Coming from Holland, The Tinstars led by singer-guitarist Rick De Bruijn are now rocking the nation and more for almost 20 years. They rocked in Green Bay, bopped at Hemsby, turned Switzerland wild and stormed the Rockabilly Rave. By themselves or when they backed Lil Esther, Ronnie Dawson or Joe Clay to name but a few, they never failed to entertain!
Rick was kind enough to answer some questions for us, thanks to him.
by Fred “Virgil” Turgis
How did you get hooked by the music bug and rock’n’roll in particular?
The Tinstars Well… Some of my older brothers already listened to this kind of music for a long time… The classic Vincent, Cochran, Elvis stuff. And of course the Tielman brothers and my mother had some Marty Robbins, Frankie Laine records as all mothers have and we had radio Caroline. They played this kinda music from day one. I was hooked at it on a very early age.Are the Tinstars your first venture in a band?
No before that I played bass in The Longhorn trio with my nephew Erik and Arnold from the Hillbilly Boogiemen. We even recorded 2 songs for an compilation record.
When and how did the band start?
The Tinstars Me, Tjarco and Peter started the band around 83 as The Tinstar trio you know : 2 guitars and a slap bass.
What were your influences when you started?
The Tinstars As my oldest brother is a huge record collector he quickly came up with this tapes with obscure rockabilly on it (White Label and Redita records stuff) which we start to cover giving it the Tinstar treatment. But I would say Joe Clay and Ronnie Self knocked me out and still do.
And what are you listening today?
The Tinstars Now I listen to a lot of country music. I always did but more often lately. Mainly Lefty frizzel who is my number one hero.
Do you remember a record or a gig that changed your life (well it’s maybe a strong word but you see what I mean, something that made you think “Wow that’s it!!”)
The Tinstars Yes seeing the Blue cats in France in 83 and hearing Don Cavalli putting his soul in some Charlie Feathers songs in France (with 2 Tinstars backing him) made me almost cry! Nobody’s better than the Don. Yeah and the Sundowners (Carl Sonny Leyland) in Slagharen! The Riverside trio too…
That’s a great band, I really like them…
The Tinstars We played with them on Hemsby… Strange guys!
How did you get the name, by the way?
The Tinstars It comes from the movie The Tinstar with Henry Fonda. It’s from 1956 or 57. And the director is the same as High Noon although we didn’t realise it then. When we needed a name i just saw the movie on television! 20 years AGO!! I liked the movie and the name… so… Tinstar trio and later we changed that to the Tinstars!
You even had a trumpet player…
The Tinstars Yay! The trumpet player! We had him to do all the Sonny burgess stuff. He was a roadie. We did that 15 years ago… Good fun! REDHEADED WOMAN…!! Hahaha means a lot more now then 15 years ago..
How did this changes influence your sound and the evolution of the band?
The Tinstars Well I dont think the sound of the band changed that much we are a lot older so we do a little less rolling on the floor! Good thing, it saves me money from the dry cleaner but we still are pretty wild I have to say
Netherlands had a very big rockin’ scene in the late 80’s with a lot of rockabilly, neo-rockabilly, psychobilly bands and labels. How is it today?
The Tinstars Not as big but still very fanatic in a way I didn’t see it changed that much. I think it is similar to France you know? Not as big but sure still there!!
As the Tinstars, you sometime back rockabilly legends. How do you approach that? Do you play the songs note for note or do you try to bring the Tinstars’ touch?
The Tinstars Man we sure did so many to name them, around 16 I guess… We always tried to lift them up to go wild the Tinstar way and we succeed doing it many a times! You should have seen us with Joe Clay!! We used 2 drummers, as on some of his recordings. We were supposed to back up Jimmy Wages but he passed away 3 weeks before the show..
Did you record with some of them?
The Tinstars No only with Ronnie Dawson. As the Tinstars are not very fund of recording studios! hahaha
In the list of artists you backed, who thrilled you the most?
The Tinstars I have to say Joe Clay and Rudy Grayzell. Great guys… We had a lot of fun with these two DUCKTAIL cats.
I’ve seen a clip on youtube of The Tinstars playing with Rip Carson. He seems really wild on stage, is he easy to work with?
The Tinstars Jeff (Rip) is a dear friend that we backed up about 10 times. A nice dude, talented boy, and fun to hang out with. If we can reach him that is hahaha. He is probably shaving his beard off.
Do you have a particular artist you’d love to make a duet with or simply meet him?
The Tinstars Yes..with (again) Don Cavalli. He is my dear buddy and he is the best… at least for me that is. We played with him and when this guy starts singing and strums his guitar. MAN! And I wouldn’t mind to hang out with Jerry Lee to have a drink with!! (or two).
Tell us a bit about your records. I know about an album out as the Tin Star Trio on Rockhouse now reissued on Rarity. Do you have any other recordings?
The Tinstars Uuuhh that album is 20 years old hahaha. We recorded 4 songs for an upcoming E.P “Take me to that place” and we are going to record an album for Empire Records soon but right now we are working on Lil Esthers new c.d. We recorded the songs for that already (with songs from Big Sandy, Don Cavalli and John Lewis on it)
Do you play on vintage equipment?
The Tinstars I’am a collector of that stuff for a long time tube stuff, amps, recorders, mixers, mikes etc. Old instruments too but on stage we use the reissue stuff for the amplifiers. I packed it all up now, but going to use it in the near future for sure.
What are your plans for the future?
The Tinstars To continue what we are doing I guess… and to concentrate on recording more.
A last word?
The Tinstars Thanks for talking to me Fred! I enjoyed it, I really did.
The Tinstars are still going strong and that without a website, myspace or sending this Newsletters out! Never change a winning team(?)