November 16, 2020

Jac Kreemers, original drummer with Mushroom’s first signing Madder Lake, dies

Jac Kreemers, original drummer with Mushroom’s first signing Madder Lake, dies

Jac Kreemers, the original drummer with Melbourne band Madder Lake, has passed away.

He had been suffering from dementia for some years, living in Ballarat in regional Victoria.

Kreemers died four years to the month after the passing of the band’s singer Mick Fettes.

Jacobus Kreemers was eight when he arrived in Australia with his family from the Netherlands in the 1950s after World War II. The family lived in the country and worked as builders.

But Kreemers had an aptitude for graphic design, and moved to the city to attend Swinburne Institute of Technology (now Swinburne University of Technology).

There he met Fettes, guitarist Brendan Mason, bassist Kerry McKenna and, with keyboard player John McKinnon, formed Madder Lake in 1968.

The band was influenced by the British psychedelia acts as Traffic, Family and King Crimson.

They started to build up crowds drawn to their imaginative playing, and it wasn’t long before a young Michael Gudinski signed them as the first act to his then new Mushroom Records.

Madder Lake’s debut single ‘Goodbye Lollipop’ (about how music’s frothy pop era was over) was released in 1973 and went gold, while ‘12lb Toothbrush’ was also a hit.

Their albums Stillpoint (1973) and Butterfly Farm (1974) went gold, as they became firm festival favourites and also had sales in England and Europe. But tensions with Mushroom and lessening record sales saw lineup changes, and the band went through lengthy periods of hibernation.

It would be 2013 before their third album World would see the light of day, and Kreemers would be part of various reunions.

He worked in an art gallery before moving to Ballarat where he met and married his wife Mari who nursed him through dementia (he also had a quadruple bypass and had a number of strokes), played in the blues bands Out Of The Blue and Into The Black and followed his love for photography with exhibitions.

“It seems fitting now that we should be Into the Black… to spread the awareness (of dementia)”, he told the local paper in a piece on the disease.