Helge Schneider

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Helge Schneider at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015
Helge Schneider at the ZMF 2017 in Freiburg im Breisgau

Helge Schneider (born August 30, 1955 in Mülheim an der Ruhr ) is a German entertainer , comedian , cabaret artist , writer , film and theater director , actor and multi-instrumentalist . He became known through stage appearances in which he combines slapstick and parodies with jazz music . A crucial element of his work is improvisation .


Childhood and youth

Helge Schneider was born in 1955 in Mülheim an der Ruhr in the district of Styrum . His musical talent was shown in early childhood, especially his talent for playing the piano. He started playing the piano at the age of five and the cello at the age of twelve. Initially a good student, Schneider soon lost interest in a school career, stayed in the ninth grade and dropped out of school in 1971 without a degree and began an apprenticeship as a draftsman . Looking back, he cites the drug consumption that began at that time as the reason for the school crash , which is said to have shaped his entire youth.

In 1972 - after passing an examination for special talents - he began studying piano at the Duisburg Conservatory , which he also broke off after two semesters. He was interested in jazz - for example, he joined George Maycock's jam sessions . He tried to earn his income in various professions such as landscape gardener , decorator , animal keeper , street sweeper and upholsterer . During these years he enjoyed spending his free time in an Eduscho café . He observed the people around him and memorized their gestures and arguments. He found older men to be impressive and entertaining, who, despite their inadequacies, always remained sovereign. These oppas became his role models. In later interviews Schneider called this time his Eduscho studies , which he attached great importance to his later work.

Beginnings as an artist

From 1977 he earned his living by performing with Peter Bursch's Bröselmaschine and with various band projects of his own, including Charly Weiss (Schneider / Weiss Duo aka El Snyder & Charly McWhite aka Helge Schneider Trio), as a studio musician (e.g. for Albert Mangelsdorff , Eckard Koltermann , Frank Baier ), with composition commissions (for Werner Nekes ), as a silent film companion and as an actor. After the birth of his first daughter in 1982, he was faced with the task of supporting a family. That is why he worked as a studio musician from 1983, among others for Marie Germany and the DaCapo Movie Band .

In 1986 he played the lead role in Werner Nekes' film Johnny Flash . The following year he made his first own film, the short film Stangenfieber . This was followed by appearances in films by Christoph Schlingensief , whom he had already got to know and appreciate during his cultural evenings at home. From 1985 to 1991 Schneider was co-host of the television music program Off-Show of the WDR , initially alongside Reinhold Beckmann , from 1990 alongside Evi Seibert . There he showed little skits and interviewed musicians. In the broadcast Queen's Palace of HR he performed with sketches, sometimes accompanied by Hans Werner Olm . During these years he worked on his musical foundations, learned to play many other instruments and gained stage experience. He developed his personal anti-comic style, which, according to critics, is characterized by disrespect, childish nonsense and the mixing of the banal with the sophisticated.

During this time he regularly attended the jazz sessions in the Bahnhof Süd in Essen , in the workshop in Essen-Steele and in the Jazz-und-Art-Galerie in Gelsenkirchen , where he could easily meet other musicians to improvise. On Friday evenings he performed for a while at the Steeler Cafe Kulturforum and played jazz in a trio. In 1989 he released his first phonogram, His Greatest Successes , with songs from the movie Johnny Flash . This was followed by the records radio plays 1 & 2 and New York I'm coming .

The big success

Helge Schneider at the Mülheim Jazz Days, 2002

From 1989 Schneider's fame rose in Germany through his appearances under the nickname "Die singende Herrentorte ". On stage he celebrated a mixture of absurd stories, parodic hits and jazz music. He performed solo and with "his little band" Hardcore , consisting of Buddy Casino (piano and Farfisa organ) and Peter Thoms (drums).

In 1992 he achieved his commercial breakthrough with the album Guten Tach, which was recorded half live and half in the studio . In 1994 Helge Schneider became known through a TV appearance on Wetten, dass ..? known to an audience of millions and the play cat toilet then placed in the German charts . Schneider was able to reach more visitors with his programs. The double album There Are Rice, Baby , for which he received a gold record , and his first detective novel were released. With the theatrical release of Texas - Doc Snyder keeps the world in suspense , the cult around Schneider reached a temporary high point. At the same time, this triggered a discussion in Germany about the cultural value of his work and the situation of German humor itself.

Helge Schneider withdrew from the stage. He wanted to escape the increasing appropriation of his person by the media and the stylization of a star. In addition, he put more and more emphasis on jazz music in his programs - the general audience, however, increasingly attended his concerts because of the absurd stories and acting. He made his second film, 00 Schneider - The Hunt for Nihil Baxter .

New beginning

Helge Schneider and Band, 2005: Battle in Space
Helge Schneider, 2009

After a two-year break, Schneider made his stage comeback in 1995, parallel to the album Es rappelt im Karton . He went on tour with a big band made up of old friends and musicians from Mülheim. Since then he has been on stage regularly with changing line- ups , for example with the rock band Helge & the Firefuckers , with the smaller band Hardcore as well as solo. More books and albums were released.

After the film Praxis Dr. Hasenbein (1996), which was received favorably by the critics, did not want to make any further films. The "stress" is too great for him and the result is so strongly influenced by the many employees that he can no longer recognize his handwriting. In 2004 he made another attempt with this medium with the film Jazzclub - The early bird catches the worm .

In 2003 Schneider opened up the theater with his play Mendy - the Wusical . He landed another chart hit with the single Helges Mörchen-Lied .

After 2005

On January 11, 2007, Mein Führer - The Really True Truth About Adolf Hitler by director Dani Levy with Schneider in the lead role as Adolf Hitler started in the cinemas. In winter 2007/2008 he was with his band on Akopalüze Nau !!! -Tour through Germany. A live CD of the same name was released at the end of 2007. At the end of December 2009 he started the tour Come on, here's a mark! in his hometown Mülheim. Until 2014, Helge Schneider was on stage again with Peter Thoms, among others, as part of the Pretty Joe and the village beauties tour . For many years Schneider drove to his performances in a converted fire engine in which he housed all the instruments and props.

In autumn 2010 he appeared in the cinema advertising for the weekend subscription to the daily newspaper (taz) . An excerpt from his film “Jazzclub” was used for this. In October 2012 his talk show Helge hat Zeit premiered on WDR . The 75-minute program was to be broadcast in "casual series" and included conversations and musical interludes. In January 2013 it became known that Helge Schneider ended the show after only two episodes because it was "not his thing", he "belongs on the stage".

In 2013 the song “Arbeit” recorded with the rapper Sido was published on Sido's album 30-11-80 . On October 10, 2013, the new movie Kommissar 00 Schneider - In the tropics of the lizard had its German premiere . It is a sequel to the first Kommissar 00 Schneider film. The album Sommer, Sonne, Kaktus , released in 2013, reached number 1 in the German album charts. Schneider was regularly on stage and wrote books until 2014. In 2015 he took a year off stage and only had one appearance in Mülheim an der Ruhr. In summer 2017 his tour 240 Years of “Singende Herrentorte” began! with performances in Germany, Austria and Luxembourg.

On May 16, 2020, he took part in the Free European Song Contest initiated by Stefan Raab for Germany and took 4th place.


Schneider has six children from four women.


The basis of Schneider's work is improvisation , which for him has become an artistic expression of himself and an attitude to life, and which he transfers to all areas of art according to the fundamentals of jazz. The texts of his songs as well as the content of his stories are only laid out in a basic framework and are freely varied and further developed with each performance. In interviews, Schneider describes himself as someone who finds “sense in nonsense”. If possible, the audience's expectations are not met. Schneider moves unrestrained between high and subculture, between children's language and literature, combines everyday life and foolishness with a broad cultural background and gets lost in overflowing narratives. There are always moments of surprise that are sometimes just as unexpected for Schneider himself as they are for the audience.

The forms of extreme nonsense practiced by Schneider quickly found mainly young followers, but were occasionally the target of fierce criticism.


Multi-instrumental improvisation: Helge Schneider during the I-Brake-Together tour, 2007
Wullewupp potato soup , 2009

Helge Schneider is attested from many sides to an extraordinary musicality and said to be able to learn practically any instrument in the shortest possible time and to be able to play it authentically, even if technically not perfect. As a child he began to play the piano on his own initiative . After his development he now plays on a variety of instruments, such as saxophone , vibraphone , marimba , accordion , guitar , violin , Hawaiian guitar , recorder , drums , trumpet , Hammond organ , cello or double bass . In 2008, Helge Schneider was named “Piano Player of the Year” by the German Piano Association.

As a jazz musician, Schneider is influenced by artists such as Thelonious Monk , Louis Armstrong , Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck and is an interpreter of jazz standards such as Summertime , 'Round Midnight or Take Five .

In 1997, shortly after the release of his album Da Humm , Helge Schneider explained in the portraying TV show Jam on the music television station Viva : “This feeling of wanting to be close to Monk has not stopped [...] when I play the piano, at home , and no one is listening, then sometimes I have the hope that a little monk will live in my fingertips. I don't mean to say that he didn't stick to fixed phrases and fixed meters. He has exhausted his phrases and his meters in a well-ordered compositional way for himself [...] This order is also very important for me. "

Schneider's backing band was hardcore for a long time , consisting of Buddy Casino ( electronic organ , piano) and Peter Thoms (drums, vocals, dance). Both also played roles in Schneider's films. With Hardcore he also released records from 1989, mostly with musical and text contributions. Helge Schneider is likely to be the only solo artist to date who gave his first record the title His greatest successes . In 1999 he founded the band Firefuckers and took a brief excursion into rock music. In 2004 and 2005 he toured with a jazz trio, consisting of drummer Pete York and bassist Jimmy Woode , who also appeared as actors in his fourth film Jazzclub - The early bird catches the worm . But solo appearances have also been part of Schneider's repertoire from the start. Pete York, Sandro Giampietro and Rudi Contra are musicians on his album I Brake Together .

In 2006 Schneider had a guest contribution on the jubilee record 26½ by Fehlfarben . In 2008 he drew attention to himself in a duet with Udo Lindenberg on his album Stark wie Zwei. Schneider had parodied Lindenberg for years in his live programs. On July 3rd, 2010 Helge Schneider gave a concert in Duisburg with the Canadian musician Chilly Gonzales . The two pianists sat opposite each other on two grand pianos and staged a musical duel.

radio play

Schneider's early radio plays were written from 1979 to 1984 . The pieces recorded on an eight-track recorder in the cellar of his friend Haym Hüttner and spoken by Schneider alone are atmospheric snapshots, some of which draw autobiographically from everyday life in the Ruhr area and satirize it . According to Schneider, a large part of the dialogues and characters arose from scraps of sentences and conversations at the next table caught on the street, which were combined into improvised language experiments during nightly recordings. Radio and television programs such as news , sports shows, and advertising were also modeled on them.

The individual voices were always recorded one after the other, sometimes alienated and finally merged. This simple technical process creates the impression that several characters can be heard at the same time, sometimes up to five who are in conversation. Due to the delayed recording, however, the “speakers” cannot hear each other and sometimes interrupt each other or talk past each other. This effect was intended by Schneider and gives the radio plays a latently communication-critical coloring.

On his albums and during his appearances, Schneider occasionally uses the form of the radio play.


Between 1993 and 2013 Schneider made five feature films (see filmography). They are characterized by absurd characters and humor, sometimes a plot in the classic sense is missing. Like Schneider's stage work, the films were largely improvised and in some cases made with the simplest means. Film genres such as westerns or crime films are satirized by Schneider and transferred into a petty-bourgeois Ruhr area ambience with autobiographical episodes.

In the 1980s Schneider was involved as a musician and actor in films by Werner Nekes (Johnny Flash , 1986) and Christoph Schlingensief (Menu Total , 1987, Mother's Mask , 1988) and others. The collaboration with Schlingensief became a stylistic source of inspiration for him. Here he learned dramaturgical techniques and the representation of types - mood patterns of which he adopted in his own films. He replaced the gloom of Schlingensief's films and his excessive, theater-oriented drama with a happy, often deliberately infantile homeland atmosphere and the tongue-in-cheek depiction of everyday life in the Ruhr area.

Schneider's first own film work is the short film Stangenfieber (1987), which was funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and partly realized with the same staff as the Schlingensief films. The film Mein Führer - The Truly Truth About Adolf Hitler (director: Dani Levy ) was released in January 2007. Schneider distanced himself from the work even before the film started; the changes made to the original concept, especially after the shooting, as well as the aesthetics of the film do not correspond to his idea of ​​humor and comedy.


Schneider's novels are characterized by their unconventional and creative use of language, especially "Ruhrpott" German.

In Schneider's detective novels determined Commissioner Schneider in obscure cases, the unreal through their twists and often exaggerated description of violence Dadaist take trains. It is important for Schneider to describe the main character's personality and everyday life, which he continued in film (00 Schneider - Hunt for Nihil Baxter , 1994) and theater (apricot, banana, strawberry - Commissioner Schneider and the Satan's Claw of Singapore) . In 2004, the anthology Assfahl stuck the moon on the window , which contains the first four crime novels. In the first part of his autobiography Guten Tach - Auf Wiedersehen (1992), Schneider describes his childhood and youth in the petty-bourgeois Ruhr area of ​​the 1950s, as well as his slow rise from a failure without school qualification to a successful artist, lined with many failures and some curious experiences .

In his book Eiersalat - Eine Frau geht seine Weg (1999), Schneider takes on the role of a woman and writes a feminist pamphlet against the world of men, exaggerated into the absurd . In Globus Dei (2005), Schneider reports on a fictional trip around the world that took him from the North Pole to Patagonia , and of the encounter with many different cultures and people. The memoirs of Rodriguez Faszanatas (2006) are about the confessions of a marriage fraud . The plot of a love in six-eight time (2008) with the subtitle The great complete fateful novel by Robert Fork is set in the 1930s. In 2011, Satan Loco was another novel about Commissioner Schneider.


Helge Schneider's first play for the theater, Mendy - das Wusical , was commissioned for the Schauspielhaus Bochum and premiered there on April 17, 2003. After the success of the musical, Schneider's second theater production was premiered at the same house on January 21, 2005, Apricot, Banana, Strawberry - Commissioner Schneider and the Satan's Claw of Singapore , a crime piece based on his novel of the same name.

Visual arts

Schneider's drawings, which are characterized by their simplicity and rapid style , can be found on the covers of almost all albums, in the “Kommissar-Schneider” books and often on his posters. Pieces of music and stories are often illustrated or band members are portrayed like caricatures . A calendar with drawings is also available.

The painting , however, is a part of the factory Schneiders, he has hardly made public. In the documentary Mister Katzenklo turns 50 (2005) produced by WDR , one picture is shown briefly and another picture can be seen in the background in test recordings for one of his cinema films (released as a DVD extra). Schneider's style is characterized by flat colors and the sudden appearance of grimaceous faces, comparable to those in his drawings.


Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placementsTemplate: chart table / maintenance / without sources
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1975 The winners of the IKEA Jazz Festival
with Kai Kanthak and Mash Temme as the Helge Schneider Trio
- - -
First release: 1975
split album with Trade Mark.
1987 The Last Jazz - - -
First published: 1987
1992 Good Tach DE81 (6 weeks)
- -
First published: May 27, 1992
1993 There's rice, baby DE11

(26 weeks)DE
- -
First published: November 24, 1993
Sales: + 250,000
1995 It pulls in carton DE30 (15 weeks)
AT43 (1 week)
First published: November 30, 1995
1997 Da Humm DE24 (6 weeks)
- -
First published: March 27, 1997
1999 Egg salad in skirt
with the Firefuckers
DE25 (8 weeks)
- -
First published: June 18, 1999
jazz - - -
First published: December 1999
2003 Out of cactus! DE20 (6 weeks)
- -
First published: March 10, 2003
2007 I Brake Together DE20 (4 weeks)
AT34 (3 weeks)
First published: January 18, 2007
2013 Summer sun Cactus! DE1 (8 weeks)
AT12 (5 weeks)
CH66 (1 week)
First published: August 9, 2013
2017 Heart Attack No. 1
with Pete York
DE66 (1 week)
- -
First published: February 17, 2017
2019 Party people (at the butcher) DE27 (2 weeks)
- -
First published: August 2, 2019

gray hatching : no chart data available for this year

Audio books

  • 1998: Martin Streletz Martin, his father and the familiar voice (contributing)
  • 2000: Egg Salad - A woman goes his way
  • 2003: Alice in Wonderland (Contributor)
  • 2004: Geoff Dyer But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz (Contributor)
  • 2004: Mendy - the wusical
  • 2004: apricot, banana, strawberry
  • 2005: Globus Dei
  • 2007: The memoirs of Rodriguez Faszanatas
  • 2009: Sausage candy
  • 2011: Satan Loco



  • 2011: Helge Schneider - Come here, you've got a mark! /Live
  • 2015: Let it crack, HELGE! HELGE, the film! HELGE, Life! (DVD + CD or Bluray + CD)
  • 2016: The Paket - Super Helge's fantastic video hodgepodge (11-DVD box)

Own films

Movies (Contributing)



Commissioner Schneider novels

  • 1994: Take off your clothes, you old hipster - detective novel
  • 1995: The Scarlet Fighting Chicken · Inspector Schneider's last case
  • 1996: The murderer with the tights · Inspector Schneider becomes a moose
  • 2001: The sheikh with the dog hair allergy · Inspector Schneider freaks out extremely
  • 2004: Apricot, Banana, Strawberry · Commissioner Schneider and the Satan's Claw of Singapore
  • 2011: Satan Loco

more books

  • 1992: Good Tach. Goodbye. Autobiography, part 1
  • 1999: Egg Salad - A woman goes his way
  • 2005: Globus Dei - From the North Pole to Patagonia
  • 2006: The memoirs of Rodriguez Faszanatas. Confessions of a marriage fraud
  • 2008: A love in six-eight time. The great completed fateful novel by Robert Fork
  • 2009: Sausage candy: My life
  • 2015: Orangutan Klaus. Helges stories

Theater productions

  • 2003: Mendy - das Wusical (available as DVD recording)
  • 2005: Apricot, banana, strawberry - Commissioner Schneider and the Satan's Claw of Singapore

Concerts / appearances / tour

Helge Schneider ( Jazz Fest Vienna 2013)
  • 1993: There is rice, baby (August–)
  • 1994: There is rice, baby (-February)
  • 1995: Comeback tour
  • 1996: Comeback tour
  • 1996: Helge Schneider and orchestra
  • 1997: Da Humm Tour (May-August)
  • 1998: The keyboard god comes by for a cup of tea
  • 1999: Helge Schneider & the Firefuckers (May – July)
  • 1999: Come with me in the Year 2000 (December–)
  • 2000: Come with me in the Year 2000 (March)
  • 2000: Helge Schneider & Hardcore: Hefte raus - class work tour (October–)
  • 2001: Helge Schneider & Hardcore: Hefte out - Class work tour (-July)
  • 2001: Plaeute full (August) tour
  • 2002: Plautzen full (March) tour
  • 2003: Forgive me, Baby Tour
  • 2004: feeding prohibited! trip
  • 2005: feeding prohibited! trip
  • 2005: Fight in Space Tour
  • 2006: Frozen smile tour
  • 2006: I brake together tour
  • 2007: I brake together tour
  • 2008: Akopalüze Nau Tour (February – November)
  • 2009: Wullewupp potato soup
  • 2009: Cirque du Kautz Tour
  • 2009: Helge Schneider: Christmas concerts
  • 2009: Come here have a mark (autumn / winter)
  • 2010: Come here have a mark (spring)
  • 2010: Buxe full (autumn / winter)
  • 2011: Buxe full (spring)
  • 2011: Helge Schneider's Original Holzkopp Organ Trio (autumn)
  • 2012: Rescue is near: Superhelgi on tour
  • 2013: Colorful summer evening with music and nonsense
  • 2014: Pretty Joe and the village beauties
  • 2016: Let go, Oppa!
  • 2017: 240 Years of "Singing Herrentorte" (Summer Show 2017)
  • 2018: Ene mene mopel!
  • 2019: Plum Jam Tour
  • 2020: Participation in the Free European Song Contest


See also


  • Jörg Seidel: “Guten Tach!” Helge Schneider and philosophy. Focus-Verlag, Giessen 2002, ISBN 3-88349-494-1 . (Seidel analyzes Schneider's work, its forms of expression and its content using the means of a cultural-scientific work and highlights Schneider's closeness to the philosophical school of cynicism .)
  • Jan Wiele: I'd rather go to the indoor swimming pool in Duisburg. Watch out, Gangnam Style! Helge Schneider gives us a summer album with an easy-listening touch, but behind which hides his familiar subversiveness. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , August 9, 2013, page 38. (Review of Sommer, Sonne, Kaktus! )

Web links

Commons : Helge Schneider  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Anne-Kattrin Palmer: Helge Schneider: "I don't want to be funny at all" . In: Berliner Zeitung . ( berliner-zeitung.de [accessed on August 15, 2018]).
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ2mVGruuBc
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXxLWd52H1c
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ2mVGruuBc
  5. biography | Helge Schneider. Retrieved August 15, 2018 .
  6. Helge Schneider, From the series Stars from the Ruhr Area (program information WDR)
  7. fernsehserien.de/queens-palace ( Peter Braukmann - producer of Queens Palace, September 22, 2004)
  8. "The Autobahn is like a tunnel through the world" Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, September 7, 2018, p. 24.
  9. Helge Schneider advertises the taz . ( Memento from January 31, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) blogs.taz.de, October 27, 2010.
  10. Helge Schneider starts WDR talk show . In: Spiegel Online
  11. Helge Schneider ends the WDR TV show "Helge has time" (WDR press release; accessed: January 9, 2013)
  12. Helge Schneider, too, “can't always rock” , June 5, 2014
  13. "Singing Herrentorte" Helge Schneider makes 9,000 Berliners laugh bz-berlin.de, July 15, 2017.
  14. Helge Schneider became a father for the 6th time bild.de, accessed on April 27, 2013
  15. Viva Jam . TV broadcast, episode 146, 1997, 51 min. (Quote from minute 28:00) - Author: Niels Folta, producers: Rudi Dolezal + Hannes Rossacher , Mainhattan Media Music and Communication GmbH, VIVA Germany
  16. Markus Weckesser: Lid support beats soap box . Helge Schneider versus / with Chilly Gonzales, Traumzeit Festival, July 3rd, Duisburg. In: Spex , Ed. 328, Sept./Oct. 2010, p. 135 f.
  17. Apricot, banana, strawberry - Commissioner Schneider and the Satan's Claw of Singapore on Wikinews
  18. RSH Gold Award 1995
  19. Achim Hahn: One way or another life is - cabaret in the pot. In: DeutschlandRadio. March 26, 2004, accessed November 2, 2008 .
  20. Awards: Piano Player of the Year 2007 ( Memento from February 22, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  21. Die Schlitzohren - Award. In: schlitzohren.org. International Club der Schlitzohren eV, accessed on April 16, 2016 .
  22. The Göttinger Elch 2009 goes to Helge Schneider. In: goettingen.de. September 2, 2009, accessed September 3, 2009 .
  23. The GÖTTINGER ELCH 2009 award to Helge Schneider. In: goettinger-elch.de. August 2009, accessed September 3, 2009 .
  24. Helge Schneider receives Karl Valentin Prize - Two buckets of paint for the philosopher . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , January 22, 2012
  25. jazzpages: Helge Schneider receives the Joachim Ernst Berendt Honorary Prize Baden-Baden 2018