|Birth Day:||March 24, 1946|
|Death Date:||Mar 21, 2008 (age 61)|
As per our current Database, Klaus Dinger died on Mar 21, 2008 (age 61).
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He worked for his father as a carpenter.
Klaus Dinger was born in Scherfede, Westphalia, Germany, to Heinz and Renate Dinger on 24 March 1946. He was their first child.
In 1956 he attended Görres Gymnasium School for the first time. During his time there he was part of an a cappella choir, which he had to leave when his voice broke. He was part of the school swing band (as a drummer) despite having no prior musical experience. He left the school with a Mittlere Reife (German equivalent of leaving school at 16), later accusing the school of misinterpreting his "free mindedness" as misbehaviour.
After leaving school in 1963 Dinger began to learn carpentry from his father. He also became more interested in music, and practiced drums with spare bits of wood until he could afford a drum kit. In 1966 he formed a band with friends Norbert Körfer, Lutz Bellman and Jo Maassen: The No. The band was influenced largely by English rock acts such as The Kinks and The Rolling Stones. The band sent a demo tape to EMI but the record label never replied. He also worked in a free jazz ensemble, making what he later called "noise". During a concert in Düsseldorf with this ensemble, he spotted Florian Schneider, with whom he would later work in Kraftwerk, sitting in the audience (Dinger said that Schneider "Had a face I will never forget"). Schneider was at that time part of a free jazz ensemble called Pissoff fronted by another future collaborator Eberhard Kranemann.
In 1966 Dinger also started studying architecture at Krefeld. However, in 1968 he took 6 months leave, after experiencing LSD for the first time, in order to become more proficient as a drummer. In 1969 The No split up and he joined cover band The Smash and began touring southern Germany. During this period he realised that he could make a living as a musician alone, and never returned to his architecture studies.
In Summer 1970 Dinger received a telephone call from Ralf Hütter. Hütter was bandmates with Florian Schneider in Kraftwerk and was three-quarters of the way through recording their debut album. Their previous drummer (Andreas Hohmann) had left to join sister-group Ibliss after only two of the album's tracks had been made. Hütter and Schneider set out to find a new drummer; in the meantime they recorded a third track without the use of a drummer.
In June 1971 Dinger's girlfriend moved with her family (her father, a banker, was unhappy about her being with Klaus) to Norway. Here Dinger visited her in the summer of 1971. During this holiday, Dinger recorded the "watery" sounds featuring on several of his subsequent songs (Im Glück, Lieber Honig, Gedenkminute, Lieber Honig 1981) whilst on a rowing boat with Anita. The pair would continue to see each other irregularly, and often with long intervals between meetings, through 1971, 1972 and 1973.
The pair recorded in Star Studios in Hamburg, with the up-and-coming Krautrock producer Konrad Plank, as Dinger had with Kraftwerk. Dinger describes Conny's abilities as a "mediator" between the often disagreeing factions within the band. The band were booked into the studio for four days in late 1971, according to Dinger, the first two days were unproductive, until Dinger brought his Japanese banjo to the sessions, a heavily treated version of which can be heard on "Negativland", the first of the album's six tracks to be recorded.
Shortly after the collapse of Dingerland, Brain Records began enquiring after the third album Neu! were contracted to produce. In 1971 Dinger and Rother had agreed to a four-year contract with Brain, which specified that three albums be made, and the label, which was itself in financial difficulty, demanded that a final album be made. By late 1974 Harmonia had begun to factionalise, Rother preferring a more guitar driven sound and extensive touring, whilst Moebius and Roedelius favoured the electronic sound that characterised Cluster, and resented Rother's attempts to transform Harmonia from an art-orientated to a pop-orientated ensemble. Consequently, Rother was well placed to return to Düsseldorf in late 1974, to perform with the three members of La Düsseldorf in concert as Neu!. A live version of Hero was recorded for television, and is widely available on the internet. The performance highlights the disparity and enmity between Dinger and Rother, with Dinger playing guitar at the front of the stage, theatrically singing his lyrics, and Rother sat behind the stage machines, quietly providing the track's lead guitar parts.
The line-up settled down somewhat by June 1971, and it stood as Dinger on drums, Schneider on flute and organ, Eberhard Kranemann (Florian Schneider's bandmate from Pissoff) on bass and Michael Rother on guitar, who had been poached from local band Spirits of Sound. Kranemann's talents as a bass player were not always needed and in 1972 the trio of Dinger, Schneider and Rother appeared on German TV show Beat Club.
In summer 1972 Dinger and Rother went to Conny Plank's studios in Köln to record a single. Dinger later said that the record company had tried to dissuade them from making it as it was not commercially viable. Nevertheless, the single Super/Neuschnee was released. The A-Side, Super, showcased the proto-punk style that Dinger would later adopt for his band La Düsseldorf.
The performance was different from the Kraftwerk style and is seen by many as a transition from that towards Neu!'s style. The track had originally been titled "Rückstoß Gondoliero", but was mis-pronounced by the television announcer as "Truckstop Gondolero" and has subsequently been known as the latter. Shortly afterwards Michael and Klaus seceded from Kraftwerk to form their own group: Neu!. Ralf Hütter returned to Kraftwerk at the request of Schneider, who was now without a guitarist or drummer. Kraftwerk would continue, recording Kraftwerk 2 at around the same time as Neu!'s debut album. The lack of a drummer would force them to pioneer the use of drum machines and electric percussion, and, in 1974, they made their chart debut with Autobahn.
Although releases by Eberhard Kranemann and Achim Duchow had been intended for the label, neither made it into print (although Kranemann's album "Fritz Müller Rock" was released by the "Röthe Hande" label in 1977). The Lilac Angels did not disband, but released a further two albums, meeting moderate popular acclaim in Germany. 1974 was also the year that Dinger's relationship with Anita finally ended. He has since maintained that she was "the love of my life" and continued to write songs addressed to her well into the 1990s.
The recording of Neu! '75, the last of Neu!'s original studio albums, was begun in December 1974 at Conny's studio in Cologne. Like Neu! 2 the album has a definite binary nature, with the first side recorded by the original duo of Dinger and Rother, the second by the expanded four-part Neu!-La Düsseldorf supergroup. Dinger recognised this duality, admitting that "me and Michael drift[ed] apart," but Rother maintains that "it was the combination of our two strengths which made the magic." Either way, Dinger's apparent contribution to "Rother's" side of the album is limited to the drums on Isi and Seeland plus and vocals on Leb' Wohl, whilst Rother's contribution to the "La Düsseldorf" side is two guitar solos, on Hero and After Eight respectively. The soft-loud dynamic of the album's two sides have directly influenced many artists since, most notably David Bowie, who used the inverse of that format on his albums Low and "Heroes". Neu! '75 is considered Neu!'s best album by many.
The music featured on La Düsseldorf is far more commercial than the La Düsseldorf tracks that had appeared on Neu! '75. Whilst the latter can be described as proto-punk, tracks like Düsseldorf and Silver Cloud lean further towards the sound of post-punk and is greatly influenced by Kraftwerk's album Autobahn which had achieved commercial success worldwide in 1974. Like Autobahn, the album was very successful in Germany, but was unfortunately not marketed abroad. La Düsseldorf's lead single — Silver Cloud — reached number 2 on the German hit parade on its release in early 1976, an achievement all the more striking given that the song was instrumental.
In September 1975, La Düsseldorf entered the studio to begin recording their debut album, retaining Conny Plank as producer and featuring the same line-up as played on Neu! '75 (minus Rother) with the addition of ex-Thirsty Moon bass player Harald Konietzko for the album's B-side. The album took the longest to record of any Dinger album yet made, sessions lasting until December 1975, and this is reflected in a higher quality of production, with multiple overdubs of guitar, organ and synthesiser created.
With the La Düsseldorf name blocked, Dinger turned back to his first successful project: Neu!. Since the group disbanded in 1975, Michael Rother had recorded a further two albums with Harmonia and five solo albums. The recording of the last of these, Lust, had coicided with the recording of Néondian. Conny Plank had worked with Rother on his first three studio albums, as had Jaki Liebezeit, and both had also appeared on Néondian. As a result, Dinger was well connected with Michael Rother in 1985, and an arrangements were made for a Neu! reunion album, and supporting tour. Dinger and Rother were unable to secure the help of Conny Plank—vital as a "mediator"—who was engaged with Dieter Moebius in a world tour as Moebius & Plank. Recording thus began in Dinger's Düsseldorf studios (named "Im Gründ" here and elsewhere) in late 1985.
The great commercial success of both the album and the single prompted La Düsseldorf to perform in concert, something which they had avoided up until then due to their music's heavily overdubbed nature and the fact that Klaus played all instruments except drums, making concerts a practical impossibility. Nevertheless, they made several TV appearances in which they mimed their performances. A recording of their "performance" of Rheinita at a free concert in Düsseldorf in 1979 is widely available on the internet.
In 1979 the "maxi-single" version of Rheinita was released, attracting the attention of EMI, who made the group a 1 million mark offer, which they subsequently refused. The increasing wealth the band was generating began to cause tensions amongst the band members:
The recording sessions for a follow up to Viva: Individuellos, were soured by arguments, and the band's popularity decreased in the wake of the Neue Deutsche Welle phenomenon, with bands such as Einstürzende Neubauten creating music that was drastically at odds with that of La Düsseldorf (although other bands such as Rheingold actively imitated La Düsseldorf's style). These issues were compacted by the suicide of Andreas Schell (who was due to feature more prominently on the album) in 1980, midway through the sessions. Schell's loss was heavily mourned, and the sleeve of Individuellos features a tribute to him. The album was never completed, partly as a consequence of Schell's death, and is far less professionally made as a result. As on Neu! 2, Dinger opted to recycle various versions of the same song on the album, with the melody of "Menschen" featuring on "Menschen 1", "Menschen 2", "Lieber Honig 1981", and played backwards on both "Sentimental" and "Flashback". The latter two tracks are abstract tape collages, and given that much of the album's second side was given over to overtly humorous and playful faux-oompah pieces, the content of Individuellos is often seen as slim. Despite this, the album has recently become critically popular, with Stephen Thrower commenting that: "[Individuellos] is equally as good as Viva, and it actually has a streak of experimentalism that takes it further out than the other two [La Düsseldorf albums]."
Released in December 1980, the album sold poorly, and the single "Dampfriemen" failed to chart. The album was the first La Düsseldorf album to feature songs credited to others than Klaus Dinger, with the jam "Das Yvönchen" credited equally to the Dinger brothers, Lampe and Schell and Thomas Dinger receiving a co-credit with Klaus on "Dampfriemen" and a solo credit on "Tintarella Di...". The degree to which the other band members contributed to La Düsseldorf's output during the band's existence led Klaus to court several times in the 1980s.
In 1983 the Dinger brothers moved their studio from Düsseldorf to Zeeland, on the Dutch coast. Their parents, Heinz and Renate, kept a holiday home just outside the village of Kamperland, and the adjoining barn was converted into a studio. Dinger would keep a studio there for the rest of his life, first christening it Langeweg Studios after the road on which it sat, and then Zeeland Studios, which it was most commonly known as from the 1990s onwards.
However, La Düsseldorf had not split up, and the Dinger brothers continued as a duo for several months, preparing the fourth album. To this end a single was released in 1983: "Ich Liebe Dich". More electronic in feel than the band's previous singles, but along the same lines as Rheinita. It was written by Klaus alone, but the B-side, "Koksknödel", was composed instrumentally by Thomas (and is similar in sound to "Für Mich") with lyrics written by Klaus. This was to be the brothers' final collaboration until 1998's Goldregen, as Thomas finally left the group in late 1983. The songs written for the proposed fourth album, including a reworked version of "Ich Liebe Dich", were to be included on Klaus's debut solo album Néondian. The acrimony of the split was reflected in a series of legal battles fought between band members until a settlement was finally reached in 1997.
Having completed his contract with Brain, Dinger left the label and signed to Teldec, a major label in Germany at the time, which specialised in pop music, unlike the more eclectic Brain. Dinger would remain signed to Teldec until he was dramatically dropped in 1984.
In the wake of Thomas' departure, Dinger fled to Zeeland, where he began recording what he envisaged to be a fourth La Düsseldorf album alone. All of the album's songs had already been written, and one, "Ich Liebe Dich", was already released as a single under the La Düsseldorf name. The basic tracks for the upcoming album were recorded by Dinger in early 1984, to be mixed and overdubbed by other musicians later on.
By 1985 the Néondian material was ready for release, but the process was stimied by the intervention of Thomas Dinger and Hans Lampe. Dinger's ex-bandmates objected to the new album being released under the La Düsseldorf name, and took him to court over the matter. Teldec was eager to make the release quickly, and so put the LP out before the court case was heard, under the name "Klaus Dinger + Rheinita Bella Düsseldorf", hoping to attract La Düsseldorf fans by the obvious allusion to Rheinita. The single Mon Amour/America was also released, and jointly they were the first releases by Dinger to appear on CD. Like Ich Liebe Dich and Dampfriemen, the new single failed to chart, but more worryingly for Teldec, the album sales were the lowest of any of Dinger's album's to date, undoubtedly harmed by the name change. In reaction to this, the album was withdrawn from production after only a week, much to Dinger's outrage. As few music retailers had bought up stocks of the record, first-printing copies of the album are extremely rare. The music videos which had been recorded for both America and Ich Liebe Dich were never released, although Dinger incorporated stills into the CD booklets of both Blue (released 1999) and the re-release of Néondian — Mon Amour (released 2006).
Here, Dinger worked on a number of tracks he had roughly recorded alone after the release of Neondian. These tracks would eventually come to constitute the album Blue, which was released in 1999 on Captain Trip Records.
Dinger died on 21 March 2008, three days before his 62nd birthday, of heart failure.
Currently, Klaus Dinger is 75 years, 6 months and 2 days old. Klaus Dinger will celebrate 76th birthday on a Thursday 24th of March 2022.
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