1964-1969 first activities
And here we go!
Dieter from the beginning until 1986
Some people say that my map of the world is not made up of cities or sights, but rather of places where you can buy guitars and eat well. But beyond these inclinations, my most important traits are that I don't believe anything and that I'm impatient, intolerant and easily annoyed. However, I believe that if you don’t get angry, you won't be inclined to change anything or create anything new!
1964But beyond these inclinations, my most striking traits are that I believe nothing and am impatient, intolerant and easily annoyed. But: if you can't get angry, you won't be inclined to change anything or create anything new!
What's more, I think I'm still "hyperactive" to this day, at almost 70 years old. I'm sure it annoyed my parents, but back then it wasn't a "medical condition" where nowadays children are given pills to curb their energy. From the very beginning, I was annoyed by wasting unused time. I always had to do something active to get the day over with, something to do that filled the void, something that could register some kind of supposed success in an otherwise meaningless daily routine. For example, vacation on the Adriatic coast: My parents lay stupidly on the beach on their sunbeds to get a tan, and I went behind the empty space between the beach and the hotel line to catch lizards, of which there were plenty. I then took them in a cardboard box on the train and put them in my terrarium at home. So at least life had a purpose! I simply could not do NOTHING. And so it remained until today. And then the thing with the music came up.
The very first kick: in the mid-60s, the music series Nashville Stars On Tour was on TV. The artists featured there included a certain Anita Kerr Quartet, Bobby Bare, Jim Reeves, and especially Chet Atkins. He played instrumentals and sometimes operated his Bigsby tremolo. That totally flashed me. Not only the sound of this electric guitar itself, but also the effect of the tremolo. I had to get a guitar!
And with that, I'm already revealing another crucial insight into my character. I think I've always followed the same pattern from the beginning: If I was into something, I made it my own. Listening to music >>> making music. Later: Read a lot >>> write books myself. At the same time: Eat well >>> cook well myself! Playing guitar >>> making guitars!
But now back to the early years: From my transistor radio suddenly buzzed The Last Time by the Rolling Stones. My parents always sent me to bed early. So I hid my radio in the closet and ran a thin cable to my bed, hidden between the floorboards, so that I could listen to music long and unnoticed via headphones. That was super cool to spend the time before falling asleep. Soon the Doors came with Light My Fire or again the Stones with Satisfaction. This was new, shredding music that went far beyond the popular hits of the time, such as Schuld war nur der Bossanova by Manuela, a pretty young singer - an elementary change in my life. Soon I could call a Telefunken tape recorder my own and recorded all these sounds by microphone. And please for me a guitar! I also wanted to be there in the matter of "music".
Soon I finally had my first guitar lessons. My learning instrument was a touring guitar from the Klira company, model "Triumphator"; not bad at all. But I wanted that tremolo effect. So I rode my bicycle to the "Musikhaus Schwartz" and ordered the installation of a tremolo. The aged Mr. Schwartz must have thought that "this young person" was not quite right, but he did it. On top of my Klira was suddenly enthroned a chrome Jazzmaster-like tremolo. Finally, I was able to imitate at least a little of the aforementioned Chet Atkins.
And here I allow you already a decisive insight into my character. I think I have always functioned according to the same pattern from the beginning: If I was into something, I made it my own. Listening to music >>> making music. Later: Read a lot >>> write books myself. At the same time: Eat well >> cook well myself!
But back to the early years: I finally had my first guitar lessons at the age of 13. The instrument I learned on was a Klira “Triumphator” travel guitar. Not bad at all but I wanted a tremolo. I rode my bike to the Schwartz music store and ordered the installation of a tremolo. The elderly Mr. Schwartz must have thought that this young man was not quite right, but he did it anyway. Suddenly my Klira had a Jazzmaster like chrome part. At last I was able to imitate at least a little bit of Chet Atkins.I didn't have a pickup yet. I only remember that I inserted the microphone of my Telefunken tape recorder into the body over the sound hole and then used the playback and recording function of the Telefunken to create really hot delay effects. Sounded like Velvet Underground. Soon I got a Framus pickup too. A friend built me a first tube amp (18 watts) and wired up the pickup, potentiometer and a jack. At that time I had of course no idea about such things.
Anyway, that was when the Stones, the Beatles and a little later, the Spencer Davis Group and the Doors made a big impression on me at night while I was playing my transistor radio over small headphones, absorbing their sounds. Uptight, like most guys of my generation, I had at least realized that as a musician (that I urgently wanted to become,) you had much better chances with girls. I soon realized that music and everything connected with it seemed to open doors to other worlds (and not only to the girls).
My first band, "The Message", was soon together and I switched to an Egmond guitar built in Holland. A kind of Jazzmaster with three pickups, a rotary switch for pickup selection and a leatherette cover. Right at that time psychedelic music started with Pink Floyd, the Electric Prunes, etc. In addition, the Beatles brought the sitar onto the musical scene. And I - like the majority of my generation - was not averse to all kinds of drugs and developed a strong affinity for psychedelic music, as it came over us at that time via Pink Floyd, Doors, Electric Prunes, etc.. So my first commercial activity at the age of 17 was to sell hashish in front of the school and in Hannover's old town. But that didn't last too long, and I switched mentally and musically over to the Spencer Davis Group. Stevie Winwood - also barely 18 years old - , what an incredible singer, guitarist, pianist and Hammond organ player! This man was absolutely brilliant, but then changed - certainly also under heavy drug influence - a little later into the psychedelic with his band Traffic, where in my opinion his musical qualities came somewhat less to the fore.
Speaking of "other worlds," in my life not only were the guitars very important, but cooking and eating was also. My mother (although from Berlin) was not a good cook. Dry fish cooked to death, inedible beef liver fried to the consistency of shoe leather. Anyway, out of displeasure I often hung around in the kitchen. My first activities were experiments with pancakes, more flour, less flour, beating and mixing in the eggs, adding baking powder, etc. Naturally the easiest way to move these things from one side of the kitchen to the other was quickly with some butter splashes on the floor. What did my mother think? "There's something wrong with that boy! Why is he always in the kitchen? He's not gay, is he? I think I began seeing girls soon after that. "Oh, so the boy is ok after all."
Around the same time I had secretly started smoking (which I still sometimes do.) At night I would hang out between the curtain and the open window of my bedroom and had a feeling of freedom for the first time as I looked out into the night. Not that "feeling of freedom" that the cigarette advertisements tried to suggest but something different: a vague certainty that at least for a moment I could do what I wanted. And that was the point, my goal: no more dependence on parents, school, church, authorities, whatever ... I needed like-minded people!
My musical preferences changed and soon I had the next band: "Coffee at the Kröpcke." A combo with saxophone, stylistically oriented towards Blodwin Pig, Keef Hartley and similar musical adventurers, paired with psychedelic influences. We were right in with the trend of the time. Going a little further, I took my Egmond apart, peeled off the leatherette cover, painted the plywood body with neon paint, and instead of the bridge, I put a domed, oval tin lid of a medicine can on top of it, and the guitar- sitar was ready.
Creativity in every respect has always been close to my heart, which is probably due to my innate restlessness. I can't help it ...When I had to go to the "military fitness examination" at the age of 19, I also creatively cheated about the military service. My relative short-sightedness helped me. I learned that if you had a certain amount of visual impairment, you probably would not be drafted. A neighbor friend’s father was an optician and he happened to have some really thick glasses in for repair. He was kind enough to lend them to me. I quickly took a passport photo of "Dieter with the thick glasses" and was off to the medical examination. Already my moped driver’s license officially stated: "Owner may drive only with corrective lenses” and something about "astigmatism". Anyway, I was short-sighted then and I am still short-sighted today. When I showed my driver’s license to the medical examiner, he measured my glasses, and bam: "Replacement reserve II. Thanks a lot!" I was out, no army, two valuable years saved. It was easy.
I built the cabinets for our PA system on my parents' balcony with a jigsaw, drill and circular saw, etc. Watts were expensive, just like memory in computers a few years ago. At the time we tried to achieve more efficiency just by the construction of the loudspeaker cabinets. Today, a power amplifier with an output of 800 watts RMS costs only a fraction of what it used to. Power amplifiers with 800 watts were practically non-existent, just as there were no high efficiency loudspeakers, neodymium magnets or any other kind of newer technology. Just like today with computers: hard disks are disappearing from the market and these RAM memories with 500 gigabits of storage space on chips are taking their place! Our first "apcom" branded computer had 16kb of memory with 64kb of expansion. You can’t even send a photo with that today!