The story begins when Canadian-born (Vancouver), Netherlands-reared Carol van Dyk was hired as the live-sound mixer for the celebrated underground band de Artsen (the Doctors). Bunskoeke and Visser were already members, Dubbe was their roadie and the musical side project in which all four friends participated became Bettie Serveert. (Since you ask, the name means "Bettie to serve" after Dutch tennis player Bettie Stöve, who lost the Wimbledon Ladies Final in 1977).
After a false start in 1986 when they dissolved after only one gig, the band reformed in 1990 and quickly caught the ear of Matador, Brinkman and 4AD's Guernica label for whom they kindly agreed to record their first album 'Palomine'. Carol van Dyk's seductive voice, Peter Visser's emotional guitar playing and the band's bittersweet melodies and a cool cover of Sebadoh's 'Healthy Sick' made for an impressive debut, which endeared them immediately to the press.
With its mournful, desolate feel, and Carol's typically striking lyrics, Bettie Serveert had served an ace. A full year later in January 1995 the band recorded their second album 'Lamprey', which was hailed by Melody Maker as the most tangled, desolate, real life guitar sound of the year.
After extensive touring with the likes of Belly, Dinosaur Jr, Buffalo Tom, Superchunk, Come and Jeff Buckley, the band soon climbed to the top of the indie underground with their unique and unmistakable heavy sweet guitar sound.
1997 saw the return of Bettie Serveert in fine form with the release of the long awaited third album 'Dust Bunnies'. It was the first time the Betties benefited from the studio guidance of producer Bryce Goggin, who's past credits include Pavement, Come, John Zorn, Kim Deal, Lemonheads and Spacehog. It was also the first Bettie Serveert disc that was recorded entirely within the United States, at Bearsville studio in scenic Woodstock, New York.
In 1998 the group released a live album of Velvet Underground cover versions 'Bettie Serveert plays Venus In Furs and other Velvet Underground songs'.
After touring with Wilco, Counting Crows and Wallflowers, Berend Dubbe left the band early 1998 and was replaced by Reinier Veldman, former drummer of De Artsen.
In 2000 Bettie Serveert started their own label, Palomine Records.
Then, after a period of relative radio silence, Bettie Serveert entered the new millennium with Private Suit, their first studio album in two years. Produced by John Parish of PJ Harvey fame, they managed to deliver an intriguing album of almost majestic beauty.
Then in 2001, the band decided to take a break.
The sabbatical was spent re-fuelling, studying and writing. Peter Visser was a hired gun for a while, Herman Bunskoeke learned to be a cook and Carol released 2 records of 'Americana' songs under the guise of Chitlin' Fooks (a collaboration with Antwerp based songwriter Pascal Deweze).
After a year of relative silence the band returned with 'Log 22' in March 2003. Their newfound freedom and Peter's 16-track home recorder made for a veritable sonic trip. The CD was recorded in Peter's living room and at the E-Sound studio in Weesp and was mixed in Belgium.
After extensive touring from March until November 2003 in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and USA, they received their first gold record for their CD 'Palomine' in the Netherlands.
March 2004 they played at SWSX in Austin, Texas and toured the East coast of the USA. By April they recorded tracks at the IJland Studio in Amsterdam. On October 9th their 6th CD 'Attagirl' was released in the Benelux, Germany, USA, Canada and Japan.
Summer 2006 they celebrated their 15th birthday, releasing a new semi-acoustic CD & their first DVD 'Bare Stripped Naked'. Between 2006 and 2008 they toured in the USA, Canada, Germany and Spain and did a long theatre tour in the Netherlands.
In October â€TM09 Peter and Carol did a project with 'In A Cabin With' in Australia. In cooperation with Australian musicians like Russell Hopkinson (You Am I), Matt Wicks, Andrew Morris and Ben Salter (The Gin Club) they recorded an album in Sydney and Byron Bay. The project is called 'ME & STUPID' and will be released in the summer of 2010.
Between April 6 and 10 2009 the Betties were in the La Chapelle Recording Studios in Belgium, recording a CD with Joppe Molenaar (of the Dutch band Voicst) as their special guest on drums. On their new CD which is called 'Pharmacy of Love', the band finds itself 'back to basic': capturing their raw, contagious energy people have come to know from their many live performances trough out the years. 'Pharmacy of Love' promises to be their loudest CD so far.
18 years and 8 previous Bettie Serveert albums (including their 1998 limited edition set of Velvet Underground covers, Venus In Furs) have passed since Bettie Serveert first formed in Amsterdam, yet they continue to evolve.
On Nov 27th 2009 their new Single/EP 'Deny All' will be released on iTunes, together with their entire back catalog.
Their 9th CD 'Pharmacy of Love' will be in the shops in the Benelux on January 11th 2010 (distributed by PIAS), followed by a tour in the Netherlands and Belgium.