Eric Clapton “Unplugged” and Nitzer Ebb “That Total Age” are two of my favourite albums ever. The only thing I may find in common is some sort of minimalism in the music, very ‘bare’ somehow. By the way, I’m always extremely happy when I find such eclectic sets of records… I suppose your tastes are very wide, right?
Really, these two examples indicate the heterogeneity of my musical taste. Eric Clapton is a good example of the skills of real musicians, their almost perfect handcraftsmanship in playing an instrument. He’s a genius in the handling of his guitars and I have followed his releases since his days with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers and the Yardbirds. Although I’m personally not very interested in controlling any instrument, I appreciate the outstanding playing of some guitarists (e.g. Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, etc.).
At this point, I have to mention that I’m not really excited about this kind of music, which is categorized as “unplugged” – but you can’t refuse a friend’s birthday gift, now can you?
The Nitzer Ebb music became important, when it was time to shout out against the stupidity of the “feeling groovy”, “good vibrations” statements of the boring “Hippie” (sometimes “New Romantics”) in-crowd, their drifting off into drug consumption and those leaders of society (e.g. M. Thatcher at that time), who suppressed parts of their most creative people (and pushed some of the hard-working labourers back into poverty, too).
And they (from Nitzer Ebb) played it loud, simple structured, mesmerizing and wild to dance around. No extras, minimal, the pure energy. Exciting dynamic rhythms.
To make a long story short: the range of my musical taste really is very widely stretched.
If memory serves right, I discovered “modern music” (in the midst of all the hotchpotch of German “Schlager”, “light opera”, “bigband music”, etc., tooted by the postwar generation and especially by the radio stations), when I heard the music of Ted Herold (a German Rock-n-Roll singer) and Buddy Holly (ca. in 1960). However, it took some time to buy my first black vinyl, a 45 rpm single, by Trini Lopez (amazed, but back then the music from the US seemed to come from another planet!).
Some time later while working during school holidays to earn some money
to buy more records, I discovered the so-called Star-Club scene from Hamburg, Germany, Tony Sheridan, The Beatles, who added the Beat to the Rock-n-Roll, had some fine days with the music of the Beach Boys and the Byrds, discovered the Velvet Underground, became interested in Kraftwerk and Neu, took part in the “Neue deutsche Welle” (NdW), a German derivative of the (British) “punk”, “new wave”, and (US) “no wave” movement, and so on. The journey never stops.
Anyway, considering your music production, ‘industrial’ is the word that comes to my mind; your production is immense… Discogs counts 34 releases, but I suppose there’s more hidden around, cassettes or very limited stuff done over the years. I was struck by the message I saw among the records signed “Industrial Records”, or T.G. I can’t fully read it, could you tell me what is it? What was your relationship with Genesis P-Orrige at that time, and with other fellows of that ‘grey area’, as Simon Crab of Recloose Organisation for instance?
In 1980 we (4 guys from Mainz/Germany) paid a visit to a Throbbing Gristle concert nearby in Frankfurt A.M., Germany. A fantastic gig of the four, and very irritating as well for the so-called “punks” in the audience, as for the numerous appeared “art-students”. This kind of provocation seemed to be strong enough to fight against every attempt of adaptation, confirmation, and/or submission.
T.poem (later member of Non Toxique Lost), also very impressed by the muzak, dropped a line to the “Industrial Records” headquarters, requested a tape, and he got it (shortly after a T.G. rehearsal, date and time are unknown).
As the image shows, GPO (Genesis Breyer P-Orridge) wrote some lines, too. But it took another two years until we decided to found a band named Non Toxique Lost. One year later, we played the “Berlin Atonal 2 festival” (1983), invited by Dimitri Hegemann (later owner of the techno-club “Tresor” in Berlin). There we played besides Psychic TV and Zos Kia. But somewhen (ca. in 2008), T.poem decided to give away all his compact-cassettes, this one (with GPOs autograph) and some I.R. cassettes came into my possession.
In 1985, we played the “Recloose-festival” at the “Ambulance-station”, London, where I met Steven Tanza and Simon Crab for the first time. Funny enough, I met him (Simon) again this year, at the “KLANG25” festival (Vienna), organized by the label Klanggalerie. By the way, I’m listening right now to his current CD, called “Demand Full Automation”.
Lately, I also met Ralf Wehowsky from “Selektion” (e.g. member of P.D., P16.D4) here in Berlin.
Somewhen in the 80s we had worked together to produce the “Distruct” LP (a kind of mail-art production, sounds and noises from different projects from all over the world – was a lot of fun). He’s still very busy in constructing (non)musical structures.
And so does Jammin’ Unit, the guy who joined Non Toxique Lost in 1985 to perform at the “N.L. Centrum”, Amsterdam / Netherlands.
Afterwards he produced some contributions to the Force-Inc label (the famous “techno” label from Frankfurt a.M./Germany) and had been part of the project Air Liquide, together with Dr. Walker.
He’s currently living nearby and is always willing to help out on public appearances
(see “KLANG25” festival) and to do some mastering tasks.
Looking back (into the 80s), T.poem, Pogo, Achim Wollscheid and myself (to name the founding members of Non Toxique Lost) listened to the music which we liked (“Punk-Rock”, “Industrial”, “Avantgarde”, “Electronic Music”, “Electro Punk”, etc.), and travelled to the concerts of interesting and thrilling bands like T.G., SPK, DAF, Einstürzende Neubauten, KFC, etc… Yes, after the show we talked to the guys and had a good time (and sometimes one or more drinks together).
Of course (since some of us were born in the 50s), we had a deep basic knowledge about earlier musical developments, including “Beatmusic/Rhythm’n Blues” (e.g. by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pretty Things), “Soul Music” (e.g. by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett), “Freejazz” (e.g. by Gunther Hampel, Jym Young’s San Francisco Avantgarde), “Progressive Rock” (e.g. by Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull), “Krautrock” (e.g. by Amon Düüll, Birth Control) etc., but we were also familiar with (some) works of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Henry, Edgar Varese, and Edward Kobrin (to name a few). The younger ones of us preferred the music of the Sex Pistols, Dammed, Clash, PIL, Fall, Pop Group, and of course the Dead Kennedys, etc.
In case you are interested in the last 3 records I bought (yes, I shall continue to buy more of these products that are worth listening to and will hopefully help the artists survive), here are the details:
1. Kamala (cd: “Radial Perception”, digi-pack, 2018).
A bunch of young guys from Leipzig, Germany. Saw them playing live at an open-air festival this year. They are in it for the music.
2. Wetware (digital download: “Automatic Drawing”, 2018).
Two from NYC. Synthesizers and vocals. Industrial dance rhythms.
3. Godfathers (cd: “A Big Bad Beautiful Noise”, digi-pack, 2017). I’m a fan of the GF since the beginning of their careers.
And the title of the second song on this last CD tells it all: “TILL MY HEART STOPS BEATING”.
Birth: Sea Wanton is born as Gerd Neumann in Bavaria, Germany, in 1951. He was educated and socialized in a middle-class family.
School: attended some schools all over Germany. In the 70s he studied Sociology, Journalism and Ethnology, so he was then consequently, unemployed for ca. 6 years (in the 80s). Hence, he got enough time to play synthesizers and in 1982 he founded ‘Non Toxique Lost’. Besides living in their rehearsal-room, he walked out a lot with his dog.
Work: He got a job as a software programmer, now specialized in ‘health and care’ software, then he retired in 2015. He now lives in in Berlin since the 90s.
Death: just waiting…
In the meantime, he suggests us to read his lyrics and listen to his sounds.
This one hereunder is called ‘England ihren Feinden schenken’, deals with ‘Lynndie England’ and it’s from “Zeitrastletempspassevitetimeflies” album.
werde eure Stiefel küssen
werde Deutschland auch mal lieben
werd’ von Maden aufgefressen
werdet mich sehr schnell vergessen
wenn ich tot bin
werde selten nicht mehr lügen
mit dem Duce Jesus Hitler tanzen
untertänig vor dem Hut hinknie’n
und werde dann auch Spass versteh‘n
wenn ich tot bin
werde Natodraht zerschneiden
Minen auch in Villen zünden
werd’ euch Zukunft geben statt der Arbeit
und England ihren Feinden schenken
wenn ich tot bin
werde mein Gesicht nach unten dreh’n
will bis ins Innerste der Erde seh’n
wenn ich tot bin
Give England Away to Her Foes
will kiss your boots
will love Germany just once
will be eaten by maggots
(you) will forget me very fast
when I’m dead
will seldom never lie
will dance together with the Duce the ‘JesusHitler’
will bound tributarily my knees before the hat
will then understand some jokes
when I’m dead
will cut some ‘Nato’ wire
fire some mines in villas too
will give you some future instead of the labour
and will give England away to her foes
when I’m dead
will turn my face down
will look into the midst of the earth
when I’m dead
Photo by Werner Novak