Neu! comes alive 40 years after recording debut

Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:46pm EDT
 
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By Dave Graham

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Four decades after recording one of the most influential German rock albums ever, Michael Rother of Neu! can finally play it live the way he always wanted to.

At the age of 60, the guitarist of the Duesseldorf duo who pioneered the controlled, linear, driving "motorik" sound that became a hallmark of the 1970s West German rock scene often called "Krautrock," has never been in such high demand. After watching his career all but grind to a halt in the 1980s, Rother's fortunes have undergone a marked renaissance -- built on the legacy of the three albums he cut as Neu! (New) with the late Klaus Dinger on drums between 1971 and 1975.

"The workload has exploded: it's non-stop," Rother told Reuters in an interview after playing in Berlin. "I'm being steamrolled by everything that's going on -- in a nice way."

"The response and the enthusiasm we've generated at our concerts is incredible. It's almost like the music was created today -- and hasn't been in my head for the past 40 years."

The interest in Neu!'s music reflects a wider revival in appreciation for records produced by German bands in late 1960s and early 1970s whose distinctive forays into garage rock, electronica and psychedelia won them many fans abroad.

Since late May, Rother and his band Hallogallo have been playing the music of Neu! to crowds across Europe and cities as far afield as Edinburgh, Mexico City and Detroit -- with more dates in the offing in South America, Turkey and the Far East.

The contrast with Neu! could not be starker.

Hampered by the limits of technology in the early 1970s, Rother played only a handful of gigs with Dinger, who died in 2008. The pair, who had earlier toured with Kraftwerk, went their separate ways, reuniting briefly for an album in 1975.   Continued...

 
<p>German musician Michael Rother performs during a concert of Hallogallo in Berlin September 23, 2010. Four decades after recording one of the most influential German rock albums ever, Michael Rother of Neu! can finally play it live the way he always wanted to. At the age of 60, the guitarist of the Duesseldorf duo who pioneered the controlled, linear, driving "motorik" sound that became a hallmark of the 1970s West German rock scene often called "Krautrock", has never been in such high demand. Picture taken on September 23, 2010. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>