woensdag 1 juli 2020


From today, July 1, the new Diftong album, Flight no6, is available on Spotify and Apple Music. It is temporarily in a separate Diftong account on Spotify. They will merge the two accounts, but I did not want to let you wait for that.


Let me introduce you to the people that play and sing on the Flight no.6 album.


Diftong wrote the songs, plays guitar and sings

JeeWee Donkers plays guitars, bass and mandolins

Peter Holen plays keyboard, accordion and harmonica

Remco Hendriksen plays drums and percussion

Jurriaan Westerveld plays the cello on the song Radio Waves

Maya Willemse plays the piano on Radio Waves and sings backing vocals

Jes van Wijngaarden sings backing vocals (and did the artwork)


Find out more about them by clicking on their names.


It was such a pleasure to work with these people. Work is the wrong word in this case. Work is something you do for food and shelter for the body. Making music is beneficial for the soul. This doesn’t mean we will not accept payment ;-)


There is also a CD with beautiful artwork and a booklet with all the lyrics. In due time we will have a presentation party. I will keep you posted.


Listen to the album! It will tell you more than a million words.

woensdag 24 juni 2020


Despite all casualties, we managed to get past the speed bumps and we were flying. Flight no.6 is the sixth Diftong album and the web release is set for July 1. This album is full of identified flying objects. They appear in most of the ten songs that I wrote for the album. I have no clue why that is so. It just happened.


Partly recorded in what appeared to be Bedouin tents, it again has a real “band feel”, but it is a much more acoustic album than A Hell of a Time. We were in a big room and needed some acoustic separation. So we carried in blankets, feather beds and mattresses and built two separate tents with those.


I once co-wrote a song in the desert with a guy called Derek James Ritz. It had the following chorus:


I bought me a Keffiyeh and I grew me a beard

The boys at the office think I’m acting pretty weird

But they don’t know where I’m coming from

They don’t know where I’ve been

Going back to the desert, gonna be a Bedouin


I don’t remember how the rest went and (luckily) there are no recordings of the song. The only thing left is a blurry picture of me singing that song, totally drunk.


The CD of Flight no.6  has a great cover and a booklet with all the lyrics, but you will have to wait for that. Given the current state of the world, we don’t know when the release party will take place. Before you ask, I hate the idea of a social distancing audience. To think that you can play live music before an audience that don’t feel or smell each other… Also I don’t like live streams. I won’t mind doing those, but it is not the real thing. It’s like smelling a glass of whisky, without being allowed to take a nip.

Be patient and take care!

vrijdag 5 juni 2020


Flight no 6. My sixth attempt to fly: ten songs, a booklet with lyrics, artwork, the whole shebang. It started on a hike in the south of France in September 2015. My left leg was giving me trouble and I knew something was going to slow me down dramatically. It made me think of a speed bump or ralentisseur in the French language. I typed that word ralentisseur in my phone, not sure what I would do with it. In the time between that hike and the moment I am writing this, I was seriously distracted. By the actual speed bump, by the making of an album called A Hell of a Time, by the loss of two people that were dear to me, by meeting old friends, by many more hikes. And, in the last few months, by a pandemic. So here we are, with a virus and a new album on the shelf. Damn! It has been three and a half years since the release of my last album and now this. I guess we will have to be patient. Ralentissez!

vrijdag 3 februari 2017

A Hell of a Time

The road to the release was not paved with roses. Band members down with the tummy flu just before. Cars breaking down. Last minute instrument repairs. Rodents nibbling the wires. Still, somehow, we managed to get on that stage. It was definitely not a case of "Just do it". More like "Do it anyway".

But what a blast it was! Thanks to those who came and made it a party. Thanks to those seven people who climbed on stage with me. It was my first time ever as a singer in a rock band and I loved it. We played all twelve songs of the album A Hell of a Time. Drums, bass, guitar, keys, three singers and me. We made some noise.

And so, there it is: A Hell of a Time by Diftong & the shipwrights featuring the listless angels. The CD is for sale. On my website you can order it. Or you can go to iTunes or Spotify. And I am going to sleep for a month.

By the way, this is probably the last post in the Rocket Swing blog. Soon I hope to start a new blog on my website, where I will write about music in some general kind of way, instead of blabbering about myself all the time.

Thanks for reading this. See you some other time in some other place!
Diftong website
Diftong on Spotify
Diftong on iTunes/Apple Music

zondag 30 oktober 2016


These days I am a singer in a rock band. Although my profession is singer-songwriter, that is a strange thing for me to say, because I consider myself more of a songwriter than a singer. Mind you, I like to sing, but I never felt inclined to really learn the skills that ‘professional’ singers have. Also, I like punkrock and Patti Smith and Neil Young, Lou Reed and Nick Cave. That should tell you something.

There are people in this world who never really get used to their own voice. I am one of them, but not the only one. I remember a documentary on 16 Horsepower, where the singer was saying the same thing and he asked his grandfather, who was a preacher, ‘Do you like to hear yourself preach?’ The answer was a short and clear ‘No!’.

Sometimes, we have musicians staying in our house for one or two nights. We talk about music, obviously, play music and basically live in the music in those days. And sometimes, I play my guests a song of mine, when I have had enough wine. Like last weekend when I was told I have a good voice. Unfortunately, I did not record that remark or I would have listened to it again and again.

Anyway, I decided to re-record some of the vocals on my new album. And it was a good thing I did, because I greatly improved on my earlier performance. I may even start to like my own voice!

Now all we have to do is finish the mix (we made a lot of progress there), do the mastering, finalize the artwork and kick the bastard into the world.

dinsdag 27 september 2016

Sunday Sessions

For the first time since December 2015 I played live for an audience. I had stopped playing because two fingers on my left hand played other notes than I had in mind. Frustrated, I started writing songs for a new Diftong album last winter. During that period, I discovered that I could still play a bit of guitar if I kept looking at my left hand. And well you know, an addiction is an addiction, so I decided to give it a try again, which is what happened on Sunday September 18 at Ned Egan's Easy Sunday Sessions.

So there I was, back on a stage, playing my songs. I have done this many times before, but as you can imagine, I was more nervous than I used to be. The what-if-factor. What if my hand refuses to do the job? What if I put the wrong date in my phone? What if nobody shows up? But it was the right day. They showed up. My hand did the job.  And… it was magic. I had almost forgotten how it feels to play for a room full of people you love. It felt really really very good. So to all of you who were there: thank you! To all of you who could not make it: never mind, life is beautiful anyway. And to the rest: I guess you missed something. No worries, I will do this again. Starting this Sunday October 2, on a pop-up stage that is part of an art exhibition in my home town. And there will be more. Although I don’t know when and where yet.

Meanwhile, the recordings for the new album are almost finished. Two more backing vocal tracks to go, and we can start mixing. I can hardly wait to let you hear it, because I think it is very good and also very different from what I did before. This time, I will only make a limited number of physical CD's. If you are interested in buying one, pre-order your copy, by sending an e-mail to diftong@diftong.nl. Of course, the album will also be available for you to download. I will let you know when. Our aim is November.

vrijdag 12 augustus 2016

Something White

We are wrapping up the recording of the new Diftong album. I say Diftong album but it is actually a band that is performing my songs. And we did with enormous fervor and gumption. So I'd like to start with a word of thanks to Budi, Dirk, Jeewee and Peter. We played some fine seventies rock with a bit of roll.

We managed to record twelve songs. Eleven are brand new and one is an oldie called Something White. I wrote it after watching a TV program about a populist party in Denmark in 2001 or 2002. At the time – it must have been not long after 9/11 – I could never have thought that it would be so relevant 14 years later. Though I made some changes to both the lyrics and the music, the idea of the song is the same. And now populists seem to rule the media. Here are some of the words:

Here they come again and they won't listen
They swing their crowbars, draw up their lists and
They start waving flags
They start sticking on the tags

There is something white fluttering in the corner of my eye

Keep watching for something white and don't let the big words get to you!