Thursday, January 9, 2014

Amon Düül II and the Birth of Kraut Rock Book

Swedish author, record collector and label owner (Kommun2), has written a pretty cool small book on the history of Amon Düül II from their early origins in different hippie communes in Germany in 1968 up until 1972. This is probably the only book in English that really describes the early days of the band in such detail. The majority of the book is taken from articles published in a lot of different sources but all put together here in a very nice manner. Tobias also describes each of the album tracks made by the band from the debut up until Wolf City (1972). There is also a detailed discography describing the singles and LPs from this period. Sadly, the book had to be severely edited after some members of the band complained about material that was included from interviews with different band members that Tobias had managed to track down. If you are a fan of the early ADII, then this is a fun read for sure. I learned a lot of stuff I had no idea about. I was lucky enough to get the author to answer a few questions so here you go:

What did you get interested in Amon Duul II?

I have been interested in music from the late 60s and early 70s for a long time and when I heard Amon Düül II and some other acts from West Germany I was really intrigued by their distinct sound. I know that most Germans think that Krautrockis a derogatory term - which might be true - but nevertheless I would say that there is a certain teutonic sound. As well as a Scandinavian sound, a Brittish sound (i.e. Brittish invasion, Meresybeat etc), a West Coast sound in USA (Blue Cheer, Jefferson Airplane and so forth). This distinct sound is of course more or less prominent, but definitely present in Germany on the early albums released by Liberty, Ohr and Pilz in and around 1970.

Did you ever get to see them perform in the 70s? Did they play in Sweden?

No, I never saw them perform back then. Their first gig in Sweden was in Vimmerby in 1977. I have the concert poster, although it is outside the scope of the book.

Was there any sort of culture like this in Sweden at the time period like what you describe in the book?

The situation in West Germany had many similarities with the situation in Sweden at the time, but was much more extreme. Sweden never experienced losing two world wars nor having to make up with its past in the same way as the Germans.

The book is an unauthorized biography. Did you try to make an authorized version with the consent from the band?

Initially I wanted to make the band happy with what I wrote, but after a while I noticed that it wasn't possible. I also read Anders Tegner's unauthorized biography about Yngwie Malmsteen last year, and I thought that it would not have been that great if Yngwie himself had authorized it.

How long did you research and do interviews, etc.. for this book?

About four years. But not full time as I have three kids a day job. So I could only work with the book during weekends and holidays.

Thanks for making his historical book. Do you have any other comments?

I would like to thank everyone that buys the book and reads it. And listens to this astonishing band!

You can purchase the book at the link below for 18€. It is a hardback, 159 pages printed in only 500 copies.

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