From page 83 of Classic Rock Magazine June 2007
Going into and out of Focus.
While he was a member of Dutch proggers Focus, Jan Akkerman was voted the world’s best guitarist by Melody Maker readers in 1973. Now into his 60s and a solo artist since 1976, the virtuoso returns to Britain to play nine dates this month.
Among the artists you’ve worked with are BB King, Alan Price and Ice-T. That last one’s interesting.
It was for a TV show in Holland. I’d done an acoustic album [1999’s Passion ] for Roadrunner Records, and Ice-T was on the same label. Of course, he’s a heavy dude. But I liked his lyrics, so why not? To me they were like a street opera.
After an absence of 20 years, in the past decade you’ve become a regular visitor to the UK.
That’s a fact. I’ve always liked playing for my British fans. They’re unique. Apart from maybe the Japanese, they know more about me than I know myself. And that’s sometimes scary.
Do your concerts include the Focus favourites as well as material from your many solo albums?
Of course. I recently crossed the border in India and was asked whether I had a criminal record. I replied: “Of course. I’ve made loads of them.” And I play them all.
You reunited briefly with Focus during the mid-80s. Might it happen again?
No, no, no. That’s definitely out of the question. I don’t have the same reasons to rejoin them as other people have. And I count myself very, very lucky in that.
How do you feel about the state of progressive music these days? Does the description even apply to you any more?
I never liked that label in the first place. I still don’t. ‘Classic rock’ is even worse.
After 50 years of playing music do you have any ambitions left? Nothing specific, just to play as hard as I can for as long as I can. The mechanics of stardom don’t interest me, but I hope to keep people spellbound with my guitar playing. That’s a challenge in itself, I think.
• Jan Akkerman’s tour ends at Holmfirth Picturedrome on May 12.