Who's kdm?  

"I try to bring order into the chaos."
(Interview from November 1994)

Q: In which year did you meet Klaus Schulze and under what circumstances? When did you become his manager?

kdm: I started to work for music groups in 1970: As European tournée manager for well known jazz and rock groups, for a big music concert promoter. Funny is, that my very first tour was with the "Paul Bley Synthesizer Show, featuring Annette Peacock" - I had no idea then, that these funny (and heavy) new instruments: Synthesizers, would have such a big influence on my further life. Between the jobs for this promoter, I did little jobs in my home-town Berlin: beside more stupid jobs, I worked for rock groups as a roadie. My interest was more (and still is) into direction avantgarde (classical, jazz & rock), so I came into this scene of groups like ASH RA TEMPEL, KLAUS SCHULZE, TANGERINE DREAM, AGITATION FREE, OS MUNDI. German rock was no "business" then, and "roadies" were unknown. I was an amateur, and the musicians I worked for, were also amateurs. They were not good paid for their gigs, and I was not good paid, then. I remember many beautiful French tournées with my friends of AGITATION FREE. I got thirty or fifty Marks per day, that was more than each member of the group received. But we all loved it. The French amateur promoter then was Assaad Debs. He is still in this business today, but no amateur anymore. Assaad is today one of the big French music managers. After nearly twenty years, we met again in January '94, when he was in Berlin with his group Les Rita Mitsouko, and he arranged the Klaus Schulze concert at La Cigale in May '94. Assaad is still as charming and friendly as he was twenty years ago. I love him.
During my work with ASH RA TEMPEL (KS had already left), I saw KS the first time in summer 1972 in the OHR office. He was there to bring a photo, and we (ASH RA TEMPEL) were there to ask for some money to drive to TIMOTHY LEARY in Switzerland to make Seven Up.
Later this year or early next year ('73) I did a removal for him, and from this time on I visited him and his girlfriend (he was divorced from his first wife) a few times. Then KS moved to a former shop in the Schwäbische Straße, and built his little studio there. In one of the rooms I started the office of Klaus. He was quite disorganised with daily things, so I brought some order into his paperworks, and I helped with his studio, the instruments, the mixer, the speakers, by doing some electric work. I tried to bring order into the chaos.
After a while I also lived in this former shop, which was now studio and office. Then we (KS, his girl-friend and I) moved to a bigger apartment, and KS gave the shop/studio to EDGAR FROESE, who still used it as his Berlin studio until 2005.
I went on to work for KS on a permanent base, very rarely I worked also for other people. We started to do our first concerts and tours, we went together to record companies, making deals, we learned a lot, and we had a lot of fun. In 1975, we both moved to a house in the countryside of Germany. KS' reputation and his music went bigger and bigger. I still worked for him because it was fun and a good living. I was free, I could do what I wanted. I got not paid, and we had no contract. But if I needed something, it was there. We were compagnons. And both: carefree & crazy. When the Schulze business went bigger and bigger, I realized that I needed an "official" status, so I became his publisher. I am still today just this, his publisher. I only get my money from publishing some (most) of Klaus' compositions. A "manager" gets about 20 % of all the income of his artist, and in addition he gets all his expenses paid by the artist. I would be very rich, if I would be the "manager" of KS. I am not the manager. But I did mostly the work that a normal manager does.

Q: What are your remembrances of this era of progressive psychedelic rock music? Today they say that the early seventies were a very good period...

kdm: What is today called by some people "psychedelic/progressive rock music" was in the late sixties and early seventies the normal music that we were interested in and listened to. Everybody tried to cover the ROLLING STONES, the PINK FLOYD, some American Westcoast bands, or JIMI HENDRIX, but what came out in Germany was different. I suspect, that it was the inability to do the music they like so much, that they unconsciously created a new music. And I suspect, it was not the first time in musical history.
Each era has its own good things, each generation has its own heros and idols. The twenties was the "Jazz Age". The thirties had "Swing". The forties had the invention of solo singers. The fifties had the invention of white Rhythm and Blues: Rock'n'Roll. The late fifties had the European revelation of the Blues, which led first into Skiffle, then in the sixties into the Beat music: the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals, Who, Them, and many more. The late sixties had the hippies and their music (including the music and the people we speak about: TD, KS, A.R.T.). The seventies had surely some highlights(?). The eighties saw a return of the energy and the power and the rage of Rock'n'Roll: Punk and New Wave. Of course each and every person has his own preferences, which mostly is the music of the years of his adolescence. What I try to say: I don't see "the seventies" as a more euphoric era than "the eighties" or any other decade, because I know too much about musical history.

Q: Did you realize that these groups (T.D., KS, ...) will be famous a few years later?

kdm: When I started to work with Ash Ra Tempel, TD, or KS, it was not in my head to think about the high or low "selling" of the LPs or the concerts. I didn't care, and it was not part of my job and my thinking. But of course I was happy and proud when I heard in the local radio station Walter Bachauer's famous Monday late-night programme, where he played some music from my friends, and said some positive words about it. That this kind of music was (and still is) not selling like DON MCLEAN, CAT STEVENS, AMERICA, NEIL YOUNG (Hit albums in '72) or ALICE COOPER, THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, PINK FLOYD, ELTON JOHN (Hit albums in '73), was clear then, to all involved. But I realized soon that KS was, of the whole musicians that I worked for, the one who "will make it". He was already in 1973-74 a romantic fanatic when it came to his music. He never listened to other music than his own. He had no other interest, ...except: girls. Lotta chicks.

Q: To be the manager of a solo star like Klaus Schulze has brought also some joy and disagreements with certain people, I suppose? To organize tours, recordings, deals, isn't as easy as people may think. What are your experiences?

kdm: As told before, I am not "the manager" of Klaus or any other artist. I'm more a close friend and adviser. But of course, my job brought to me plenty of joy and plenty of vexation. It's never boring. Most of the vexation is because I work very hard, precise, correct, the same as a few other people that I know. But then there are those many (!) people that I have to work with, who are just mediocre, ignorant and stupid blockheads. They don't care about their doings. They are born as stupids and haven't learned a thing since. My impression, and that of the deceased Peter Wirths (former manager of Schmölling): All idiots in the music business get in record companies the jobs as "A & R Managers".
I speak very often with friends about the people who do their job not correctly, and who drive me mad, because it brings just additional work for me. One of those friends, Archie Patterson from America, told me once, that these people and their mistakes are necessary; otherwise our lives would be very boring. A philosophical statement. I agreed. What else can I do: Shoot them all to the moon?

Q: Some groups have decided to come back with big shows, laser and poor music. A lot of these groups come from the seventies. What's your opinion?

kdm: Which groups? I'm not interested in these things. Privately I listen to other music than the "normal" fan. While I type this it is: GLENN GOULD, Two-Part Inventions and Three-Part Sinfonias, by BACH. Before, it was an old VAN MORRISON album.

Q: What do you do in your job, yesterday, and now?

kdm: In the beginning it was fun, together with interest in the music, interest in the music business, interest in the record business. I loved the black round vinyl discs. During all these past 25 years I learned a lot about it, because I loved what I was doing. And I still love it, and I still learn many things. Time goes on, fashions change, the media change, I change, Schulze's music changes slowly.
From the beginning until 1980 my job also included the set-up and the maintenance of KS' equipment, the P.A. and the light, everything. With more paper-work for IC and KS and with the digital era I dropped this part of my job (but I still do the light, mostly). Yesterday it was travelling, driving the truck, carrying heavy boxes, soldering, taking care of the whole stage and the artist and the promoter... Today it's mostly thinking, writing, reading, phoning, faxing.

Q: You are in the music business for 25 years now. What are your general impressions about the last ten years?

kdm: I don't know what kind of answer do you expect? There are many memories, all kinds of memories. To judge a past era with today's knowledge is always difficult. The older one gets, without becoming a couch potatoe, the more one realizes that there is no real change in showbiz. It's always and all over the same, except that the rhythm changes from time to time. Young people grow up, discover music, enter the music business, and do the same crazy good things and the same mistakes that were done before, by the former generation...

Q: There are a lot of Electronic Music album releases, in the UK, USA, France, Germany, everywhere. Does this "explosion" - in numerical terms, not in sales - makes you think?

kdm: Oh, certainly yes.
The new technology, the new keyboards, samplers, computers and software seem very easy to handle! Without any musical knowledge you get very quick a nice sounding "new age" song (A "quickie"?). That thousands of younger and older men (rarely women), sit at home and do their own electronic Hausmusik is okay. That most of them want to do (and actually do) their own CD, is not okay. It's too much.
For a long time, KS and I, we didn't think much about all these many mediocre hobby musicians. Yes, we even liked them and supported them. But in the early nineties we realized the flood of mediocrity; others played us some of those CDs; we saw even raving reviews in music magazines about sudden CDs from former fan-letters-writers (who told us in their last letter that they cannot do music at all, and in the next month they have their own CD out) ...or from former journalists (!). We discussed this, with colleagues like Edgar, or with serious journalists (who don't do at weekends some e-music as well and rave about it in their next article or radio broadcast).
Slowly, a kind of aversion grew - especially and only if one listens carefully to the boring music of most of these amateurs...
Because it was KS and Edgar who fighted hard, who starved, who put their souls into Electronic Music in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978...; it was KS with his (!) money who established in 1979 the first label for young electronic musicians: Innovative Communication. It was KS who founded a school to learn synths, from 1978 to '79. It was Klaus who turned on KITARO (1975) and many others to electronics. It was Edgar and Klaus who made hundreds of concerts for 25 years, and who gave thousands of interviews, showing and explaining the world about this crazy new music. So, we have indeed some reason to speak, and therefore we say now: Merde.
I compare today's situation of e-music always with the situation that black hot jazz music had to undergo in the past: Twenty years after something really great was "invented" and changed the history of music, some young (white) fans tried to do the same, and out came funny "Dixieland music". More young fans copied then this revival, copied the copycats, and what came out was far away from the primary idea, it was a meaningless poor sound that used just the formula, without any essence. It had no balls.
Some years ago I tried to start a discussion about this, especially in British and American electronic music fanzines. Soon I gave up my efforts to explain, to discuss about it, because the reaction was just "My friend so-and-so (who's doing e-music) is much better than KS (or TD)", or similar fan behaviour.
I repeat: This kind of music, at least its surface, is so easy to produce. Even an unimaginative non-musician can produce at low cost some nice sounding electronic music tracks, these days. And that exactly happens, en masse.
I ask all those hundreds of hobby musicians that they check first: what is art? what makes a piece of sound a piece of music, then a piece of art? I ask them to study their craft. I ask them to study the masters, the history, the present conditons. I ask in every profession for nothing less than Mastery.
We used to love all those musicians who do electronic Hausmusik just for fun, privately during their spare time, and for their own and some friends' fun. But when these well-meant amateurish tryings are seriously put on the market, being reviewed, among, say, the last or some historic CDs of TD, Vangelis, Eno and KS, and these amateurs are even compared to those professional CDs by the Masters, this is simply disgusting. They just are not on the same level (and who has ears can hear the immense difference in quality)... Of course, the naïve amateurs read their reviews too, and what should they believe? That they are in the same class as TD, KS, VANGELIS or ENO? Some time after, they wonder why nobody buys their CDs, despite those raving reviews in some fanzines (often by spare-time writers who also make e-music during their spare time, which then get reviews in sister-fanzines). And then they blame the radio who "suppress" their wonderful music, blame the big record companies, blame the foolish record dealers, blame everybody else, including the public... who do not visit their concerts (the average amount of visitors in a concert of such musicians are: thirty to sixty people, if I can trust the reports in European fanzines, and my own eyes). Those amateurs are just fans (and if they stay just fans, of whom ever, we love them). I wrote somewhere else and I repeat here: I fear, there exists a profound misunderstanding of the concept of being an artist.
I could go on for many pages. I've seen and experienced the above mentioned amateurs from the late seventies on, and all too often since (The first one was a certain Adelbert Kraack who changed his name into ADELBERT VON DEYEN, without much of a success. He even copied our official letterhead, envelopes, the covers of Schulze LPs, his titles. It was very funny then, and also triste to watch).
Don't forget, I'm into this e-music and business from the very beginning, day by day. I work for it and with it, I helped to build it. I know it thoroughly. It's my life (and I have only one). I was present in the old OHR office. I was present when EDGAR FROESE and RICHARD BRANSON made the first deal. In December '73 I witnessed PETER BAUMANN mixing Chris' sequenzer up front - and a classic LP was born (KS, who was not present, mentioned this 22 years later in an interview; he said erroneously that Chris was the one. No, it was Peter). I swung the crying JEROME FROESE baby in my arms. I saw three marriages of KS. In hundreds of concerts since 1970 I was tour and stage manager with electronic and other professional musicians. I worked my way up to the boss of a (then) most successful record company, even had a Platinum hit LP as record producer and as publisher... And I found time during this quarter of a century, not just to help dozens of unknown amateurs (!), but to reflect about many spectres of Electronic Music, the more as I know and love other music scenes. I have an open mind to many forms of music and art. Also, I do value amateurs, value them highly, if they don't try to pretend being more than just this. And if they try to make themself larger, by trying to put the Masters down (yes, this happens very often), I slap their faces, verbally. On the other hand, I do know that the young turks have to act like this, have to shake at and to undermine the old heroes' monuments. That's part of ongoing life, of the lively arts. KS did the same, 25 years ago. The old die, the young leap out and fight for their place. But I prefer when they do it not with just bold words, but by giving their whole life for creating mastery and new (!) and sensational (!) music and albums and concerts. And this I don't see for miles. Not in the e-music scene.
Laughable, if not absurd is it, when some of these species explain their non-success with their status. You know, this romantic story that "every big artist was without success during his lifetime" (a legend, if one checks), or, they say "my music is too much ahead of our time" (but I can hear only a copy of TD's or KS' music as it sounded fifteen years ago).

Q: This year, Klaus has released a lot of albums: one soundtrack, a WAHNFRIED, a sampler, a 2CD opera, a classical cover CD, a double live set... Isn't it too much for a lone keyboarder?

kdm: I ask: Isn't it great? Doing music is Klaus' profession. Look at JOSEPH HAYDN's output: At least 107 symphonies alone! BACH wrote over 300 cantatas, besides his 250 organ works, et cetera.
Especially when Klaus releases so many different CDs as he recently did, he's not to blame for it, but you have to shout: Hallelujah! Horrido! Encore!
Klaus is not just a "lone keyboarder". His work today includes the use of computers, the knowledge of the software, of the mixing desk, the various effect devices, the samplers. He needs time to think about his doings, he has to reflect it. He has to convince others that his doing is great and worth the work and the money they put into. He even has to convince me, sometimes.
I am the first and occasionally very harsh critic to Klaus Schulze and his music. Therefore, I also know about his (sporadic) less excellent musical sides. Rarely someone else found out and wrote about it, be it publicly or to me. What I mostly hear and read, when it comes to negative critique, is just (sorry) silly fan or enemy twaddle. Very rarely someone writes a profound review about one of Klaus' records, be it positive or negative. There are a few exceptions. The trouble(?) is that Klaus is still rated as a "pop" musician. No serious professional journalist or music scientist ever noticed KS, or the "electronic music". For these species, "electronic music" is still connected with the fifties, with the name of STOCKHAUSEN - despite the fact that dear Karlheinz has not made much of e-music: During the last 25 years not one electronic title, and before just 5 (yes: five. But over 100 -one hundred- non-electronic compositions).

Q: What are your dreams, projects for the next years? For KS, or other friends...

kdm: My "dream" is, that KS will listen a bit more to what I tell him about some essential business things. He's still a naïve little boy, sometimes. But, in my correctness and my astrological constellation, I'm the same as his father was. Therefore, KS will never listen to me, because he never listened to what his father told him.
I hope that one day my lazy friend Manuel will do a sensational new CD. For what other reason I gave him my whole professional audio studio, already over ten years ago (and for free)?
Projects: It's KLAUS SCHULZE's own music and own life (which is the same for him), therefore he decides what he will do in the future. I have no fear that he stops having crazy new ideas. I love expecially those. In 1997 I will release the mammouth project Jubilee Edition, and then we'll see.

I still try to bring order into the chaos (but you should see my working desk!)