Guitarist, Composer, Arranger, Producer
In 1993 a staff member at SDR 3, a German radio station, calculated that a total of 166 million* recordings on which I had worked on as either a guitarist, arranger or producer had been sold up to that time. Perhaps in the future there will be a few more ?!
If you count the PUR, Udo Lindenberg, Howard Carpendale, Donna Summer, Jennifer Rush, Pupo, Umberto Tozzi and of course all the Harold Faltermeyer songs and soundtracks with all the hits and compilations and re-released tracks à la K-Tel, that alone comes to over 100 million* records.
In the 70s and 80s I had around 3,800 live gigs at the Munich clubs Tabarin, Cadillac, Marienkäfer and Domicile and all over europe. After my tour with Frumpy in november 1991 I had one unpaid gig with my old band TAX on the 14th of August 2006.
By 1991, 15,000* titles on which I had worked as a guitarist, vocalist, arranger, composer, editor, producer or background singer or in some other capacity had been published and released.
I composed and made initial arangements of nearly 2,200 titles which had been released. After 2014 I´m not going to count anymore. There is still more to come, but more for fun
*Research undertaken by SDR 3 staff member in 1991.
Born in Herrsching / Ammersee (Lake Ammer) in Bavaria (the nicer part of Germany) on 14th of August 1956, I lived from 1956 to 1962 in Weilheim in Upper Bavaria, and from 1962 in Ramersdorf in the east of Munich.
gave me a guitar for Christmas 1962, which I immediately started to play at the
tender age of 6.
In addition, to please my Grandma I completed a proper apprenticeship as a music shop sales man at Musik-Markt in Munich from 1971 to 1973. Since finishing the apprenticeship, I have enjoyed the free-living lifestyle of a music artist.
There isn’t anything else positive to add regarding my childhood – that’s why I mentioned here the suburbs I lived in. Giesing and Ramersdorf used to be called “slums” as they were quite different from Grünwald or Solln, the finer suburbs.
STAGES ALONG THE WAY
1963 to 1965: I had guitar lessons with Mr. Schweighofer in Giesing, Munich. After only my fifth lesson, he took me with him – today people would say it was my first live performance – to the legendary german folk music pub called “Zum Grünen Eck“ (translate = the green corner - later it became a blues pub – what a transformation!). My job was to accompany him – a little shyly – on the guitar while he played the zither. In my very first encore, the ’Harry Lime theme’ by Anton Karas from the film „The Third Man“, I received my first ovation. Shortly after, a lady of about 65 years old – the same age as my guitar teacher, mentor and godfather – started to canoodle with him, so I had a third bonus: my first groupie experience in the hard world of german folk music.
From 1969 on: I started to attend all the concerts by Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall, Cream, Janis Joplin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin etc. This led, of course, to a reorientation of my musical tastes and at the same time my first experiences with a variety of funny cigarettes and blotting paper (Lucy In The Sky...). However, the subsequent deaths of my heros Morrison, Joplin and Hendrix, and the behavior of some of my best friends and school band members, who went so far downhill that they couldn’t play music anymore, somehow worked as a deterrent for me.
At the apartment
Wally Warning, Charly Boskic, Alphonso "Jerry" Gumbs Rudi Mille and Wes, Pazific Coast 1976
Bern 1976 with Pazific Coast
Stuttgart 1976 with Pazific Coast
Wes with Oktagon
Wes with Oktagon, 1978
Mel Canedy, Rock Candy 1979
Wes with TAX, 1980
Eberhard Wilhelm, TAX
1973: I undertook
an apprenticeship as a music shop sales man at Musik-Markt in Munich.
I also joined my first ’real’ band Zeus, and my second band with Ali Halmatoglu and Franz Dannerbauer. We were the ‘trio from hell’.
After finishing my apprenticeship, I traveled for a few months to the USA and was able to learn a little about the most varying musical directions imaginable – from Bluegrass to Mahavishnu Orchestra, from Dixieland to Salsa, as well as real Chicago Blues.
Apart from this, myself and other young musicians of the seventies had only the American radio station AFN and the one hour daily BR show „Club 16“ to help us continue our education in the rock ’n’ roll business.
1974 to 1975: Back in Munich, where I finally got an almost daily job as a guitarist in the legendary ’Tabarin Club’, a pub for black GIs and a couple of run down hookers. With me were five other musicians: Bob Seaberry (voc), Winston on bass and an indescribable drummer from Africa, who could not play a 6/8 beat. Everything was in 4/4 and so we always found each other on every third beat.
It’s hard to believe, but this black man had a sense of rhythm like a deaf cow. It suddenly became clear to me in the changing room why the man, who was in a relationship with the lady owner of the club, was never replaced. Most of the time he played using only a single 12-inch stick ...
One of the organists and Wurlitzer men who changed frequently at that time was Harold Faltermeyer. We had a repertoire covering all the soul favorites of the 60s and 70s, together with a whole bunch of regularly changing singers. With all the great music – and singers – we created some really great live routines.
In 1975 I worked at the Tabarin nightclub from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., four times a week. After that I went to the Cadillac nightclub from 1 to 4 a.m. – like the Tabarin, it was basically the same kind of club, but a couple of other musicians also played there, including Eberhard „Ede“ Wilhelm, who later joined a band of mine, as well as Mel Canedy and occasionally Wally Warning.
At the same time I also got to know Günther Gebauer and Franz Schmucker, and we formed a small band called High Temper.
In summer 1975 we even recorded a single in the Musicland Studios owned by Giorgio Moroder in Munich while the Rolling Stones were having a recording break – the single, however, was later used as a frisbee. Interestingly, our engineer at that time, Mack, later became the producer of Queen, Electric Light Orchestra and many other great bands and artists.
1976: Wally Warning and Charly Boskic decided to rescue me from the Tabarin ... Together with the Austrian pianoman Rudi Mille and Alphonso „Jerry“ Gumbs, Wally, Charly and I formed a band called Pazific Coast.
Three years of jobs followed, mainly live, but sometimes in the studio. I still remember the African singer, Kelly Brown, with whom our band made uncountable recordings in the Zuckerfabrik Studios in Stuttgart.
1977: a lot of rehearsal room bands followed, with Ali Halmatoglu, Sabine and Sigi Rössert. We practiced for 30 days and then gave one concert, then another two weeks practicing and three concerts ...
And as a result our repertoire on a variety of instruments increased greatly, so we never needed to cover songs in these experimental bands.
One night in 1978: I joined the band Oktagon, whose members included Hermann Weindorf, Berthold Weindorf, Litschie Herdlicka and Harry Buckl. Later Curt Cress also joined us. An album followed, recorded in the Country Lane Studios.
The engineering was done by Pit Floss, through whom I got to know a lot of my later friends and musical partners, including Hannes Treiber , with whom I found the No A Studio in 1991, where we worked together as best friends and musical partners.
In retrospect this was artistically a very creative phase, a tinge of Weather Report... I learnt a lot! Lots of artistic development, hardly any money ... In addition, I had my first official studio job abroad in Hilversum, The Netherlands, with an awesome soul band „The Cheaters“ featuring the great singer Omar Dupree.
1979: Soon after I got married for the first time, Wally Warning, Eberhard Wilhelm, Mel Canedy, Matthias Preisinger and I formed the band Rock Candy. We played the whole of August at the ’Marienkäfer’ in Munich, and were very successful locally.
We even somehow managed to win a ridiculous „Battle Of The Bands Show“ moderated by Thomas Gottschalk. However, musically the band was divided into two different fractions.
Eberhard Wilhelm and Wally Warning, TAX
TAX at Theatron, 1982
Tom Krüger, Wes, Christian Schneiderbauer and Jan Zelinka, GMBH
Wes, Hannes Weigend, Gerti Beracz and Sigi Rösser, Strinx Live
Strinx 1st formation with Thomas Simmerl, Gerti Beracz, Sigi Rössert and Wes
George Klante, Harry Karrer, Henry O´Whisky, Wes, Angela Watkins, Andy Bielan, Tahitian girls with Evert van der Wal
Donna Summer Cover
Udo Lindenberg Cover
Wes and Andy Linse
1980: One of the fractions formed the band Tax and I became a father for the first time. My first son, Marco, immediately joined us on tour... and I got to know the luthier Thomas Keller in Munich. Since that time he still repairs and built´s my guitars. I will never forget that after a successful lawsuit against a here not mentioned record company, I was totally broke. Thomas leant me 10.000,-- DM even though he had to take out a bankloan himself. So my life went on... We are still good friends, going on for 34 years now, but not because of the loan! Thanks Thomas!
1981: After just four months, Tax signed a contract with Weryton/Jupiter (Ralph Siegel) and Teldec and with this horror combination we were headed for a fall which actually happened...
1982: Although we were now playing to sell out crowds all over Germany, from Munich’s ’Domicile’ and ’Marienkäfer’, where we started, to ’Onkel Pö’ s Carnegie Hall“ in Hamburg, the ’Luxor’ in Cologne and the ’Milljöö’ in Mannheim – a total of 400 gigs in two years – we got buried, thanks to the ’creative’ and ‘courageous’ decisions of our label executives. We went our own ways after selling 15,000 albums, at that time a flop – today it would be 3 times a gold album - at least where I`m living now.
1982 was unforgettable ... I became a father again – my second son Christopher joined the world and formed a vocal duet à la Child in Time with his 14 month old brother Marco ... The nights became shorter. Later that year, my friends Christian Schneiderbauer, Jan Zelinka, Tom Krüger and I took a short excursion to try out German New Wave style. We signed a contract with Teldec, but never set foot on stage.
1983: I repeatedly found myself teaming up with composer and bassist Sigi Rössert. We formed the band Strinx. At the beginning Thomas Simmerl joined us on drums. Once again we practiced until we dropped... The ’final’ line-up of Strinx was actually a great German band, with young Hannes Weigend on drums and the singer and guitarist Gerti Beracz, who we had earlier been able to admire on Schröder Roadshow. After bass playing icon, Rich Schwab from Cologne, supplied us with lyrics, (today Rich earns a living as an Author, my three favorite books are written by him).We continued the search for our own identity, and a totally independent concept was developed. We played all over the place, but compared to Grönemeyer’s success or even Wolf Maahns Band, we were lightweights. So we all had to play any old tour, in order to do what I have always thought is very important, to survive as a MUSICIAN and not to have to drive a taxi or work in the Aldi (grocery) storeroom. I already had two young children, and my wife had enough on her hands with the boys. My job was to earn dirty, unartistic money and do various jobs, but always with the guitar and not behind the steering wheel of a taxi.
1984: I joined what was, in terms of landscape, the most beautiful tour of my life: the South Pacific tour with the Saragossa Band (I got offered the job because their guitarist Alfred Rudec broke his foot while skiing, and I was the only guitarist in Munich who had a valid passport) – wow!! Tahiti and New Caledonia: somehow I felt like the heterosexual version of Freddy. Later, I also recorded a few productions with the lads in the studio. Shortly following the tour, I received a call from Zurich for a television project called ’Jazz in Concert’. The band featured: Richard Tee (Stuff and Paul Simon etc.) on piano; Dave Weckl (Chick Corea) on drums; Lenny Picket (Little Feat, David Bowie, Tower Of Power) on sax; Dieter Petereit (Doldinger) Bass and ME!! Hooray!!!
In the interviews that followed, I was so nervous that I came across like a schoolboy. But that was definitely my breakthrough as a studio guitarist. Since then my telephone hasn’t stopped ringing, and I have been able to travel throughout Europe and sometimes to the USA to trash lots of tracks with my guitar, and now and again to make some tracks sound even better. In addition, it also happened that ...
In 1985 the band Warlock couldn’t quite manage their guitars, at least that’s what the record company thought, so the producer Henry Staroste hired me. The band had booked one of the best and most expensive studios in Germany at the time, Countrylane Studios, and had already been busy working on their guitar work and vocal overdubs for six weeks.
I was only given two (!) days to record all these clever riffs, which I had heard for the first time when I arrived in the studio. These days I wouldn’t be so bold as to put that much faith in myself, but in my deluded youth I thought anything was possible, and this time I was right! In order to keep my work on the album a secret, I wasn’t credited on the album cover, but in the branch everyone knew that it was my guitar recorded on the album, and from that point on I became Wes the rock bitch ...
And I also got really fantastic studio jobs that I previously would have done ANYTHING to get. I played guitar on almost all the recordings of subsequent productions for Henry Staroste. At the same time, Harold Faltermeyer also returned from the USA, and since then we have worked together regularly for many top American artists and films, whose names and titles - as you can see from my discography - are pretty fancy for example Donna Summer, Isaac Hayes, Patti Labelle...
1986: Udo Lindenberg entered my artistic life, and I was able to play panic rock on two albums and also write a song on them ... Again a dream came true, and that in my hometown Munich, just around the corner in Downtown Studio, managed by Jochen Scheffter, Artur Silber and Uli Ullmann.
1987: I had my first contact with Sonoton-Intersound, for whom I have produced, composed and played on around 150 CDs to date, a touch of fate. When you really pursue a music career and deliver great music, it’s even possible to earn a living from it and have fun at the same time …
1988: I did studio jobs without a break and set up my own creative work place with Andy Linse and Armin Pertl. Together we even had a hit with Harold Faltermeyer. The project was called “Bayernpower” and the hitsong was “Funky Cold Medina“.
1989: I met with PUR, Pe Werner and Dieter Falk. Five years of great productive collaboration with Dieter, Pe and PUR followed. I worked with PUR until the „Mittendrin“ CD in 1999, on the same day in august 1999 we had the total eclipse of the sun, silence... a sign of the universe...
Lustfinger´s production final party
Wolfgang Hart working at the first No A Studio construction in Vienna
First No A Studio in Vienna
Wes L.A. 1992
Frumpy with Wes
1990: PUR and Pe had gold and platinum records ... CHEERS!!! My first solo album ’I’ll Be There’ on Intersound label followed and is still played now and again on the radio, even after all these years. Artists and record companies increasingly started to entrust me with productions. So my official career as a music producer started with the bands Lustfinger (Funpunk) and Boys Voice (Metal) – one or two televisions flew out of the window at the Hilton. In addition, library productions for Mr. Narholz and Sonoton ran from time to time.
1991: Break-ups both in my working and private lives ... A move from Munich to Vienna ... And a reduction in the number of studio jobs. But because the techno and hip hop era had begun, this reduction would probably have happened anyway ! ... More songwriting ... and producing ... and arranging ... I set up a studio with my best friend, the Austrian keyboarder Hannes Treiber, (visit www.noastudio.at), and since then I have written and produced almost all my songs with him. This year I also made an album and went on tour with Frumpy, a handpicked band with Carsten Bohn, Jean Jaques Kravetz, Nippy Noya, Bobby Stern, Ken Taylor and of course Inga Rumpf, my favorite female German R&B singer.
1992: ROBOTI, ROBOTI (work and work) – see the discography.
1993: Encounter with Peter Fischer. (The result of a year spent working together was a really beautiful, German-language pop production and real friendship between all involved.
1994: For the time being, my last production together with Pe Werner. Incidentally, Peter Fischer sings the background vocals on the song ’Tabu’. After that I recorded my second solo album ’Blow The Blues Away’, which was also released by Intersound.
1995: Encounter with Erich Virch, with whom Hannes and I are still very close friends. Joint production with him on ’Wechlin’ for Intercord, featuring several international stars from the US studio scene e.g. Willy Weeks, Paul Leim, David Hungate, Dann Huff etc. engineered by Ronald Prent. All songs were mixed at the Wisseloord Studios NL. Googel their names...
1996 to 1998: Rearranging and mixing of all of Peter Fischer’s material for a new release and lots of my own productions.
1998: Relocation and re-development of our studio. We left Vienna and moved to Langenlois in the Kamp Valley in Lower Austria, to delicious wine and a slightly higher standard of living (see www.noastudio.at).
Kamptal Wine Trophy 2005 with Andy Linse, Johnny Logan, Wes and Host Stefan Horky
Johnny Logan, Wes and Bettina Maglock at the Kamptal Winetrophy 2005
Harold Faltermeyer and Wes at the Kamptal Winetrophy 2007
Wes and Ed Tötzl (Producer Ambros Reloaded)
After the mix of Ambros Reloaded
Selfie with Johnny Logan
Jerry Scheff and Elvis
1999 to 2005: A few busy years of work with four huge productions, each of which lasted from three to six months, including a musical (‘Sisi’). Then a christian classic-crossover production for ex box worldchampion George Foreman, with Ramon Vargas, Jose Carreras. And recently a few new demo-songs with Johnny Logan.
Our own band project had also just been finished: ’ZENIT – I0 IT – The Sound Of Now“ and a Tax-live-album, ’The Official Tax Bootleg’, which we have compiled from old recordings, and which we wanted to release and distribute on our 25th anniversary. But unfortunally that didn´t work so we´ll wait for the 50th anniversary...
2006 came with another Austrian highlight, the „Ambros Reloaded“ production from Ed Tötzl. Actually I was only booked as guitarist for two songs, but afterwords Hannes and I mixed the whole album and I played on a few more songs, where austrian and german pop legends like Georg Danzer, Hansi Lang, Wilfried, Joesi Prokopetz and Konstantin Wecker can be heard.
Thanks again to Willi Langer who recommended me as a guitarplayer to Mr.Tötzl, the producer, cook and veltliner-connaisseur, because „Ambros Reloaded“ is my absolute favorite album i´ve ever worked on. Not only because of the melancholie on the songs. Melancholie got slowly into my life again...
2007 Another library year and also a year with a viennese duet called „SOLO“, who worked with intelligent lyrics and dedicated music. We also made new friends, amongst others Erich and Susanne Gosch, and got worldclass players like Krzystof Dobrek on akkordeon...and others..and new friends again.
2008 and 2009 Sonoton Library.... but not to forget, we made a demo-session for the producers and writers Andy Linse and Johnny Logan. Johnny also sings the songs.
It could be released as it is, buuut no one wants it !!! You can listen to „Don´t Say It´s Over“ on this website. Music dies faster and the consumers listen to MP3 files, quality suffers.
2009 was one of the greatest moments in my career! I was chosen to produce Dennis Jale and the TCB Band, they were Elvis Presley´s accompaning group after 1968. The Band included superlegends like James Burton,Jerry Scheff, Ronnie Tutt, Glenn D. Hardin, Jason Scheff, Paul Leim, The Sweet Inspirations feat. Myrna & Estelle Brown, Portia Griffin ---- and Austrian musicians Goran Mikulec, Martin Payr, Willi Langer and not to forget the bluesharp genius Christian Sandera, who does´nt show up on the CD Credits-- visit www.dennisjale.com.
On my birthday 14. august 2009 we flew to Nashville and recorded at the „Ocean Way Studios“ in Nashville.
We recorded the CD in a few days. Afterwords Hannes and I worked for about two months on the vocal tracks, backing vocals and guitar overdubs etc. until we finished mixing the CD.
2010 – 2013 again in the sign of the Sonoton Library...at the end of 2013 I sold my share of the No A Studio to my friend and partner Hannes Treiber, who will now write and produce alone. I´ve changed my mail adresses and my phonenumbers so...
2014 I am temporalaly not avalilable. After 43 years in the music business I need a break and some time for myself...so cheers and bye for now...
Aaaahh... and now to another subject!!!
2014 Supplement to developments in our world of music
Fact is – at least for me, that there have never been so many talented and masterly, yes even perfect musicians, singers and producers, male and female, as there are now. The technical possibilities in the recording studios and in the hard- and software developments are something the planet has not ever seen before... apart from the good old Studer A80 24 track machine and the Neve consoles.
Buuut... where are the personalities, the crazy guys, the new Jeff Beck´s, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen´s or John Mc Laughlins ? Artist´s like Peter Gabriel, David Hasselhoff...uhh I´m so sorry, I made a mistake! The list does eventually come to an end!!! Where are the band´s that you can identify from the first few bars? Like: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Earth, Wind & Fire, (not to mention the Beatles and the Rolling Stones).
Where are the songs not sounding like the songs of today, confectioned for an audience of every single decade, somehow they all sound the same, like something you have heard before.
Of course they exist, just not in mainstream. One prefers, since the (for manual musicians, misfortunet Techno and Extasy era) with clichès – Rap, R&B, Countrymusic, Metal etc. clichès were always there, but not so often and the different Interpretation in the styles were gigantic. Listen to Beyonce and compare her to Faith Hill, one is R&B and the other Country, compared they are actually, musically, historically and politically complete contrasts, but today that goes hand in hand. The vocal phrasing has become similar and one can dance to Countrymusic without having a clue about the good old waltz! Even the „German Schlager“ has a shallow Hip Hop – or a Four On The Floor beat. Every different style of music that is in the charts of today has the same beat. Stuff record companies put on the market, the audience eats it and throws it up again. Afterwards it´s all forgotten. The songs in the charts of today are what I call „audiojunkfood“. Differences confirm the rules!
In the oldie radio stations of today you can still hear CCR, Hermans Hermits, Moody Blues and even Boney M. Not that you would think I like all this kind of music, but it´s doubtful that 20 years from now you will hear Katy Perry or Justin Timberlake because the cult around these stars dies much earlier. Sometimes there are just not enough songs left of these artists like Amy Winehouse. The young audience thought that´s a brand new style because they had never heard of Nina Simone, The Supremes, Diana Ross, Dinah Washington or Sarah Vaughn... all these named artists were great in their time, but since the 90s there have been so many One Hit Wonders like no time before.
I admit my part as a musician on such productions is there, but after all someone has to do the job!!! The family needs food, clothing and a roof over their heads, or ... you say „fuck everything“ and get a taxi license, but then you turn on the radio and listen to the songs you did´nt work on, so „shit“ that doesn´t work either.
For me it was always strange to come out of a 3 day Rock´nRoll studio session and on the next day you play a smooth acoustic guitar for a housewife soap, and the song and my guitar should not disturb the ladies while ironing!!!
I remember the times when the big german radio stations cut out guitar solos from the top 40 hits to „cool down“ agressive car drivers. That is not a joke! I had the pleasure to talk to the inventor of this idea. I always believed it would be more dangerous to switch radio stations while driving at 120 mph along the german autobahn then listening to my guitar solo on a Jennifer Rush song. But this guy was like my old school teacher, he didn´t have the ability to discuss other options!! He just held a monologue, during a short break to get breath, I went down to the cafeteria to get a drink or two... and I think he is possibly still talking, but in the geriatric ward and not in front of millions of listeners in his radio station!!! The spoken words are forgotten very soon and demence is not alway a disadvantage...
In spite of these developments i´ve not stopped working. I just changed my spectrum more into writing, arranging and producing, and for good friends like Harold Faltermeyer, Dieter Falk, Henry Staroste, Andy Linse etc. I still work as a studio guitar player, sometimes...!
I never wanted to be the thankful service provider and sit in a Lufthansa jet while my roadie drove throughout Europe with my car, that is just pure stress. Everyone who was insanealy jealous of my situation called me a „complicated guy“, and that wasn´t always nice! But looking back on every situation I remember, it was the best decision for me to work for Sonoton/Intersound and Mr. Narholz, where I could work artistically and creatively without any outside influence. Instead of playing guitar on real stupid fucking uninspired productions it was better for me to make music I could stand behind. Shame about the money, but at least I could sleep peacefully. That should not be the rule for other musicians, everyone has to do their own thing, times are changing and in continental Europe the job as a professional studio musician does not exist anymore, because there are no more good budgets for music productions and there is no musicians union to rule the business like in the USA.
I was lucky because I took out some good things from the 60s and the 70s and I´m not sad anymore about the oportunities I missed with PUR, Pe Werner or Peter Maffay.
As I´m not only musically polygam inclined, I could not have gone through with that. Sooner or later I would have been found, (maybe with a few euros more on my bank account) drowned, totaly drunk , in a 5 ft deep swimming pool in my mallorquin farmhouse... or for me as a non swimmer, probably the better picture, at the bottom of the stairs to my wine cellar where I fell, trying to get the next bottles of red wine....
Now, where shall I go on holiday? Or shall I sit with the other pensioners at the doctors surgery...
We will see ...