Norwegian guitarist/singer Andreas Stamnes talks about his own blues way and the local blues scene in Norway

"The blues for me is actually quality of living."

Little Andrew: Groove the happy feeling

In 1996, Andreas Stamnes entered the Norwegian blues scene through the legendary Norwegian blues pub Muddys Pub in Spydeberg. Despite his young age of only 16, Andreas quickly made a name for himself as a talented singer and guitarist. During the winter of 1999 he was invited to tour all over Florida with the famous blues master David C. York, better known as Rock Bottom.

Being an American with a thick southern accent, Rock found it hard to pronounce Andreas' name, so he came up with the nickname Little Andrew. Andreas returned to Norway seething with inspiration and energy, and formed a group of his own: Little Andrew & The Blue Masters.
To back him, Little Andrew has picked among the best musicians from the Norwegian blues scene. Pal M. Dahlo on bass, Ronny Aagren on guitar, and Robert Schei on the drums. Known as “The finest blues & rock n´roll band of Norway” Little Andrew and his band are yet again ready to rumble the road. In summer 2007, Little Andrew released his debut album “Rock Back To Bottom” which was well received both in Norway and in the US. Now he is back with the brand new album ”Loadstone”. With Loadstone, Little Andrew wants to show that blues can be more than just traditional blues.
He takes us through an exciting mixture of influences that go way back to where it all began and back forth again. Little Andrew is back on the road, and there is no reason to stay home!

Interview by Michael Limnios

Andreas, when was your first desire to become involved in the blues?
When I was 16 I was lucky enough to get a job at Norways first real blues bar, Muddy`s Pub. I was not old enough to serve alcohol, but I started collecting empty bottles. First I did not understand what the blues was all about. I was listening to grunge rock like Nirvana, Pearl Jam etc and played guitar in a rock band. After some time working there in the weekends there was this incredible moment. I was making vaffels and listening to this Norwegian guy, Vidar Busk, and I got paralyzed. In some way I just got it, liked it and understood the music. Not in way that I could play it, because I think that will take years of experience to really get it under your skin.

What does the BLUES mean to you?

Blues for me is the groove, the feeling, the blue tones and the happy feeling you get inside, even blues can be sad. The blues for me is actually quality of living. I can lose a lot of things in my life, but if I lose the ability to play for an audience and see their happy faces, something will die inside me too.

Who were your first idols, what have been some of your musical influences?
I have been very fortunate to meet a lot of my early idols, Vidar Busk, Knut Reirsrud, Anders Lèwen, Rock Bottom and Kid Ramos. My musical influences have been to many to list, but I have always loved T-Bone Walker, Johnny Guitar Watson, Jimmie Vaughan, Texas and West Coast blues.

What were the first songs you learned & what was the first gig you ever went to?
The first song I learned to play was “Hound Dog”, Elvis Presley version. I played it to my father and asked if he could guess what song I played, but he couldn’t. Haha, but I heard it. The first gig I ever went to was ZZ Top, that`s blues to me. But if we think about blues blues it must have been Sven Zetterberg, The Godfather of blues and soul in Sweden.

Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?
My best moment have to be when me and my band won The Union Blues Cup at Notodden Blues Festival in 2000. That was the starting point for me. I have so much to thank the jury in that competition for! I`ve really don`t had any worst moments, but there is a lot of talking inside the blues society in Norway, and that can bring me down sometimes. Because, I want us all to work together for the blues, not standing on different mountains and look down on each other!

How would you describe your contact to people when you are on stage?
I get in contact with the audience very well. My goal is to get everybody in some way involved with what we are doing, and that happens almost every time. Sometimes it`s harder than others, but that`s how it is.

What are some of the memorable gigs and jams you've had?
The most memorable gigs I`ve had was in Florida with Rock Bottom. He gave me a lot mind blowing moments! The jam I remember the most is the first time I met Kid Ramos. That was a killer jam. He went on stage with me and my band and we had so much fun that night.

What do you think is the main characteristic of you personality that made you a bluesman?
Now that`s a hard one... I guess that is something you just got, the understanding of what the blues is. Everybody can play the blues, but not all can play the blues..

What characterize the sound of Little Andrew?
I try to make songs instead of just playing 3 cords. I can use 3 cords but to change the way they are played. Little Andrew is a mix of rock n roll, rockabilly, country, blues and soul. I call it, blues. The blues is so much. Little Andrew is kick ass entertainment!

How do you describe your band and partners?
I love my band! My bassplayer have been playing with me for seven years now. He`s been thru it all. Some members have left and some got fired. I don`t tolerate shit and want everybody to have their feet on the ground and behave. I also want them to like the blues that we are playing, if not they will play it 80% from the heart, and that`s not good enough. I want 120%!

Would you like to tell something about making this new album? Where are you recording it and with whom are you playing on it?
We record the bass and drums in a studio in the middle of Norway, close to Trondheim. Guitars, harmonica and vocals I do in my own studio. This time I do most of the job myself. Robert Schei is playing drums, Paal Dahlo is playing bass, Daniel Rossing is playing piano and Ronald Ottesen is playing harmonica.

Would you mind telling me your most vivid memory from the studio time?
That will have to be when recording my first album “Rock Back To Bottom” in Notodden at the Juke Joint Studio. When I first arrived in the studio it was so big and it only had analog recording.

Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do think that is?
It`s folk music! It touches something deep inside us that we don`t even knew we had or could feel. I believe that everybody likes the blues, it comes down to what kind of blues it is. It could be AC/DC or Howling Wolf.

Which of historical blues personalities would you like to meet? From whom have you have learned the most secrets about blues music?
I would have spent one day with T-Bone Walker. He has done a lot for the blues and in some way started the electric blues. The most secrets about the blues I`ve learned from friends. They have told me to listen to this, play it like that and so on. But the musician I`ve learned most from when it comes to how to behave, what to play when it have to be Rock Bottom even though he played harmonica.

Were there any “blues” places where you did especially well in Norway?
There is not one special place where I do it better than other places. But, there is places where I feel more “home” like Oslo Blues Society and coming home to Muddy`s Pub.

Why are Europeans so enamored with the blues? Do you have a message for the Greek Blues Fans?
Because we have the best musicians in the world! Musicians in Europe look back to the old days and learn what they did back then. I don`t say everybody in the world don`t do that, but the quality is higher here in Europe and the audience notice that.
My message for the Greek Blues Fans is: I`ll play for a big Greek Salad and a Mythos. Book Little Andrew! hehe

When it all began for the blues in Norway, who is considered the local "godfather" of the blues?
I have to say that Eric Malling has done a lot for blues musicians in Norway. He was the president of the record label Blue Mood Records and gave out all the best blues musicians in Norway from 1996 to mid 2000. And also the late Geir Hovig who worked at the National radio in Norway. There is a lot of local Godfathers thru out Norway, but without every single blues fans there would not be a blues club, band or society. So thank you all for supporting the blues!!

What are the most popular local bands of blues, do the media help the blues? Make an account for current realities of the case of the blues in Norway.
The most popular bands right now are Amund Maarud and Vidar Busk. I do hope Little Andrew also is in that category. The media is not responding a lot for the blues, but things have change since the 90`s. So I guess we just have to work and work and one day blues will “be alright”.
The blues is very alive! A huge crowd with fans compared to how many that lives in Norway. I am very positive for the future of blues in Norway.

Which is the most interesting period in local blues scene and why? What mistake of the Norway blues scene you want to correct?
Those have to be from 1995 to 2005. A lot of good bands came thru and a lot of fantastic American blues artist visited Norway during that time. Some have died, some live today.
The mistake that the blues have done in Norway is mostly from a musicians point of view. We need to work together! Swallow some pride and get together and help out!
And, blues societies should book bands with quality or else we`ll not get any more blues fans. Some blues bands can be terrible…

Do you believes it has the possibility of someone musician to live only with the blues in your country?
For sure, have friends that do so. But, that’s a hard life and with kids, debt and wife that is not an option. You need a steady income to take care of your family. That’s something you Greeks know all to well!!

Do you think that only real blues is something gloomy, played by old grey-haired men with harps and battered guitars in some smokey, dark and little shabby clubs?
Not at all. Blues can be hip and traditional at the same time. If you play it from your heart, people will catch it.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I hope I still do what I do! But, I do hope I`ve taken some more steps into playing in Europe. It`s hard getting gigs down there, but as they say, “A Quitter Never Wins”!

Little Andrew's website

Views: 1020

Comments are closed for this blog post

social media


© 2023   Created by Michael Limnios Blues Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service