The Foreign Correspondent – Stories About German Rock Music # 17

Konstantin Wecker is a musician, singer-songwriter, composer, actor and author. Born in Munich shortly after World War II and started to play instruments before he was ten years old. He became well known in Germany by his political activities in the early 70s peace movement. In this time he wrote his ballad Willy a deduction with the 68s generation and the topical states in Bavaria. This song got me shiver when I first listen to it. And still the hairs on my arms will stand up by listening to this song again. This song is a cult-classical for those people in my age who done some political activities.

Later he was hardly addicted to the hip Munich in-crowd and also to Cocain. Getting rid of it he started a collaboration with famous German jazz musicians like Wolfgang Dauner and Charlie Mariano.

Because this song is sung in the Bavarian dialect which also many Germans can not understand completely, I have tried to translate the text basically.

Willy my God , now that I see you lying there , so far away behind the glass , just two lives far away, I think that it has to come this way. I think you have it done by design , Willy .

It started all 68, do you remember: we are all two run there for freedom and peace, with big eyes and we have called: people stop staring , come down and get in line with us! And you were already up just a bit more than we are, getting a little wilder and a little more honest.

We want to show it to everyone, Willy, and you said at that time: freedom, Wecker, freedom is not being afraid of nothing and no one. But we’re honest, we already had a sinking feeling, because those opportunists who are just run there, because things just because of the Sunday afternoon-revolutionaries: You hit your girlfiend if she looks another guy during you get angry about the middle-class morality. The same ones that are now completely silent , because otherwise they have to fear reprisals. And you’ve already said at the time: I cannot stand this for a long time because there is too much fashion in it. When the whole crowd already exchanged their Porsche against a small car, something is wrong in the great revolution. Because run along without thinking can not be good – not even for a good cause .

Yesterday they killed Willy and today he is buried .

Then you started with drinking and I believe that you have also given up a little bit. I understand you, if you consider consider what has become of the great fighters. Today they already think yes with 17 on their old-age rent. Nevertheles , Willy, you have to fight until you drop, even if the whole world was open to the ass, or just because .

And at some point you start to look for the real people. Those who do not always say ‘yes sir ‘. Back in the pubs around the Viktualienmarkt in Munich and at railway station corner. They are real Willy, but I warn you: they are already real ut they are beaten and downtrodden . And who is getting beaten and kicked, Willy, he sometimes strike back. But you said that you have no fear and nobody does anything to you. You silly dog – now you see that nobody does anything .

Damn, Willy! If we had been yesterday  on the moon or on the Amazon River in a dugout or alone on a hilltop, three steps away from the sky, everywhere not just in this unfortunate pub.

I have said in the morning, come let us go out , the weather is so clear and the mountains seem so close. Let’s just make a day of blue. Like the time in school. You were a little drunk in the morning and in the evening you had once again need to show what kind of guy you are .

In the beginning it was quite cozy. We warmed up the old stories again, who has time flirting with the teacher’s wife. It was so beautiful and sentimental until this idiot came to our table. With his simple-minded face, small, spongy and brown. And then he asked us if we were in the army. Well, we have found quite amusing. And that he is so happy now everything is okay and stop off in the socialist government. And the youth is always reasonable, and in Bavaria they always know where to go .

Willy , I just knew you were not long standing that and then he started to sing a song of Horst Wessel and the other at the pub have hummed softly. And your head is swollen and suddenly you’re jumped up and you shouted: Shut Up, fascist !

It was quiet – it has crackled . The air was like a wall – to hold . At this time we could have been gone, Willy. But no, I can not even understand you had to stay. And then it went to the other table started: Just go to Russia you communist. Of course, there has to spin it when it’s that time again . But anyway, let’s go I said. Who harms already The old idiot harms no one . Nothing you said. All harm us. The old and the young idiots. And then a young one cuts off his glass on the next table, quietly stood up and approached you. Willy, you stupid dog. I have you packed your jacket and wanted to pull you out but you’ve torn off and called you  freedom , that is, have no fear of anything or anyone. You are on to him and then he struck.

Willy . we would but only somewhere this early morning. I still need you very much. We all need someone such as you have been .

Yesterday it they have slain the Willy and today he is buried .

This is a stripped version of this song. Just the singer and his piano but it shows us how intensive it is.

"In The End It Took Me A Dictionary To Find Out The Meaning Of ‘Unrequited’ …"

One of the few German followers on my blog, Dirk from Sexyloser, posted a contribution (seldom enough but when then with high quality) that made me smile and my thoughts drifted back into the my very younger days. It depends to the nature of menkind all negative experiences they were made to fade out and to store in the very back corner of the brain. It is like a hidden chamber you normally don’t want to enter. But sometimes like in this case you get your key and open this chamber.

While reading Dirks post I also had to think back to the time when I came to the puberty. It was the time in which one wanted (you know what I mean) and still had no plan to get it. Of course there were some guys they knew how to get it but it was impossible to copy them. Either they were better in sports or they looked much smarter (that’s exactly what The Jam described in David Watts). Anyway, you had to go your own way and check out what makes you unique.

Okay, now back to my story: It was at the time when I started my education. Beside the real education in the company we had to visit for the theoretical education twice a week the trade school. One of my deficiencies at that time was, that I mostly have come too late to appointments. As usual I came also too late to the first teaching hour in trade school. There was only one free seat in the first row. So I sat down and I introduced me to the girl beside me. As far as I can remember her name was Doris. She was a pretty girl with shoulder-length brown hair and blue-green eyes. In the course of the next weeks we have made friends and have also arranged to meet several times. In the times before mobile phones and computers we sent us some letters and of course I made some tapes for her. Although she gave me with her smile some hope but it happened nothing more than some shy kisses. If I forced my intentions I always get stopped and don’t know why. I got no explanation from her to my questions. I got the explanation a few days later when I saw her holding hands with another guy. That’s a lesson I learned: don’t have too much expectations into your aims. Of course I changed the seat in trade school.

I also didn’t see her again after finishing my education. And I also don’t know what happened to the tapes I made for her (and others). Presumably they were already thrown in the garbage but if not I would like to know if these persons will still listen to it.

Billy Bragg made a song in which he chanted exactly about these experiences.

Billy Bragg – Walk Away Renee

She said it was just a figment of speech

And I said, “You mean figure?”

And she said, “No, figment”


Because she could never imagine it happening

But it did.


When we first met I played the shy boy

And when she spoke to me for the first time


My nose began to bleed

She guessed the rest


The next day we went on a bus ride to the ferry

And when nobody came to collect our fares


Well, I knew then this was something special

I couldn’t stop thinking about her

And every time I switched on the radio

There was somebody else singing a song about the two of us


It was just like being on a fast ride at the funfair

The sort you wanna get off because it?s scary


And then as soon as you?re off

You wanna get straight back on again


But our love is strange

And you have to take the crunchy with the smooth I s’pose


She began going out with Mr Potato Head

It was when I saw her in the car park

With his coat around her shoulders that I realized

I went home and thought about the two of them together

Until the bath water went cold around me


I thought about her eyes and the curve of her breasts

And about the point where their bodies met


I confronted her about it.

I said, “I?m the most illegible bachelor in town.”

And she said, “Yea, that’s why I can never understand

Any of those silly letters you send me.”


And then one day it happened

She cut ‘er hair and I stopped lovin’ ‘er

Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014

Yesterday Pete Seeger died at the age of 94. Not that I was a great fan of his music or folk music at all I felt a little sad about the news. I connect his songs with the times of the protest and peace movements. Not that his well known songs are very political I paid respect to his political statements. He has been a member of a Communist Party and was blacklisted during the McCarthy era so that his song could not be played over the radio stations. He had to play in clubs and churches instead. He was also in the American Civil Right movement in the 60s. One of his finest songs is for sure Where have all the flowers gone that was recorded by many artists in many languages. I don’t have any record from Pete Seeger so here is a version by the great Marlene Dietrich.

RIP

Marlene Dietrich – Sag mir wo die Blumen sind

Twanging Tuesday # 13

The Devil’s Daughters are Mysti Moon and Lisa Mortensen, two damsels that are not in distress. The two provide devilish harmonies over their brand of red-hot, americana rockabilly. I don’t know more about the band as the fact that they were located in Arizona. I found this video last weekend and I thought it would fit perfect to this series.

Enjoy

Kiss With A Fist

This song came by shuffle on my mobile phone a few days ago. I think I posted it a few month ago but it is worth to do it again. Florence + the Machine was founded by Florence Welsh in 2007. They combine influences of Indie, Folk, Rock and a little bit of Soul in a superb sound. The songs are carried by the voice of Florence. I like this song for its stomping rhythm, the straight guitars and the way it was sung. Hope you enjoy it as well and have a good week.

Florence + the Machine – Kiss With a Fist

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

I started this Sunday as usual with a good coffee and toast with jam and checking out the newest posts on my blogroll. Over at the fantastic Bagging Area Swiss Adam couldn’t decide which clip he should favor by Small Faces ‘All or Nothing’. I would chose the live one because it shows what the Small Faces are famous for – mod inspired rhythm and blues (what was called beat music these days) and the fantastic voice of Steve Marriot. As I watched the live video I thought I’ve seen it before. And yes, I found it. This clip was a part of a 12 minute live appearance from the Small Faces. Here’s the full version:

It was taken from a variety show on German TV called Beat Club. With this broadcasting the German television has walked on absolute new territory at his time , while they rock and pop bands from Great Britain and Overseas have introduced. Most of them played live and it was a monthly highlight when it was broadcast. I remember how we had to fight to watch it, because it was it was broadcast on Saturday at tea time when my parents wanted to relax and I wanted to watch all these bands. Everyone of them shook their heads telling us what kind of shitty music this is and how strange the artists look and dress. And I knew from my friends that they had to fight the same way.

And here is a song the I always listen with great joy:

Have a relaxed Sunday!

40 Records In 40 Years (25/40 – 1998)

In 1998 was one year which had a basic incision in my life. As I have already indicated in the last post of this series, a final decision has liked. Me and Kerstin decided to go separate ways.We didn’t made it easy to decide but I didn’t want to move away from my native country to follow my wife to hers. She got more and more homesick to her family and the way of living. It isn’t that Cologne was more attractive but she missed the Rhenish way of life so much. It was decisive also that our daughter should be sent to school and we both agreed that it better to make a cut right now than to deliver it on the back of our children. I remember when we sat together for evenings talking about all our options, drinking and having tears in each other eyes. And finally we have separated in friendship and love to allow it to everybody to start a new happy and contented life. The hardest thing was to explain it to the kids because in their age they cannot understand the reasons for separating. Although I have mourned about the loss of the children of the deepest heart, we both had to tell them about a new nice world in which they will live in future. So we packed the things together and moved them to their parents house in spring. I started to sell the house and found me a nice apartment in my hometown and contacted people I haven’t seen for long years. Suddenly I recognized that I was back in my older life as a free man with less responsibility, however, also more desire in the life.

In this time I spent a lot of time listening to my old records and looking for the new ones that was released this year.

  • Air – Moon Safari: Superb record made in France
  • The Notwist – Shrink: German arty new rock music
  • Massive Attack – Mezzanine: Another fantastic record
  • Tortoise – TNT: Even their second record is great
  • Two Lone Swordsmen – Stay Down: First time I recognized the great Andrew Weatherall
  • Madonna – Ray Of Light: Maybe her last good record
  • Boards Of Canada – Music Has The Right To Children: New great sounds from Scotland 
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Carry On: A compilation of great songs and voices
  • Robbie Williams – I’ve Been Expecting You: Perfect pop – nothing more or less

A few well known songs that I listen to this year:

Here are some movies that are worth to remember:

  • Saving Private Ryan: Steven Spielberg shows us the real World War II
  • Life Is Beautiful: It is hard to explain a KZ as a playground to your son
  • American History X: Shocking that this could happen in the United States
  • The Big Lebowski: One of my favorite movies. No one is cooler than The Dude
  • The Celebration: Wonderful Drama about lifelong lies
  • Run Lola Run: Every Story has three sides. Fantastic!
  • The Truman Show: Are we real or are we in a show?

Somethings that happened in the world:

More massacres in Algeria // Suharto resigns after 32 years as President of Indonesia // India and Pakistan testing nuclear weapons // The second Congo war begins – 3.900.000 people are killed until it ends in 2003 // Hugo Chavez is elected as President of Venezuela // Pol Pot dies in Cambodia // Marc Dutroux a Belgian child abuser and child murder escapes from prison // The era Kohl ends in Germany after 16 year; Gerhard Schröder is elected to the new chancellor // France is the new FIFA World Cup champion // Kaiserslautern becomes as the first promoted team this years champion in the German Bundesliga

“Make my nipples hard, let’s go”! This input sentence of Danielle Brisebois directly with the entrance in the CD describes what happens while hearing this CD: Creeps! And if we are honest: When did we have the last time creeps while hearing music?? That’s what I thought when I first listened to this record. Gregg Alexander was the leading figure behind The New Radicals. Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too is one of these records walking on the narrow burr between perfect pop music and pure kitsch. What it makes it worth to listen are his screaming song, the crashing guitars, these catchy, almost in a kitschy way mainstream to seeming ones. This album contains cool good mood wrecks directly beside soulful ballads of this decade. I think it was the right record at the right time this year. After all I have to say that this record is a very underrated diamond in this genre.

The New Radicals – Someday We’ll Know
The New Radicals – Crying Like a Church on Monday
The New Radicals – You Get What You Give
The New Radicals – Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough