Born 1964 in Stuttgart/Germany. Singer, songwriter, arranger, guitar/bass/drums player, session musician here and there. No contract, no label. No commercial interests.
Singer and guitar player with PAMBAND from 1989 to 1996 and since the PAM reunion in 2011 again; with Platform No 6 since their foundation in 2009, and now with Schnoed & the High Field Band since the beginning of 2016.
1 year ago
Good evening everybody,
I just noticed that it’s more than a YEAR ago since I wrote my last newsletter here on N1M, and either I’ll start to do this more frequently again or I should just let go. Let’s see where we end up.
The last 15 months have been one of the most intensive periods in my life, but unfortunately not in musical respect. At work, I had to deal with a fraud and theft investigation which initially started in summer 2017 but became even worse in September 2018. The deeper I dug, the more I found, and I sincerely hope to be able to finally bring this to an end now.
My wife became subject to a despotic manager at work which ended up in a termination of her employment in May after quite some months of struggling and suffering. She fell seriously ill due to this kind of treatment already last winter and is currently trying to recover in a hospital in southern Bavaria. She’ll be back home next thursday after three months of absence, and I’m really looking forward to have her by my side again. Of course it’s even more important that she feels better after all and finds some new faith and energy to start again.
And then there were some more family issues which I will not describe in detail here because I still don’t fully understand why and how this could happen and how to find a way out of this misery. It is sad and strange at the same time, and I feel like being paralyzed.
Due to all this and some more constraints, the work on my next album has somehow phased out. We had one last recording session with Toni (member of Platform 6) who played some trombone and accordion parts, and we had one more working session, just Chris D and myself, in order to recapture where we stand and what we think we still need. That was in spring this year as far as I remember, and since then nothing has happened at all.
Out of the 12 songs, I think that five or six are in a quite good shape and ready to be mastered and issued then. Another three or four are somewhere in between, I feel that something is missing or the song could be done differently. The latter wouldn’t be an argument to skip the song; I have often reworked my older songs and re-issued ‘em again as you might know. My homepage link is full of examples of such metamorphoses. And maybe the doubts will fade away when Chris D has finally completed his recordings. I remember there was a slide guitar on “Big weird love” and a baritone sax on “No one knows” which most probably still wait for the master to get played and recorded by him…but he’s extremely busy as well and tries to serve everybody as good as he can. Which is one of his biggest strengths and weaknesses at the same time, but I won’t start coaching him into a different direction. He’s a fine guy through and through, and I’m proud and happy to have him as a friend and as a partner in several musical projects.
All the ones who still learned counting at school will notice that I talked about 12 songs, and that 2 or 3 are still missing. Well, one is just a disaster and will not be issued. I don’t really know what went wrong, but it must have been quite early when doing the basic tracks. It just doesn’t roll. It feels like driving a bumpy road. There’s no chance to get this repaired. And then there are one or two (depending on the mood I’m in when listening) which are somehow on the border. Not bad but not good enough. In one case it’s the song as such where I think this one could need a complete rework. In the other case I feel the song’s all right but we didn’t do good. Or something’s still missing. Could be another guitar track, or maybe an electric one instead of an acoustic. I hope Chris D and myself will be able to sit together again and decide what to do with these three, and then it’ll be an album or not. I think that nine songs are not enough. Maybe we can agree on ten and skip two.
Anyway, this will be the project for the coming winter. To get all the artwork and conceptual design done (maybe I’ll do a reduced one this time), of course the mastering of the tracks and finally the production of the CD as such. Yes, still a CD. I’m used to this format, and I love having an “album” in hands and not just some streams.
The High Field Band has ceased to exist, or at least has taken a sort of sabbatical year which in fact are two years and two months since our last public appearance in Gerolzhofen. Which is a pity, no question, but on the other hand a fact. My daughter lives far away and has other priorities, so we have to either skip the keyboard or look for a successor. I tend to the first option and would prefer to look for another guitar player, so I could focus on singing a bit more. We had an idea of combining two bands, one being the basement project of Chris D together with Dirk (also a member of Platform 6) and Isabell on Sax, who also played some tracks for my new album, and her brother on drums. The other party would have been Nicole and myself. The gig to be played was planned end of may in Ebenhausen, but just two days after a rehearsal session Dirk suffered a severe heart attack and needed months to recover. Another shock, for him first of all, but for me and his friends as well. As I said before: A difficult and painful time.
So this project is currently on hold, as well as the High Field Band.
But the other ones are not. Platform 6 played a Gig at Würzburg Prison again in January; it was the second time for us to be there. It was a tremendous success again, the 120 guests were yelling and clapping hands all the way through our setlist, no matter which country or continent or culture they came from. There were only men this time; the prison director said that more than 250 prisoners would have had applied for the concert, and they decided to do a show for the female prisoners at another date. Two guys were shouting something at me when leaving the prison hall after the gig; first I didn’t really understand why they were yelling “Liverpool! The Real Thing! Liverpool!” but then it turned out that those two prisoners were from Liverpool and were just completely excited that we played “You to me are everything” from a 70s band called “The Real Thing”, which originated from Liverpool! Those two buddies had tears of joy in their eyes when heading back to their cells, and when I realized what kind of feelings we brought to ‘em with our simple music, my eyes became wet as well.
The Platformers had another gig in August, being the 29th birthday of our singer Nicole (ok, in fact the 22nd time that she became 29), and also this one was just great. We had to get along without Albrecht and thus tailored the setlist a bit different; as a surprise for Nicole we had three songs of Peter Maffay (Lieber Gott, Eiszeit, Sonne in der Nacht) with us which we secretly prepared for this one show, and thanks God it went ok. At least she was absolutely happy, and that was the purpose of it all. And we tried “Radar Love” by Golden Earring for the first time in public. Also this one was proposed by Nicole, and I was rather sceptical in the beginning and decided just to sing this one and put the guitar aside, otherwise the long instrumental part in the middle of the song would have become even more chaotic and loud. But it went ok again, and so we’re looking forward to maybe try another complex one, an all-time favourite of mine: “Carry on wayward son” by Kansas. I’m absolutely unsure whether this is something for a band like ours, but I made the proposal some days ago and earned positive response. But I think we’d need a rehearsal weekend for this one. Well, why not?
With the Erratics, the blues rockers, I played a gig in May at the Montana again (in fact the band seems to play either at the Montana or at the Schmiede in Schwebheim and nowhere else, but both are fine locations for this kind of Music, and the next gig is just around the corner. Saturday, 19th of October, Honky Tonk Festival in Schweinfurt. The Erratics live at the Montana once more!
And then there’s PAM, still alive and still kicking. We had a weekend workshop in October 2018 in Eschwege, and one more in April this year. Both were again as productive and focused as can be. The main purpose was to prepare for the upcomimg 50st birthday of bassman Noop, but we recorded own material as well. The results can be seen on youtube:
The gig at the birthday party will take place at Cologne on the 26th of October, and again I’m very much looking forward also to this one. At this kind of parties there’s usually much more audience than at club gigs, so I’m taking it as serious as can be.
That’s it for the moment. At least you’re informed again now. I won’t promise to keep you posted on all my activities the way I did the years before, but it won’t take a year again, that’s for sure.
Keep on rockin’!
time for a short update again. Last thing I reported on was the gig with the Platformers mid of May. Afterwards the recording sessions for my new album continued, interrupted by a trip to Tel Aviv, and then I spent the second half of June in Denmark with my loved one. We really needed the rest, and I did nothing musical at all in those two weeks. Besides all the tunes that kept going on in my head, but that’s normal, at least for me.
Back from vacation, I had a rehearsal session with Chris O and his family to prepare for a gig at their garden party some days later, followed by two recording sessions for the new album again. Then a rehearsal session with the Erratics in my basement due to the fact that their room got flooded at one of the strong rain falls end of May, and then the next gig with ‘em took place in Schweinfurt, at the Montana once more. Another recording session this week, and next week there’ll be just another one plus a rehearsal with the Platformers. I’m back again at full speed.
Chris O’s garden party is a sort of tradition, at least it was the third event of this kind in the last 10 years. There were some 30 people attending, and we played an interesting mixture of old Heartbeat stuff (Help, She loves you, I can her your heart beat, Beast of burden etc.), songs selected by Chris and his family (Mighty Quinn, some other Gotthard stuff, Perfect by Ed Sheeran) and also three songs of mine, where Nicole joined us in singing (I don’t care, Time and time again, All the things). We’d have done some more, just Nicole and myself, but time was running out and the O’s didn’t want to stress their neighbours after 10 pm, so we had to give in. A pity of course. It would have been great fun for sure.
The gig with the Erratics went quite well, even if we had to play much quieter than we usually do. The event was not intended to be a rock concert but more of a get-together in front of the shop with some music in the background. And so we stood in the shop and rocked ourselves through our programme, some people stayed just close to us, but the majority sat outside and enjoyed the evening and the summer breeze while we played the blues from a distance. But it was a good performance and a good opportunity to listen to ourselves and interact.
Felix, the other guitar player (or better: their lead guitar guy), is quite a good musician and a good mate to play along with. We’re getting closer in understanding each other and agree on the next solo while looking or nodding at each other. When joining the band again, I didn’t have any ambition to play the solos, it was his job and he’s doing great. But he likes my style of playing which is quite different to his one; he’s in a way more sophisticated, he’s got a lot of sounds with his Camper amp, he’s good in using all sort of effects, and he’s basically a Stratocaster player, while I’m a completely puristic one with my good old PRS plus a tube amplifier and nothing else. Guitar, cable, amp. No effects or gimmicks. I like the variety of sounds and styles in his solos, and he likes the punch and energy of mine. As you can imagine, it is pure fun for me to play along with him.
I asked him to do a solo on my album which I tried to play by myself but still was unhappy with the result; he said yes after some days. It’ll be the one in “Soldier in a lost patrol”, and I’m excited to hear him playing in this song with his bluesy style. It’s one of my favourite songs of the new album, and I needed some time to accept that somebody else could do it in a better way than me, but first of all I’m convinced he can, and secondly I am on my way to learn to share. Slowly but steadily. At least I think so…
Next week there’ll be another recording session with Albrecht, the trumpet guy, and a rehearsal with the Platformers as well, but then there’ll be a break of some four weeks with hardly any musical activity at all due to the fact that Chris D, my multi-talented and highly esteemed companion, will be on vacation with his family. Well, he’s deserved it for sure, and I’ll find some moments to sing and play in my basement in the meantime to stay tuned.
The next gigs are not really fixed; there are some projects ongoing with the Platformers and the Erratics, but nothing’s completely clear. I’ll keep you posted, as always.
Keep on rockin’!
the last weeks were one of the busiest periods I ever had in my life, at least from a musical point of view. It started with a gig of PLATFORM NO 6 in Bamberg, directly followed by the weekend workshop of PAM in Eschwege, then rehearsal sessions with the ERRATICS, recording sessions for the HIGH FIELD BANDs second album, a gig with the ERRATICS in Schweinfurt, a weekend workshop with the Platformers and another gig with ‘em last Friday. All that within just four weeks, but everything went fine, and I have to admit that I could just go on like this, but most probably all others around me would go on strike then. So I think I have to force myself to brake down a bit. Although it’s so much fun…
But one after the other.
The new album is progressing, slowly but steadily. Most of the guitars and vocals are “in the box” now, some keyboards as well, and yesterday Chris O played the drums on 10 out of the 12 tracks. The songs are taking shape now, and some of them are going to be fantastic, I’m sure. Can’t really wait for Chris D to record the bass guitars, and then it’s Nicoles and my turn again to complete the vocals. As soon as possible Isabelle will do her second round on keyboards, and then come the brass guys and special guests.
PAM celebrated the 13th weekend workshop which was an intensive and productive one again. We defined a set list for the upcoming gig in just one and a half years and worked ourselves through the songs one after the other. Just two more sessions until we’ll be gettin’ on stage…it was good to see my old mates again, even if I sometimes felt that my current speed and pace is a bit different than theirs. No wonder if you consider all my activities in these days. Anyway, we didn’t spend much time on recording but more on fine tuning of the songs as such, which I always prefer. The next workshop will be in autumn this year.
With the ERRATICS I played a gig in the Montana store in Schweinfurt, and that was great fun again. It was not a real concert but more of a walk-on-by evening entertainment event all over the town with lots of bands and artists; anyway there were constantly around 50 people watching and listening during those three and a half hours. Some of them came along, listened and stayed for the remainder of the evening. There’s still quite some guys out there that love this sort of steamy and dirty blues rock stuff. And we delivered.
Last but not least the PLATFORMERs. The ones that gave me a bit of a headache last autumn and the months after, until we played the first gig in march at the museum. That one went surprisingly well, and the next one in Bamberg was at least not disappointing. We had to do it without Dirk and Toni, but the remaining seven of us did our best to compensate, and I think it was ok. The audience was all right, at least in the second part of the set list when they were ready with eating and started to dance…it’s always painful for everyone to play during dinner time. Then came the weekend workshop, and I have to admit that I went there with mixed feelings. Everything’s been said in the strategy discussion last November, but still I had the impression that some things won’t change without some tougher and deeper cuts into our current setup and behaviour. And so I was a bit defensive in the beginning of the session, but then the atmosphere became constructive and creative, all of them gave their best and were fully engaged and dedicated to our music. We worked on two unfinished songs in the setlist and brought them into a status which I would call “ready for stage”, and we did a lot of fine tuning on other songs as well. On Saturday around 10 pm evening I felt like I could continue singing and playing with ‘em all night, and that was a deep and good experience for me again.
Last Friday we played at the retirement party of our bass player Jürgen, and it was great fun to me. There was a sort of set list, but the agenda of the party changed every 30 minutes and we had to react spontaneously which normally is not really one of our strengths. In the end I even dared to do one of the new ones, unplanned and for the first time in public, and it’s one of the few where I put the guitar aside and just sing. Which, to me and in certain way, means that I lose control over the band. But I felt that this was the right moment to do so, to rely on the band in front of 100 colleagues, to do what I tried to escape from for decades: To stand there and sing. Not more and not less. The band was a bit puzzled for the moment when I made the proposal, but then everyone bought in and they just did great. You to me are everything, the sweetest song that I can sing…a great song and a great moment.
Next week I’ll be in Tel Aviv where I’m invited to a wedding, and afterwards the work on the album will continue. Then I’ll be on holiday for the second half of June, and in July the next gigs are coming up. I’ll keep you posted on the progress, as always.
Keep on rockin’!
quite some time has passed since my last letter – two months, to be precise. In the meantime I struggled with some health problems, nothing really serious, but too many things at a time to get along with, and so I had to slow down in some aspects. Finally my old computer broke down around easter, and it took some time to get a new one and especially to set up the eMail function. But now things are getting better, just as the weather does…so let’s get started again.
Of course I didn’t do nothing. First of all I continued to work on the new album and recorded lots of guitar tracks, especially acoustic ones but also some electric rhythm guitars. Isabelle had her first recording session and added some wonderful keyboard tracks. Last week I started with the lead vocals then. It will take some more time to get everything finished; I’ll be happy if we manage to record the remaining vocals until the end of this month and then concentrate on the rhythm section with Chris O on drums and Chris D on bass. Whenever possible Isabelle will do the second round on the keyboards, and then it’s time for Albrecht and his trumpet as well as for Toni, member of Platform 6 and a multi-instrumentalist, whom I invited to join us for some special musical contributions with his accordion, trombone and harp.
In the end we’ll see how much more special effects and guests we’ll include into the different songs; but first of all I’d like to have the fundaments ready, which means drums and bass. And then we can start to think about choirs and brass sections and so on. I don’t want to overdo it, but on the other side every additional instrument brings some new colour into the picture, and I want the album to be interesting and colourful. And I’m sure we’ll find the right mixture.
Platform No 6 played the gig at the women’s day celebration some weeks ago, there were some 100 people attending, and we did our best and were well appreciated once again. Everybody knows we’re not a professional band, and especially when there are lots of colleagues from our company in the audience, the feedback is usually quite positive. But I think we really did a good job, and we earned 1000 Euros for the women’s house in Schweinfurt. Mission accomplished.
Next thing to come with the Platformers is a gig at an After Work Party in Bamberg next Thursday. The event is organized by the Lions’ Club, and the revenues will be donated for charity projects again. Two of us cannot join the gig, and so we have to get along without Dirk (keyboards) and Toni (trombone) this time. It’s clear that our sound will be worse without them, and Chris D and myself will have to fill the gaps with our guitars as good as possible.
On Friday, just after the gig, I’ll be heading for Eschwege again to do another weekend workshop with PAM, my old friends from former times in Stuttgart. We’ll prepare ourselves for our second gig since the reunion which will take place in autumn 2019. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but we meet just twice a year, and that means that we have just three rehearsal sessions before this date, and we don’t even have a set list yet. So we’ll be working on this issue first and then start to work on the selected songs one after the other. I am not intending to push my songs into the set list; Chris F’s songs are the better ones to be played live. I’d be happy to have “You keep on hidin’” and “Push the button” in the list, and all others are not that important to me. “The scars will remain” could be an option, “My child” is just beautiful and easy, and “Give it a try” is another good one, especially in the acoustic version with Lothar playing the accordion. Next weekend we’ll decide on the ones to work on. I’m looking forward to see my old mates and have an intensive and productive weekend again with nothing but music, music, music.
Then there’s the Erratics, the blues rock band I’m playing with from time to time. There’s a rehearsal session next Monday, and a gig in the beginning of May at a town event where all shops will be open until midnight. We’ll be playing in one of these shops, owned by the former drummer of the band, and that’ll be fun again. I played a gig with them some weeks ago at a birthday party in Schwebheim, and it was great. Extremely loud of course, but while my ears were hurting I felt that this is just what I’m missing with the bands I regularly use to play with. These guys are not standing on the brake pedal with both feet but sing and play their music with energy and passion and consequently with a certain power and loudness. My part in the band is a bit additive since I’m not always there, and so I keep myself in the background in some of the songs. But there’s quite some solos to play for me, and a lot of second voices as well, and here I feel that I can just sing and play without any restrictions. And that feels damn good to me.
And so I’m busy with my four bands again, and I love it.
I’ll keep you posted about the progress and the next events, as always.
Keep on rockin’!
time flies and everybody’s moving except myself. I’m sitting here with an injured foot and am hardly able to walk inside the house. This is the fourth or fifth health incident I am suffering of in just a few months’ time. Needless to say that this is frightening me a bit, and I am still trying to figure out whether it’s just a matter of age or whether I am just constantly overloading myself, and now I have to pay the bill for doing so. I just don’t know. But it’s getting better from day to day again, and I am a fighter in this sense. I will come back for sure.
Nevertheless the next gigs are coming up. Platform No 6 will play here in Schweinfurt at the Museum at a celebration of female unionists for the world womens’ day. That’ll take place on the 7th of March. Then there’ll be a show in Bamberg at an after work party end of April, and in May we’ll be playing a farewell gig for our bassman Juergen Bruhn who is retiring from work then. We have two more inquiries, one for May and one for July. For some of us this is already enough for a year, and I tend to feel the same.
With the Erratics, I’ll be playing a show on the 10th of March at a birthday party in Schwebheim in the old “Schmiede”, a fantastic location for small club concerts with 100 to 120 people. And I bet it’ll be fully crowded again. Then there’s another gig which I forgot to note down (I’ll let you know next time), and one more in July. Some more inquiries are still running.
PAM will meet for another weekend workshop mid of April, and with the Platformers there’ll be a workshop as well in the beginning of May. Lots of dates, lots of busy weekends, and I have to see to get into a better shape again quite soon, otherwise I will fail to keep the pace sooner or later. Probably sooner.
Anyway, Chris D and myself have started to work on the second album of the High Field Band. We recorded the basic tracks of 11 songs, just a drum machine and myself singing and playing guitar. Based on these we will add one track after the other in the coming weeks and months, starting with vocals and guitars, then drums and bass, and then keyboards, horns and special guests. Looking at the agenda as mentioned above, and looking at myself in my current shape I would estimate that we won’t be ready with recording before at least end of April, maybe even later. But I’m sure it will be worth waiting for.
I am particularly looking forward to the new songs I wrote and/or finished some 6 weeks ago. I have issued sketches here on N1M which I recorded on my own, but besides the fact that I still like to listen to ‘em I feel that we could do much better as a band, and that the songs will gain quality and atmosphere which I am eager to see and hear.
Last time I promised to elaborate a bit more on the content of the new ones. Well, let’s start with “Ocean of dreams”. It starts with a two-guitar-hookline which of course is written for horns and not for guitars, but I can’t play any brass instrument, so I have to replace everything with guitars. On the album it’ll be different then. The origin of this hookline goes back to the early 90s. Chris F, singer of PAM, used to listen to a funk band called The Pasadenas at that time, and I remember a song called “Ridin’ on a train” to which we listened in his flat one day. I didn’t really buy into their music at that time, but this song remained somewhere in the back of my head. Trying to write songs for PAM and Broken Toy in the mid 90s, I intended to write songs in this funky style as well but failed. The only thing that came into my mind was this hookline, and I noted it down somewhere and now, more than 20 years later, used it to open up “Ocean of dreams”. The rest of the song is rather reggae or even ska style, at least off-beat, and I am still reasoning how much of this character we’ll keep for the album version. Let’s see what happens in Chris D’s studio once we start recording this one.
The lyrics are about the paradoxon of being a dreamer and a pragmatic at the same time. I strongly believe that you need to set high goals for yourself in order to reach the possible result. But you also need to realize that not everything is possible or even senseful. Reach out for what you’re dreaming of, but be happy with what you achieve, even if it’s not completely in line with your dreams. If all your dreams came true, what would you dream of then? And it’s all right…
I’ll leave you with this now, and promise to keep you posted, as always.
Keep on rockin’!
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All by myself
Way of life
PAM Sessions 2012/13
Album "way of life" mp3 download
PLATFORM No. 6
Platform No.6 19.7.14
Live 3.10.09 @SKF charity event
schnoed and Dirk
Live 3.10.09 @SKF charity event
Live 3.10.09 @SKF charity event
Live Muehlheim 19.7.14
Live 21.5.11 Luechow
Live Gothenburg 29.4.14
Live 24.7.10 - Isi, Christian, schnoed
Live 19.9.10 @Hassfurt Airfield
Live 22.4.2012 Disharmonie SW
Live in Bamberg 6.5.13
Live Gothenburg 29.4.14
The High Field Band, Jan 2016
The High Field Band, Jan 2016
The High Field Band, Jul 2016, with Claudia Roth
The High Field Band, Jul 2016
The High Field Band, June 2016
PF6 Steyr June 2017