Arno Hintjens is a unique figure. A blend between a playboy and a hobo, a truly
cosmopolitan nature and a true rock'n roll heart. Or, as Oor's Music Encyclopedia
puts it "one of the few groundbreaking artists of the European continent
by the unique way in which he manages to combine elements of American Blues and
funk, French chanson and Belgian barroom-songs into his own personal style".
He stutters when he speaks, never when he sings, and has a unique way with words,
no matter from which language they come from.
Before going solo under the name Arno, he played in the important groups
Tjens Couter and TC Matic
(formed when Jean-Marie Aerts joined the group). Also after the split of TC Matic,
the tandem Jean-Marie Aerts-Arno stayed intact. On the first solo album of Arno
(entitled "Arno") even Serge Feys and Rudy Cloet of the former group
play a part. As is pointed out in "Big in Belgium" : "the artist
Arno & Friends enjoyed a wider popularity than the group Arno & Friendsever did".
The second album "Charlatan" is received less well by the press,
but still sells very good (for Belgian standards) : 50.000 copies worldwide. TC
Matic's legacy is less obvious. More tango, accordion, more Brel.
In 1991 Arno also played a major part in the group Charles
et les Lulus, a project with Arno, Roland Vancampenhout,
Ad Cominotto and Piet Jorens. This was a very important step in his career, so
it turned out to be later. Or as Arno said it later "I was stuck, I needed
to get back to my roots urgently."
Also in 1991, his French girlfriend, Marie-Laure Béraud,
recorded a very good album, with the help of most of the Lulus.
On his 1993 album "Idiots savants" he works together with Jean-Marie
for the last time. This record, which was recorded in Nashville and produced by
Glenn Rosenstein, is generally considered his best record. Or as Humo put it "For
the moment this is the culminating point in the life and work of Arno Hintjens
and probably one of the first CD's that builds a bridge to the 21st century."
With every album Arno becomes more successful : the incredible Adamo-cover
"Les Filles du bord de mer" has Belgium and France waltzing (joint-joint-joint).
1994 sees the surprise breakup of the idyllic marriage between Arno and his
lifelong companion Jean-Marie Aerts. As Humo wrote in it's news section in 1994
: "Everything crumbles, nothing lasts. Arno & Jean-Marie, a bond
that seemed as durable as Smith & Wesson's, don't get along anymore. As is
the case with most bloodbrothers, the cause for this split is so trivial it becomes
almost funny : Jean-Marie supposedly plays too loud!." It didn't take
Arno long to find a new partner : Geoffrey Burton (see Pieter-Jan
Arno also aspires a career in film, first as a soundtrack-composer, then also
in the footsteps of Jacques Brel (of whom he has recorded
"Le bon dieu") as an actor.
1999 will become another Arno-year however : in August he'll release a CD "Le
European Cowboy" in two languages at the same time.
In March 2000, Arno did a contribution to the "Glittering
2000" project, on which belgian bands covered songs from the glamrock
era, by doing a version of David Bowie & Mott The Hoople's "All the youn
dudes". Around the year's end, he came in the news with a very well succeeded
benefit for Amnesty International in the Ancienne Belgique (with the help of the
likes of Tom Barman, Axelle Red, Reggie van Indeep ...), and because two compilations
were released at about the same moment: "Compil Complèt"
with anumber of outtakes, live-takes and demo's from the TC Matic period, en "Le
Best Of" with the singles of his solo-period and with as a bonus a duet
with Stephan Eicher (Swiss singer that was once half of Grauzone and later steered
chanson in new directions), a cover of the Melanie song "What have they done
to my song" as"Ils ont changé ma chanson".
Buy CD's of this artist
- Arno (Virgin, 1986)
- Charlatan (Virgin, 1988)
- Ratata (Virgin, 1990)
- Idiots savants (Virgin, 1993)
- A la franšaise (Delabel 1995)
- Water (labeled as Arno & The Subrovnicks) (Delabel, 1995)
- Le European Cowboy / A Poil Commercial (Delabel, 1999) Compilaties :
- Tracks from the story (Virgin, 1992)
- Le Best of (Virgin/Delabel, 2000)
- review + more about "Le European Cowboy"
- as I mentioned in the beginning : there is a exhaustive on Arno : the
Arno WWW pages. You can even listen to the entire albums over there. A must
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