The Foreign Correspondent – Stories About German Rock Music # 28

Robert Görl, Gabi Delgado-López, Kurt Dahlke, Michael Kemner and Wolfgang Spelmanns formed in 1979 a band that made history. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (or only DAF) was known as the pioneers and inspiration of electro-punk, electronic body music and house music. Their synthesizer bass-lines were also a kind of blueprint of the later acid house music. Deeply based in the late 1970s Düsseldorf punk scene they created their on do-it-yourself thing. Very new was that they used mainly synthesizers instead of classical instruments. Also their songs are very different to the ones that played in this scene. Based on a constant rhythm they put a bass-line to push the song forward.

They are till this day probably the only ones which accommodated not only dictators, but also the Messiah in a pop song: They sang in her biggest hit about 1981 the lines “dance Mussolini, and then the communism, and now Adolf Hitler, and now Jesus Christ”. The republic stood on the head: Two musicians gave concerts on which one was hidden behind a technology and keyboard tower and the other in the stage edge German slogans nagged in the mike whose provocation degree reached his high point with the hit single “Mussolini“.

They pull their interest in musical energy and the joy in provoking from the punk movement. When Robert Görl and Gabi Delgado become acquainted in 1978 in Dusseldorf, the music bacillus has struck them already both. Though the Görl born in 1955 is not yet a member of a volume, however, can look back at a classical education in the inhabitant on the jazz college of music in Graz. Delgado, three years younger, is Spaniard by birth and also eager follower of the growing English punk wave. The meeting place of the hour for the new punk scene of Düsseldorf is the Ratinger Hof. There some of the first German punk groups already appear like Charley’s Girls, Male, ZK and Mittagspause, from which to itself later among other things the Fehlfarben which form of croup and Die Toten Hosen. After a short time Dahlke was substituted by Chrislo Haas on keyboards when he moved to Der Plan. 

The quintet also wants to break out spatially and, hence, decides to move in the punk metropolis London. There is a risqué step for five impecunious Jung’s musicians who know the English scene up to now only from magazines. However, already after few club shows Daniel Miller discovers the gang and binds them as the second Act to Fad Gadget to his young courage label. There appears in March, 1980 the single “Kebab dreams” and in August with the “little ones And The bad persons” the second DAF album which is at the same time the first courage album publication. A successful starting signal for during the following years as a pointing the way setting up electronics label.

Although on the “Die Kleinen und die Bösen” still guitar and bass are for hearing and the tape attains her pioneer’s status only with the following album, the electronic store which soon characterises the tape becomes evident already here. There comes a cover which provides with his Soviet propaganda motives just in England for some sensation, particularly as it comes of a German volume. However, DAF still sound organic enough to go as a pregroup with The case on tour. After bassist Kemner who leaves the troop already before the album admission and joins in Germany to the false colours Haas also has enough of the wild life on the island and founds with Beate Bartel (Ex-Mania D.) the Liaisons Dangereuses.

Some of the songs Which Mussolini („dance Mussolini“), for example, the homoerotic piece of Der Räuber und der Prinz (the robber and the prince), Greif nach den Sternen (grabbing after the stars), die Götter sind weiß (the gods are white) or Ein bischen Krieg (a little war) were textually provoking. Suitably to the songs was also her image. Just Mussolini and her appearance in the leather outfit and short, shaven haircut as a kind „Germanic counterpart of Grace Jones“ introduced reproaches in them over and over again to be fascists. Also the texts didn’t shrink back which before worn vocabulary from hit kitsch, home films and NS mythology , did not strengthen this reproach. DAF have never defined her political position in the media clearly. They mentioned merely that her stylistic range reached „at least, from the Anarcho-Skin to disco Nazi“ and that they are „simply too with relish for fascists“.

It’s a band you ought to listen to – real pioneers in their genre.

Enjoy and have a good weekend people.

DAF – Verschwende Deine Jugend (Waste your youth)
DAF – Die Götter Sind Weiss (The gods are white)
DAF – Der Räuber und der Prinz (the robber and the prince)
DAF – Kebabträume
DAF – Der Mussolini

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