Gerard Boontjes was born on 31-8-1952 in Rotterdam.
He started playing guitar at the age of 9 years old. During a short period he had guitar lessons. His first musical influences in the Sixties were The Shadows. He started playing electric guitar immediately and the sound he heard in those days would have a great influence on his future musical development. Soon The Shadows were followed by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and a lot of other sixties bands from mainly Great Britain. Later in the 60’s Gerard played guitar in a soul band called “The 19th Century” (a local band in Rotterdam), heavily influenced by the artists of Stax Records where Steve Cropper played guitar. By the end of the Sixties he was listening and playing stuff from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and similar types of sounds and also Yes with Steve Howe made a great impact. Especially when he saw Steve Howe play the song The Clap live in concert. (his first fingerpickingexperience)
All these sounds from the Sixties and early Seventies formed the basis for his later musical development and taste. In the mid 70’s he played in a band called Atlas, that recorded one album that unfortunately was never released. Recently the tapes of these sessions came up and fragments will soon be available through the website. Gerard played electric and acoustic guitar here but no fingerpicking.
He started to play fingerpicking in 1976 as he already was teaching guitar at the Rotterdamse Muziekschool. It was a student that presented a tape of Missisippi John Hurt and not playing in bands anymore this guitar style was a great alternative.
He studied a lot of blues guitar from the American blues tradition, Ragtime guitar (that started to be popular in the mid 70’s) and English folk baroque guitar. Also he started to study classical guitar. And he started to write own guitar pieces.
After teaching guitar a couple of years he was one of the main founders of the first Popschool in The Netherlands.
The Popschool offered an educational program for popmusicians.
Gerard was head of this Popschool for 9 years.
As fingerpicking was not very popular among students he sort of had to let go and turned to electric guitar again.
By then he played in a band called Once We Get Started, a funk band. This band appeared on TV in Veronica’s “Sterrenjacht” a couple of times but split up early 1989.
Because of his work with the POPschool in Rotterdam he was asked in 1997 to be part of a team that developed a business plan to start a Rockacademy. An educational program that offers a bachelor degree for Pop Musicians. The Rockacademy, part of Fontys Hogescholen, opened its doors in 1999. Presently Gerard is one of the two directors.
Two years ago he started working on his first cd project. This project would lead to the release of the cd, It’s Never Too Late, which is just released. It is a Finger style Guitar Album, played on an electric acoustic nylon string guitar, and contains 14 “Guitar Songs”.
Six songs are from his own hand and the album offers a variety of tunes.
On 10 songs Gerard is joined by a drummer (Arthur Lijten) and bass guitar player (Eric Coenen) Two top session players and on one song Gerard is joined by Ronald Seerden on guitar. The concept of the album is, that it is not for guitar players only but also for people that enjoy guitar music generally. The atmosphere is quite and pleasant and you can use this album as well as a “guitar experience” (enjoy the quality of the production and the music when you turn up the volume) or as a pleasant “background experience” (Have a dinner and/or drinks and have some nice quality guitar music to accompany this)
In 2006 Gerard will start touring and performing an is preparing his program.
For information or buying the cd It’s Never Too Late visit www.gerardboontjes.com.
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