Clay stones shards

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Clay stones shards
General information
Genre (s) Folk rock , blues , political rock , protopunk , psychedelic rock
founding 1970, 2012
resolution 1985
Founding members
Rio Reiser (until 1985; † 1996)
RPS Lanrue
Kai Sichtermann (until 1973, since 1975)
Wolfgang Seidel (until 1971)
Current occupation
RPS Lanrue
Kai Sichtermann (until 1973, since 1975)
Percussion , drums
Funky K. Götzner (since 1974)
Guitar, vocals
Nicolo Rovera (since 2012)
Guitar, vocals
Ella Josephine Ebsen (since 2012)
Percussion, drums
Maxime SP (since 2012)
Piano , vocals
Lukas McNally (since 2014)
Simon Barchewitz
Singing, choir
Elfie-Esther Steitz (1979–1982; since 2014)
former members
Singing, management
Nikel Pallat (1970–1978)
Jörg Schlotterer (1971–1978)
Sven Jordan (1971)
Olaf Lietzau (1972)
Percussion, choir
Angie Olbrich (1972–1976, 1977–1982)
Drums, guitar
Captain Hynding (1972; † 2018)
Helmut Stöger (1973)
Werner "Gino" Götz (1974–1975)
Drums, percussion
Britta Neander (1974–1982; † 2004)
Martin Paul (1981–1985)
Elser Maxwell (1980–1982)
Guitar, choir
Marius del Mestre (1981-1982)
Management, stages , lighting design
Misha Schoeneberg (1981–1985)
Claudia Roth (1982–1985)
Dirk Schlömer (1983–1985)
Singing, choir, percussion
AnayanA (2014)

Ton Steine ​​Schherd (often also called " Die Scherben " for short ) was one of the first and most influential German rock groups of the 1970s and early 1980s, which mainly used socially critical , German-language texts in rock music. With the expressive, emotionally-politically motivated songs of their singer and front man Rio Reiser , this group became a musical mouthpiece of the left-wing alternative spectrum , for example the squatter movement , and a cult band of the relevant scene of their time, which even after its dissolution in 1985 to the present day the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin .


Foundation and first awareness

Clay stones shards was founded in 1970 in West Berlin by RPS Lanrue (real name Ralph Peter Steitz), Rio Reiser (real name Ralph Möbius), Kai Sichtermann and Wolfgang Seidel , all of whom were around 20 years old at the time. In January 1966, RPS Lanrue asked Rio Reiser if he would like to sing with his group. The band was called Beat Kings and mainly covered beat music . In the same year Reiser and Lanrue founded the rock band De Galaxis , in which they also played their own pieces from time to time. In 1967 the company moved from Nieder-Roden (Rodgau / Hessen) to Berlin. The two met Seidel and Sichtermann at the Hoffmanns Comic Teater (sic) theater project in Berlin.

According to Rio Reiser's statement, the band name Ton Steine ​​Scherben is derived from a quote from Troy discoverer Heinrich Schliemann : “What I found was clay, stones, shards”. In the book No Power for Nobody , however, bassist Kai Sichtermann explains that the name developed from the name “ VEB Ton Steine ​​Scherben” during a brainstorming session (associatively based on the name of the West German industrial union Bau-Steine-Erden ). This version was later confirmed by the former drummer Wolfgang Seidel.

The first two songs Macht kaputt what makes you broken and Wir streiken recorded the band in a small studio in Kreuzberg. A single with these two tracks as the A and B sides was the band's first product; they were sold through bootleggers . The band had their first appearance at the Love and Peace Festival on September 6, 1970 on Fehmarn , where they performed under the name Rote Steine - the band originally emerged from the project of an apprentice theater group that had actually started as a fairytale stage. Since the organizers left the site with the entrance fees without paying the musicians, Reiser is said to have asked the audience to "knock the organizer into the ground without a point". After the third song, Make broken what breaks you , visitors set fire to the event organizing office. After the fifth song the stage burned down. According to Reiser, the arson was partly attributed to the band. The incident increased the band's popularity enormously.

In 1971 she founded one of the first German independent labels , the David Volksmund Production . On the one hand, she wanted to be independent of the established record industry with her own releases, on the other hand, due to her radical image, it was impossible to get a contract with a large label. The consequence of this was a low profit from the record sales, so that the band had permanent financial problems.

The first album Why am I so dirty? was released in September 1971. In addition to Macht kaputt, which destroys you, there are also the later popular songs I don't want to be what my age is and The fight goes on .

On December 8, 1971, after a performance at the Technical University of Berlin , the band and audience occupied an unused part of the building in the Kreuzberg Bethanien Hospital . Since the militant anarchist Georg von Rauch had died four days earlier after an exchange of fire with the police, the occupiers renamed the dormitory into Georg-von-Rauch-Haus . The house was only evacuated by the police on April 19, 1972. To mark the occasion, Reiser wrote the Rauch-Haus song .

Than in some cities in Germany due to fare increases within the Red action point public transport were boycotted in part and held protests against the price increase, the band released on a single songs Mensch Meier and zero tariff in which they for dodging calling.

1972 Wolfgang Seidel separated from the band. He turned to electronic music and worked with Conrad Schnitzler and Klaus Freudigmann , among others , but occasionally helped the band out as a drummer and keyboard player (under the pseudonym Sequencea ) live and in the studio. In the following years numerous other changes of members took place. The musicians sometimes changed several times in a year; Reiser, Lanrue and Sichtermann remained the core of the band.

Social retreat

In 1975 the shards left West Berlin, settled on a farm in Fresenhagen (North Frisia) and at the end of the 1970s also turned to the interests of the gay movement . The move was an escape from the pressure of having to take on the protagonist role in every “scene” action in Berlin. From this time on, the band was less politically active. With the double LP Wenn die Nacht am tiefsten… (1975) there was a turn to more melancholy lyrics and more sophisticated musical arrangements that picked up elements of jazz , funk , folk and ethnic rock.

Album IV from 1981 can musically be classified in the area of ​​an unconventional New Wave style. Reiser used puns in which a political reference is only indirectly recognizable, such as “The tower collapses” and “Beyond Eden”. The other band members and friends of the band also worked as lyricists and composers on this record. Through the shards biography No Power for Nobody it became known that the songs were based on the Tarot . In the original, the record was pressed on very poor vinyl and therefore sounded unsatisfactory and the content barely met the expectations of the fans, so that it was a financial flop.

In spite of everything, “Die Schwarze”, as it is also known, impressed with its amalgamation of rock, jazz and classical elements as well as avant-garde sound experiments. Furthermore, some songs are characterized by odd rhythms and expanded harmonies.

In 1982 the later Green politician Claudia Roth came to the co-organization of the broken glass in Fresenhagen. With their last studio album Shards from 1983, the shards turned back to socially critical, concrete statements to address current problems, such as the rising unemployment rate in the song Mole Hill Rockers .

Dissolution and re-establishment

After a tour, of which three live recordings and a DVD were later released, Ton Steine ​​Schherd broke up in 1985. At that time the band was in heavy debt.

As a solo artist, the front man Rio Reiser released six albums, of which the songs Junimond and König von Deutschland were known and commercially successful in German-speaking countries. He also worked with Marianne Rosenberg and Wolfgang Michels . He died in 1996 at the age of 46.

Lanrue took part in the recordings of Reiser's albums (except: Durch die Wand and Über Alles ) and played in his live band until 1988. He moved to Portugal two years after Reiser's death, but now lives in Berlin again.

In 1998, Sichtermann recorded the CD Die Nachtfalter with other Schherd members and wrote the band biography No Power for Nobody with two co-authors .

In April 2014, 29 years after the original group split up, Ton Steine ​​Scherben went on tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland for the first time under the direction of Lanrue. In addition to the founding members Lanrue (guitar) and Kai Sichtermann (bass) and the drummer Funky K. Götzner, Lanrue's sister Elfie-Esther Steitz (vocals), the drummer Maxime SP (son of the spliff bassist Manfred Praeker , who died in 2012) belonged to the band Keyboard player Lukas McNally, Nicolo Rovera (vocals, guitar) as well as Lanrue's daughter Ella Josephine Ebsen (vocals, guitar) and AnayanA (vocals, choir, percussion), daughter of Britta Neander, who died in 2004 . As a guest singer, u. a. Flowerpot , Frittenbude , Madsen , Max Prosa , Sebastian Krumbiegel and GYMMICK.

Since 2015 Kai Sichtermann and Funky K. Götzner have been touring with GYMMICK (Tobis Hacker) as a trio "Kai and Funky from TON STEINE SCHERBEN with GYMMICK". In 2017 the double CD Radio for Millions was released with almost all the old shards members.

Relationship with the media

In the WDR - Talkshow "open end" discussed in 1971 for an hour the music theorist Heinz-Klaus Metzger and Hans G. Helms , the Krautrock -producer Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser , the musician Wolf Conrad Veit and Nikel Pallat whether a music with social criticism claim may be produced and traded as a completely normal market product. With the words "Television is an instrument of suppression in this mass society [...] you have to be partial [...], and that's why I'm going to break this table here, yes", Pallat pulled out a hand ax and tried the studio table with twelve blows, some of which were two-handed to smash. Glasses and ashtrays broke into pieces, but the table stood, whereupon Pallat stopped his efforts with the comment “so, now we can continue the discussion”, but immediately set about dismantling the audio equipment and plugging it in, with the remark “I need the microphones for people in juvenile detention centers ”.

The IG Metall trade union also used the recording of Pallat's attempt at destruction as the final sequence of an election call for the 2013 federal election .

Due to their radical reputation, the band's songs are rarely played on German-speaking radio stations, including the apolitical pieces. The only exceptions are stations such as DT64 , Radio Fritz and Radio Eins , where their tracks were or can be heard regularly. One of the few exceptions were two concerts by Rio Reiser in the Werner-Seelenbinder-Halle in East Berlin in 1988, which were even broadcast on GDR television. Reiser sang some of his solo pieces there, but also, unlike at concerts in West Germany, mostly broken pieces. The concert was broadcast abridged on the television of the GDR, but was broadcast including the politically more radical Schherd-title. The song The dream is over was not broadcast , because at the line with the question “Is there a country on earth where the dream is a reality?” And the answer “I only know one thing, and I'm sure: this country it's not! ”the audience shouted more than they sang and applauded loudly.

Musical style, content requirements

The band's history is not only characterized by the communal lifestyle, political appropriations, which the band has always rejected, and internal conflicts, but also characterized by musical development. However, the productions were always characterized by a certain “straightforwardness and openness”, which were essentially based on the lyrics and the charismatic passionate vocals Reiser.

The band's music helped shape the style of German rock music , German-speaking punk and parts of the Neue Deutsche Welle . With their rocking style, the group wanted to create a new understanding of folk music - in the sense of catchy, understandable music for the "people", which contradicted the "rulers", by including socially relevant topics of the "simple" people in the narrow sense of the rebellious youth of that time, were taken up in a style of music that seemed appropriate for the time. In this context, they had a similarly formative meaning for rock music in Germany, which is demanding in terms of text and content, as it did - about seven years before the founding of the “Schherd” - in the United States for Bob Dylan and his subsequent influence on the socially critical folk there - and Rock music was the case.

Some of the titles and text passages from Ton Steine ​​Scherben are well-known slogans of the extra-parliamentary left and the radical left scene to this day, for example no power for nobody and power broken what breaks you .

With their unrestrained, rebellious and radical lyrics, for example with their first single Macht kaputt, wird dich ruin , the group hit the nerve of a time that was characterized by the so-called 68 movement and social upheaval. After the group Your Children and before Udo Lindenberg, Ton Steine ​​Scherben was one of the first rock music bands to sing German original texts almost exclusively from the start.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the band, with its revolutionary texts that tried to address the proletarian youth ( The fight goes on , The last battle we win , manhunters ), was a figure of identification for anarchist and left-wing radical circles, but also for young working people, apprentices, students and Students. The lyrics of the first two albums also contained elements that glorified violence ( Paul Panzers Blues ). With their music they provided the soundtrack for squatting and demonstrations.

Interpretations by other bands and musicians

In addition to the revival groups New Glass from Old Shards , New Glass / Acoustic and the Ton Steine ​​Scherben Family , founded in 2004 , which saw themselves as the successor to Ton Steine ​​Scherben and in which most of the musicians of the original group continued to play, apart from Reiser / Lanrue Cover versions of “Schherd” titles have already been created by numerous other bands or individual artists, including Mantus , Beatsteaks , Freygang , Totenmond , Cochise , Klaus Lage , Marianne Rosenberg , Misha Schoeneberg , Rocko Schamoni , Echt , Bruder & Kronstädta , Slime , Bone Factory , Alan Woerner , Freundeskreis , Xavier Naidoo , shin-en , We are heroes , Britta , ZSK , Die Sterne , The bride hits the eye , Terror group , Samsa's dream , Rawside , WIZO , Grantig , Die Prinzen , Joachim Witt , Clueso , Fettes Brot , the Dödelhaien , the Toten Hosen and Third Choice . Even right-wing extremist groups such as melee with the title The fight goes on or Landser with the piece Alone, they make you a covered song by Ton Steine ​​Schersche , whose texts, however, with small changes, they aligned anti-Semitic in a content-distorting sense.

Many cover versions can be found on the family album - A Hommage by Rio Reiser, which was released in 2003, the sampler Viva L'Anarchia (1997) or No Power for Nobody - The Heirs of the Shards (2001), on which Nina Hagen can be heard among others is. In October 2005, the family album, Volume 2 was released.

Musical and political continuities between Ton Steine ​​Scherben on the one hand and musicians from the current independent, German rock and hip-hop scene who see themselves as left-wing or socially critical musicians on the other hand, is the theme of the documentary The dream is out or the heirs of the broken fragments from 2001. The content of the film is not so much the music, but rather the question of what has become of the protest and attitude towards life of the 1970s and 1980s, or to what extent these have found a new equivalent in the present. Have a say u. a. Musicians and bands like Tocotronic , Lassie Singers , Die Sterne , Das Department and Tilman Rossmy . Fink , Element of Crime and the two songwriters Funny van Dannen and Hans Söllner are also placed in this traditional context .

The old property of the shards in Fresenhagen was operated as the Rio Reiser House by Reiser's brother Peter Möbius and the Rio Reiser Association until January 2011 . In addition to the memory of Rio Reiser, who died in 1996, and his works, it was also intended to serve as quarters for young musicians. After the property had to be sold for economic reasons, it has been used for assisted living for young people ever since; Reiser's remains, buried in the garden there according to his own wishes, were reburied in Berlin.

Discography (excerpt)

Album art of No Power for Nobody
Album cover of IV

With a few exceptions, all releases appeared on the band's own label, David Volksmund Produktion .

Chart placements

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
2015 The complete work - the studio albums vinyl DE29 (1 week)
- -
First published: December 4th, 2015



  • 1970: Break what breaks you and we strike
  • 1971: Alone they turn you on and now it's the end of the day (women are strong together)
  • 1971: Mensch Meier and zero tariff
  • 1979: This is our country and come quickly , with Corny Littmann and Ernst Meibeck from "Brühwarm" as "Corny, Ernst & Scherben"
  • 1981: Beyond Eden and The Tower Collapses , published by Decca
  • 1983: Let's be a miracle and get away , published by Teldec


  • 1985: In Berlin 1984 (Live I)
  • 1996: Live II
  • 2002: Land in Sicht , DVD, published by eye tune productions
  • 2006: Live III

Other publications

  • 1973: Mr. Freßsack and the Bremen Town Musicians , radio play, together with Hoffmann's Comic Teater [sic], published by Rotbuch-Verlag
  • 1974: Martha, the last wandering pigeon , radio play, together with Dietmar Roberg, published by TAT
  • 1976: The devil you have wind , radio play, together with Dietmar Roberg, published by Rotbuch-Verlag
  • 1976: Paranoia , theater music, together with the Rote Rübe collective
  • 1977: Mannstoll , together with scalded warmth
  • 1979: Liebe Tod Hysteria , theater music, together with the Rote Rübe collective, published by Stechapfel
  • 1979: Degenerate , together with scalded warmth
  • 1981: Selection I , Best-of-Album, published by Teldec / Eastwest
  • 2005: 18 songs from 15 years , best of album
  • 2006: The Complete Works , box set (13 CDs)
  • 2015: The Complete Works - The Studio Albums , Vinyl Box Set (8 LPs)
  • 2016: Rio Reiser: Blackbox Box-Set (16 CDs)
  • 2017: Radio for Millions published as Kai & Funky by Ton Steine ​​Scherben & Gymmick (acoustic)
  • 2017: Ton Steine ​​Schorben: In Dub , Dub versions of various songs, published by Echo Beach


  • Alone they can make you. Germany 1983. TV film about Today's Night or Never Tour of the Shards and Schroeder Roadshow , 285 minutes, director: Christian Wagner
  • Shards in Friesland 2000, film diary (45 min.) By Egon Heinrich Bunne about the rural domicile of the shards in Fresenhagen, interspersed with rare archive scenes from the years 1974 to 1978 - P: NDR
  • The dream is over - the heirs of the broken glass. 2001, movie, documentary with music, 92 min. Director: Christoph Schuch , distributor: Salzgeber & Co Medien
  • Rio Reiser - King of Germany. Germany 2005, director: Stefan Paul (music revue / theater adaptation by Heiner Kondschak ( Landestheater Tübingen - LTT) based on biographical data on Rio Reiser (actor: Sören Wunderlich) - with numerous musical interpretations (cover versions) of Ton Steine ​​Scherben titles).
  • Forever and You - Stories from Winnetou's Garages I , movie, interviews, etc. Readings with Kai Sichtermann, Bernhard Käßner, Nikel Pallat, Jörg Schlotterer, Funky K. Götzner, Marius del Mestre, Angie Olbrich, Martin Paul and Hollow Skai, Germany 2006, 84 min., Director: Elser Maxwell, Thomas Malz, production: Ton Stone shards family, rental: Edition Salzgeber
  • Rio Reiser - Let's be a miracle , documentary film on the subject of Rio Reiser and clay stones shards, Germany 2008, 90 min. Director: Stefan Paul, Distributor: Arsenal
  • Alles Lie - In search of Rio Reiser , Germany 2007, docudrama, director: Barbara Teufel, with Marek Harloff, Jan Plewka, Wolfgang Packhäuser, Jana Pallaske u. a.


  • Dirk Nishen (Ed.): Clay stones shards. Stories, notes, texts and photos from 15 years. Berlin 1985, new edition David Volksmund Produktion, 1997, ISBN 978-3-00-021702-9 .
  • Rio Reiser et al. Hannes Eyber (arr.): King of Germany. Memories of clay stones shards and more. Tells about himself and Hannes Eyber. Kiepenheuer and Witsch, Cologne 1995. Republication: Möbius Rekords, Berlin 2001. ISBN 3-00-007733-2 .
  • Hartmut El Kurdi: Black and Red Pop Pearls. Wehrhahn Verlag, Hannover 2001, ISBN 3-932324-82-X .
  • Hartmut El Kurdi: Among vultures in my life as a part-time flaneur. Edition Tiamat, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89320-047-9 .
  • Kai Sichtermann, Jens Johler, Christian Stahl: No power for nobody. The history of the clay stones shards. Adults u. update N. edition, Schwarzkopf + Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2003 (first edition 2000), ISBN 3-89602-468-X (also published as an audio book).
  • Wolfgang Seidel (Ed.): Shards. Music, politics and the effect of clay stones shards . Ventil Verlag, Mainz 2005, ISBN 3-931555-94-1 .
  • Hollow Skai : All that and much more. Rio Reiser - The unofficial biography of the King of Germany. Heyne-Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-453-12038-8 .
  • Wolfgang Philippi: No Power for Nobody - A comic based on the Ton Steine ​​Scherben album . David Volksmund Production, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-00-019506-8 .

Web links

Commons : Clay Stones Shards  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. a b c d biography - clay stones shards. In: . Accessed August 21, 2020 .
  2. Clay, stones, shards. Retrieved April 25, 2020 .
  3. Clay, stones, shards. Retrieved April 25, 2020 .
  4. TSS story at Germanrock e. V., May 5, 2007, accessed October 7, 2012 .
  5. a b c d Everything and much more . In: Der Tagesspiegel , August 20, 2006.
  6. Interview with Rio Reiser, repeated on September 6, 2005 in WDR 5.
  7. Clay stones shards are still angry , Augsburger Allgemeine , October 10, 2019
  8. Five questions for ... Gymmick, songwriter and cartoonist: An afternoon with the most versatile artist in Nuremberg ,, November 27, 2013
  9. Ralf G. Poppe: Kai and Funky with Gymmick acoustic , Ox-Fanzine / Issue # 132 (June / July 2017)
  10. Lutz Neitzert: December 3rd, 1971: Nikel Pallat, member of the band Ton Steine ​​Scherben, smashed the studio table with an ax during the WDR talk show "Ende offen" . (PDF; 15 kB)
  11. Germany election ad uses viral video to comic effect - Video. In: The Guardian , September 5, 2013.
  12. Rio Reiser live in the Seelenbinder-Halle Berlin . ( Memento from October 15, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Artist ABC . May 28, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  14. Klaus Irler: Rio Reiser reburied ., January 18, 2011.
  15. Chart positions Germany