When you're 7 years old music usually is not about bands or genres, it's just about melodies you hear
on the radio. Rivers of Babylon obviously was one I liked a lot, so I bought or wished for it (can't
remember the details) and played it on my parents record player. So this was the kind of 'not so cool but quite OK'
start for a passion that has stayed unabated until now.
1982/1983 : Neue Deutsche Welle hits Germany
As the musical level of this genre was perfectly suitable for an 11-year-old, this German new wave revival couldn't
have happened at a better time. There was this TV show called ZDF Hitparade (kind of Top Of The Pops in a rocking chair)
which in the 70s had mainly featured Deutscher Schlager (no equivalent in any culture) acts but
suddenly had to cope with lots of strange and chaotic bands confusing both show host and audience. The tape
pictured on the left featured the most successful German language songs of 1983 and therefore included such NDW
"classics" as Peter Schilling's Major Tom , D.Ö.F's Codo (Düse im Sauseschritt) and the
inevitable 99 Luftballons by Nena.
1985/1986 : Seduced by the mainstream for the last time
In this period my until then only minor interest in music got more and more whole-hearted. As a starting point I considered
the weekly single charts as appropriate. So it became an established ritual to spend each Sunday afternoon in front of my
radio and listen to the Top 30 German single chart countdown on local station SDR3. Every new entry was recorded
on tape regardless of its quality. This means that in-between lots of hits by artists like Madonna, Tina Turner or Falco I have
recordings of forgotten gems like Hooters All You Zombies , Animotion's I Engineer
and Stefan Remmler's Keine Sterne in Athen (yes!).
August 1987 : Holidays, girls and other distractions
During a trip to English seaside town Poole with a youth group I saw the magnificent black and white video
of Black's Wonderful Life on a music TV show and bought the single immediately. Its combination of a deeply
melancholic melody and life-affirming lyrics still strikes me as weird. Also linked to this song is the memory of a girl
I had a major crush on the trip the year before. When seeing her again on this journey the fascination had decreased a bit but was still strong enough
to confuse me a lot.
October 1987 : First major concert attended
My first big gig was a Depeche Mode concert in Munich's Olympic hall during their Music for the Masses tour. The kick you get
as a 16 year old seeing your favourite band live for the first time can't really be properly described. The setlist then was more or less
the same as on their 101 live album released one and a half years later, but in fact any setlist would have
been phenomenal for me then.
Early 1990 : First Smiths records bought
Still hooked mainly on electronic synthi-pop music I came across a package of three Smiths albums in a record store
(an obscure Portuguese import I learned later). Due to the already nearly legendary status this band had at this point I
decided to give it a try. I have to say I did not acknowledge its brilliance at once but in the following months I got into
it deeper and deeper. Since then the enthusiasm for this band has remained unchanged, the music probably has
affected me more deeply than I dare to admit and surely will haunt me forever.
July 1991 : Pixies play greatest concert ever
Certainly the most spectacular, euphoric, blinding and downright bloody marvellous experience in this list.
The Pixies shortly before their break-up delivering a performance so effortlessly cool, so mind-blowingly brilliant
I could as well have quit dealing with music after this.