Composer, guitarplayer, producer, sonorisator, ...

Born in Diest, Belgium on October 20th, 1950.

In 1964 at the age of 17 and 14 two brothers René and Robert Vlaeyen started their first band, The Playboys. Because rehearsals always took place at their parents’ house The Hillstones, referring to the streetname, seemed a more appropriate name for their band. The Hillstones rehearsed in the living-room where Robert’s bass guitar was connected to mom and dad’s radio. René was the singer of the band and in charge of the rhythm guitar. Jean-Pierre Coomans played the drums and Ronnie Collin solo guitar. Later on singer Karel Waterschoot and drum player André Smolders joined the group.

The name of the band changed into The Bats and Robert played the solo guitar. A new bass player Hilaire Poortmans, who gained a lot of experience with The Vulcans in Diest, joined the group. The Bats gained popularity and the band was asked to perform in places far beyond their region. The Antwerp manager Guy De Muyer was impressed by their original sound and decided to record a first song. Thanks to producer Roland Verloven and publisher Hans Kusters "Miss Chatter" was quite a success. Music and lyrics by Robert and René. Because of "Miss Chatter" The Bats were asked to perform on TV for the first time. At that time Robert studied music and classical guitar at the Antwerp conservatory. Based on Robert’s music, many songs followed including Daddy Don’t Go, Mistery Lady and Silly Sally (lyrics by Els Vandenabeele). At that time Robert was a popular studio musician who was often asked as guitar player for albums of various artists. Together with René, Sylvain Van Holme and Robert the band searched for top musicians.

A few months later Octopus was born. The members of the band Robert, Jean-Pierre Onraedt, Nick Roland and Koen De Bruyne were searching for a lead singer. Ambitions were high and therefore leading man René advertised in the English magazine "Melody Maker". Steve Davies was selected from five singers who came to audition in Belgium. Despite the international character of the group, rehearsals were still held in their home town Bekkevoort. At that time father Vlaeyen and the musicians built a wooden shed which created the right atmosphere to rehearse. Because their first song Hey na na failed, a few of the members quit the band. Robert, René and Steve however were not discouraged and through Steve Phil Francis from England was asked to play the bass. On top of that he proved to be a talented singer. Gerard Opdebeeck (The Bats) came back to play the drums. With these group members Octopus produced several solid rock songs, however no big successes. Through Gerard Paul Michiels joined the band, but the songs did not find their way to the public. In order to survive Octopus performed a lot at army bases. That way the band was very popular with the American soldiers at the basis of Shape in Mons.

Through King the band met Sylvain Tack, manager of Suzy waffles, but also the owner of Gnome studio’s. He caused a turning in Octopus’ music. The band had their doubts about recording the song "I’m So In Love With You" which Sylvain proposed. The style was totally different from their other songs and in fact they did not like this kind of music. When they finally decided to record the song it was a huge success. Top 3 in The Netherlands, top 5 in Belgium. I’m So In Love With You was followed by another hit song "My Special Angel" and became in one week’s time a top five song in both Belgium and The Netherlands. During these glorious days the group performed throughout Belgium and The Netherlands and their tours for the Belgian soldiers in Germany were time after time a big success. Moreover Octopus was also often asked to be the supporting act at concerts of several international top bands. Meanwhile Steve quit the band and was replaced by another Englishman Brian Johnson. With producer Alan Blakely (founder and singer/guitar player of the legendary Tremeloes) Octopus released the beautiful album "Oldies but Goldies". Still today some of the tracks on the album are played on the radio. Especially "South Of The Border" and "September In The Rain" are popular with the radio stations.

Afterwards Brian also quit the band and Octopus continued to perform with four members (Paul, Phil, Gerard and Robert). They worked very hard on a new album which only contained self-made compositions. Pierre Beckers and Peter Muspers were approached to produce this album. This partnership was a success and one month later the album Tonight was ready. "Tonight" was very much praised by professionals, but did not find its way to the general public.

At the beginning of the eighties, after innumerable hit songs and various stage performances, Octopus quit playing and Robert mainly started concentrating on studio work. He got interested in image music and ended up composing music and sounds for several Belgian television series and films.
Today Robert has his own home studio where he records his acoustic and electric guitars.