The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Spliff / Froon


4-8-08 Spliff / Froon

Ever hear of the German new wave band Spliff? Did you know that most of them changed into a band called Froon? And that the band The Other Ones is an offshoot band?

Spliff:

CD 85555 CBS DE CDCBS 85555

LP 85555 CBS DE CBS 85555

12" CARBONARA / DEJA VU EPIC US 49-03854

LP EMERGENCY EXIT EPIC US EPC 38556

CD HERZLICHEN GLUCKWUNSCH! CBS DE 460560.2

LP HERZLICHEN GLUCKWUNSCH! CBS DE CBS 25152

7" ROCK 'N' ROLL REFUGEE / GRAVY CBS UK CBSA 1005

LP SCHWARZ AUF WEISS EPIC JPN 28.3P-569

CD SPLIFF RADIO SHOW, THE CBS DE CDCBS 84555

LP SPLIFF RADIO SHOW, THE CBS DE CBS 84555

Froon:

CD3 BOBBY MUGABE EPIC DE 651561.2

CD FROON EPIC DE 461125.2

LP FROON EPIC DE 461125.1

12" MISSING PIECES EPIC DE EPC 652870.6

Spliff was originally pitched to me by an importer – “One of the girl singers from Gruppo Sportivo is on this 45!” – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Refugee” – yeah, Josee is there – but it didn’t sound anything like GS to me! But I liked the B-side better – “Gravy” – so when the debut Spliff LP “The Spliff Radio Show” was offered to me, I jumped at it.

And it’s a masterful English-language new wave pop album – with a great vocalist – Alf Klimek (who would go on to work with the Other Ones) – such fantastic songs – it’s a concept album about how “rock is a drug”, making fun of producers and the foibles of the rock music lifestyle.

Well, I love this album – and I always bought whatever I could find with Spliff’s name on it – but Alf Klimek only seemed to be on the debut album – the next 3 albums are sung entirely in German by Herwig Mitteregger & Co. Album #2 (“85555”, it’s serial number) is rather good, and the next two…didn’t do as much for me.

Towards the end of the 80’s, I found an inexpensive CD in a used CD store that looked interesting – I recognized some of the names from Spliff – and they were still on Epic Germany – only now it appeared that the group was called Froon, and was fronted by an English (language) singer! Great technopop songs! Why wasn’t there a 2nd Froon album?

And I eventually found Alf Klimek – in a German /Australian band called the Other Ones – they made two great albums – notably the single “Another Holiday” and their whole fantastic 2nd album “Learning To Walk”. Proof that new wave music could come from anywhere!

Alf! Phone home! I want to hear your story!

- Ron Kane, Los Angeles



10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia:

Alf Klimek was born on February 3, 1956 in Melbourne, Australia. He is the older brother of Johnny Klimek and Jayney Klimek.

In June 1977, he joined the "Stuffed Puppets" under the guidance of Neville Tranter as a puppeteer and comedy script writer. The group flew to Amsterdam to take part in the Festival of Fools. 1979 saw him leave the puppets and join the crazy cabaret group, "The Busby Berkeleys" writing shows and performing all over Europe and in New York City, and one year later again joined the ex-Nina Hagen Band in Berlin, Germany who renamed themselves "Spliff" as front-man and co-writer for the "Spliff Radio Show".

Klimek returned to Australia and joined forces with his brother Johnny Klimek. Together they returned to Berlin in 1983 and, joined by Johnny's twin sister Jayney Klimek, started the pop group "The Other Ones". In 1987, they had two single hits, "Holiday" and "We Are What We Are" which charted in Germany and the USA.

Klimek left the band in 1990, moving his home base several times between Berlin and Melbourne. He owned his own studio, Birdland with producer Lindsay Gravina and worked in event musicals for a number of years until, in 1998 was asked by Klaus Baumgart to create a series of musical and audiobook productions for the successful "Laura's Star" series. His brother and sister were also involved in the children's productions to varying degrees as well. Johnny went on to score a number of successful films with Klimek's ex-colleague Reinhold Heil from Spliff. Jayney became co-lead singer for Tony Banks of Genesis, "Banks Statement", and her own project called "You Pretty Thing".

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Alf klimek said...

Wow! You guys seem to know a bit about me.

I'm living in Melbourne Australia but get to go to Germany and Los Angeles for work a few times a year...

feel free to say hello

Alf Klimek

10:08 PM  
Blogger alf said...

Hi Guys,
Alf Klimek here.
Wow! you seem to know a bit about me.

I'm living in Melbourne Australia but get to go to Germany and Los Angeles on a regular basis for work.
Feel free to say hi...
alfklimek@primusonline.com.au

10:09 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

That's right - the real Alf Klimek checked out my blog!

7:11 PM  
Blogger deepinder said...

Spliff were seen on BBC2 in the early 80's. Probably a show flown in from Holland or Germany. Personally I was severely affected by the first Nina Hagen Band LP. It is a sensational LP, it is a tragedy that Nina and the boys split. She needed the boys and the boys needed her. I have a promo copy of the LP with Lyric sheet handwritten and drawn by Nina, with presse photo..I have to dig it out and put it up on Flickr. Thinman on the Zappa forum informs me that many people thought that this LP was a watershed in germans belief about rock music in german language. Perhaps he is right.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Shelly Vegas said...

What is the name of Spliff's guitarist?
Thank you!
Shelly

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Shelly Vegas said...

Is it Potsch Potschka?

9:23 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Spliff's guitarist = Bernhard Potschka

5:05 PM  
Anonymous hans-jürgen said...

Hi, Bernhard's nick name is "Potsch", so he is also known as "Potsch Potschka", e.g. on the free web radio site www.last.fm where I just started a group/forum about Spliff, see my URL. You can also post in English there, either in the shoutboxes, the forum or in blog articles.

ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Froon album is not technopop! Single Bobby Mugabe is the exception to the albums overall sound!

6:40 AM  

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