time with Robert Hauge (from 2. album) on guitar and his friend Olav Nygård on bass in addition to Helge and Pål.The band started rehersals and played concerts in Oslo before recording a new album in the summer. "One more Slice" was released on Cyclops in the fall of 1997 and composing for a fifth album was commenced.

The band has continued on and have made 3 more albums with Power Structure (Nina C. Dahl contributes some beautiful flute), A Battle A Day, and 2004's Man Overboard. And in a nice twist, Steffen Holthe was back as guitarist for the band after an extended absence.

Eric Walker

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