The story begins when Canadian-born (Vancouver), Netherlands-reared Carol van Dyk was hired as the live-sound mixer for the celebrated underground band de Artsen (the Doctors). Herman Bunskoeke and Peter Visser were already members, Berend Dubbe was their roadie and the musical side project in which all four friends participated became Bettie Serveert. (Since you ask, the name means "Bettie to serve" after Dutch tennis player Bettie Stöve, who lost the Wimbledon Ladies Final in 1977).
After a false start in 1986 when they dissolved after only one gig, the band reformed in 1991 and quickly caught the ear of Matador, Brinkman and 4AD's Guernica label for whom they kindly agreed to record their first album 'Palomine'. A full year later in January 1995 the band recorded their second album 'Lamprey', which was hailed by Melody Maker as the most tangled, desolate, real life guitar sound of the year.
They toured extensively with the likes of Belly, Dinosaur Jr, Buffalo Tom, Superchunk, Come and Jeff Buckley.
1997 saw the return of Bettie Serveert in fine form with the release of the long awaited third album 'Dust Bunnies'. It was the first time the Betties benefited from the studio guidance of producer Bryce Goggin. It was the first Bettie Serveert disc that was recorded entirely within the United States, at Bearsville studio in scenic Woodstock, New York. In 1998 the group released a live album of Velvet Underground cover versions 'Bettie Serveert plays Venus In Furs and other Velvet Underground songs'. After touring with Wilco & Counting Crows, Berend Dubbe left the band early 1998 and was replaced by Reinier Veldman, former drummer of De Artsen.
In 2000 Bettie Serveert started their own label, Palomine Records.Then, after a period of relative radio silence, Bettie Serveert entered the new millennium with ‘Private Suit’, their first studio album in two years. Produced by John Parish.In 2001, the band decided to take a break. The sabbatical was spent refueling, studying and writing. Peter Visser was a hired gun for a while, Herman Bunskoeke learned to be a cook and Carol released 2 records of 'Americana' songs under the guise of Chitlin' Fooks (a collaboration with Antwerp based songwriter Pascal Deweze).
After a year the band returned with 'Log 22' in March 2003. Their newfound freedom and Peter's 16-track home recorder made for a veritable sonic trip. The CD was recorded in Peter’s living room and at the E-Sound studio in Weesp and was mixed in Belgium. After extensive touring from March until November 2003 in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and USA, they received their first gold record for their CD ‘Palomine’ in the Netherlands. March 2004 they played at SWSX in Austin, Texas and toured the East coast of the USA. On October 9th ’04 their 6th CD ‘Attagirl’ was released in the Benelux, Germany, USA, Canada and Japan. Summer 2006 they celebrated their 15th birthday, releasing a new semi-acoustic CD & their first DVD 'Bare Stripped Naked'. In October ‘09 Peter and Carol did a project with 'In A Cabin With' in Australia. In cooperation with Australian musicians like Russell Hopkinson (You Am I), Matt Wicks, Andrew Morris and Ben Salter (The Gin Club) they recorded an album in Sydney and Byron Bay. The project was called 'ME & STUPID' and was released in Jan 2011.
Between April 6 and 10 2009 the Betties were in the La Chapelle Recording Studios in Belgium, recording a CD with Joppe Molenaar (of the Dutch band Voicst) as their special guest on drums. On their new CD which was called 'Pharmacy of Love', the band finds itself 'back to basic': capturing their raw, contagious energy people have come to know from their many live performances through out the years. On Nov 27th 2009 their Single/EP 'Deny All' was released on iTunes, together with their entire back catalog. Their 9th CD 'Pharmacy of Love' was released on January 11th 2010, followed by a tour in the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Canada & the USA. August 2011 the Betties had their 20th Birthday Party at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, playing the entire ‘Palomine’ cd with Berend Dubbe on drums. In April 2012 they returned to the La Chapelle Studios in Belgium to record an album with Joppe Molenaar on drums. The single/EP 'Had2Byou' was released on Oct 18th ’12 (digital only). Their 10th album 'Oh, Mayhem!' was released on Jan 11th '13.
Their single 'Never Be Over' feat. Prof. Nomad & Co was released (digital only) on January 11th ’16 worldwide through PIAS. On their 25th Birthday, Bettie Serveert released their brand new album ‘Damaged Good’ and the ballad ‘Never Be Over’ was included on their 11th record, followed by an extensive tour in the Netherlands.
‘Damaged Good’ is one of the Betties’ most diverse albums so far, including songs barely 60 sec long up to an 8 min epos and everything in between. It’s a ‘big story’: intense, raw, tender, but mostly passionate and fierce. Some songs will definitely remind people of their classic ‘Palomine’, the debut album that started everything 26 years ago. The album was recorded and mixed with Jesse Beuker, with whom Peter and Carol have worked before on their Australian project 'ME & STUPID’.
The release date of the CD ‘Damaged Good’ was Oct 28th 2016, the LP was out a week later on Nov 4th and it was released digitally worldwide on Palomine Records and PIAS (Distribution). Prior to the album there was a single called ‘Love Sick’ on Oct 14th: a rock-duet with Peter te Bos, the singer of the famous Dutch band Claw Boys Claw. ‘Damaged Good’ was also released on April 22 ’17 as a limited edition pink vinyl LP on Schoolkids Records in North America.
Almost 26 years after starting the band, Bettie Serveert finally met the Dutch tennis player Betty Stöve on April 13 ’18. Her ’70’s tennis instruction books called ‘Betty Serveert’ were the inspiration for their band name.
The Betties are currently working on a new record, which will be released early 2019.