Jan and Bouke Doornenbal

The resident nutcase and his keeper.

Art by LusoSkav

Jan Doornenbal (left)

Breed: Stabyhoun
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 270 lbs.
Birthplace: Willemstadt, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
Languages spoken: English, Dutch, West Frisian, smattering of Papiamentu (a Portuguese-derived creole)
Instrument Bass (Palatino VE-550 Electric Upright Bass
Vocal Range Baritone
Age at joining: 26

Jan grew up in the small town of Sint Willibrordus, Curaçao until the age of 7 when his parents moved to Harlingen, Fryslân, the Netherlands, where his brother Bouke and three sisters (Janetje, Beatrix, and Ariane) were born.

His parents wanted him to learn violin, but despite showing promise, he found the double bass to be more to his liking and gave his violin to his younger brother.

When he was 20, his parents announced they were moving to Canada. Although he was free to remain behind, Jan moved with his family, wanting to remain close to Bouke.

When he was 26, a friend of his, Drake Whitesmith, asked if Jan would be interested in joining Drake's band. Jan had listened to some heavy metal but had never dreamed of actually playing any. He pointed out that he played the double bass, not electric bass, but Drake didn't care—their first bassist, Bruce Kellion—had been booted from the band, and Jan was the only bassist Drake knew.

Jan, accompanied by his curious brother, auditioned and joined. When the matter of a band name came up (and the brothers Doornenbal were warned this had been the root of Bruce's dismissal), Jan looked around at the Jewish symbols around the house and suggested Iron Zion. It stuck.

Today, Jan travels with a Palatino VE-550 Electric Upright Bass, both because it's electric and thus can be distorted, also because it's easier to cart around. His vocal range—when he sings—is baritone. He has not written any of the songs Iron Zion performs because his songwriting sucks—and he admits it. He can add finishing touches, though.

The patches he wears on his vest reflect his heritage—they are the flags of the former Netherlands Antillies, Fryslân, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On his back is patch depicting an inverted cross with a pair of keys crossed over it (a symbol of Saint Peter—the inverted cross depicting how Peter was crucified, the keys representing the Keys to Heaven). If anyone calls it the Satanic Cross, that person had better hope the rest of the band will hold Jan back, or their neck is his toilet.

He and Bouke did meet Bruce Kellion at a heavy metal show. By this time, Bruce had gotten involved in Black Metal and made remarks praising the Third Reich, thoroughly pissing off both brothers. When Bouke threatened to rip Bruce's head off, Jan offered to hold Bruce down while Bouke maimed him—speaking in Dutch to drive the point home.

Interestingly, being around the proudly Jewish Craggs (in particular rabbi Eleazar Cragg) has rekindled his own religious beliefs, and he is now a practicing Roman Catholic (thus the Petrine Cross patch). His greatest goal in music is to help write and perform a heavy metal Mass.

Bouke Doornenbal

Breed: Stabyhoun
Birthplace: Harlingen, Fryslân, the Netherlands.
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 160 lbs.
Languages spoken: English, Dutch, West Frisian
Instrument Violin (Bellafina SSE Electric Violin)
Vocal Range Tenor (Actually a countertenor, which means he's able to sing in the alto range)
Age at joining: 18

The Who had Moon the Loon as its resident nutcase, Iron Zion has the gleefully demented Bouke Doornenbal. He grew up being very close to his older brother, almost to the point of annoying Jan. When Jan gave Bouke the violin Jan was expected to learn, the young Stabyhoun took to it quickly, and soon was regularly asking Jan to perform double-bass/violin duets with him.

Bouke was devastated when his parents announced plans to leave for Canada, and insisted he was staying behind with Jan. Jan, however, revealed he had plans of his own: he was going to Canada as well. Harmony was restored.

When Jan was offered a position as bassist, Bouke tagged along. His skill impressed the aging Eleazar Cragg and was admitted to the band. His antics often annoyed the very serious Eleazar Cragg, who often engages him in musical duels to remind him to quit the theatrics and focus on the music, but Bouke continues to be the circus clown that Eleazar accuses him of being.

He plays a Bellafina SSE Electric Violin and sings tenor—when he's not screaming in his very high falsetto.

Perhaps the least religious of the members of Iron Zion, Bouke is the most proud of his ethnicity, usually wearing traditional Dutch clothing on stage, complete with (usually black) klompen (the Dutch wooden shoes). His one deviation is the vest he wears, which has flag patches of Fryslân and the Netherlands. His klompen were involved in an infamous incident where a heckler threw his shoe at Bouke. Bouke kicked off his klomp, caught it, and hurled it back, clipping the heckler in the head. Bouke then demanded his shoe back or he'd throw the other. The klomp was quickly returned to the stage. The most blatant display of his Dutch pride was when he opened a concert by leading Iron Zion in playing Het Wilhelmus—the Dutch national anthem—in honour of King Willem-Alexander ascending the Dutch throne.

Unlike his brother, he often writes music for Iron Zion; for those who love to know the lyrics to the songs, one of his songs is the biggest screw you ever: the infamous Tower of Babel. Bouke came up with the idea of a song with lyrics in all the languages the band members spoke: English, Yiddish (spoken by Sarai, Micah, and Eleazar Cragg), Hebrew (spoken by Micah and Eleazar), Judeao-Spanish (spoken by Drake Whitesmith), Dutch, Frisian, and Papiamentu.

Jan objected to the last one—he had forgotten most of the language from his childhood and didn't think he could sing in it anymore.

Their side project is The Doornenbal Brothers, where they record double bass/violin duets, usually based on Dutch folk tunes.

They have also been members of the Black Iron Orchestra, a full symphony orchestra that plays a blending of baroque and classical music and heavy metal.

After Iron Zion broke up due to Micah Cragg and Drake Whitesmith calling it a day (Iron Zion itself had lasted more than 25 years), Bouke and Jan formed their own folk metal group, the Scions of Orange. David Cragg, younger brother of Micah, was the guitarist.

Associated Acts

The Brothers Doornenbal
Jan and Bouke Doornenbal as a Dutch folk duo. They would keep this going for the rest of their lives.
Koven Of Klowns (Bouke):
When Jan, Micah, and Sarai got the flu while on tour with the Klowns and a number of other bands, Baron von SnickerSlaughter invited Drake, Bouke, and Eleazar to join the Klowns. Even behind the makeup, Bouke's identity was obvious. Drake would later recall, Here's a Klown in traditional Dutch clothes, playing a violin, and greeting the crowd in Frisian. Who do you think it is?
The Scions of Orange
A Dutch Folk Metal band Bouke and Jan formed, with David Cragg on guitar.
Black Iron Orchestra:
They did indeed tour with this Neoclassical metal orchestra, which was one of the few times they played the acoustic versions of their instruments onstage.

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