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Vitesse is the name of at least two different artists:
1. a rock band from The Netherlands (1975 to 1994)
2. an electro pop duo from the United States (1997 to around 2004)
1. Vitesse was a rock band from The Netherlands, active from 1975 'til 1994. Key figure and driving force of the band was its drummer and vocalist, Herman van Boeyen, who was also the only permanent band member.
Vitesse started in 1975 in Amsterdam. The original line-up featured Herman van Boeyen, Herman Brood (vocals, piano), Rob ten Bokum (guitar) and Peter Smid (bass). In the first year several guitarists came and went. Having been signed by Reprise, the band released its début, the eponymous Vitesse (1976) with Herman Brood, Jan-Piet den Tex, Gerrit Veen and Ross Recardi playing alongside Van Boeyen. Herman Brood left the band after one album to start his own band, taking Veen along.
After the second album Rendez Vous (Negram, 1977) and the third album Out in the Country (Negram, 1978), with guitarists Jan van der Meij and Rudi de Queljoe and bassist Wilco Toerroe Leerdam, there's still no big success.
The fourth album Rock Invader (Negram, 1979) does significantly better. The single 'Rock & Roll Band'reaches the Dutch charts, just like just 'Whole Lot Of Travellin''. The album contains short, fast rock & roll songs, mostly sung by Jan van der Meij.
Van Boeyen briefly re-united with Herman Brood, but the partnership failed. Vitesse's Good News and Live 1980 albums are the final ones with Van der Meij and Van Straaten onn board; they leave to start their own group, Powerplay.
The year 1982 marked Vitesse's big break: singles 'Rosalyn' and 'Good Looking' were succesful in The Netherlands and beyond. The line-up with Otto Cooymans, Ruud Englebert and Carl Carlton has turned out to be the most succesful in Vitesse history. Vitesse were very popular in Germany in these years.
After the success years Van Boeyen kept Vitesse alive and jumped on several bandwagons, including new wave and synth rock, without much commercial succes. It ultimately led to Vitesse's demise, in 1994. The two best periods in the band's existence were their 'funky rock' era in the latter half of the 1970s and the hard rocking era of the early 1980s.
2. Vitesse was an electro pop duo from the United States that formed in 1997 and went on indefinite hiatus in the mid-2000s.
Spending most of their musical career in obscurity, this electropop duo was vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Hewson Chen and keyboardist/bassist Joshua Klein. Klein was most notably once the drummer for the indie rock outfit Toulouse and a staff-writer for the satirical newspaper, The Onion. The two first collaborated in 1997 at the University of Chicago. They had worked on a piece for their Intro to Music Compostition class. Late the following year, under the moniker Vitesse, they recorded their debut album A Certain Hostility at home, in a marathon 36 hour session. The album was released on the Hidden Agenda label the next spring.
Owing much to the synthesizer, drum machine and electric guitar arrangements pioneered by the likes of OMD, Joy Division/New Order and The Magnetic Fields; suffused with Chen's lazy vocals, Vitesse continued to write dreamy, 80's nostalgiac, synthpop songs with the release of Chelsea 27099 in 2000.
2001 saw the release of the "surprisingly long EP", What Can Not Be, But Is..., which was in fact a full-length collection of leftover tracks and covers. In late 2002, the dreamy You Win Again, Gravity! was released.
After this, Vitesse quietly retired to other pursuits. According to the Parasol.com website, what was last known of the pair is the following: "Hewson currently lives in Nashville where he attends Vanderbilt University’s Law School. Josh is settled in Chicago where he writes extensively for the entertainment section of a very funny weekly paper. Don’t expect any live dates soon." Read more on Last.fm
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