The Simple Minds Tribute Band 1984, was founded in 2004 by Eugene Hoppenbrouwers (vocals), Peter Vergouwen (guitar), Maurice Mannesse (bass), Bas van Iersel (drums), Hans de Zwart and Ferencz Koch (keyboards).
The guitarist Eugene Hoppenbrouwers was playing with the idea of beginning a singing career in a tribute band to one of the most famous and yet least imitated new wave bands, Simple Minds. …The repertoire of the early eighties appealed to him, above all ‘Sparkle in the Rain’ and ‘New Gold Dream’. Finding enthusiastic blokes for the job was one thing, but coming across the right musicians was another. It was a great ambition to achieve the unique sound and atmosphere of the Simple Minds.
With great determination Hoppenbrouwers was able to gather another five enthusiastic and slightly crazy Simple Minds-lovin’ musicians. They all shared the same age and fascination for the music from the eighties, especially the magnificent new wave sound of the Simple Minds. In April 2004 the guys got together and listened to many old Simple Minds songs enjoying the music and thinking of playing exactly what they were listening to. The tribute band became a fact and a first selection of songs was made with a clear focus on the early material of the Simple Minds. Eugene proposed to play their first gig at the upcoming yearly music festival in Etten-Leur. A big stage for great local and talented bands sounded great, although the festival was going to take place in October and left them with only 5 months of rehearsing! Within two weeks after meeting up, the first rehearsal was scheduled. They played songs like ‘Waterfront’ and ‘New Gold Dream’. The music immediately had the Simple Minds feeling to it. The enthusiasm had no limits. After giving each other flattering compliments, the band was baptised ‘1984’, the year of the most popular Simple Minds album, ‘Sparkle in the Rain’. A beautiful start for yet more striking experience to come!
After 4 months of hard work and a lot of fun (and an occasional beer), the repertoire consisted of 10 songs from mainly early eighties stuff. The hard work paid off as the rehearsal-gig for friends and family was a big success. They were ready for the hundreds of spectators on October 17th 2004 in the big music-tent in Etten-Leur. The first gig, ‘The 1984-kickoff’-concert, was reality. Everybody was nervous, but ready for the challenge. The Simple Minds songs kicked in with power! Some 1.500 people were singing and cheering and were completely thrown back into the eighties!! The revival of the new wave was set in motion, and 1984 was more determined than ever to make this tribute a series of gigs to remember!
In 2005, 1984 decided to put their skills to the test, by entering The Clash Of The Coverbands competition. The blokes wondered if they would be able to – at least – survive a round or two. In the mean time, bad luck struck them as Hans de Zwart unfortunately decided to leave the band. After a few hesitations, Ferencz Koch then suggested to perform all crucial key parts on his own. And to the astonishment of his fellow members, he was able to pull it off! None of the power of songs was diminished, proven by the fact that they survived round after round in The Clash. At the 013 in Tilburg, in the regional finales of the south of the Netherlands, 1984 ended third.
The Clash participation paid off, as several interesting gigs followed: MEZZ (Breda), de Melkweg (Amsterdam) and Leidse Plein (Amsterdam). The end of 2008 saw the departure of Ferencz Koch, who favored his work as a sound technician to playing keys. This again had a crucial impact on the band, because the keyboard plays such a relevant part in the music. Luckily, connections were quickly made with Andras Incze, from the befriend band Lily White Biscuits. Incze has a history in producing house music, especially trance, and was immediately appealed to the music of Simple Minds, since they can be regarded as one of the founders of trance music. Incze is able to fulfill his part with pleasure and dedication and is capable of making the music sound closer to the original records than ever before! What also helps is the fact that Ferencz Koch nowadays is the permanent sound technician of the band; no one knows the songs better to heart than him!
If you want to hear 1984 perform, check out one of their concerts. The band is able to perform 2,5 hours of pure Simple Minds with a clear focus on the early work of one of the greatest new wave bands ever! Hope to see you!