Who is Stanley Brinks?
By Steffen Armstrong
There are a few great people, musicians, artists who fly under the radar but are nevertheless blindly followed by their fans. Some people call it the cult artist phenomenon. If that's the case, then we are in the cult of Brinks. But who is this mysterious Stanley Brinks who has been gracing the world of music for decades, releasing hundreds of albums in the process?
As all artistic greats, Brinks is a man of many names and aliases. André Herman Düne, also known affectionately in German terms as Schatzi, formerly of the French Folk band Herman Dune, is now Stanley Brinks...and after discovering his recent collaborations with the tremendous Wave Pictures, Third Outing found it a necessity to find out more about this great man and his music.
But that's easier said than done when the man in question has such a large and complicated back-catalogue. Throughout the years Brinks, in some form or other, has released hundreds of albums. Most commonly Brinks is found as a consistent and highly revered player in the world of folk music. But it is his latest releases which have especially caught our eye here at Third Outing, and so we point to the fantastic My Ass LP with The Wave Pictures, the February 2016 release Strikes, and finally the soon to be released Tutle Dove with The Kaniks, via Fika Recordings.
Each of these releases are deserving of an article in their own right, but it pays to note what ties them all together. Despite Brinks' talent, his copious collaborations with great artists from all over the world, the sheer amount of venues he has played and the people he has performed for, Brinks' music is down to earth. It's so natural, plays effortlessly, painting in melody, and insightful to his world. This down to earth character is epitomised by Brinks' greatest trait; his soft turn of phrase.
It's heard on the My Ass LP with his odes to Brighton and Wakefield, it elaborates further in Strikes with his Polka-style stride bass Goodnight Bassington and I'll Never See You Again, and seems to be concluding beautifully with his up and coming release Turtle Dove, which is available early in May, with the meandering pre-release EP Too Much Women - For The Road.
Not enough can be said about this music and the effect it has on the listener. Maybe it's because of this distinct feeling Brinks creates when you hear his music. Maybe it's because you just know that this is a real musician's musician. Either way, it's time to answer our question who is Stanley Brinks? We conclude with a very special interview with the man himself; this is Stanley Brinks...
First of all. What do we call you? Stanley? Andre? So may aliases and so many bands you play with...
A lot of old friends still call me Andre or Schatzi, and that's ok; but I like Stan better. In fact I like the name so much I don't use any other names any more.
We've read up on your story. Born in Paris, lived in NYC, Berlin, recorded hundreds of albums, played with incredible artists and in some of the coolest venues in the world. Yet the music is so down to earth. You have a song about Wakefield, for example...
Travelling and meeting people will not make you lose touch with reality. I'll say this: the street is my favourite place to be, and has always been. Lots of people and goings-on. Also I like a cigarette with my drink, so in the UK I don't even have a choice. I usually travel by train, so I get to walk a lot. I've spent some time in Wakefield and Leeds, I like those towns. I like a lot of other towns too, come to think about it.
What is it like to travel with Stanley Brinks on tour? There's the story that The Wave Pictures tour was so had so much energy, the day you were already back in the studio recording My Ass...
Travelling with me is probably OK, I wouldn't know. You need good shoes.The Wave Pictures drive most of the time, so it's a bit less streets and more parking lots. They are a lot of fun. They like to stop and check out all the railway museums on the road. They enjoy playing music too, which is a rare thing among professionals. Great musicianship, great company. Recording after touring was very good, I imagine we kept a lot of - if not only - first takes, 'cause everybody had played the songs at least once before. So it went fast, and fast is fun.
We discovered you after that very LP. My Camel is our stand out track. So haunting, so driving, especially with that incredible introduction "join the party if you're feeling lonely". It reminds us of an old economics teacher who does a great impression of William Hague...
Who's William Hague? I first thought My Camel would make a good 7" next to My Ass, but then it made even more sense to me to use it as the first track. I'm glad you seem to think that was a good choice. I'm also very fond of playing the penny-whistle. The recording was a party, so the first words make sense that way. I don't remember right now exactly what songs are on My Ass, but I think they're all quite cheerful, right?