Saturday, April 20, 2013

The story of a German Krautrock Band

The story of a German Krautrock Band Part I Unanticipated Technology was a German Krautrock band. They only recorded two LPs. The songs for their debut album Unplayed Recordings were written by the bands front man, Gunther Fenstermacher. He was a brilliant musician and composer, and could easily have played all the instruments on this record himself. But as most of the songs were recorded live in the No Sound Studio in Stockholm, in November of 1978, he decided to invite a few friends and that's how the short-lived band came to be. Gunther was the bands keyboardist. The singer was his younger brother Karlheinz Fenstermacher. On guitar was the playboy Dieter Hoffmann. The bass-player was Florian Nussbaum. And, on drums, the blind, but talented Hannes Wolf. In all, the band recorded only 25 songs. It only took the German group one week to record their first album, but they stayed in Stockholm a little longer. The reason for that were the background singers. Two sisters that the producer had called in when he needed some female vocals on Gimme Some Happiness. They were part of music collective and within two days Dieter and Florian had left the hotel they were staying at and had moved in with the two sisters in their huge apartment loft at Södermalm in the Swedish Capitol. Five thousand copies were made and distributed around Europe in the spring of 1979. The band took to the roads during the summer in Gunther’s red and white Volkswagen bus, and they played at a few small festivals. Travelling with the band were the two sisters, both now pregnant. The band had no chart success, but with the help of a German producer they were able to release their second album in 1981. And this time their luck changed as they were invited to several well-known festivals in both England and Scandinavia. By now Dieter was a rich young man, he had inherited a lot of money from his parents and decided to spend some of that money on his musical career. That meant that the band now travelled on the roads in a big Mercedes bus and could afford to stay at decent hotels if they wanted to. And as both Florian and Dieter now were the proud parents of baby girls they often stayed at up-scale hotels. The bands luck had been made after an appearance on a German TV show, and funnily enough it was a song (Green Piano), from their first album that now became a radio hit.After that successful summer the band decided to take a break. Dieter and his wife Sofia were on their way back to Stockholm when they collided with a truck near Hamburg. When the emergency services arrived to the scene of the accident the family of three was already dead. That was it for Unanticipated Technology. But today thirty years on the band has become cult. Previously unreleased songs and video from festivals and studio recording were released on a DVD a couple of years ago. The former band members have talked about a reunion, but that is unlikely to happen as the blind drummer, Hannes Wolf have been living as a Guru in India for the last 25 years. Last time I checked there were a couple of tribute bands out there performing UT songs. Florian and Johanna’s daughter Maria, who is a popular singer-songwriter in both Sweden Germany have recorded and performed a few songs from both UT albums. If you happen to own an original copy of the Unplayed Recordings LP like I do, count yourself lucky. There aren’t many good copies out there any more and they are very collectable. Today is Record Store Day.


Lowell said...

Fascinating story!

Jack said...

That is a fascinating but ultimately very sad story.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

That's quite a story Steffe, and so very typical of that time. Tragic endings with people in the music industry dying at a young age. I guess they'll be watching their new found success from 'somewhere' and smiling :)