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papa beer

Papa Beer [a.k.a. K and Karl, born Karolez de Beear, 1952] is a singer/guitarist that is most known for his work with the band bad medecine. From the formation of the band in 1966 till the ending in 2003, the group made twenty studio records and they played concerts in all continents. Their singles 'bad medecine' and '7' were top 1 hits in more than fifteen countries  in the early seventies and both their record 37 < ZACK > 37 [1978] and three [1990] sold over 20 million copies.

early life
post bad medecine

Early life  

Papa Beer was born in Malay Corner, Tèxord on the 15th of August 1952 and lived there with his parents until his tenth. Of his youth, he said he mostly remembered playing in the streets in his neighbourhood. His mom Nena was born in Tèxord from Surinamer parents. His dad, Tom, was human rights activist born in Cameroon. When he came to Europe in 1946, he’d changed his last name to De Beear. Papa Beer had one younger brother named Tom.

When his parents passed away in 1962, he was told there died in a car crash. He spent the rest of his youth with Yvonne Beeldhouwer. She was Bobby’s aunt and had befriended Papa Beer’s parents in the early sixties. Both boys were orphans and nearly the same age, so they spend a lot of time together. Papa Beer was seprated from his younger brother, who went to an orphanage.

Yvonne had made her living as a journalist for a local newspaper. She had a large collection of American vinyl records which resulted in the young guys’ knowledge of jazz and blues. In the summer of 1967 they played on their two Spanish guitars in the parks of Tèxord and met a lot of people with this.


One of the times Mick Oe was in the park, he went to speak to the guys and invited them for some studio time. This eventually happened in October and as Papa Beer felt as an orphan whilst growing up, he decided not to be credited with his own name, but with the name his mates gave him due to his length: Papa Beer. Four songs were recorded during this first session, but only two were released on their 'popanovic' single.

With Piet de Hond joining the band in 1968, Papa Beer thought more about writing songs instead of playing blues jams and he provoked Bobby to sing as well. Papa Beer wrote about his feelings and didn’t really try to find new forms in his writing. The first electric guitar he bought from the money the band had made by playing live, was a Gibson SG. On the tour in Europe following on their second album, the guys went wild on alcohol & Moroccan hasjiesj.

After the success of their 1969 single ‘bad medecine’, the audiences changed as the group grew more famous and so did the settings of the after-parties. In the sixties, they just hung at the bar where they’d played, but in the US in 1970 and afterwards, the venues had become so massive that the band went out in different areas. Matthew had lead them through the States and when the band arrived back home, they planned their next European tour themselves.

On tour, the band always tried to see some of the city and in the first years this resulted mostly in visiting tourist attractions and art galleries. They always stayed a couple of days in the same city and took a day off to see the town they were staying in. Papa Beer didn’t mind the interviews and neither did Matt. Bello and Bobby kept a little at the back and enjoyed the travels. In the late summer of 1971, Papa Beer met Marte and convinced her to go with them on the tour.  

Following the success of their album famous in 1972, the group started winning awards and whilst on tour, they appeared on all national televisions. When Robijn was born that year, Marte hadn’t been on tour for a couple of months. bad medecine spent nearly a month in India on their way back from Asia and with six trucks and two coaches they drove all the way back through the Middle East. In the meantime, all members of the band had been writing new songs and most of them did not really fit bad medecine.

Bobby was the first who clearly stated he wanted to record his own music and Matt and Gérardo follow. Upon arriving in Tèxord in 1974, the band decided to record one more album before splitting. Contrary to his peers, Papa Beer hadn’t done something on the side so he wasn’t really sure what to do. He hadn’t lived in a house for more than five years either and couldn’t imagine doing so.

He impulsively followed a friend who drove to Morocco in a van and he wanted to discover Africa. He knew his dad’s name and dialect and would like to see if he could travel over there by hitchhiking. However, he stayed for 3 months in Morocco before travelling to Egypt and Kenya and Zambia. Through the Congo he came in Cameroon and found the tribe in which his ancestors had lived. He continued his voyage westwards and flying from Senegal to South Africa.


When he arrived back in Tèxord after more than eighteen months of travels, the first person he saw is his son. Marte welcomed him home and they bought a house in the south of the city. Papa Beer recorded a dozen of songs by himself that he’d written in the sabbatical and asked Bello and Lisa to play parts afterwards.  

Bobby was touring to support his record when this happened and Papa Beer wanted to plan a tour with him on bass but this turned out to be too hard to combine with Bobby’s own tour. There was little support for the double album and Papa Beer begged Bobby to stay. Papa Beer spent a lot of time with his family and his second son was born in the beginning of 1978. Papa Beer calls him Carl and explained that this his original name was on a television interview.

bad medecine's following album 37 < Z A C K > 37 sold a lot of copies and the tour that the band had planned seemed too short. During the tour an extension was planned, but Bobby gave notice to leave. He was gonna be replaced by Lex Demarco. In the end of 1979 they were briefly at home to record “in blue” before they headed the road again.

On the following album, Papa Beer is credited as Karl, no longer wanting to hide his origin. Before the hiatus, the tours had been known for the amounts of parties, drinks and drugs there were around their concerts. There were a lot of rumours about the backstages and the bad medecine trucks. Although the band had grown older, their tours were still surrounded with stories of drug use. Even though Marte and Karl were never married, she had clearly stated they had separated which nourished the rumours.

Because of his outspoken opinions and flamboyant appearance, Papa Beer was regularly invited on television shows. This lead him to playing solo more often than with band, resulting in 'eternal dread', which was produced by his old buddy Piet de Hond.

The music industry had changed a lot in the time since bad medecine had travelled through the big cities of the world in a convoy with fellow hippies. In the late 70s, they were on the road as a trio or quartet with just a few staff and their gear again. They had opportunities to commercialise their music, but stubbornly refused. With exception of festivals, they didn’t play venues bigger than 8000. They all didn’t wanna play in stadia because there was another feeling with the crowd and the equipment was a hassle.

In 1981 bad medecine didn’t schedule a tour but just went where they were asked and crisscrossed over continents. The lack of management made Lex decide to leave and soon after Daan, who’d followed up Gérardo, quit the band as well. It was in the time that bad medecine played a lot of gigs with The Punkers, and the bands later emerged.

Bello wanted to do his film and Papa Beer gave up the band as he had the feeling that he had gotten everything out of it. He had played the blues, experimented with psychedelica, done shorter, poppier and wilder things and, so he told in an interview with radio 3 in 1983, he couldn’t see himself not repeating himself. The interview was to accompany the promotion of the live gig in 1983 that was broadcasted on telly and released as a live album.  


After rehab in the end of 1983, Papa Beer decided to buy a house in Tèxord and reunited with Marte again. In 1984, Papa Beer attended classes at the conservatorium of Tèxord by Nelson James. Marte gave birth to their daughter Kyra. He saw his sons grow up and invested his money in projects in the area where his dad was born and where he was born, next to real estate.  

In 1985 Papa Beer spend three months in Cameroon and began to work on new material for bad medecine. After his stay in Africa, he told his ideas to Bello who was enthusiastic and asked Papa Beer to wait till after the film that was in production at that time. This gave Papa Beer the time to find a bass player and have enough songs to fill an album. Together with Nelson James, Papa Beer found a bass player in Roy Beast, who had played in punk bands.

Together with Bello and James’s trumpet player Nelson they recorded five songs, and as a trio Roy, Bello and Papa Beer recorded the rest of ‘two’ that was released in 1986. The album is a combination of poppy songs & darker experiments. Afterwards, the band went on tour as a trio.

In 1987, they toured for nearly the whole year, before going back to the studio in 1988 to record two records. 'a broken sun' consists of more studio experiments whereas 'broken' consists of songs they planned on playing live. Their gigs were less controversial than before, and next to the new songs, they played a mixture of all their old albums. This to the delight of their fans, as they hadn’t played any pre-hiatus song in the late seventies.

The tour that followed this studio year saw the band tour throughout the globe again, stopping at the bigger festivals in the summer of 1989. On this summer tour, his son Robijn joined the group on stage and stayed as a guitarist with the band.

Then they recorded three which was a massive success an they toured for over two years. The album came in at #2 in the US and remained on #1 for over a month in the Netherlands, Germany, France, UK, US, Australia and Italy. It reached platinum within two months and was seen as bad medecine's best album yet. The tour was planned out bigger than the previous ones, but the band didn't want to overplay themselves so they took enough time off. In the meantime, they released a live album of their recordings over the summer.

In 1993, plans made to go in studio for a follow up tour, but Roy died in a car accident before the demo’s were done. Papa Beer decided to hide from publicity to mourn for his friend and he didn't do any interview for three years.  


To record the new bad medecine album, Papa Beer and Bello asked Robijn’s friend Rafael Vantschildt to join them as a bassist at the end of 1995. He had already helped out Robijn with the compilation album 'four' and done some remixes for that record as well. In the spring of 1996, the quartet went to Wales to record their album ‘the art of coincidence’ with the help of producer David Zhoo.

Following on that, a tour that took them around the globe. Again, their live gigs were set up big and the venues larger than in the early nineties. At the end of 1997, it was clear they hadn't been able to reach all their fans and bad medecine decided to tour for two more years. They dropped a live album plus an ep with new songs, before they took off for their biggest tour called 'last tour of the millennium'.

After the intense and lenghty tour, the band went into the studio for a year again and released two albums, again one focussing on the studio endeavours, 'the otherside of god/child of jesus', and one that contained more live songs, being 'bèbè'. In 2001, the band went on tour once more, playing lots of new songs.

In 2002 'rock and roll' was recorded and after the release, the band announced this tour would be their last one as bad medecine. Papa Beer had turned fifty and felt to old to be on a stage four times a week shouting and rocking his ass off. After the break-up, Papa Beer collaborated with Mick Oe to remaster all existing live and studio albums, which was completed at the end of 2004. Afterwards, they produced the ‘rather big box’ project as a collage of all the live footage, sessions and interviews.

post bad medecine

After the last leg of the tour in 2003, Papa Beer took time off and throughout 2004 he compiled the anthology of bad medecine called 'a rather big box' consisting of fifteen records with live recordings, sessions and outtakes from the band's past.

He went in the studio with Ibrahim Mustafi in 2005 and even joined the live band for a couple of months. Whilst recording, he slowly started making music again with Max Deriddere and Ibrahim Kanem, playing piano himself. They did several live gigs in small bars throughout Texord, where Papa Beer also told old stories while Max & Ibrahim played cool jazz. They used different names of the band because they were afraid they'd be known and the bars would be overcrowded with journalists. After the tour with Ibrahim Mustafi, Papa Beer and Deriddere decided to call their group 'Tuesday Afternoon Trio' and started recording songs in Papa Beer's studio.

In 2007, the band recorded a live gig with Rafael Vantschildt as a fourth member and released it almost immediately as 'Tuesday Afternoon Quartet'. Later that year, the recordings they'd been doing over the course of the previous year were released as 'Tuesday Afternoon Quintet' and in the end of the year Papa Beer released another album, as Karolez. In 2008 the group did an official world tour, visiting big cities abroad for a week but never away from home for over a month.

In the following year, Papa Beer concentrated on developping and building a studio in the Uton neighbourhood in Texord. The neighbourhood recently had changed his face, replacing the old hangars and warehouses into an area with highrise building, creating the new financial and science district. With the architect Paolo Ruaro, who'd already done some buildings, they reserved four/five floorin one of the towers including one floor for a studio and multiple offices and rehearsal rooms on the other floors. The studio was fully functional in the summer of 2013.

Tuesday Afternoon ensemble released live-records in 2010 [as a quartet] and 2012 [as a quintet] and a studio album as a quartet in the new studio, released in 2015. In 2015 Papa Beer moved to London, because he was invited but he didn't state why he exactly went, joking that he was doing a project called 'project x'.


a cufnosed circus

billy navrovski