The Story
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The Story

... told from the very beginning 'till the final end.

It all begins -- as always -- with some real persons. There are some guys at class #13 of the Fritz-Karsen school, Berlin. And there are classes #12 and #11 as well. And at all these classes aspiring rock musicians forms small little bands ...
To begin with: Here they are the founding members of that class #13 band, pictured below. From left: Stephan, Klaus-Peter (standing), Peter, Andreas P., Dietmar (standing too), Michael and Andreas H.




pre Zelta Zonk




The initial musicians are Dietmar Bartels ('Dino' - git), Peter Gröllmann ('Grölli' - git), Andreas Pirner ('APi' - bass/keyboards) and Andreas Hoffmann (drums). They get supported by fellow class mates Stephan Gipp ('Alfred E'), Michael Marquardt ('MiMa') and Klaus-Peter Heckel ('Tier'). All are from the same class at the Fritz-Karsen-Schule in Berlin-Britz. They take part in a -- for that time unique -- music course, analysing pop and rock music in a modern, youth adequate manner. They hang out together, do their parties, go to rock concerts and roam the discotheques, just as folks from the same school class do.




While the guys from class #11 pick the name 'Abraxas', the collective from class #13 has no name in the beginning. From mid 1969 on, they experiment with blues elements and freely improvised, lengthy, one harmony pieces. Their inspiration comes from groups like Amon Düül and Ten Years After as well. Jokingly they adapt the name Noma Lüüd & Sssh Ltd., clearly pointing at the influencing elements. The picture displays a (purely fictive) concert poster at the famous Berlin Philharmonie concert hall. But reportedly they even perform a live gig under that label -- facts are pretty submerged due to the free beer served instead of a regular fee ...




Noma Lüüd

In 1971 Mathias Martens (g) and Ronald Spannekrebs (fl/g), from class below, join the group, increasing the folk and blues elements. No one sings at that time, one of the instrumentals is Bouree by Jethro Tull.
Meanwhile yet another class below, three fellas form Abraxas: Ulli Strehlow (git), Klaus Büchel (dr) and Gerhard Pandura (voc). They mainly cover songs from Rolling Stones and Deep Purple.
In 1972 Klaus replaces the first drummer of Noma Lüüd. Then Dietmar quits too. As far as known, no recordings survive from that era.




Zelta Zonk

In 1972 guitar player Mathias leaves as well, and Ulli replaces him.

And now a 'real' singer, Bernd Masche, joins too, from outside the school. Bernd even enjoys a PA system, enabling them to go public. He favours older Rock 'n' Roll titles, so these get performed now. And Ulli likes Deep Purple, increasing the influence of Hard Rock. The first own composition enters the repertoire.

Now the name Zelta Zonk gets chosen. It derives from Andreas' love for Marilyn Monroe at that time. She reportedly uses the name 'Zelda Zonk' to check into motels occasionally. The change to 'Zelta Zonk' gives a somehow tougher sound to a band name. And Marilyn's face graces the promotional material right through the Glam Rock time and beyond.

There is a CD Zelta Zonk Live from that time.




Zelta Zonk live 1973: Bernd - Ulli - Klaus - Andreas




1973 sees Glam Rock gaining influence. They cover songs from Roxy Music, David Bowie and Alice Cooper. The styling is selected accordingly and heavy make up is a part of the show. The photo shows Andreas, while touching up. He wears his selfmade Marilyn sweater. Bernd relaxes in the background.

At that time Sabine Scheffler joins as second singer, adding a sweet female touch too.




December 1973 sees another performance from Zelta Zonk. The setlist is displayed here. Still being Glam oriented, now the first glipses of Progressive Rock show up: Yours Is No Disgrace by Yes and The Knife by Genesis. From today's view point that probably is a wild and crazy combination, rocking with Hendrix' Purple Haze, displaying some Sympathy For The Devil and smoothing with Lather by Jefferson Airplane. And in the end playing those now-classic Prog Rock heavies!




1974 the last band member finishes his term at the Fritz-Karsen-School. Being limited to school members, the premises at the school's music room are no longer available. They find refuge in another school (even nearby), the 'Britzer Mittelstufenzentrum'. That is a new building, featuring a fine, large music room, even with a seperate, glass windowed recording room. But there is not a single piece of technical equipment for the purpose.

Zelta Zonk retreats from live gigs. Some remaining few were performed at the Hephatha community, a church community well engaged in youth work.




Andreas and Stephan each own a Revox tape machine. These now get utilized to start multi session recordings of their own material. They record basic instrumental tracks at the school's music room. Later some overdubs are added, either there or at home.




The tapes from that era get processed to digital. In 2001 Stephan produces the Zelta Zonk Studio CD.

Zelta Zonk retires completely from live performances and remains a studio-only project.





In 1976 the rooms at the Mittelstufenzentrum are no longer available. This change pretty much brings band activity to a trickle. Jobs and families gain higher interests. Up till then they met quite regular, now meetings get irregular. Sometimes they even do not see each other for weeks.




But the nucleus of Zelta Zonk, Andreas, Stephan and Ulli, keeps things alive. All three study at the Freie Universität Berlin (Free University of Berlin) and they still meet quite often. They are the composers and arrangers of the final overdubbing phase. The 'studio' is set up at Andreas' small living room. Silvia, Andreas' girlfriend, joins as a singer.




In August 1977 new live breathes into the band. Arne Stoll (see photo, right from Ulli) has fresh ideas, comes with drummer Renegald Gruwe and even offers a room to practice.




The room is part of the Victor Gollanz House in Berlin. The photo shows Zelta Zonk's custom built mixer, and their keyboard set including Dr. Böhm electric organ, Hohner Pianet and Hohner String Vox.




Andreas and Arne discuss a song. Arne likes to perform live and he is willing to practice hard for that, even several times a week if necessary. The 'older' members of Zelta Zonk do not like that idea too much, and they do not like the thought of using german lyrics either.




They spend some time rehearsing. But it does not fit. The photo shows Andreas, drummer Renegald, Ulli and Arne (partly covered by Ulli).




post Zelta Zonk

In October 1977 Arne purchases the remaining band equipment, less the members' individual instruments and amps. Their ways part.

In 1979 the remaining nucleus members break up finally. Silvia and Andreas leave for an one year North America trip. There is no re-union of Zelta Zonk.

But their music isn't dead.

Arne continues to make music. In December 1980 he writes, records and produces "KiPuMu Theater" (soundtrack for a children's puppet show), assisted by the Alec Taylor Studio Band and the theater's ensemble on vocals. These recordings get digitized in 2007.

In September 1981 he writes, records and produces "Der Zauberer und der Narr" (The magician and the fool). He plays all guitars and sings, Julia Gentges plays the cello and Andreas Zimmermann the baroque flute. Arne considers this one of his best works, a not-too-good cassette tape mysteriously surfaces in 2007 -- and gets digitized.

Andreas continues up to the early 80s to home-record compositorial bits and pieces, using the Revox for multi overdubs. He plays all instruments, later adds a MFB 501 rythm machine and a Casio VL-1 and even sings once in a while (though pretty lousy ...).

Recordings from Andreas still exist as reel-to-reel tapes and eventually get digitized in 2007.




Now learn more about the personalities of Zelta Zonk.




Arne