The Foreign Correspondent – Stories About German Rock Music # 1

Dirk from over at Sexy Loser wrote a very good post about German bands that he watched live, that might not known outside Germany. So I take this post to start a new series about German bands from the past until nowadays. I don’t have a final criterion for selecting the bands I will write about. Not only bands singing in German language but  also bands who did it in English language or only instrumentals. So be ready to be surprised what’s coming up, listen and maybe give a comment.

I will start with a band that formed in 1979 in Düsseldorf and Wuppertal when the ideas of punk and New Wave arrived from Great Britain in Germany. The main idea was that everybody is able to form and practice a band – following the three-chord rule: do it yourself. Most members played together in a local band from Düsseldorf called Mittagspause. They sounded a little bit of monotone but what’s made them famous was their singer Peter Hein. Nobody else had this emotional voice in bands that raised up in the late 1970s/early 18980s.

Fehlfarben origin sound was very influenced by ska music – but they get rid of it after signing a contract with EMI. From this on they were outlawed of the local scene and they were called the betrayer of the punk movement. Their first record was released in  1980 called ‘Monarchie und Alltag’ (monarchy and all day life) and a monster of album. This was the first successful record from a German band singing in their native language. Although most of the songs were very punk-styled they got big success with their single ‘Es geht voran’ even it was untypical for their sound, because the song based on a Chic-like funky riff.

All of the songs were written by the band exept ‘Militürk’ – a cover version of a song by Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF). This is another story to be told along the series. Over the years this record ist still worth to listen again and a lot of songs like ‘Paul ist tot’, ‘Grauschleier’, ‘Das sind Geschichten’ und ‘Das war vor Jahren’ are still one of my favorites in German music. Saw them once life in a small, sweaty and full smoked club in Stuttgart and it was amazing what power they had.

After the release lead singer Peter Hein left the band to look out for a regular job with a steady income. The band released two more regular records in which the changed their punky roots to some kind of funky tunes but also with German lyrics. The band had a few revivals over the years with changing personal and is still on tour.

Fehlfarben – Militürk
Fehlfarben – Ein Jahr (Es geht voran)
Fehlfarben – Paul ist tot
Fehlfarben – Grauschleier


7 thoughts on “The Foreign Correspondent – Stories About German Rock Music # 1

  1. Great idea, Walter, and Fehlfarben surely is a perfect start. Already looking out for what comes next!

    Some nice reading here:

    about Franz Bielmeier's Rondo-label, the site is not really up to date, but the archives are interesting nevertheless …

  2. The Fehlfarben of “Glut & Asche” screams for a reading on their own. Completely different than the category defining “Monarchie & Alltag” album but nevertheless a masterpiece on its own. It's really hard to find a band that delivers two brilliant albums like the above mentioned but sound so diverging. I can't really decide which of them I love more (but if I had to decide my choice would be G&A).
    Still surprises my today that Blumfeld matches this scenario with “Ich Maschine” and “Old Nobody”. Both for my brilliant records. Sure soon to be read in your blog 😉

  3. Hi Martin, the record with the lasting effect is surely G&A but Fehlfarben's first record featured me a very new sound. That they took the chance to evolute their is very good. I like to listen to G&A a lot of times in the last years. And be sure – you'll read something about Blumfeld right here.

  4. Walter: after this post I read Teipel's 'Verschwende Deine Jugend' again (for the third time now, I think) and I found out that I only know a few of the songs that are mentioned in the book. I'm sure they are more or less easily to track down, so perhaps I will do a few posts in the near future about German Punk & New Wave as well to educate myself a bit: hope you aren't offended, because you basically had the same idea before. Perhaps our posts will turn out into a 'Battle of the Blogs” in one form or another (an idea I've always been fond of, I must admit), who knows? I'm sure others would love to participate as well, would be interesting how they define “good German music” …

    What do you think?

  5. Dirk, I don't mind at all if you take the topic from your point of view. I would be delighted if we could make this issue together something larger. Looking forward to our 'Battle of the Blogs' and think tonight I will grab out 'Verschwende Deine Jugend' again to get some inspirations;-))

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