Auszüge aus dem Buch "The Crack In The Cosmic Egg" Auflage 1996
Buch erhältlich über den German Rock e.V.
Crew Blues Session
These were one of the earliest of German progressive rock bands (formed in 1966), and were the origins of what was to eventually become Grobschnitt. What they sounded like at the outset, we've no idea, though later they played a kind of acid-space-rock and blues, betwixt early Ash Ra Tempel and The Groundhogs, hinting at the early Grobschnitt sound. Unfortunately, Crew Blues Session never released an album, and their only recorded output (two tracks) is to be found on Eroc's EROC 3 anthology album, along with other historical recordings from related bands Wutpickel and Grobschnitt.
Edd Hüber (bass), Gerd-Otto Kühn (guitar), Stefan Danielak (guitar, vocals), Joachim Ehrig (drums, effects), Kasi Klassen (vocals, harmonica)
Eroc is the pseudonym of Joachim Heinz Ehrig, best known as the madcap drummer with Grobschnitt. Eroc has never been just a drummer however, he has been an innovative sound explorer since the mid-60's, and a really talented multi-instrumentalist, as documented on a series of solo albums.
As early as 1967 Eroc had developed his own methods of multi-tracking and phasing effects, with voices and instruments. He said, that like Udo Lindenberg or Klaus Schulze, he wasn't satisfied with just being a drummer, so he explored other creative types of music. In 1970 he recorded the revolutionary echo vocal collage work "Horrorgoll", very much like a piece of Dadaist sound-poetry (yet with a rock aesthetic), it can be found on his debut solo LP along with early synthesizer and multi-instrumental works. His earliest release however, was an obscure single, which we've never encountered. A further anthology of early works (including rare Grobschnitt and other pre-Grobschnitt historical recordings) was later released as the very varied EROC 3. But, before that was his madcap conceptual extravaganza EROC ZWEI, with its concoction of synthesizer music, space-rock, comic theatrics, schlager and folk musics, all coming together like an outrageous lopsided look at the German media and music industry, and obviously Eroc's homage to Frank Zappa's equally outrageous LUMPY GRAVY.
On later recordings Eroc mellowed somewhat, ending up like a mixture of Bavarian folk, synthesizer and rock, oft-reminiscent of Michael Rothes solos, but with the occasional touch of Eroc humour thrown in for good measure.
Throughout his career, since the 70's, Eroc has also worked as an engineer and producer. Following the success of the "Wolkenreise" single (from EROC 4) Eroc left Grobschnitt in 1983, and now works as a record producer full time. The Goldbroiler & Ehrlichmann release KINO was actually by the duo of Eroc and Hans Reichel, it was the result of a friendship going back to the 70's. Eroc had been the engineer on at least ten Hans Reichel albums apparently, and they decided to do this LP together "just for fun". Having not heard it, we've no idea what its like.
The history of Grobschnitt (meaning "Rough Cut", as in tobacco) is quite a complex one. In fact it goes way back to 1966 in Hagen, with the band Crew, reputedly one of the very first true Deutsche-Rock bands. They existed until 1969, when they met up with another local band called Charing Gross. These bands joined together for a while as Crew Blues Session, but there was much conflict, with members splitting off, like the eccentric rock-theatre band Wutpickel. Thankfully, for the curious amongst us, much of this Grobschnitt pre-history is documented on the third Eroc album, which includes Wutpickel and Crew Blues Session recordings.
Grobschnitt proper, was formed in February 1970. Their diverse background in Deutsche-Rock, psychedelic, theatrical and progressive musics, and wide range of influences, all added up to making Grobschnitt into a highly original, yet accessible rock band. Notably their style drew on Pink Floyd and Yes stylings, but their song style and humour lent more to Frank Zappa and Gong. In fact, Grobschnitt, like Gong, all assumed pseudonyms. I've already mentioned Eroc, their long serving drummer (from the beginning through to the early-80's) whose real name is Joachim H. Ehrig, some other pseudonyms included: Lupo (Gerd-Otto Kühn), Mist (Volkar Kahrs), Popo (Wolfgang Jäger), Wildschwein (Stefan Danielak). In fact it became the convention to use these names in the late-70's.
Grobschnitt's debut presented a mature band, blending classical and space-rock styles, with complex dual guitars and keyboards in a music that oozed an eccentric psychedelic feeling. In these early times Grobschnitt were already working towards their ultimate triumph "Solar Music" with the album's closing cosmic excursion "Sun Trip". A very busy live band, popular for their eccentric theatrics and showmanship, by the time of their second album BALLERMANN "Solar Music" had expanded enough to take up a whole LP at 34 minutes. Though the first LP of this double was no less extraordinary, opening with the outrageous "Africa" fronted by Eroc in lunatic Monty Python style, it also offered three other aspects of the Grobschnitt style. Shortly after this Eroc also started to release solo albums, proving he was not only a great drummer, but also a visionary multi-instrumentalist.
Developing the song style from BALLERMANN, Grobschnitt then came up with a great commercial triumph, the delightfully easy going and whimsical JUMBO. lt was such a success that a German vocal version was also recorded! Definitive Grobschnitt, but unfortunately also the last innovative studio album. On an even lighter and theatrical level was ROCKPOMMEL'S LAND, a fairy tale told with wit and imagination to a music reminiscent of themes from JUMBO, but with notably more Yes styling. But, now, with even more touring, "Solar Music" had developed into a 50 minute concert extravaganza, their pinnacle of creativity had blossomed, changed and grown. The album SOLAR MUSIC LIVE stands as one of the finest progressive albums of the late-70's.
Few bands had managed to make it to 1978 without succumbing to commercial pressure, and even Grobschnitt were forced to change eventually. ILLEGAL is arguably their last creative studio album, though live even 1985's SONNENTANZ has moments of brilliance. Though, without Eroc in their later days the Grobschnitt magic was lost.
These were a wild psychedelic band, from the early history of Grobschnitt. The only documents of their existence are live recordings featured on an Eroc album.
Carlos Bottich (guitar), Kasi Klassen (bass, vocals), Joachim Ehrig (drums)