Discovering Krautrock -- in Germany

Wed Oct 1, 2008 12:39pm EDT
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By Dave Graham

BERLIN (Reuters) - Few scenes in rock history have won such fame abroad yet been so overlooked at home as the wave of music West Germany spawned in the late 1960s known as Krautrock. Four decades on, that is changing.

As the maverick rockers enter their 60s and 70s, interest in the bands is reviving in Germany: new documentaries are being made, and a book hailed as the first comprehensive overview in German hit stores this summer.

Devotees of British rockers Oasis are also receiving a dose: guitarist Noel Gallagher said recently his band's new single had a Krautrock sound.

"We're more accepted now," said Mani Neumeier, 67, a leading light of the era and drummer of underground stalwarts Guru Guru.

"We're doing more gigs than we have in 20 years. It's partly due to our 40th anniversary, but also because Krautrock has become more fashionable again in the last three to four years."

Nearly two decades since reunification, growing political self-confidence has helped nurture interest in Germany's postwar musical legacy, said Henning Dedekind, author of "Krautrock," the 300-page German cultural history of the scene.

"For years Germans had an awkward relationship with their cultural past, but it's changing," he said. "Plus we know all about Elvis and the Beatles already, but not the German bands."

The myriad output that at times defied categorization often struggled for acceptance, even though the student protests of 1968 and the hippy era were catalysts for major change.   Continued...

<p>German musician Michael Rother gives a Reuters interview in Berlin in this August 21, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz/Files</p>