A long, long time ago I was sitting in my kitchen at home, so young but yet so sad, trying to read the evening paper. Paul, the love of my life and the father of my child, had moved to England to further his career and record his LP, 'Hallelujah' (LONG HAIR LHC 25). So, Keith Forsey and England had won, German poetry and me were condemned to the underworld.
A joint project with German texts and well-groomed Rock music, with which I had been persistently pestering Udo Lindenberg when he was still working as a studio musician at Doldinger, was to come to nothing. I wanted to mercilessly let loose the frustrations of my young life onto a like-minded audience in my native tongue and liberate myself on the open stage, or at least make a name for myself. But no one wanted to play with me. I was just a woman. And a totally mad one at that.
When I was well paid, I would also sing in a studio, even Oberkrainer music. You could hire me as a singer for 50 Deutsch marks an hour.
In the meantime I had also got a 'steady' job at the Bavarian State Opera, which I only saw as a means to an end, sort of temporary. It was supposed to feed my kid and me, just in case I decided I did want to stay alive.
That genius bastard, Paul Vincent, moved out and I sat there and snivelled and smoked and drank coffee and gulped down tablets and read about a band needing a female singer in the small ads.
This was the opportunity to show Paul what I was capable of! It would be the last thing I did. An outstanding final curtain, I thought. I picked up the phone and from then on everything happened so quickly.
The boys in the band could only play three chords, maybe four, but they were spilling over with enthusiasm. Peter Randl and I hit it off immediately; he was prepared to jump on board and join in this madness. But to start off with we did a bit of street theatre.
I can still remember how Peter carried our guitarist over his shoulder through Leopoldstrasse in Munich: Randl urged on the blond guitar adolescent - armed with gasmask sunglasses, accountant's arm protectors, peaked cap and whip - don't give up now. I ran behind, wringing my hands like Sarah Bernhard and shouting, 'Oh, have pity!'
The crowd became somewhat unruly, it was pure Punk.
Yes, Drosselbart was the first Punk band in Germany; Amon Düül didn't count because they could already play eight to ten chords. Randl had his head shaved and wore DM boots.
As I said, besides working in the opera I was also earning quite good money on the side as a studio singer. I sang for Klaus Doldinger, Udo Jürgens and for detective films with music by Peter Thomas, anything they had to offer me, really.
I scraped all my pennies together to hire the Union Studio for a few hours. We needed an official demo tape for Drosselbart. At the time we could only play one number, the 'Engel des Todes' (angel of death). So one afternoon we went there and somehow cut some tracks. The sound assistant, Mack, later to become a famous sound engineer at the Musicland Studio and do recordings for Queen and other bands of that calibre, managed to get us on tape. The multi-track still had to be mixed but the time we had booked and paid for was up. Unfortunately after our Drosselbart session, an expensive studio microphone went curiously missing, so the band was also banned from the studio.
But Mack, who was also a bit of an anarchist and loved animals, secretly mixed everything for us at night, when the sun went down and no one was looking - and didn't charge us a penny. Then, I took the band to Ralph Siegel, who was still young and tainted at the time.
Ralph had a nose for finding hits and he smelled success. He quickly (and for a lot of money) sold us to Polydor. But we only saw 10,000 Deutsch marks for the whole LP.
Incidentally our bassist Werner Schüler, who secretly kept a suit in his cupboard, later stayed with Siegel as a full-time pop music assistant.
In the meantime, us Drosselbarts quickly knocked up a joint production in the cellar at Teuton's place, the redheaded drummer, with responsibility for creative flair having been bestowed on Randl and me. And if you knew us both, you'd know that was what happened.
Eventually, the band hired a terraced house in Eching so they could practice without being disturbed. It was to be a kind of band house-share. Personally, I didn't think it was such a good idea, because I always had to finance them and cook and clean etc …
But my time with Drosselbart was nearly over anyway. I had signed a contract with the Bavarian State Opera as an opera singer and I had to get permission from my employers if I wanted to sing in public. And I wasn't even allowed to mention the name Drosselbart in those hallowed halls.
In the beginning, I tried to conceal my identity where I could; I called myself Jemima instead of Mono and wore a wig in Drosselbart photos. If they'd found out what I'd been up to I'd have been out on my ear. Unfortunately, I had stupidly signed a contract with Siegel for Drosselbart and that was supposed to be an exclusive contract. Actually, it was clear from the beginning that Drosselbart would never be able to perform live, at least not with me. I really only wanted to do the LP to get back at Paul!
Yes, I was capable of anything when it came to realising my creative urges. It would have been unfair to carry on holding the boys back. I had to make a decision: resign from the Drosselbarts because the opera was a sure thing, if I wanted to keep my head above water.
The fact is that my lawyer, Alfred Meier, (God bless him!), managed to wriggle me out of Siegel's 'water-tight' contract, but which earned me lifelong hatred from Ralphie-boy. "As long as there is breath in this body, you'll never sing a note in this studio again!" (Not one to mix his words, old Ralphie).
I enjoyed my time with Drosselbart.
Back then, I wrote my first and best love poem to Jesus, 'Du bist der eine Weg' (you are the only way). It meant a lot to me, singing this song. Our keyboard player, who was pretty good and knew all the chords, put it to music. That, in itself, was worth all the effort, I can tell you. I just had to sing this song.
Paul Vincent didn't even want to hear the LP when he came back from England with his own LP. But he has stayed with me until today. I've been singing all my life. And we all sang happily ever
(Jemima), Summer 2003
Translation: Martin Haynes
Coordination: Manfed Steinheuer
Inferno - Drosselbart
Liebe ist nur ein Wort
Du bist der eine Weg
Engel des Todes
Nach einer langen Nacht
Der Sommer (Inclusive Der Sturm)
An einem Tag im August