My Music

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The pleasure which ones gets by listening to favourite songs can only be topped by playing music together with friends. It is not important whether one plays in front of a crowd or whether one is rehearsing with friends. I am lucky enough to be able to do both.

Here is the story of my musical life:

Chapter 1 - the beginning

Music was there in my life from the very beginning. My late mother played the organ, my father played violin and my brother Edi is one hell of a Guitar player. Every Christmas my father would take out his violin, my mother switched on our electronic organ and my brother took the guitar and we played and sang Christmas songs together. While I was little I sang along. Then with seven years I took organ lessons but I did not like it, because the teacher was very old and he let me play only boring stuff, so I gave up after a year or so. A few years later in high school, together with some friends I formed the band "Wirr Warr" which loosely translated means confusion. I still remember the first song we have played, it was "Wish You Were Here" from Pink Floyd. The only keyboard I had at that time was the Dr. Böhm organ which my father and my brother built together. It was an interesting time, where many family fathers decided to buy half a ton of transistors, resistors and other electronics from Dr. Böhm or Wersi to build organs from scratch. Interestingly enough that was worldwide phenomenon, in the U.S. people were buying organ kits from the Thomas company to build organs from scratch. Why did they do that, you might ask, well the answer is easy, it was so much cheaper to build a pre-manufactured organ than to buy a Hammond. The problem with those organs was, that they were designed to sound like church organs with all the registers you have on such instruments like "dulcimer", "flute", "trumpet". Unfortunately one can combine those registers in any way but the organ will never sound like a real Hammond. That is because the Hammond is created by a electromechanical tonewheel generator, actually something I would call true American engineering at its best. Why would anyone create a tone generator using gearwheels ? The answer is easy, Mr. Hammond used to be a manufacturer of wall clocks... so using the gear wheels for him was the most logical thing in the world... And who cares anyway, the Hammond Sound is one of the most distinctive sounds in Pop and Rock history. However there is one more essential thing to the Hammond sound, which is the rotary or Leslie speaker.

But lets go back to my Dr. Böhm... soon it was clear to me that this piece of equipment is not going to work for me - I needed a Hammond or at least something which sounded more like it. But then I got into synthesisers... again, no normal income earner, not to speak of poor students could afford a Moog synthesizer, so I followed into the footsteps of my father and my brother and decided to build my first synth from scratch, a Formant which was designed by the electronics magazine Elektor. The good thing about a modular synth, is the fact that one can build it up module by module, so every time I had money I bought some parts and built one more module.

Still I needed an organ and luckily one of my musical peers wanted to sell his Korg CX3, a Hammond clone and I was more than happy to shell out 600 Deutsch marks for it. So finally I had the equipment to really rock the house and that is what we did. I played the Korg CX3 / Formant combination for many years, but then I needed a polyphonic synth, so I worked during my whole summer vacation 1983 to be able to afford a Korg Poly 800. I was pretty happy with my Korg gear but then one day, it must have been in the year 1988 I got a call from a keyboarder who wanted to get rid of his Hammond M3, because he did not want to haul it around from gig to gig (you must know that a Hammond M3 weighs in excess of 125 kg). Believe it or not, he offered me to switch organs... I agreed after thinking the deal over for about 10 Milliseconds.

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