Thursday, March 09, 2006


(Pic: 1993, "Mainton Studio", Offenbach/Germany)

In 1988 the Army was calling. I am a musician for Christ sake, what am I supposed to do in the hands of the military?

Back in 1988 one simply HAD to go to the army for 18 months or could do some other work, mainly wiping old ladies asses for 30 odd months, so I went to the army.

Stationed in Bad Ems, a good bit away from Frankfurt, I encountered what it means to serve the State. Only that I did not give a shit about the State and so I constantly went into trouble.

It was never severe but I questioned the motives of my superiors pretty much every day, so they made me do all the cleaning and weekend shift. I remember not being home for about 4 weeks or so.

There were great people there, no doubt, but it wasn’t my world and when I realized that this nightmare is reality immediately the incontinence came back. I didn’t sleep well and it didn’t take long before I found myself being a patient on the medical wing.

At first they thought I might fake it but then they were afraid that it could become chronicle. If it was to become a chronicle illness they would have to pay until the end of their days, so they discharged me after only 6 months.

That was sorted.

Shortly before joining the army I had finished my three years apprenticeship as a specialised shop assistant in the electronic department of a well established company based in my hometown Offenbach.

I started to job hop for a while and mainly spent my money on instruments and things to pursue my career. In 1988 my idol Prince was still around and after seeing him perform for the second time @ Frankfurt’s Waldstadion in front of 60.000 people, I remembered to take it more serious. Especially because there was a change in my music in the sense that it had a meaning and I thought I have something to say and to give.

Me and my girlfriend who had become my fiancée moved in together in 1989 and in order to buy the interiors for an otherwise empty apartment we had to get a little credit off the bank.

Still believing in my talent I managed to persuade Petra to buy a drum machine, a synthesizer and a 4-track machine so that I can work on my first CD.

That’s exactly what we did. We did buy furniture as well by the way!

So, in 1989 I started recording some material onto that 4-track machine. The vocals never turned out cool as there were no in-build effects and one could only record onto a regular tape.

I mainly only used the drum machine and the synthesizer and I borrowed a Korg™ M1 and other more sophisticated keyboards off Frank Moesner, the producer and owner of a little studio, who somehow fits into the picture later, as I had the pleasure to work with him for a number of years.

In September 1990 my debut CD: “Digital Dreams – German Groove” came to light and only weeks after sending it out I had an offer to produce with Bernardo Pasbrig, who was on the black list of the German Rock- and Popmusic Association (Deutscher Rockmusikerverband, DRMV) and we never did work together for reasons I won’t discuss.

The “German Groove” failed to impress people because of the fact that it was only a 4-track demo production and while newspapers like the Offenbach Post found it brave and interesting, especially because it had been recorded entirely without using any studio trickery, others, like the DRMV magazine: “Rockmusiker” wrote, that “… this CD is horrible … miles beyond embarrassment... – and very rightly so.

Surprisingly enough, the album managed to climb to # 16 on the DRMV charts, the opening title was used for a short film (a film I was working on during a video editing workshop …) and the same title “3002” was officially used for a Commodore™ C64 computer game called: ”Teldor IV”.

Not so bad at all for an album that was so unpopular. At least everybody within the small music scène of Offenbach seemed to be talking about me and my embarrassing album.

I gained entrance to the Scene Catalogue and I was even asked to sign it for charity. And so I did.

In 1991 I started to re – record some of the songs of the German Groove. “Der Teddybaer” and “Pearl Harbour” for instance.

Frank and a friend of his owned a little Studio in Offenbach and I went there to record some songs. Later that year Frank went on to get his own studio space together while I was re-joining forces with Armin Schwarzfeld, with whom I had played in Spirit of Soul.

1992 was a rocky year. Armin and I were going to form a duo. We called ourselves Exzess and we recorded mainly at Armin´s home studio which consisted of an 8-track direct to tape recording unit and some nice keyboards. I always brought my Commodore Amiga 500 and later Amiga 600™ along as I created my very own sounds with it. Armin´s view of “our” musical future was very different from mine.

He was a huge Depeche Mode – Fan and most of the songs he wrote sounded like a reincarnation of Martin Gore and although his songs were really great I felt this is not the way it should be. In a way we wanted to pay tribute to our heroes but I felt that there should be more of “us”, more of our own style to be heard.

In the end I recorded roughly 40% on the Exzess – Technological Age on my own in Franks studio and it was less of a collaboration than it should have been.

During one of the sessions at Armin´s place I met Franca Pettrich, whose boyfriend lived in the same block. We must have been very loud during the recording sessions otherwise no one would have noticed.

way that he dismissed most of her ideas and he never seemed to be satisfied.

I reckon that he didn’t really like the idea of having a female voice on some of the tracks but did not dare to tell her straight away. I thought that some diversity couldn’t do any harm and I still believe that the opening title “You don’t kill my love” with Franca on the backing vocals is one of the best songs I ever had a part in.

Armin and I took it pretty serious and we even went to a professional photo studio to get the artwork right. My oldest brother Hans – Jürgen or simply “Hacki” who always was creative in his own way used to make face masks out of clay and we asked him if we could use one for our cover.

By the time the MC was finished Armin and me were pretty much finished as a duo. In retrospect it is a pity as I really like the uniqueness of our collaborated efforts. It just wasn’t meant to be.

In April 92 I was diagnosed as a type I diabetic and it took me a good while to feel the ground beneath my feet again. In fact, it effected me so much that it took me ages to adapt to it.

Also in 1992 I got married and my son Kevin was born. All those events were among the reasons why the Exzess MC never got the attention it deserved.

We had a very nice review about the tape but that was about it.

Karsten Roth, who wrote the article for the “Auspuff” magazine, went on to do different things for different bands. He shot the photos for the back side of the CD. I was living in a real bad housing estate and those blocks have huge heating systems in the basement and they really look alien, so we went down there for a photo shoot. (One picture was used for the "Hitech Systems" CD,1994)


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