As many people will already be aware, I am known mainly as a street musician/busker.
Although based in Duesseldorf, I appear, in no particular pattern, thruout the German Ruhrgebiet; from Dortmund, Bochum thru Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Oberhausen, Muelheim, Duisburg and all points between.
Many people express surprise that I choose to perform almost exclusively on the street but it enables me to reach an incredibly large audience. You could compare what I do to what graffiti artists do.
Although I do not take the same risks as these urban scenists I am working similarity against a plethora of local by-laws.
In Duesseldorf for example the city fathers have produced a wonderful little booklet in which we, the street artists, are informed that, although Duesseldorf welcomes buskers, performances are limited to 30 minutes and can only take place on the hour. Singing in the second half of the hour is forbidden.
Some music I compose specifically for playing on the street.
Often I am trying to create a kind of folk music, either traditional or contemporary.
I am influenced by the traditional guitar pickers and innovatists that sprung up in Britain in the late 60's. Bert Jansch, Davey Graham, John Renbourne provided contemporary interpretations of old folk songs.
These songs were woven with macabre or gloomy themes such as visitations by dead lovers or seduction and abandonment. I feel they provided an alternative view on life to religion. I myself have observed that no-one sins with such abandon as the lapsed Catholic.
The American singer/songwriters Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young have also influenced me, as have Lou Reed and David Bowie.
I am a big fan of the Glimmer Twins, Mick Jagger and Keef Richards although I believe John Lennon was the leader of the pack. In the mid 70's after the appearance of P*NK, the New Wave, I wrote a complete set of songs which contained absolutely no minor chords.
The songs had only majors or seventh chords. Thus I banished all sadness and melancholy from the music in order to accommodate the polemic and social content of my lyrics.
Everything was played at an enthusiastic canter. After a year of this I was worn out. This constant display of energy. What did it really mean? It had, I decided, outserved its purpose and so I proceeded to craft a series of songs which positively brimmed over with minor chords, major sevenths and melody.
Then I slowed everything down. By employing one side of the coin I had earned the right to express the other. What I find endemic in today's writers is the lack of experimentation.
These songwriters model themselves on lame idols.
Any one of a dozen non entities from the yester year.
These people are not, and for the most part were never, expressing anything relevant to other people's lives.
They created songs that were the aural equivalent of anti-dandruff shampoo.
The flakes continue to appear, however.