1964-1969 first activities

Rockinger T-Shirt

And here we go!


Dieter from the beginning until 1986

Some people say that my map of the world is not made up of cities or sights, but rather of places where you can buy guitars and eat well.  But beyond these inclinations, my most important traits are that I don't believe anything and that I'm impatient, intolerant and easily annoyed. However, I believe that if you don’t get angry, you won't be inclined to change anything or create anything new!


The first jolt: In the mid-60s a music series called "Nashville Stars On Tour" was shown on German television. Among the artists were such performers as the Anita Kerr Quartet, Bobby Bare, Jim Reeves and especially Chet Atkins.  Atkins played instrumentals and sometimes used his Bigsby tremolo, which got me all excited.  Not just the sound of the electric guitar but also this tremolo effect.  I needed a guitar!

 I finally had my first guitar lessons at the age of 13.  The instrument I learned on was a Klira “Triumphator” travel guitar. Not bad at all but I wanted a tremolo. I rode my bike to the Schwartz music store and ordered the installation of a tremolo. The elderly Mr. Schwartz must have thought that this young man was not quite right, but he did it anyway.  Suddenly my Klira had a Jazzmaster like chrome part.  At last I was able to imitate at least a little bit of Chet Atkins.

I didn't have a pickup yet. I only remember that I inserted the microphone of my Telefunken tape recorder into the body over the sound hole and then used the playback and recording function of the Telefunken to create really hot delay effects. Sounded like Velvet Underground.  Soon I got a Framus pickup too.  A friend built me a first tube amp (18 watts) and wired up the pickup, potentiometer and a jack. At that time I had of course no idea about such things.

1965 Klira Triumfator

Anyway, that was when the Stones, the Beatles and a little later, the Spencer Davis Group and the Doors made a big impression on me at night while I was playing my transistor radio over small headphones, absorbing their sounds.  Uptight, like most guys of my generation, I had at least realized that as a musician (that I urgently wanted to become,) you had much better chances with girls. I soon realized that music and everything connected with it seemed to open doors to other worlds (and not only to the girls).


The Message

My first band, "The Message", was soon together and I switched to an Egmond guitar built in Holland. A kind of Jazzmaster with three pickups, a rotary switch for pickup selection and a leatherette cover.  Right at that time psychedelic music started with Pink Floyd, the Electric Prunes, etc.  In addition, the Beatles brought the sitar onto the musical scene.

Dieters Egmont

Speaking of "other worlds," in my life not only were the guitars very important, but cooking and eating was also. My mother (although from Berlin) was not a good cook. Dry fish cooked to death, inedible beef liver fried to the consistency of shoe leather.  Anyway, out of displeasure I often hung around in the kitchen. My first activities were experiments with pancakes, more flour, less flour, beating and mixing in the eggs, adding baking powder, etc.  Naturally the easiest way to move these things from one side of the kitchen to the other was quickly with some butter splashes on the floor.  What did my mother think? "There's something wrong with that boy! Why is he always in the kitchen? He's not gay, is he? I think I began seeing girls soon after that.  "Oh, so the boy is ok after all."

Dieter als Koch

Around the same time I had secretly started smoking (which I still sometimes do.) At night I would hang out between the curtain and the open window of my bedroom and had a feeling of freedom for the first time as I looked out into the night.  Not that "feeling of freedom" that the cigarette advertisements tried to suggest but something different: a vague certainty that at least for a moment I could do what I wanted. And that was the point, my goal: no more dependence on parents, school, church, authorities, whatever ... I needed like-minded people!


Café am Kröpcke

My musical preferences changed and soon I had the next band: "Coffee at the Kröpcke." A combo with saxophone, stylistically oriented towards Blodwin Pig, Keith Hartley and similar musical adventurers, paired with psychedelic influences.  We were right in with the trend of the time.  Going a little further, I took my Egmond apart, peeled off the leatherette cover, painted the plywood body with neon paint, and instead of the bridge, I put a domed, oval tin lid of a medicine can on top of it, and the guitar- sitar was ready.


Creativity in every respect has always been close to my heart, which is probably due to my innate restlessness.  I can't help it ...When I had to go to the "military fitness examination" at the age of 19, I also creatively cheated about the military service. My relative short-sightedness helped me.  I learned that if you had a certain amount of visual impairment, you probably would not be drafted.  A neighbor friend’s father was an optician and he happened to have some really thick glasses in for repair. He was kind enough to lend them to me.  I quickly took a passport photo of "Dieter with the thick glasses" and was off to the medical examination. Already my moped driver’s license officially stated: "Owner may drive only with corrective lenses” and something about "astigmatism". Anyway, I was short-sighted then and I am still short-sighted today. When I showed my driver’s license to the medical examiner, he measured my glasses, and bam: "Replacement reserve II. Thanks a lot!" I was out, no army, two valuable years saved. It was easy.

I built the cabinets for our PA system on my parents' balcony with a jigsaw, drill and circular saw, etc.  Watts were expensive, just like memory in computers a few years ago.  At the time we tried to achieve more efficiency just by the construction of the loudspeaker cabinets. Today, a power amplifier with an output of 800 watts RMS costs only a fraction of what it used to. Power amplifiers with 800 watts were practically non-existent, just as there were no high efficiency loudspeakers, neodymium magnets or any other kind of newer technology.  Just like today with computers: hard disks are disappearing from the market and these RAM memories with 500 gigabits of storage space on chips are taking their place! Our first "apcom" branded computer had 16kb of memory with 64kb of expansion. You can’t even send a photo with that today!