NEU! 1971
(Photo: Thomas Dinger)

Klaus Dinger and NEU! and La Düsseldorf and Die Engel des Herrn

Claim to Faim: Seminal (Krautrock ?) figure. Pioneer of "less is more" mesmerising hypnotic drones. Contemporary of Dylan, Doors, the Velvet Underground, Beatles, Stones. (K. Dinger stresses that he does not like Krautrock, so he doesn't want to get mixed up with bands like e.g. Can, Faust...)

Started out: Was a member of early Kraftwerk, playing on their debut album. Influenced ("not really" [K.D.]) their "motorik" style (most famously Autobahn). Then formed the ground-breaking NEU! with Michael Rother in 1971. They recorded three astonishing albums (NEU!, NEU! 2, NEU! 75) from 1972 - 1975 of white-hot mantras ("!" [K.D.]) that are like a cross between minimalist pop and extreme German experimentalism. They became huge in Germany and Britain with their austere minimalism sharply contrasting the umbering prog rock gods then prevalent. "We make no premature fixing of style, as we are very dependent on situations and circumstances," Dinger said.

"NEU! was the epitome of Krautrock ("epitome of myself!" [K.D.]) and they have defined it more clearly and fundamentally than any other group," wrote Julian Cope in his excellent Krautrocksampler book on the genre. ("excellent?? hopeless!!" [K.D.])

Dinger then formed La Düsseldorf who were similarly sparse and recorded three albums (La Düsseldorf, Viva, Individuellos) from 1976 - 1981, selling over a million in total. In 1976 they had a huge hit around Europe with the Silver Cloud single. ("Rheinita was much bigger!!" [K.D.])

"La Düsseldorf... the soundtrack of the eighties," David Bowie said. In fact, they were ("were?? They are!!" [K.D.]) so far ahead of their time that it wasn't until now that their influence is noticeable in many cutting edge bands. Rother formed the pulsating groove machine ("better say: la D.-fake" [K.D.]) Harmonia (two albums: Musik von Harmonia, Deluxe) with experimental keyboard duo Cluster. ("Harmonia are the most important band in the world," Brian Eno said in the seventies. ("Bullshit!!" [K.D.]))

General pattern since: Has continued to record regularly, despite being persona non grata in the Western music industry. Released two solo albums ("no, not really solo!" [K.D.]), Néondian in 1985 and Die Engel des Herrn in 1993.

Who took notice: Brian Eno, David Bowie (who plagiarised NEU! and La Düsseldorf wholesale on Heroes and Low, John Lydon, Julian Cope, early Pere Ubu, Sonic Youth (Ciccone Youth's Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening to NEU! on The Whitey Album), Stereolab, Labradford, Cul de Sac, the sued-by-U2 Negativland... ("and many others (e.g. Ultravox)!" [K.D.])

Latest moves: The NEU! albums have come out on CD in limited bootleg editions and Dinger is seeking a genuine big label to get them widely rereleased. Last year Japanese indie Captain Trip released NEU! 4 and has just released NEU! '72 live in Düsseldorf. Dinger is currently recording a third solo album ("not a solo album! ... a 'La NEU!' album!" [K.D.])

An exhibition of his artworks is on show at the Aberhart-North Gallery, 46 College Hill Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland until August 30.

(text taken from "Real Groove" No 2, Aug. 1996, with personal comments / corrections by Klaus Dinger [8. August 1996])


© for all texts and pictures (except where explicitly specified):
Klaus Dinger, Pf 33 01 60, D-40434 Düsseldorf.

Design and layout:
Ralf Gawlista, Pf 1149, D-59499 Bad Sassendorf.
By the way: Gawl stresses that Klaus Dinger's opinions are not necessarily Gawl's opinions!