Joost Zweegers (born in Holland, lived in Neerpelt from age 3-17, then
a few years in Eindhoven, now in Antwerp) got noticed a first time when he was
playing in the band The Sideburns. This garage rock band made it into the
finals of Humo's Rock Rally (main Belgian talent contest) in 1992 (together with
acts such as Jef Mercelis, Nemo,
dEUS and behind the top three which that year were Charlie
45, The Beautiful Babies and Orgasmaddix).
Apart from one single, a cover of "I can't let Maggie go" (a
small hit of Honeybus in 1968) and the song "Julia"
on the Rock-Rally cd, very little little was heard of the The Sideburns thereafter.
The next thing for him was a passage with Milk
The Bishop, the fine pop band of Armand Bourgoignie and Wouter Van Belle,
with whom he toured for a while in the summer of 1994.
In 1996 he participated once again in the Rock Rally, and this time with more
success, since the trio Novastar won that edition (in front of acts such
as An Pierlé, Stonedigger,
Arid, Tom Helsen and Hoodoo Club).
The jury noted especially the self-confident melodies and amazing voice of the
singer as the main assets. But once again, apart from a number of gigs, things
rapidly grew quiet in and about the band.
With the money of the Rock-Rally victory, Joost had equipped a music-studio in
Antwerp (Vita Nova, with Jo Francken), featuring the mixing table on which
Bohemian Rhapsody of Queen was once mixed. This studio immediately had quite a
lot of customers (Zita Swoon, Nemo,
Soul Sucker, Noordkaap
...), meaning there was little or no time left for Novastar. Joost Zweegers did
play however on a number of occasions with a Beatles-coverband "The Beatles
In 1998 he quietly went on recording new songs at home or in his studio, and
finally signed a record deal with company Warner Music Benelux (just as his housemate
An Pierlé btw). This meant that things got finally
going again in 1999 : he finished an album (in a production of Wouter Van Belle,
best known for his work with Axelle Red, Gorki
...), but when all the recordings had been done, he wasn't satisfied with the
results : "it all sounded really well, but I felt we hadn't touched the essence.
It was in there somewhere - if you listened to it five or six times it came to
the front - but it had to be emphasized more. That was an enormous problem
for me : music for me is something live day and night, a matter of life and death.
I wanted to make an album that a liked one hundred percent. And I had lost that
somerwhere on the way", he said in Humo.
Via the record firm, John Luongo (American topproducer & mixer who
has worked with Brian Adams, Fine Young Cannibals, Midnight Oil etc. etc. etc.)
was asked to remix the album : "It now all sounds les sweet. He has made
more room for my voice : a number of drums have been removed, some strings and
a number of superfluous noises. I've learned that I should look at the essence
of my music : if it happens to be smooth and poppy, than you have to accept that.
I've tried to run from that for some time, to make something else of it." The release-date of the album was set for February 2000, but there was already
an advanced single-released with the brilliant song "Wrong".
This crept up all kind of charts and list, through a format-breaking radio-friendliness.
Apart from that, the band also made the popheadlines because Lars van Bambost
(guitarist of the best Dutch-language rock band Noordkaap)
left his group to join Novastar.
When the title-less debut album was finally release in february 2000, the reception
can be called "glorious" : through a well-planned promotion campaign,
there were over 20,000 copies sold in the first two weeks alone, good for a number
1 spot in the album-charts. Also in Holland the expectations for Novastar are
gathering momentum, as the group already earned a place at the Pinkpop-festival.
In Belgium, he played at only two of the summer festivals: as a headliner at the
windy Beachfestival, and a triumphant one at Marktrock.
The CD "Novastar" got a TMF-award
as the best Belgian Cd of 2000. There are also some attempts to do something usefull
abroad : Joost played a number of solo-showcases from Germany to the States, where
the album will be released in January 2001 on the Atlantic label, and with a serious
promotional budget. In the fall of 2000, he went on a European tour in the slipstream
of K's Choice. In the meantime, Joost also helped another
local singer-songwriter Tom Helsen to some great songs
on his "Tom is Doing Great" cd.
Band members :
- Joost Zweegers (guitar, vocals)
- Lars van Bambost (gitaar)
- Cathy-Ann van Volsem / Karel De Backer (drums)
- Jang Coenen (bass)
Buy CD's of this band at
- Novastar (WEA, 2000) Tracks / CDS :
- Julia (with the Sideburns, Live at Humo's Rock Rally, EMI, 1992)
- "I Can't Let Maggie Go / Beauty Queen" (with the Sideburns, Play That
- "Ten-Eleven" (live at Humo's Rock Rally, Double T Music, 1996)
- Wrong (Warner, 1999)
- The Best is Yet To Come (WEA, 2000)
- Cara Mia (WEA, 2000)
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