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Stuart 'Pinkie' Bates

Stuart Bates (born 19th September 1967) was The Divine Comedy’s organ player from 1995 to 2001.

He first began as a Chorister at Canterbury Cathedral, then he learnt the piano and the trombone, he then studied at the Lancing College, the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College. In the meant time he also studed law at Bournemouth and at the College of Law, he was actually working as a merchant banker in the City [1] before he was introduced in the band. It is said he was actually Joby Talbot’s flatmate at the time when Neil Hannon was looking for musicians to form a new band, at the end of 1994. He first played in The Divine Comedy in Paris along with another new recruit, Bryan Mills.

Although he was mainly playing Hammond organ on tour, he also played trombone on the albums and during the Regeneration tour. He also learnt the accordion and played the instrument quite often at the time of Fin De Siècle.

His nickname ‘Pinkie’ was given by The Divine Comedy’s tour manager, indeed according to one of his family member “he got this name at a gig. He was wearing a bright red t-shirt and everyone else was wearing pale colours. With the stage lights the shirt looked pink. They had a new manager at that time and when they came off stage he called out to Stuart ‘Oy Pinkie’.” [2]

He left The Divine Comedy when the band split in 2001. However, as a massive Bowie fan [3] he reunited with the band when they supported David Bowie at the Move festival in 2002. He then played as a freelance musician for various artists, including Elvis DaCosta’s Full Hundread or Katy Carr. In 2003, he launched with Rob Farrer, Remix, a coaching service company for young musicians and students. He is now a music teacher at Parmiter’s School.

[1] Official DC biography, 1999
[2] MusicOMH
[3] Les Inrockuptibles 27/02/2001