Friday, October 19, 2012

There Is No Such Thing As "Krautrock:" Cobraa, Epitaph, Early Kin Ping Meh- And More How The Germans Demolished The Americans

I hate the term "Krautrock" with a passion. What if they called our bands "Yankrock?" There is "Brit Rock" and "Brit Psych" and "Brit Prog" which are nearly as insulting, but nothing for the macho patriotic chest beating Americans. If they called all our bands of the 60s and 70s and on "Yankrock" or something insulting like that I'm sure we wouldn't be too pleased. I certainly wouldn't dig it if The Left Banke got put in the same category as something as horrendously overrated and dire as Wizards From Kansas, but I guess that word "Psych" is our way of a double edged sword, but you'd never find The Left Banke in there with Wizards From Kansas. Do you get my point!?
                 -The Rise And Fall Of Hitler And That Damned Little War-   
 Germany got into a financial crisis thanks to The Treaty Of Versailles and that led to economic depression- severe economic depression. A little Jewish guy who hated Jews and was a lousy failed artist assembled a party of brainwashed, very misguided twisted people and made the Germans a whole lot of promises. He was good at propaganda and speeches and public events he staged. I think you know who rose to power and who I'm talking about: Adolf Hitler. Hitler had no redeeming qualities whatsoever, he just made a lot of promises. When you are as down as Germany was then and somebody feeds you a lot about how you're going to be The Master Race and all that you'll probably be desperate enough to buy it. Then you'll really regret that you even gave the little nothing any kind of attention at all once a war starts. Now, just like any war, but more so than any war World War 2 is very complicated. There are never any clear sides that can be all good and never any sides/nations that can be all bad. What America did during, before, and after the war was to label all Germans bad, demean them, insult them, and England is guilty too of holding a whole lot of things against the German Army and the German people most of which they didn't even do. Also, when Germany started to really rise from literally ashes the Yanks panicked and so did The British.
                    -Germany Is On The Rise And Teutonic Rock Is Born, Then It Thrives-
 Nobody likes to be on the losing side of a coin and while we went into what would be a steady long decline they ended up doing a Hell of a lot better than the rest of much of the Western World. When Germany started producing its own bands most of the guys had grown up right after the end of WW2. Many German bands developed a distinctly "Teutonic" sound and in the case of quite a few of them classical, German Folk, Vaudeville, and British rock influences came into play with the groups also writing songs that had a very European sound- not like the Americans. While there are quite a few German bands who I find so pretentiously cosmic and dithering that I hate them German Rock- Teutonic Rock as I call it just may be my favourite music. I love British bands when they are good and I don't like the word "Brit" used in regard to anything to do with England, but keep in mind the similarity- the Yanks were scared of another invasion. We're such wimps we couldn't even handle Canadian bands having success in this country. England was the most determined to bash down the walls and make some noise here, but what really is the truth is that aside from very British influenced bands and a few lucky accidents which led to some great, brilliant American music when we went dormant as a coma in the early 70s Germany took over and outdid anything we'd ever done practically. I've talked many times with Bill "Pennies" Paquin, a long lasting really good friend, and he says always the same thing "The Germans Outdid The Americans." He's right.
           -America Loses All Musical Semblance While Germany Turns Into The Best-
 There was your occasional masterpiece coming out of the states- usually something as financially low valued/underrated as Wadsworth Mansion which sounded American, but after hearing Wizards From Kansas again my was the point driven home. We pretty much sucked out, man! That record is HORRIBLE. Songs? There are no songs Vocals? You call a lot of inbred Midwestern chest beating macho howling vocals and I say you must be mad as a hatter! Music? If formless jams are your thing that aren't brilliant well thought out jams like Kak or Quicksilver Messenger Service then you're tone deaf like the band I'm describing. I readily admit that a band like The Chocolate Watchband especially on their highly under-appreciated ONE STEP BEYOND really can sing, that Kak made a masterpiece, that there are some great, great bands out of America, but for every 5 great bands you get 25 to 30 that just plain suck. Back in high school I was already into some of the German bands and many, many happy memories come back listening to a band as awesome and killer as Epitaph, but purely by accident, just by chance and patience over the last maybe 8 years or so more and more I've been into Teutonic Rock as I call it in a very huge kind of way. Getting into the early stuff by Kin Ping Meh whose name means "The Plum Of Wisdom" or summat, an album as creatively exciting as their No2 and parts of the first that I heard in passing (but it isn't quite as good- sometimes straying towards pedestrian hard proto Metal rock), getting big into Frame and playing their album continuously, my constant going backs just in the last week to relish the pleasures of the magnificent Midnight Circus, my mind is clearly made up by now.
      -The Underrated Period With Imports Held In Contempt Is Long Gone- Imports Rule!-
  If you see my collection its nearly all imports. Most of them are from the United Kingdom and Germany, and since my taste is that which selects out only the best of everything in every area I could rest my case here, but I feel like going on. German, Northern European, British, and Canadian bands may be scorned by the American collectors, but they don't know a damned thing about music and are a really stupid lot. I was on about imports before they were collected at huge sums. I always got slapped in the face by over-patriotic narrow minded dealers like a certain ignoramus in Connecticut who always had his head up his ass, but I got to be the one who was right and they stand as people who were seriously wrong. I saw it coming because one thing you've got to remember is you'll see the rare imports less if some of them you'll see at all. It took me bloody ages to get some of the things in my collection. I'm not intending this as a rant against the Americans and our bands, but we just are too ignorant, too as I said narrow minded. If you come from a different culture for me you have something over us right there, but I hate it when I'm in England and people start mocking me as soon as they hear my accent which mind you isn't that strong. I tended always to be jovial about it, but there's only so much I can put up with before all of it becomes irritating.
    Germans, as I've experienced, are oftentimes much more reserved at the start of a conversation than after the conversing is well underway. They still are afraid we'll say or do something horrible to them. That's not right. Your average German even at the height of WW2 wasn't a bad person at all. Your average German come the hard lessons learned from that horrible time in history and during the best period of German rock in the 70s is absolutely brilliant. I like my music to have some cultural significance and since I hear every word of a song the lyrics better not be obnoxious, stupid, or trite and if they are I better be laughing not in horrible shock at how bad they are. No band writes worse lyrics than Iron Maiden or Kansas.
     Kansas were a bunch of cynical and nasty (mainly Steve Walsh) rednecks from the sticks who had no talent except marketing talent and took advantage of the popularity of hard rock and progressive rock and gave us a very watered down version of it with the added problem of histrionic vocals courtesy of Steve Walsh. When Journey got lucky enough to have Steve Perry American rock got going again to a certain extent because here finally was a hugely talented, brilliant, amazing singer who also could write some pretty good lyrics and great songs. However, Germany had done a number on us before we could do one on them which was really just to have more AOR than true metal and Germany having disgusting bands like Helloween. Most Germans know better and a band like them would do best as an export into the States for beer guzzling metal heads who never knew good music. Accept, now them I have mixed feelings about their early stuff. Of course Udo Dirschneider's voice is grating, but it was unique and even fun then. I like stuff like "Fast As A Shark." It makes me smile.
     -How The World Needs Help Not Just Musically And Hard Lessons Need Be Learned-
What happened to music everywhere the further it went on is unfortunately a universal tragedy. Business, image over art, and greed took over and in the 1990s things hit a brick wall. That's when collecting relics, music forms that were no longer seen as "cool" to idiots became key for me and key for the friends I had. We all loved the 1960s and 1970s. I was wearing outlandish clothes to high school which had reached a height of scandalous by the end of my time there what with my frilly Mod yellow shirt, my buckskin jackets, and my overall appearance as a long haired freak/hippy/Mod. I was big into shock value then, but most of the music even though not all of it that I listened to then still sounds fucking great and if it doesn't, if it sounds horrible to me now, I learned something from it. The 90s were a horrible time to be alive. It was really a very hostile, violent, and bloody period in the world and the beginning of the decay which has gotten scarier and scarier as we go on. I don't believe in war so I don't believe in war mongering non-music. I believe in soldiers, but that's different. Now I just need to get away from the present in the political sense. If I surround myself with enough wonderful food and brilliant music then I'm perfectly happy, but I'm not perfectly happy about the present economic dire straits, the prospect of Romney weaseling into the White House, the decline and destruction of England. When I talk to British soldiers on the phone they aren't happy anymore with their country. That must be a really bad feeling. To get back to this whole German thing how can you not have sympathy for a whole generation of boys/men who were told a lot of ideological lies and then went to the front and saw how gruesome it was- that their cause was a horrible one and they just had to survive and pray for peace? Kids as young as 16 went to the frontlines and were slaughtered. 12 million Germans and 12 million Russians died in the siege of Stalingrad including civilians. England and Germany bombed each other to devastating damage. Hitler ran Germany into the ground and into Hell. And all we give them once they rise from all that horrendous adversity and death is to label all their brilliant music "Krautrock" and call them "Krauts." I despise anyone that narrow minded, shallow, callous, selfish, stupid, and poorly educated. "Krautrock" does not exist in my vocabulary. To call a German a "Kraut" is as offensive as to call an African American a word I will not say nor even print here, but which begins with the letter "N" and I think you know what I mean. It's as offensive as when I or any other homosexual gets called "queer' or worse still "faggot." There's a lot of hatred I feel towards American society and insulting other people's culture, their beliefs, their music, and their way of life is disgraceful and goes on here from a very young age. Parents do not raise their kids in a caring, loving, and proper manner as they weren't raised well enough and the vicious cycle repeats. I. though raised very lovingly, was once a very bigoted and clueless person until I learned the hard lesson myself that everyone must learn- we really are all equal to the extent we deserve equal respect, equal opportunities, and equal love. That is essential.

 -And In Closing Europe Is As Open As You Can Be Musically Keep Your Own Mind An Open Mind-
    I bet whoever came up with that term "Krautrock" was some World War 2 undecorated failure who didn't have one wound or one medal to show for his prejudice. Whoever came up with it should be shot! German bands, possibly more than any other country, all differ from each other in sometimes subtle sometimes blatant ways, but all differ very much and lumping a whole music scene of thousands of bands together is seriously stupid and ridiculous. Take, for instance, the differences between a band like Kin Ping Meh and a band like Epitaph where there are obvious similarities and just as obvious huge differences like the unique vocal approach of Kin Ping Meh's original singer Werner Stephan which was very Germanic and that of Epitaph which largely thanks to Cliff Jackson on guitars/vocals brought a lot to his band by incorporating his native England and British rock into a German sound. Cliff Jackson together with drummer Jim McGillvray formed Epitaph with bass player/vocalist Bernd Kolbe and they brought in another German on additional lead guitar Klaus Walz. If it weren't for England/Germany's Epitaph, if it weren't for Sweden's Blond, I don't know where I would have been. I was lost and I found something beautiful in them. As time has gone on I have found many more beautiful things in music, many more engaging exciting things in music, many more learning experiences through music and one of those learning experiences is that while they have to deal with the same bullshit as we do here politically speaking there was a time when across the ocean it was a whole lot better. That time will live on forever. My love of people who keep an open mind will live on forever. ABOLISH PREJUDICE AND HATE! KEEP YOUR MIND A HEALTHY AND OPEN ONE! Learn a lesson like I learned from this entry. I was a dick once too, but unlike some of these other people I got over it.

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