MENNEN

COUNTRY: Netherlands

STYLE: Hard Rock
PhotobucketJoss Mennen started his professional career about 25 years ago with the band Zinatra. This band was a big hit in Europe, South America and Asia but after two albums, the band split up in the early nineties. Working as a session musician, Joss voice appeared in the backing vocals on many important rock releases for bands like Danger Danger, Craaft and Scorpions, just to name a few.

During this period Joss also worked as recording engineer and producer and for a while he ended up as studio-manager for Markant Recording Studios (NL). Mennen after two albums with Zinatra and a few major hits in the charts, he left the band in the beginning of 1992. In the summer of ’92 Joss Mennen put his new band MENNEN together. In 1994 Joss teamed up with guitarist Erik van de Kerkhof. Their way of songwriting matched and the beginning of MENNEN was a fact. Generally in his skill of songwriting Joss says during all these years, I always prefer someone around who triggers me and supports me instrumentally , but with Mennen it turned out to be the whole band!!

All the other guys had experience playing in different local coverbands before they joined MENNEN. In a time before ZINATRA , Joss and P.P. already had been playing together for  a long time and Fon, Frenk and Eric where also known as they all grew up in the same environment of the city Weert.

They spent almost a year in Joss’s home studio, working on new material for their debut. The lyrics are written by Joss exclusively, compositions and arrangements are done by the whole band. Quite interesting for MENNEN’s melodic Hard-rock style is the combination of  the two guitarists. Eric with his more sophisticated playing style and on the other hand P.P. whose playing is based on blues-rock riffs and licks. Together with Joss’s typical voice and the mighty backing vocals, these are the basic  ingredients where MENNEN stands for.

Also lyricwise MENNEN shows variation. There is a serious part where they sing about actuell themes of the world, like political problems or environment. The other side is about personal matters, love or just party.

In September ’93 MENNEN signed a contract with German company T&T Records. In the beginning of ’94 they started to record their first album with producer Wolfgang Stach (SODOM, PHANTOM ELEGY , CHANNEL ZERO) in the T&T studio in Germany. The release of the MENNEN-debut was in the end of August, and it was contain ten songs.
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In 1995 Heavy floods in the southern parts of Holland inspire MENNEN to write and record the song “River Of Tears”. Dutch label Red Sea Records releases this song and all sales are donated to the national  funds for victims of the floods. The action is supported by National station as Radio 3FM and Radio2. Who put this single on  their playlists.

1996-1997: Due to the success in Japan, MENNEN starts recording the second album. This time MENNEN is recording under supervision of producer Mark Anthony (For Absent  Friends) in the Markant Recording Studios in Heeze. The album “BACK TO THE REAL WORLD” is released in September ’96 and is followed by  a number of 50 shows called “Back on the real road tour”. The highlight of this tour is the show at Bospop.. (10,000 visitors).

1998: The year that MENNEN starts to work on album number3. Together with producer Edwin  Balogh(AYREON, TAMAS, OMEGA)the band decides to choose for a song orientated view of the album. The result is the dynamic album “AGE OF FOOLS”. Guitar player P.P. and bass player Frenk Aerdenroomer can’t follow the musically standards and they leave the band. In Alex Jansen a new bass player is found, who gives the band the adrenaline boost they needed at that time. Hille is found as a new guitar player too, but he leaves the band like a blast of wind. The band decides not to look for a new guitar player but to continue as a foursome.

1999: Some highlights. This is the year that MENNEN tours Europe. They support bands with the  likes of SCORPIONS, GOTTHARD, MOLLY HATCHED, BRINGS, GRIP INC and AVALON. They also play successful shows at Rocktoberfest, Aardschokfestival and the national  Festival of Liberation (6,000visitors).

2000: This year starts with a special millennium show on the first of January and kicks of the millennium tour. Including a show at the Eurosonic festival in Groningen. The amount of  members of the fan club”The Mennen Connexion” is growing as for the hits for the website. It can be seen as a tribute to their fans when MENNEN asks the fans what they, the fans, want to hear on the live-album. MENNEN can be seen as the first band who asked people to vote for their favorites for a live album.  The live album is recorded of the world famous “Biebob”hard rock club in Belgium.  Well known for the shows of SAVATAGE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, etc. The place was packed that night ! This resulted in the live album”CIRCLE OF LIVE”. The album was mixed in the Little Big Studio in Belgium by Peter de Wint (Glenn Hughes, HAREM SCAREM).

2001: That’s the year that the live album is released and well received, especially in the south of  Europe. MENNEN plays as a special guest with DIO and tours on their own in Portugal, Spain, Germany and France. Before a break they play a festival in Raismes (France) together with ARK and FREAK KITCHEN.
Photobucket2002: MENNEN invests in constructing their own “Headquarters” including a studio and storage for the equipment, called “the Mushroom”. MENNEN starts with demo-sessions and throws away a full album, it isn’t good enough, why ? You’ll find out.

2003: Writing and demoing for the album number 5 take almost the full year. Record label Rock Inc. Entertainment is impressed by the new material and develops major plans. What results in the renewed cooperation of Joss Mennen and Erwin Musper. Since Joss left ZINATRA and started MENNEN, Erwin worked with the likes of BON JOVI, METALLICA, VAN HALEN and SCORPIONS. In the Dungeons of Universal Music they see each other again after 10 years. This meeting results in the end that Erwin Musper mixes the album “FREAKAZOID” in the world famous Wisseloord studios in Hiversum.

2004: In March, “FREAKAZOID” is released as the 4th studio album. They start the promotions and the tour is called “Unless something better is on TV-tour”. As the single “Above The Waterline/Down” is released. Recorded in their own studio and mixed by Erwin Musper in the famous Wisseloord studios in Holland. Mennen toured again and although they changed of hairstyles and looks, they never changed their no-nonsense mentality.

2005: was the year Mennen set their sails to the USA. They continued their cooperation with Erwin Musper and recorded a new album with him. As Mennen was also playing a couple of club dates in the USA, they decided to record one of the shows. What resulted in the album Freakalive. And when the boys returned from their trip to the USA they came back with a live-album, a new studio album including 5:1 mix, a soundtrack for a documentary about the US music scene and a documentary about the making of Planet Black.

The last couple of months Mennen were negotiating for a new record deal. And we are happy to announce that Mennen signed with Armageddon Music. So that brings us in the year 2007… A year that will mark the waiting for Planet black and tons of other things happening for Mennen. In march they hit the mighty Paradiso stage in Amsterdam to be special guest on the Saxon tour. It was also the year of negotiatings for Planet Black and the right moment to release the album. It all took longer as expected, but arent we used from Mennen that it always takes a little longer? well now fellow planeteers a lot happened this year. We had the legal department of te labels and the band looking over and over again through the contracts. We edited the dvd coming with the album over and over again.

Then when we thought we had a date it got postponed. All were focussed on Wacken as it would be planned to have the official presentation there…. Mennen did a remarkable show there as we know now…but wait first things first… Due to sickness of Alex we were forced to cancel most of the shows for the last part of the year and in the end t was all for the good cause.
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The news came after one of our famous bandmeetings. Not directly after but one week after. After a rocking career as guitarplayer of Mennen, Eric decided to leave the band. He decided that his path was going different and he no longer wanted to be a planeteer. So that is where the search started. We had some interesting people contacting us, big names, bigger names, new names, talented people, people with (sorry) no talent, moneyseekers, fresh talents too much and too many to mention. So that took a lot of time to find out what was going on or what was going to be the perfect solution for our trio around that period.

Well people can say from myspace what they want…it is addictive, it is boring or adds something new to your world. In Mennen’s case it brought something new. We happened to surf along the profile of an old friend… So what happened was that we decided to send a request with no idea if it would be an add or a dead… It was an add and not so much longer the first date was a fact… we found Gino Rerimassie, like Joss from Zinatra-fame. Not so long after a meeting was planned and the first sparks were there. Gino happened to be willing to step into Mennen and to prepare for the rocky ride towards Planet Black.

Mennen split up in 2010, after 5 studio-albums and 2 live-albums. Their latest release “Planet Black” , produced by Erwin Musper (Van Halen , Scorpions), was supported by an appearance at the legendary Wacken Festival in Germany . Other high-lights are their headliner tours in the south of Europe and Mennen crossed the Atlantic Ocean two times for shows in the USA.

Since a couple of years Joss has been writing songs and lyrics in his native language. The dialect of the city Weert (NL). With his band Joss Mennen & Vrinde he will hit the stage in 2012 to promote Joss’ first solo CD. One of th highlights in 2012 will definitely be the big theatre show in Weert on October 14th 2012 in Het Munttheater in Weert.

“A tribute to the stars”, That’s the first goal for Joss his brand new band will-M- Duyz. will-M-Duyz is a three-piece power rock band. They transferred all time hits from the past and today into heavy rock songs. In the meantime they are working on brand new material in Joss’ Rock Inc. Recording Studio! Fasten your seatbelts as they will hit the stage in September 2011.

ALBUMS

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– Mennen [1994]
– Back To The Real World [1996]
– Age Of Fools [1999]
– Freakazoid [2004]
– Planet Black [2008]

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