Force Majeure – Edgar Froese’s autobiography


Webpage The Quietus has posted a fascinating extract from Edgar Froese’s autobiography “Force Majeure”. Here the founder of Tangerine Dream recalls the early days with Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler. It was a time where every aspect of electronic music was new and undiscovered. 

It starts like this:

“In the late sixties, Berlin, like many European cities, was well supplied with underground clubs which offered a variety of novelties and alternatives to disco trash. It was the beginning of September 1968 as we found ourselves in a bar called ‘Zwiebelfisch’. The live band there consisted of a keyboard player who bashed gruesomely on his Farfisa organ, as well as a drummer who couldn’t play a tom roll but consistently hammered out a robotic 4/4. They were called ‘Psy Free’ and had the typical funny farm texts of those days on their leaflets. “Let’s not order anything at all, let’s just get out of here straight away. This place is embarrassing and the music…” Monika, my girlfriend at that time, later to be my wife, had a distinctively alternative music taste. “I look at the band, then at my skin. If I get no goose bumps because what I’m listening to simply doesn’t interest me, so I’m leaving. Boredom is not a luxury that means anything to me” – one of several respectable qualities which held us together for nearly 30 years.

“You’re right, but check out the drummer. He could take you to the end of the Milky Way without spilling his coffee, and that is rare.” He was indeed an exception that confirmed the rule, as almost every drummer in Germany had a terrible feel for rhythm, and hardly any of them could hold a beat, let alone play anything more virtuoso or creative. It was clear to me that this drummer could provide a solid rhythmical backing for TD. “Are you married to your organ player or can we meet for a casual coffee in the next few days?” I asked him during an interval. Three days later we sat opposite one another in a pizzeria. In order to make him familiar with the slightly obscure world typical of TD conversation straight away, I asked him: “How long has it been since your parents resolved to give you the name which I do not yet know?” “What’s going on here? Is this a police interrogation or do we both have the wrong address?” He shot his reply at me, looking completely unnerved. “Do you know that your drumming is really awful?” So he’d come all the way from an outlying Berlin district just to hear insults like this? he said. “Too right,” I retorted, “and you sit there behind your badly tuned drums like a wet bag that’s been hung out to dry”. This was enough for him, and he got up and started putting on his parka. I held onto his sleeve, “But,” I said, “next weekend you and I are going to the Essener Song Days to play there, together with Frank Zappa, The Fugs and some West Coast groups at an international festival. The main part of the festival is going to be dominated by Amon Düül from Munich”, I explained, in a very relaxed way. He didn’t so much sit down again but instead rather fell back into his chair. “Just so I don’t mistake you for one of the other one and a half million inhabitants of Berlin, please could you let me know your name?” I asked. He remained nonplussed. He was Klaus, the Klaus Schulze who had been born in the Rhineland and had lived for a while in Berlin. “Hopefully you don’t intend to make your career in music; a name as exotic as Klaus Schulze would definitely get in your way.” The first laughs rang out, soon to be followed by more in that conversation. He asked who else was in the group. “At the moment it’s just you and me. I fired the others two weeks ago. We had small musical differences of opinion. I’m sure you know about such irreparable problems.” He looked at me, absolutely aghast, believing he was sitting before someone who needed professional help.”

Read the complete extract here

“Force Majeure” – Edgar Froese’s autobiography may be bought at the Eastgate shop