Sunday, September 25, 2022

Two brief interviews regarding the Timelock rerelease of Louise Brooks

The Dutch rock band Timelock has re-released its 1992 debut album, titled Louise Brooks, as a remastered, expanded double CD. I wrote about it in my previous post, which can be found HERE. This new release also features new cover art by Dutch artist Corné Akkers, which is eye catching to say the least.

Louise Brooks [2022 version] features the original album, newly remastered, along with three additional tracks from the early 1990s. As well, one track from the original release, "The Seance," has been fully rerecorded by the current band. The second CD contains a full concert the band performed at Planet Pul in Uden on 10 June 1995. Follow THIS LINK to the album's Bandcamp page, where you can learn more and listen to various tracks including the 6:40 title track from the reissue. Everyone is encouraged to check it out.

A few days ago I sent slightly different sets of questions (via email) to Timelock singer Ruud Stoker and to cover artist Corné Akkers. Both are big fans of Louise Brooks. Both answered in impressively good English, which have been very slightly edited for readability. Here are their responses. First up, Timelock singer Ruud Stoker.

Timelock singer Ruud Stoker (via Facebook)

LBS: When and how did you first come across Louise Brooks?

RUUD STOKER: The first time I was inspired by Louise Brooks was in 1991. We formed the progressive rock band Timelock. I often write songs about little known subjects or persons. I was in a bookshop in The Hague and saw the book LuLu in Hollywood. I had never heard of her but recognized her hairstyle in pictures I had seen. So I bought this book and another book about her written by Barry Paris and that led me to honour this lady in a song we then wrote. I also thought it would be a good idea to name the album after her.

LBS: Is Louise Brooks well known in The Netherlands?

RUUD STOKER: I think she is not well known in The Netherlands. She is known only by those 'insiders' who love movies from the twenties and thirties. But now and then you see women with bobbed hair and I  imagine that is a sort of legacy of hers to the women of today.

LBS: Have you seen many of her films? Or read her book, Lulu in Hollywood?

RUUD STOKER: I read LuLu in Hollywood and the book by Barry Paris. When I got more and more interested in her I saw many trailers or pieces of her movies on YouTube. I have not seen a full length movie of her.

LBS: The band's Facebook page says you have a "soft spot" for Louise Brooks? What does she mean to you?

RUUD STOKER: Louise Brooks is very special to me. I always think she is a sort of mystery. She wasn’t as big as Garbo or other great actresses of her time. But she shines when she appears in the movies she made.

LBS: What led you to name a song and your 1992 album after the actress?

RUUD STOKER:  I think I was inspired by her looks and by the way she moves. You can’t mistake her appearance. It is a shame that her life did not turn out the way she wanted. I think she gave the movie world, and especially the people who saw her movies and fans, something special.

LBS: The original 1992 release of Louise Brooks features a photograph of a young women with bobbed hair who only resembles the actress. Your new re-release features a colorful painting of the actress herself. Why the change?

RUUD STOKER: We wanted to have a real picture of her since it was the 30th anniversary of the CD. And because the song is still mentioned in magazines and played on radio stations, we felt we could not have a women who merely resembles the actress on the front cover.

LBS: How did you find Corné Akkers, the artist who did the cover art?

RUUD STOKER: Thanks to our label FREIA Music we got in touch with a fellow townsman and Louise Brooks admirer, Corné Akkers, a 53 years old artist from The Hague [NL]. Just like us, he is fascinated by the life story of Louise. In the 1920s she was already more modern than many women and behaved and dressed as such. She was always on her own and at one point said goodbye to Hollywood. Corné finds that very inspiring. From an art perspective, Corné likes images from the 1920s and 1930s (art deco). The high level of chiaroscuro (light/dark in art deco) also provides beautiful contrasts for a painting or drawing, which somehow reflects Louise's ambivalent nature. In 2014, Corné made an oil version of a study in pastel of Louise Brooks. Eight years later this painting made it to the cover of the remastered Timelock album Louise Brooks.

LBS: Have you met other fans of Timelock who are also fans of Louise Brooks?

RUUD STOKER: Yes, they know her by name but never saw a movie of hers. The fans have become interested in the mystery of her - her movies and person. Especially when I wrote about her in my lyrics.

LBS: Your 2002 album, Circle of Deception, contains a track titled "Louise Brooks Revisited". Will it also be re-released?

RUUD STOKER: Yes, the re-release will be in spring 2023.

Dutch artist Corné Akkers (via Facebook)

Corné Akkers is a Dutch artist who has been drawing and painting since he was a child. He sites cubism, impressionism and surrealism as some of his many influences. And like Timelock singer Ruud Stoke, Akkers is also a longtime fan of Louise Brooks. His website, which is well worth checking out, contains a few different artworks featuring Louise Brooks. Here are the answers to the questions I sent him via email.

LBS: When and how did you first come across Louise Brooks?

CORNE AKKERS: I have the feeling I have known about her for all my life. It must have been as early as the 1970s when I saw Pandora’s Box as a young child.

LBS: Do you think Louise Brooks is well known in The Netherlands?

CORNE AKKERS: She might have been in the past but you might as well ask young people who Fred and Ginger are. Many won’t know celebrities from the 1920s and 1930s. She has earned herself a cult status though. That’s for sure. Quite a lot of my art students know her and have portrayed her.

LBS: Have you seen many of her films? Or read her book, Lulu in Hollywood?

CORNE AKKERS: Not many but the ones that I saw left an unerasable mark on my memory. I haven't read her book. I want to buy a copy one day.

LBS: What inspired you to paint your portrait of Louise Brooks. When did you paint it?

CORNE AKKERS:  Now, that’s a lengthy story. I will try to keep it concise. I guess readers of your website focus more on her personality, or acting performance. However, as an artist I always focus on visual aspects, such as lighting, composition, etc.... I always have had a preference for art deco and its photographic and cinematic expressions in particular. Back in the day people had a smashing feeling for the use of light and darkness. These hefty tonal variations in movies and photos always remind me to the use of chiaroscuro by Rembrandt, for example. The absence of color in movies might have been responsible for that. I drew Louise before, in black and white. Her portrait in color in 2014 was an attempt to transfer all my knowledge of color into a painting. Next to tonality it also became a study after color balance and saturation gradients. The reason for using this particular portrait for reference (Louise Brooks lovers know which one, of course) is the peculiar raising of her eyebrow. This induces a different facial expression than the right eye lets on. Beautiful duality!

LBS: How did you come to provide the cover art for the Timelock reissue?

CORNE AKKERS: Their management asked me if they could use my oil. They wanted to use a different cover than the original from 1992. So they searched on google and found me.

LBS: Have you made other images of Brooks, or other film stars?

CORNE AKKERS: In fact I have. I made a graphite pencil drawing in the same year (2014), a prestudy in pastel for this oil. Links to these drawings are in the art statement to the oil. I have also drawn and painted other stars, including Mary Pickford and Marilyn Monroe. You can see them here:

LBS: Will prints of the Louise Brooks portrait be for sale?

CORNE AKKERS: Yes they are. Printables and prints are available through the following link: 

This blog is authored by Thomas Gladysz, Director of the Louise Brooks Society ( Original contents copyright © 2022. Further use prohibited.

1 comment:

  1. A bit about the Dutch edition of Loulou in Hollywood


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