Thursday, December 21

Go to Luckywood!

Last weekend: On tour in Brandenburg with The Magnificent Brotherhood of Eternal Love & the Happiness's Close Companions. Going up the country from Berlin down the Highway 101 to Luckenwalde, Teltow Fläming county. A small town, one mediaval church, one market place & one club for bands to play. 20.000 inhabitants, seemingly no people aged between 20 & 50 left in the city due to high unemployment rates & the general decline of the east german regions. Much to our surprise though 64 young alternativ people, the majority of them way under 18 years, show up for the concert. During the band's soundcheck & while we're hanging out in the Alhambra's backstage before & after the show the DJ's mix attracts my particular attention: appropriately interspersed with lots of classic 1960s material (Jefferson Airplane et al.) he employs lots of Motorpsycho tunes throughout the evening, including selections off of "Trust us", "Let them eat cake", "Phanerothyme", "It's a love cult" & "Black hole/blank canvas". Approaching the guy who runs the club & who booked us about that he smiles broadly & goes on to tell me that "Motorpsycho are incredibly IN here among the people!". Upon that information I leaned back impressed & satisfied & continued to groove along to "Go to California" -- I think this anecdote strikingly illustrates the phenomenon Motorpsycho & the longevity of their popularity among an independent & (left)alternative audience (in Germany).

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 15

One year MotorpsychoNews

MotorpsychoNews celebrates its first anniversary today! One year ago, in December 2005, Motorpsycho's return from a three & a half year hiatus was imminent & my introductory post "Tour dates shaping up!" came just in time to kick off a great year 2006 for Motorpsycho fans. 174 posts later (which equals an average update frequency of every second day) I find myself rereading the introduction to this space which is still featured on the very top of this page & which I quickly & spontaneously scribbled down back then. It reads:
The aim of this blog is to accompany their [the band's] return with news, media coverage, show-reviews as well as personal reflections. This blog might very well turn into a source about all things Motorpsycho in the hope that the band will find its way back into a more regular work-groove.
I am happily astounded that MotorpsychoNews established itself as exactly that -- a source for all things Motorpsycho -- and the vast variety of topics MotorpsychoNews touched within the Motorpsycho universe still amazes me. I feel I have thoroughly accomplished the purpose articulated one year ago. That's why I will leave the original introduction untouched because it still holds up & of course I will try to work towards the same goal in MotorpsychoNews' second year too -- let's see what the band has in store for us in 2007! Maintaining this blog has been both a lot of work as well as great fun & inspiration.

Thank you to all readers who stuck with me, to all the people who contributed, commented, helped, reflected & supported, particularly to the UnOff, the people at the forum, at g35 & everybody I met & traveled with on tour, also thanks to The other Anders for continued inspiration & friendship & many translations as well as to Rolf Klausen for many guest-features & lots of translation help too! Last but not least my love & kisses go out to Susann for making life really worthwile & so much brighter & tender ever since we met in Rostock!

MotorpsychoNews will present a more comprehensive look back on the Motorpsycho year 2006 later on, for now you can browse back-issues in the INDEX or have a look at what has kind of become the heart of this site, the 2006 Concert Chronlogy spring, summer & fall!

If you feel like it please leave a comment or e-mail me for feedback!

Thank you!

Wednesday, December 13

Very old friends

Last spring, when Motorpsycho introduced one Øyvind Brandtsegg on vibraphone to their stage line-up for 21 out of 31 gigs in 2006 very little was known about his previous connection to the band. Inevitably his contribution to the studio version of "The Golden Core" -- one of Motorpsycho's most enduring signature tunes -- received the most attention among fans who were waiting for the tour. Furthermore an article stated that he hails from the same small town as Snah does (Steinkjer). When Bent & Snah supported Brandtsegg during an improvisational gig of his own project Kanon later in the year it became clear that he has to be regarded as an integral person in the Motorpsycho universe.

Bent, Snah & Øyvind on stage, Berlin (GER), 01.05.2006, by Jette Krabbe
Thanks to Rolf Klausen from Trondheim here is more evidence -- not new, but forgotten & obviously overlooked by most of us -- for the long-time friendship & musical relationship between Brandtsegg & Motorpsycho. Rolf found this interesting message from 1999 in the g35 archive:
[g35] Willy B lecture
* To: g35 List
* Subject: [g35] Willy B lecture
* From: "Vegard B. Havdal"
* Date: Sun, 5 Sep 1999 19:59:17 +0200 (CEST)


I was at a 'lecture' (kåseri) thing with Willy B the rock critic and Motorpsycho collector (and I allow myself to say eccentric) in Bergen on saturday. He chatted about rock groups, why they do the things they do, and various stories. He also played obscure music, and the first thing he played was a cut with Bent, Snah and Øyvind Brandtsægg (jazz band Krøyt, vibraphone on Golden Core) from 1987 in a basement in Steinkjer. It was about a 4 minutes cut from a 25 minute jam, and what we got to hear was a passage containig that heavy, descending riff from Un Chien, right before the quiet part. So that bit is old.

I was lucky enough to talk to him afterwards, and he said he thought he couldn't talk too much about Motorpsycho, even though he wanted to. I don't think he's much of a net user, unfortunately, he really ought to be around here.

Bent, Snah & Øyvind rehearsing early ideas for "Un chien d'espace" back in 1987?! Oh boy, they were 18 back then -- what an utterly intriguing notion of the three teenage boys spacing out in a shabby basement already foreshadowing the genius of Motorpsycho!

Øyvind refines "Un chien d'espace", Berlin (GER), 01.05.2006, by Jette Krabbe

Interestingly enough Willy B., the rock music critic who held the lecture & played that excerpt, did perform with the band earlier this year under the name The Insect Machine (compare the Concert Chronology Part III) so things came to a full circle in 2006. Also a while ago it was announced that this very Willy B. was about to write an official Motorpsycho book (compare here & here) & Rolf poses one very relevant question in his e-mail to me: what has happened to that biography?! Quite obviously, keeping the above anecdote in mind, he would be able to tell us a lot of interesting things! Let's hope something will materialize one day...

Many thanks for Vegard for his initial post to g35! And of course to Rolf for leading our attention towards it.

Saturday, December 9

Hagfors Gebhardt Hello!

HGH played a sweet concert at Copenhagen's Studenterhuset yesterday afternoon before supporting Kaizers Orchestra at Vega in the evening. Some impressions from the day below, pictures taken by The Other Anders. The third picture shows Rune (foreground), Susann & yours truly in the middle, plus two German Kaizers fans in the background.

Wednesday, December 6


Tomorrow (thursday), HGH & Kaizers Orchestra will play the first show of an almost sold out three-night stand (Dec. 07-09) at Copenhagen's Vega that will wrap up Kaizers Orchestra's "Grand finale"-tour. As previously reported by MotorpsychoNews the two bands have toured continental Europe together during the past three weeks, a highly prestigious support slot for HGH who were introduced to large audiences during the 16 shows.

However, the brief foray to large concert stages with Kaizers Orchestra is just one facet of the two Trash Grass musicians' mission to spread their message of "love, tolerance & movement" to the world. In addition to relentless touring in support of their four long play albums on Stickman Records between 2000 & 2004 the duo has undertaken an interesting experiment prior to the tour with Kaizers Orchestra: they played to young children in elementary schools in the Trøndelag area (around Trondheim) of Norway. An article in this magazine has more information:
-HGH is doing a tour on elementary schools, performing a show called "Me & my buddy". Very playful and funny. Even 12 year old boys with "stone face" and girls who roll their eyes eventually start smiling, Martin Hagfors says. He adds: "After one show, a father told me that his son had gone straight home and made himself a guitar out of one plank and a string".

-Some of HGH's philosophy when performing for kids is that you don't have to be "good" to succeed. They call it anti-pedagogics. Both Martin Hagfors & Håkon Gebhardt got thrown out of a choir when they were kids because they sang too loud.
"We call it trash music, because it's not good unless it's bad. Having a hard time can make you strong, and dissonance can be beautiful. That's why we also play on instruments we don't really know how to play, to show that it's possible anyway. For example, I can't play the bass or piano, but i do it anyway," says Martin.

-In the show Martin & Geb are two buddies who live on a small farm in the mountains. Here they experience among other things that their cat is abducted by a UFO. This creates lots of noise and loud sorrow. Children can relate to that sorrow, many have experienced losing a pet.

"To us, the important thing was to create a show where we touch upon subjects like 'right', 'wrong', 'fair', 'unfair', etc. And also, in the show there is some jealousy kids can relate to. My character has a girlfriend on the moon, but my buddy never sees her and doesn't believe me. But he has a real girlfriend and that makes for jealousy", says Martin. They also talk about kissing, in the song "Wet your lips".

-They've used their normal songs, but created stories to wrap around them and make them fit in a show for children.

-The response has been very good, yes, and they now started using many of the stories in their regular shows.

HGH will return to Norwegian school stages after the completion of the Kaizers Orchestra tour the arcticle states. If you want to expose yourself to some anti-pedagogics you should not miss the afternoon HGH show on Friday, December 8th (3:30 pm), at Copenhagen's Studenterhuset where the band will play a special headlining free-entry promotion show in addition to the their three performances with Kaizers Orchestra at Vega. The afternoon concert -- check out the flyer next to this paragraph -- has been arranged by Adandenco, better known to the Motorpsycho community as The Other Anders. MotorpsychoNews will travel to Copenhagen tomorrow -- we are looking forward to many smile-provoking moments with the soulful music & witty humour of Martin & Geb in Copenhagen!

Thousand thanks to Holger Mannes for his engagment for HGH! Holger provided the article. Also thanks to Trondheim's Rolf Klausen for the translation!

Sideproject activities assembled in the In the family section!

Monday, December 4

More from the HGH/Kaizers-tour...

Reports & reviews from the ongoing HGH/Kaizers Orchestra tour have been few & far between. But here is a review from Vienna, 25.11.2006. It mentions the HGH performance:
A capacity crowd at WUK danced through the entire night. Already the two-man support-band HGH knew how to win the audience over. Solely on toy & children’s instruments they presented their music style called “Trashgrass”, which sounds like Toy Dolls on Bluegrass & which convinced the Vienna audience not only because of their version of “Star spangled banner” performed on nose-flutes.
Here are three pictures from that Vienna show, taken by Anne-Kathrin Hartmann & originally posted on this blog.

Apart from the review-snippet above it's hard to tell how HGH were perceived by the Kaizers fans or by the press. I guess a certain over-saturation with Kaizers Orchestra -- this is the third leg of a long tour, which began in 2005 -- is responsible for the lack of reviews in the press. If you saw one of the shows the two Norwegian bands have played together so far & want to contribute some impressions e-mail me please! Comments Rune, Motorpsycho fan from Holland:
Listening to the CDs of HGH is one thing. Seeing them live is something else. I am questioning Geb's judgement, leaving MP to deal with projects like these...Kaizers rocked the joint, though! Great gig!
Some more HGH pictures can be found on a German Kaizers-fansite: a shot from Köln, nose-flutes in Bochum, the duo München, Zurich #1 & #2, Berlin #1 & #2 & one more from Hamburg.

An extra show has apparently been added to the tour in Århus, Denmark tomorrow, December 5th, compare this site.

In the family

I consider HGH news significant news for any interested Motorpsycho fan, that's why you can find coverage of their tour here at MotorpsychoNews. In honour of the deceased IN THE FAMILY-site -- greatly missed by many of us -- I will create an extra post which I will link in the sidebar for quick side-project navigation (still under construction though): check it out!

Friday, December 1

Trash Grass på Kontinentet!

Geb live on stage with HGH at Rote Fabrik, Zürich (CH), last sunday (26.11.2006). HGH are currently on tour with Kaizers Orchestra. More pictures below (click to enlarge), all of them courtesy of Eat the Music.

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