|Genre (s)||New Deutsche Welle , punk|
Elegant was a Berlin band founded in 1981 by Rainer Beyersdorf (vocals), Michael Pfeiffer (bass), Hansi Nischwitz (guitar) and Wolfgang Schmidt (drums). The band, which called themselves a punk band, is also assigned to the Neue Deutsche Welle and called their style "German Pop". This classification can be explained on the one hand by the fact that its founding went hand in hand with the growing popularity of Neue Deutsche Welle, on the other hand by the fact that some of its songs sounded like punk music disguised as a hit . However, this turned out to be problematic for them, as they could not be classified in any of the musical categories of the time. This was often mentioned in press articles or radio interviews. Live they impressed with a musical spectrum that ranged from punk and garage rock to beat music and hit songs to ska . In the course of their career, the band played in numerous Berlin clubs and venues such as Metropol , Café Swing , Music Hall, Flöz, Jazzkeller, Noteingang, Weisse Rose, Alte Brauerei, Moabiter Musiktage, KOB and Sector and thus developed a considerable fan base. She also appeared in squats, youth clubs, at church events or at street festivals. Her single asshole has achieved cult status.
Elegant became known for their unusual live performances. They often involved the audience in their shows and spiced up their performances with various additional ingredients. Once a cowboy would set the beat for a concert, another time they would let a motorcycle drive onto the stage, distribute presents to their audience or pour drinks from the stage. Especially the jokes between the band members, mainly between the singer and the bassist, went down well with the audience. Often they were asked by the audience at concerts to make funny sayings or some nonsense on stage, which they then did. Elegant concerts were eagerly awaited and sold out quickly when admission was requested. Live they delivered an irritating and at the same time impressive performance that was somewhere between joke, slapstick and social criticism. They enjoy serving their audience's desire for fast, snotty and by no means fun-free punk. They had already made a name for themselves with their single Asshole / And you say . The A side caused a sensation because it was subject to a kind of "broadcast ban" and was not played on the radio. The very "broadcast-friendly" title as Hey Music presenter Jürgen Jürgens later wryly put it, did not fit quite the bourgeois radio program. However, the single had been very successful in Berlin discotheques for some time, whereupon editors of the youth programs of Sender Free Berlin and RIAS became aware of the troupe and played the record in their programs. That was the decisive turning point in Elegant's career and a significant step into a much larger public. Since then, the band has often played in the youth programs RIAS Treffpunkt and SF-Beat and has been invited to broadcasts. The airplay contributed to asshole quickly making it to number 3 on the hit list of the independent charts . This hit parade was determined on the basis of the sales figures of various record stores and was published regularly in Berlin's largest city magazine, tip . Until the end of the 1980s, these charts were the only ones that record buyers in Berlin's independent sector could use for orientation. In addition to the live performances, Elegant recorded their own songs on their own or in various studios, which were often heard on the radio. Even the back of her single got new honors from the broadcasts. Many listeners therefore mistakenly held And you say for the A-side. That's why in later years the B-side kept popping up on bootleg tapes and was released on a compilation in 2001, before Asshole . The second page And you say was played on the radio more often than asshole .
In the third year of its existence, the quartet achieved a level of awareness that prompted the SFB to broadcast a detailed portrait of the group entitled Elegant - German Pop Between Rhythm and Melody, and Tip moves a large, two-page report about the four-man team publish. This article made the band known beyond Berlin's borders, as the magazine was also available nationwide. This was noticeable in the fact that they received offers from various music publishers and numerous offers for live performances, including from West Germany. At that point in time, no one suspected that not much of this would be implemented.
The unexpected ending
From all sides, be it from the press or from the radio, Elegant were repeatedly confronted with the question of why a combo with such an English sounding sound only sings German lyrics. This had already been the subject of various radio broadcasts and now again in the Tip report. And this question did not leave the four unimpressed in the long run. For many, it didn't fit together and the guys themselves finally began to doubt their concept.
In the end, it was this question that led to the breakup of the band in late December 1983. The band members couldn't agree on whether to continue with German or English lyrics. In the first days of December 1983 they made recordings for a new single and a future LP with Tempo founder Peter Radszuhn as producer in the Berlin Hansa studios. At the time, Radszuhn was working as an A&R manager for a well-known music publisher and came across this band while looking for new talent. He recognized her talent and musical potential and therefore took her under his wing. Although the recordings were very successful, the band broke up due to different musical views, suddenly and for many very disappointing, at the end of December 1983. The already finished recordings were no longer published. Since then, apart from a few songs on the radio, nothing has been heard from the band.
Fifteen years after the four-man team split up, the Berlin record label Maximum Rock 'n' Roll released the vinyl LP Elegant in the summer of 1998, with studio recordings on the A side and live recordings on the B side. The recordings from the Hansa studios are not among them.
- 1981: Asshole / And You Say (Single; InArt)
- 1995: Group sex in a retirement home (LP sampler; songs And you say ; asshole )
- 1999: Elegant (LP; Maximum Rock 'n' Roll)
- 2001: The Father of His Faithful People (sampler; song And you say )
- 2003: Volxmusik for connoisseurs (sampler; song asshole )
- 2013: Elegant (CD; songs from the 1999 LP plus bonus material; Degray Music)
- 2013: Asshole / And you say (reissue of the 1981 single; Degray Music)
- Christian Graf: The NDW Lexicon. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2003, p. 74
- Transmission-Magazin , No. 2, spring 2004, p. 59
- Rock City Berlin. The current handbook of the Berlin music scene , 1983/1984, p. 73
- Booklet for the 1st LP Elegant, p. 1
- Berlin city magazine Tip, October 23, 1981
- SFB radio broadcast on March 17, 1983
- Berliner Stadtmagazin Tip, 18/83, pages 76 and 77