Around 1995 René met Henk-Jan Velvis, a piano player and choir leader, and they played together on occasions. At times he also asked René to accompany his choir. Whilst Henk-Jan was at the conservatorium in Arnhem, he met Thomas Manetti, with whom he performed periodically. They eventually asked René to join them - to sing as well as to play guitar.
Henk-Jan and Thomas had also formed a band called ‘Past to Present’, and they asked both René and Ronald de Wolf to join them. However it was short-lived and broke up within a year.
In the meantime, René’s passion for creative song-writing continued and he began to enjoy his first live solo performances. In July 1998 he recorded his first album on CD, ‘The Wind Sings the Song’, along with Thomas Manetti (electric guitar, saxophone and background vocals), Arno Cornelissen (bass and acoustic guitar), Jan Boezen (piano, keyboards and background vocals) and Bart van Veldhuizen (drums and percussion). All the tracks on it were written by René, although Jan Boezen wrote the music for ‘Felt like Heaven’, and he also contributed a few lines towards the title song.
Following the release of the CD, René and the other musicians were invited to perform at various venues in Holland. Eventually Bart van Veldhuizen left the band and Klaas Christiaan Schukken became the drum-player and percussionist. Around this time they formed the band ‘Nickels & Dimes’. Following this, Henk-Jan first of all replaced Jan Boezen on piano, and then Magic Freddy took over keyboards in 2004. Popular cover songs were added to the band's extensive repertoire and they entertained audiences with fun and enthusiasm until the end of 2008.
After the success of the first CD in 1998 René and the band went on to record another six CDs. These were –
‘I Guess I call it Home’ (May 2000), ‘Thousand Roads’ (February 2002), ‘If Not Judged Bad’ (June 2003),
‘Coverroad’ (cover songs, February 2005), ‘Another Spot’ (October 2006), and ‘Empty Hands’ (May 2008).
One of the most memorable concerts for ‘Nickels & Dimes’ was in June 2008, when they were honoured to share the stage
with Stef Bos at a benefit concert for Africa.
|Back to the Sixties Festival||René with Stef Bos and Thomas Manetti|
|Where Peaceful Waters Flow||Jabulani Afrika|