>   John Weinzierl / Chris Karrer                  
        >   Amon Düül 2 < Collaborators of V          

John Weinzierl - live
> "Many people said Calvert was mad.
I never found him mad but merely consequent."

> John Weinzierl

John Weinzierl was one of the earliest members
of the highly influential and innovative German Band AMON DÜÜl 2 - and together with DÜÜl's co-founder Chris Karrer the main composer and musical force behind the band.

In the early 80's, some time after the original AMON DÜÜl 2
had disbanded, Weinzierl teamed up again with the the band's original bass-player
Dave Anderson.
Anderson, by now, had settled in a rural area in Wales and set up his own recording facilities: the Foel Studios.
Weinzierl and Anderson initially started to work on some material from the early DÜÜl 2 days and recorded some new material as they got along. The first release of this line-up - labeled either as simply AMON DÜÜl or AMON DÜÜl UK - was entitled
Hawk meets Penguin and released in 1981.

John Weinzierl Weinzierl and Anderson kept on working and obviously a lot of material has been recorded - more releases followed over the years: Meetings with Menmachines in 1984, Airs on a Shoestring in 1987 and Fool Moon in 1989.
The circumstances of these releases are somewhat dubious - John Weinzierl said that he never wanted this material to be released - but that's a different story.

The two met Calvert around late 1986, after he had recorded his last solo album Test Tube Conceived at Foel studios.

Anderson and Calvert knew each other for a long time - since the earliest Hawkwind days, as Anderson, after leaving AMON DÜÜl 2 joined Hawkwind to become their bass player for their X - In Search of Space album.
Later on Anderson played also with Inner City Unit, the current band of Calvert's good friend and Hawkwind co-founder Nik Turner. In 1984 Anderson recorded the New Anatomy album with them. During this time Robert Calvert also often guested with ICU and the band played a lot of his Hawkwind and solo material with Calvert taking over the vocals - often being joined for the odd duet by Nik Turner.

In 1986, after Calvert had recorded Test Tube Conceived at his studio, Dave Anderson joined Calvert's backing - band KRANKSCHAFT for the following tour.

It was around 1987 that Weinzierl and Anderson once again met in the Foel Studios when Calvert was also around. At the time, he was in quite a low, depressed mood, due to the recent death of his eldest son. Alex Calvert, who was only 17 at the time, had died of a mysterious incurable infection.

the Glamourous Düül - 1975 / Karrer (l.) - Weinzierl (r.) Weinzierl knew Calvert as well for a long time, as Amon DÜÜl 2 and Hawkwind (Calvert's main band throughout the 70's - besides his solo-projects) had always been in close contact - and for a long time aiming into similar musical directions.
Weinzierl decided to make the best out of the situation: getting a good vocalist & lyricist AND trying to help Robert to get out of his low mood. Consequently, Weinzierl asked him if he wanted to write the lyrics and do the vocals for the songs he was currently composing.

Calvert accepted - and obviously, he was more than willing to use the opportunity to pull himself out of this bad period and to take the chance to collaborate again with a very gifted composer.
In his ususal manner, Calvert threw himself completely into it - got totally absorbed in writing the lyrics, composing the melody lines and recording the vocals.

John Weinzierl remembers:
"At the studio they had to hire two sound-engineers working continuously in 12 hour shifts each to keep up with Robert's creative pace.
During the sessions as we played along you could already hear it in the background: hack, hack, hack - Robert, hammering the lyrics into his typewriter which he handed out to us immediately.
Today he'd probably have a laptop..."

Calvert + Karrer Chris Karrer had also been flown in for some of the sessions. He remembers some good times as well. Calvert, who was always fascinatated by German language and culuture amused Karrer with his fantasy of becoming a double agent in East Germany....

John Weinzierl:
"We were going to record Bob Calvert and Chris (Karrer) together. You should have seen those two in the studio - real freaks. I don't mean that in any stupid way - it was magical. Bob mustn't have died, he was one of the brothers."

Strangely enough, nothing of the material that Karrer recorded at the time found its way on the release - he felt a bit like being payed for NOT appearing on the album - but that's yet another story....
He also remembers Calvert's manic working periods - seeing him in the earliest morning hours, still in his pyjama - already behind the typewriter, merrily typing away.
But more troubles for Calvert were on the horizon as his wife got seriously ill at the time and had to undergo an operation. The recordings had to be delayed and got interrupted several times.

Finally, it was TOO late: Calvert died of a heart attack in August 1988 - leaving behind numerous unfinished projects - the recordings with Weinzierl being just one of them.

Luckily the recordings had reached a state which made it possible to keep on working on them. That's what Dave Anderson did and 1989 saw the release of the Amon Düül UK album Die Lösung - featuring as "special guest" Robert Calvert.

John Weinzierl claims that these recordings are unfinished versions and that he never approved their release in this form. However, they are the last real studio recordings of Calvert - and it's hard to say how the album might have sounded if he and Weinzierl would have had the chance to complete it themselves.

As it is, the album features a number of well-crafted guitar dominated rock-songs with some definite psychedelic flavour - the best track, entitled Urban Indian is a splendid combination of Calvert's distinctive vocal style with Weinzierl's forceful and driving riffs - and reminds me a bit of an elegant version of the proto-punk Hawkwind / Calvert classic Urban Guerilla.

The other circumstances of this release are as well quite mysterious - the sleeve notes give nothing away but the names of the other participating musicians: Tony Mcphee, Guy Evans (from Van der Graaf Generator), Julie Waring, Ed and Joey Ozric (yes, the ones from the Tentacles by the same name) a.o. -

Fool Moon An even more interesting and quite obscure track featuring Robert Calvert appeared on the fourth Amon Düül UK release: Fool Moon.
I only recently discovered that this track exists - with a little help from my web-friend Ami Hassinen (thanks!).

This long track, entitled Hauptmotor (Main-motor) - features Calvert's lyrics and vocals IN GERMAN!

> LISTEN   to an excerpt of HAUPTMOTOR

Over a a rough and catchy riff Calvert delievers his German lyrics - at times in almost spoken manner, then again with a touching poetical edge - espcecially in the chorus sections. The lyrics seem to be almost prophetic - taking into account that this must have been one of his last recordings.

The song is about the connection between the ability to love - as a part or rather the result of the use of all human senses of perception and one's own lifespan. The connection between them being the ENERGY that keeps one alive, the "HAUPTMOTOR" - that is again fed by our own perception, by the "Eindrücke" we are constantly gathering through all our senses.

As if German was his mother tongue, he develops some clever and subtle wordplays to show these connections - without turning this into a pathetic esoteric love-song lyric.

The track is quite catchy and touching as it is - but knowing, that Calvert was struck down shortly afterwards makes it at times almost painful to listen to his vocals / lyrics.
Apart from that the band delievers a wonderful rough-edged sound. It sounds like quite a spontaneous session - fresh, a bit grungy.
This track alone is definitely worth buying the album.

The death of Calvert also became a landmark in the history of the other Amon Düül 2 members.
In early 1989 a huge benefit concert for Calvert's family was held in London. The original members of Amon Düül 2 decided to join for a - somewhat mysterious- one-off reunion gig. Lots of rumours were around. Will THEY play or not.... - they entered the stage without announcement, played a short, storming set to a dazzled audience - and vanished again.

That's - almost - the Collab-Relations story so far...
I guess you can never know what more might come out of the mysterious archives of Dave Anderson - and also John Weinzierl has still some tapes of those extensive sessions. One of them even incorporates a version of the Amon Düül 2 classic Archangel's Thunderbird - feat. Calvert on vocals.

I am certainly hoping for some more undiscovered treasures....
- and according to John Weinzierl this might well be the case:

"It was a real pleasure to meet Bob - and a pity he died so early - before we could even finish the album. But I'll definitely use Robert's original melody lines on any forthcoming recordings that'll make use of songs from that period - just to give my reference to him."

                  Amon Düül 2     today...

John Weinzierl and the Düül's original drummer Peter Leopold are actually working on some new recordings that shall be out sooner or later...

AD2 in Tokyo The other members, incl. Chris Karrer, Renate Knaup, Lothar Meid, Peter Leopold - and associated - Falk U. Rogner have recently reformed and in 1995 released the new album
Nada Moonshine #

Be POSITIVELY warned: if you think: 'Oh no, not another boring-old-hippie-reunion...', you couldn't be more wrong -- the band is not after imitating a long gone sound and period. In fact you'll find a highly interesting blend of different influences: some tribal/jungle beats from Lothar Meid, virtuoso oriental sounds by Chris Karrer - all held together by the outstanding distinctive vocals of Renate Knaup.

AD 2 - live in tokyo 1996 1996 saw the release of their Live in Tokyo album - a good blend of Düül classics and new material - which sounds even better than the studio album.
Energetic, fresh - and obviously the band has still its outstanding abilitly to improvise and explore new musical terrain - as proven by the powerful experimental encore track "Jam Hai".

More and bigger plans are under way - and hopefully, the future will see a reunion of ALL Amon Düül 2 members - including John Weinzierl.

AD(üül) 2003 - the re-union update...

yes, it has happened - in 2002 ALL core members of Amon Düül 2 got together again and since played a couple of gigs - festivals and mini-tours throughout Europe.
It's unsure, if the band will actually record new material - on the tour they played "only" material from their extensive repertoire. I saw them in Berlin at the "Quasimodo" club in 2003 - incl. all AD members but F.U. Rogner - i.e.: Chris Karrer, John Weinzierl, Renate Knaup, Peter Leopold and Lothar Meid. They were accompanied by P.P. Kuenen on keyboards and a true dervish on all things percussive: Jan Kahlert.

In all honesty - I wasn't excpecting a great gig, being generally quite skeptic about these kind of reunions. Fortunately, the band proved me wrong. Doing their gigs on a relatively loose basis, it was surprising how tight - despite some technical probs - they were. They chose the tracks from the entire range of their recording career - which, all in all, consists of roundabout 30 years or so - incl. the break-ups, pauses....

John Weinzierl - although being a major creative/songwriting force of the band, keeps more of a low profile on-stage - while Renate Knaup is the main focus with her peculiar, fragile voice. And fragile in his whole appearance is the other "star", the multi-instrumentalist and other main-songwriter of the band: Chris Karrer. It was quite a delight to see him switch from one instrument to the next - playing the heavier rock-riffs, going into flamenco-style acoustic guitar to change onto oriental paths, playing - quite masterfully - the oud a.o. instruments.
In short: should AD2 come to a place near you: don't miss out on them. They have much more to deliever than an evening of pure nostalgia. It's a lively, very energetic band - still.

AD(üül) 2004... and beyond - the latest of updates

Just as I was fixing the fixing the re-launch of this website,
I received an email from John Weinzierl. Years ago we already had plans to set up an official AD2 website - and FINALLY, it's underway. The even better news: the site is run by John/the band themselves. So it should contain first-hand infos only - check the link below!
And there's even more and better news: the band is still working - and it's not a mere let's-play-the-old-stuff-and-cash-in thing - nope. They are currently working and recording tracks for a NEW ALBUM - and they are preparing for upcoming gigs - including a tour through the States! (actually their first US-tour, I believe - after all these years...)

So: LOT'S to look forward to on the Düül-front.

LINKS - More on : Amon Düül 2