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Fred Händl

1972 Bliesdorf * Deutschland

“I, unfortunately, have no early memories of the town of Bliesdorf. I know it exists and I still have plans (and hope) to one day play a gig there. That would actually be pretty cool, come to think of it. My earliest, and fondest memories, are of the city of Eindhoven. Although I don’t live there anymore, I will always consider it my hometown.”

1976-1983 Elementary school and first music lessons

Those were the days, carefree, safe and warm. We lived close to both kindergarten and my elementary school, so I walked there myself. Nothing but fond memories I have of those years. After school, mom was home, waiting for me with tea. At 5.30 pm sharp, my dad would arrive on his bicycle from work. I would often wait for him, a few blocks away from the house, so I could hop a ride home on his bike. Lovely times.

We always had a piano in the house and I remember playing with it as long as I remember. I took early music lessons from my father – who is a musician and plays clarinet, saxophone and piano. When I was about 8, my dad bought another piano, an Adolf Lehman from 1925, or thereabouts). That piano is still alive and kicking, actually. I loved being in that piano shop! Years later, I would buy my August Förster grand piano there (still have that one, as well … although it needs some serious servicing (more on that later).

A picture of my first ever gig?

At the same time, my dad decided that he could no longer teach me and asked if I wanted piano lessons. And why, I did! For the next four years, I had music lessons from a very kind and talented lady named Anne. After these years of lessons that I enjoyed very much, she left Eindhoven and went to live in Utrecht – where she still teaches piano.

I used to organise concerts in my parents house. Early Sunday mornings, I would draw up invitations and bring them to my friends houses in the neighbourhood. I remember being nervous as hell, each time I would do it, but I always enjoyed it so much! (and neither of those feelings have since changed).

1984-1989 High School Eindhoven

For some reason, I have not many nice memories from these years. No bad ones, either. The good ones include finding a new piano teacher, Peter, who was an amazing pianist and he taught me SO much. Still grateful for his patience, dealing with me during the lessons, for which I didn’t practice that much … I mean, I was 14/15, I had other things on my mind than studying hours on row.  Nice memories of school, I do not have. There are  snippets of nice time with friends, but that was mostly after school. School itself I didn’t like, but I went dutifully. But I was happy to get out of there and conclude my High School career abroad.

1989-1990 Cleveland Heights High School

I graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1990 and boy, do I have memories from that year! One even better than the other. I loved that school and every single day there, was almost like a party. And after school, there were parties (those, indeed … ). I did a lot of extra stuff, besides school: I joined a jazz band, did track & field, joined the ski-club and was lucky I got to travel around the Northeast. Yes, those were good times. So good, that I regretted going back to The Netherlands so much, that I took up traveling back a few years later.

1990-1999 Higher Education and first bands

After my return to The Netherlands in 1990, more than I sometimes care to remember, happened. It would be enough to fill a couple of books (and I might even get to that at some point, but for now, a short resume will have to do – in which I will focus mainly on my musical endeavours.

These above mentioned years events were constant and many. I can not put dates on many of the things that happened, but I am sure they did happen somewhere in the last decade of the millennium.

For starters, there was my musical education at the Conservatoire of Tilburg for the best part of the first half. Years in which I learned SO much about music, it was magical. Besides my studies at the Conservatoire, I took private lessons from Frans. The best teacher I ever had the honour to call my tutor. Recently I received the sad news that he passed away. It was he who lit the fire in me to, eventually, become a music teacher myself.

After my studies, I lived and worked in and around Seatlle, WA. for quite some time (nine months, a year? I wouldn’t know). I bumbed around a lot, found a job in construction on Vashon Island and did some work on a farm.

Then, there was South America, where I traveled to later. I lived and worked as a private English teacher in Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico. Almost stayed there, if it wasn’t for a small series of unfortunate events. I won’t disclose, but it did involve a driver’s license, due rent and meeting Pablo (who turned out not to be who he said he was – his name not being Pablo was the least of my worries). So, before things got the chance to become serious, I said ¡Hasta luego, amiguitos! and flew back to The Netherlands.

It was in Cali, Colombia, however where I joined a band for the very first time. It was a sort of Gothic Rock ensemble and I played guitar in it. We didn’t last very long, nor were we very good. And I forgot the name of it as well. For all it matters, it might have never happened. But it did.

Last coupe of years of the ’90s, my life kinda started to take some kinda of shape. I got more and more involved in music, played in a couple band, did some recordings, started giving piano lessons here and there and … found a steady job at a factory that allowed me to buy my first house. Not my dream job, it was, but it paid the bills.

1994-1999 Bands I played in

Whether serious or not so serious, here’s a list of bands I played in that era. From some of them, recordings still exist, but mostly the memory of them has been eating by the hungry caterpillar of time.

<no name, Colombia> – me on guitar
The Forlorn, NL
The Lurch, NL
Panus Bolus. NL
Freq. L
Jacques Le Fitaltheliste