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Beatles Intermission

Yes, it is: Our Beatles Museum in Hamburg has closed...

Posted by matisse_ep on 2012.07.10 at 16:55
Current Mood: sadsad
The Beatlemania, Hamburg's first and only Beatles Museum, has closed in the end of June. Apparently there weren't enough people paying the high ticket prices in exchange for listening to 16-year old schoolgirls giving "guided tours" about a band they never knew to earn a few € during their summer holidays. If you're not willing to spend a bit of money, you won't get money. Sad story, but alas, it's over. The Reeperbahn Beatles Tours are still going of course :)

Guardian Article

Telegraph Article

Rolling Stone Article

Supernatural demon-proof

Liverpool Beat interviews Horst Fascher

Posted by matisse_ep on 2010.01.27 at 17:39
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Horst Fascher went to Liverpool last week... Unfortunately, he didn't take me with him @_@ but I'll be flying over later this year anyway doing interviews myself ^^ (they will be posted here of course)

In the meantime check out this vid, Horst answers questions (in English) about his new book "Stories behind the Pictures" (read more on the Official Homepage of Horst Fascher)

 *roflmao* the accent ^^ I love Scouse. Can't wait to go over there on my own this spring!

A Man called Horst
by Bill Harry (editor of the Merseybeat Magazine)

Horst Fascher became the Beatles friend when they first appeared at the Kaiserkeller Club in 1960. When they returned to Hamburg in 1961 to appear at the Top Ten Club, Horst had also moved there and continued to be their protector. In 1962 when they returned to appear at the Star Club, he was also managing that club.

Horst was born in Hamburg on February 5 1936. He became a featherweight boxer, representing both Hamburg and the West German national team, but was banned from the ring after accidentally killing a sailor in a street fight. Soon after serving a prison sentence for manslaughter, he became a bouncer at Bruno Koshmider's Kaiserkeller club in the Grosse Freiheit in Hamburg's St. Pauli district. Together with some friends from the Hamburg Boxing Academy, he formed a squad nicknamed 'Hoddel's Gang', who comprised a formidable strong-arm team.

Horst befriended the Beatles, provided them with protection and took them under his wing, also inviting them to his home in Neustadt to meet his mother and brothers and to taste Frau Fascher's bean soup. He often got up on stage with them in the early hours to sing an Eddie Cochran number.

However, initially there had been some tension. It was alleged that when George Harrison made a remark about him being a Nazi, Horst punched him. It is also alleged that when John Lennon made a similar remark, Horst took him into the Gent's toilet and urinated over him. Horst particularly objected to such comments as his family had hidden a Jewish family from the Nazis during the Second World War.

Beatles drummer Pete Best related this anecdote, "Horst Fascher, who was the bouncer for Koshmider then, and a friend of ours, took us to a transvestite bar. We were told that the fellers dressed up as girls were beautiful. 'You wouldn't know the difference,' he said. 'Ah, come on' we said, 'who are you kidding?' So we went in, the lot of us, walking behind Horst into the dark and murky bar. We were looking round and saying, 'No, we don't believe you, Horst. Look at them, they're gorgeous, you're winding us up.' He said, 'No, I'm not, they're men.'

To counter our expressions of disbelief, he said, 'Okay, go with one. 'As soon as the gauntlet was thrown down, I said that John would do anything, but even John said, 'I'll take your word for it.'"

Pete was also to recall, "When he had to leave Hamburg for the first time, Horst was very upset. Then, on our second visit, when we did three months at the Top Ten, he was there. He saw us every night, used to eat with us, drink with us, laugh and joke with us, and when we were leaving to go back to Liverpool for the first time that we were all leaving together, he was in tears. Here was this outgoing man who had the reputation of being hard and could handle himself, openly shedding tears over the fact that his boys were leaving Hamburg and he didn't know when he'd be seeing them again.

"Then there was the delight on his face when he was in a position to come to Liverpool and negotiate with Epstein to open the Star Club. And while he was there for a short spell we got drunk together and he said, 'I can't wait to see you in Hamburg.'

"When we got there he was managing the club and had a lot of responsibility. He was very proud of it, but he hadn't really changed. His new position meant he'd gone up in the world, and the Star Club was the biggest thing happening in Hamburg at the time - and he'd been instrumental in it. Yet he still wanted to be one of the boys, when time would allow.

"He had this big American Cadillac with enormous wings on it. When we first saw it we said, 'Good God, look at the size of this, give us a go in your car, Horst!"

When the Beatles appeared at the Top Ten, Horst had moved to the club, which was on the Reeperbahn. The Beatles backed Tony Sheridan, who Horst managed at the time.

As manager of the Star Club, he recalled, "On the opening night we had the Beatles and other groups, and Brian Epstein also came. There was lots of drinks. The next morning we all went to a club and Brian was a bit drunk and John Lennon poured beer all over him. There was a slight argument."

When Adrian Barber recorded the Beatles during their New Year appearance at the Star Club at the close of 1962, Horst could be heard singing 'Hallelujah, I Love Her So,' although he is uncredited on the album 'The Beatles Live! At the Star Club In Hamburg, Germany, 1962.' His brother Freddie also got up on stage to sing 'Be-Bop-A-Lula', but he is credited as Herr Ober, which means 'Mr Waiter' in German.

Horst was to marry Ali, the daughter of Faron, leader of Faron's Flamingos, and the couple had a child, Rory. The marriage didn't last and sadly, the baby died in an accident in Hamburg caused by a faulty cot.

Horst and his next partner had a baby girl who suffered from a rare heart problem. Paul McCartney generously came to his aid by hiring a team of specialists to fly over from New York and operate at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Paul also arranged for Horst and his partner to fly to London and stay while the operation took place. Unfortunately, the baby couldn't be saved and Horst was plunged into depression, having seen both his children die within a relatively short space of time.

Horst and Paul in the 80s

Since the 1960s Horst has re-opened a venue called the Star Club on several occasions in different parts of Hamburg and did so once again in 1994. When he opened a Star Club in the Grossnerumark district on December 15 1978, headlined by Tony Sheridan, both Ringo Starr and George Harrison were present for the first night.
Horst is currently writing on his biography. (Note: "Let the Good Times Roll" was published in 2006, unfortunately only in German)

Horst and Joe Flannery (former stage manager of the Star Club) in 2008

Supernatural demon-proof

Come Together Festival 2010

Posted by matisse_ep on 2010.01.15 at 21:10
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Tags: ,
If you visit Hamburg during May this year, please attend our big Anniversary Festival "Come Together Festival 2010" on the 22nd! We have a website now (don't laugh, I didn't translate it) Come Together Festival 2010 which will be updated with the latest news until spring, and I will post other events that take place in the Beatles Museum and all around the city in this community, so keep checking back here now and then ;) I'll be making at least two trips to Liverpool during 2010 and I will of course post the pics and everything here as well! See you in Liverpool or Hamburg, hopefully!

X-Mas Beatles

Snow in Hamburg!

Posted by matisse_ep on 2010.01.08 at 20:17
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
I hope everybody had a great Christmas and enjoys the snow ^^

December 16, 2009 -- Deutsche Welle

Paul McCartney gets back to his German roots Paul McCartney is winding down his European tour with two more concerts in Germany. That's no coincidence, since it was in Germany - and with a German band-member - that The Beatles embarked on their path to stardom. Returning to Germany during his European tour, nearly 50 years after the Beatles first performed to drunken sailors, merchant seamen and prostitutes, is not merely a trip down memory lane for Paul McCartney, it's as if he suddenly 18 years old again, traveling back in a HG Well's time machine.

The ex-Beatle's nearly-completed tour features seven stops in five countries including a Christmas gig in London on December 22. Wednesday and Thursday, he gives his final German concerts in Cologne. But the tour began earlier this month in Hamburg - where everything began, nearly 50 years ago.
On August 17, 1960 the Beatles first performed in Hamburg's Indra club, a strip joint just a stone's throw from the seedy Reeperbahn red-light district. One night, Paul McCartney asked German graphic designer Klaus Voormann to stand in for Stuart Sutcliffe, who had fallen sick, to play bass guitar for a cover version of a Fats Domino hit single called "I'm in Love Again." Voormann remembers how he got up on stage and performed alongside McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and drummer Pete Best, who was replaced by the more experienced Ringo Starr 18 months later. "At the time in Hamburg they did not play one original number. They only played songs that were copies of American and English records. George was doing those Joe Brown numbers and the rest was all 60s songs by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles,"
Voormann, who is referred to as the "fifth Beatle" in German media, recently told journalists at the Beatlemania museum in Hamburg.
Stardom is hard work Playing night after night for more than two years, it was in the northern German city that the band earned its chops. They performed for eight hours a day and slept in a local cinema. "I think they developed the way they played and the tightness of the band because they had the opportunity in Hamburg to do that," Voormann said. "I don't think it was necessarily the surroundings - the prostitutes and hookers. That was not the reason why they became such a good band - just the fact that they played eight hours minimum a night - that was tough work." But, McCartney has often been quoted as saying that the Beatles didn't come to Hamburg just to work. They also got an education: "The city opened our eyes," he said. "We went there as children and came back as older children. On the Reeperbahn we quite quickly had our baptism of fire when it came to sex - it was like we were let off our leashes. It was a wild time."
The talented young group's association with Voormann had more than just musical benefits. The bass player's former girlfriend Astrid Kirchher was credited with changing the Beatles image from rockers to a more presentable boy group. A missed reunion Voormann made the pilgrimage to Hamburg from his native Munich to see McCartney live in concert, hoping for the opportunity to exchange a few words with his old friend. On stage, an emotional Paul paid tribute to him, but there was no backstage get-together. The "fifth Beatle" avoided the camera, lights and intruding microphones and called a taxi half an hour before McCartney took his final curtain call - to be whisked away from the Colorline Arena to the obscurity of his hotel. Still, there's no sign of bitterness from Voormann, 71, who counts winning his first Grammy for designing the album cover of the "Revolver" album as one of his proudest moments. Later, he was awarded with a second accolade for his contribution to the Concert for Bangladesh event. "I think there is a breed of people that can't stop, and I think Paul is one of them. I really appreciate that," he said. "With some people I think, 'Why the hell are they carrying on? Just stop.' But with some (like Paul) I want them to carry on until they drop." Neither McCartney nor the Beatles are showing signs of dropping - and probably never will thanks to new audio/visual technology that allows today's generation to discover the Beatles.
This year saw the launch of the Wii Beatles rock band computer animation game, elements of which are featured during McCartney's Europe tour. And the Wii sales will rake in more cash for the former Beatle, who once left Hamburg owing debts to some local club owners - now paid back in full.

I saw the Cavern Beatles on Wed evening and they were FAB!!! (for more information on the Cavern Beatles see former entry). They played in the Friedrich-Ebert-Halle where the Beatles recorded "My Bonnie" with Tony Sheridan in 1961, it was the first time I saw that place. A little memorial tablet reminds of the fateful event. This would become the record that called Brian Epstein's attention to the Beatles, and he later played this record and several other songs to Decca and EMI to catch a record contract for them. It was great to be actually in place and see guys on stage who at least looked and sounded like the Beatles :3

Unfortunately there was no opportunity to talk to the guys in private because Horst Fascher and his brother, who was driving me, wanted to leave early, so I missed the very last song!!! But "Ringo" came out to talk to me shortly before the show, and I promised to return next year. These guys just don't stop touring! :D The audience was very happy and in a beatlesque mood, shouting "Ringo!" and "John!" and dancing and clapping along.

More pics of the Cavern BeatlesCollapse )

An interesting article from The Guardian, with annotations by me.

December 3, 2009 -- The Guardian (UK)

Paul McCartney gets back to Hamburg, half a century on

It's only 9.10pm, but it's a bitterly cold night and for some reason the doors of Hamburg's Color Line arena have opened a little late, forcing the audience to line up outside. The chilly crowd, at last in their seats, are restive. It starts as a grumble that becomes a slow handclap, but soon the collection of bald spots and sensible sweaters on the floor of the arena are making a sound that is unmistakably a boo.

Paul McCartney, emerging 10 minutes later, looks incredulous and not a little annoyed, as well he might. "Really?" he gestures at the crowd.
"You're booing me?" The venue for the launch of McCartney's first European tour in five years last night was chosen, he has said, out of affection for his old band's "training ground", the city where the baby Beatles learned how to play, discovered sex and amphetamines, cut their hair, gained a new drummer and lost their fifth member, bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, to art school and later a brain haemorrhage.
They arrived in the city in August 1960, a group of callow 18-year-olds (George Harrison was 17) who had barely played a professional show. Twenty- eight months and 281 tough gigs later they gave their last Hamburg performance on New Year's Eve 1962. Just over a fortnight later the single Please Please Me was released in the UK and the world changed.
Half a century later, McCartney is back, once again in a collarless suit and mid-heeled Chelsea boots with a Hofner bass slung to his left hand ­ and the Germans' first thought is of punctuality. His band burst into Magical Mystery Tour; it's a pretty effective riposte.
The audience's disrespect is the more perplexing since the city is belatedly starting to take pride in its Beatles association, after decades when only those in the know would have been able to trace their way through the red light district to the Indra, scene of their first contractual engagement in the city, or the Kaiserkeller, where John, Paul and George first met Ringo, or the Top Ten Club, where the Beatles played the longest residency of their career, 98 nights on the trot for 12 hours at a time, between March and July 1961. As John Lennon once remarked, if the Beatles were born in Liverpool, they grew up in Hamburg.
The hesitancy of Germany's most affluent city to market the connection, no doubt, was born of embarrassment. The Hamburg that the Beatles knew was a sleazy world of prostitutes, sailors, gangsters and fistfights ­ and very little has changed (Note: Reeperbahn has become my city's main tourist attraction and is certainly no reason for embarrassment. The fact that prostitution and other sexual entertainment is not hidden away in shady back alleys as in other cities proves this. These days you see only tourists walking up and down Reeperbahn wide-eyed and wondering, the neon signs and display windows don't shock anyone else over here).
Taxi drivers boast that the cash economy on the Reeperbahn, the main red light strip around which the Beatles played, is so active that it boasts the busiest ATM in Europe; there is a street here down which women who aren't selling sex are physically barred from entering in case they distract the punters. Shakespeare's Stratford this ain't.

Half a century of neglect, however, has had one great advantage: most of the sites associated with the band are still standing and mostly unchanged ­ several of the old clubs, indeed, are still live music venues. Even the barber's where they are reputed to have requested a copy of Sutcliffe's arty new moptop is still in business. (Note: The Beatles had their hair cut in Paris, France, not in Hamburg.)

With the opening earlier this year of a dedicated museum, Beatlemania, and the creation of a rather ugly but photo-friendly "Beatles square", the city finally has somewhere to direct its tourists.
Macca, it is fair to say, is not in bad nick either, bouncing about onstage with energy that is remarkable for a man galloping towards his eighth decade.
Though it is an unashamedly nostalgic set, on a stage backed with visuals showing old newspaper cuttings and photographs, this is not a man going through the motions.
Backed by the band he has toured with for a decade, he plays no fewer than six instruments during the set, but it is his 67-year-old voice that is most impressive.
Few musicians of his generation still have the ability to "woo!" like a teenager; McCartney makes it look easy.
The initial frostiness thaws as the gig progresses, and it does appear that the ex-Beatle has allowed himself a little sentiment about his return to the city, breaking into half-remembered snatches of Hamburg slang ("We'll have a little 'hummel hummel moss moss' tonight?' [Note: Actually it is "Hummel Hummel, Mors Mors - and I'm aware of the fact that no one understands it, not even Germans from other areas than Hamburg]) and bantering with a heckler who asks if he will be revisiting his old stomping ground.

"The Reeperbahn? Not tonight, no." (Note: Good idea. A soccer match, unwisely planned to take place only a few feet away from the Color Line Arena on the very same evening, left the Reeperbahn swarming with drunk, jeering fans.)

Two and a half hours after he started, McCartney is still going strong and the crowd is at last bellowing for more.
Live and Let Die, Hey Jude, Day Tripper, Lady Madonna, Get Back, Yesterday, Helter Skelter ­ one gets the feeling he could go on forever.

Hamburg, desperate to persuade McCartney to return next year to mark the 50th anniversary of his arrival, can only hope that he does (Note: No one here honestly expects him to return for our anniversary. We are trying to get Pete Best instead).

Eight days a week in Hamburg

Indra, Grosse Freiheit 64
First Hamburg home of the Beatles, then a five-piece with Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums. They played 48 nights from August 1960.
Kaiserkeller, Grosse Freiheit 36
From October to December 1960, the Beatles alternated hourly with fellow Liverpool band Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, whose drummer, Ringo Starr, they would later poach.
Top Ten Club, Reeperbahn 136
Live music venue where the band played its longest residency, 98 nights in a row, between March and July 1961.
Star Club, Grosse Freiheit 39
Biggest club in Beatles-era Hamburg, destroyed by fire in 1980s (Note: 1983). Band's last Hamburg gig on New Year's Eve 1962.
Bambi, Paul-Roosen-Strasse 33Cinema where the band lodged in 1960, in two windowless rooms next to the toilets and behind the main screen (Note: Both facts are wrong, the rooms did have windows and they were quite far away from the screen which was fastened to the wall, there was no space behind it to sleep. I know what I'm talking about, we've been IN those rooms :))
Beatlemania, Nobistor 10
Museum that opened this year, next to the new Beatles-Platz. Particularly good on the Hamburg years.

John thinks of Brian

The many faces of John Lennon

Posted by matisse_ep on 2009.12.08 at 14:17
Current Mood: sadsad

"I always thought John's oval and well-chisled face looked very much like a Kabuki mask or a face you'd expect to see in a Shakespeare play..." (Yoko Ono, Introduction to John Lennon Anthology, 1998)

Click here for the many faces of John LennonCollapse )

These were only two years out of Johns life (1960-1962) when his looks completely changed. That's why I chose them! In the collage you can see how many different faces he had. He was so beautiful.

On Wed I was able to meet Klaus Voormann while he was invited to the Hamburg Beatles Museum to talk about his new project "A Sideman's Journey". For more information on this great record (I won a signed version a couple of months ago!) go to his website www.klaus-voormann.com. In the beginning of the 60s he was Astrid Kirchherr's boyfriend and introduced her to the Beatles in Kaiserkeller, he wanted to play bass with the Beatles later while they appeared in the Top Ten, but Paul had by then already filled in for Stu and the band was complete. I first realized his importance when I saw him playing bass on "Imagine" as seen in the great documentary "Gimme Some Truth". Of course, he also designed the Revolver and Anthology covers, and lately he drew many pictures of the Beatles in Hamburg, displayed at the Beatles Museum. He is still on good terms with Paul and attended the concert in the evening together with Astrid.
He signed a "Revolver" postcard and kindly posed for a picture for me, mainly because he knows my boss, who took the picture :D

Joe Flannery (as covered in this entry) was in Hamburg as well to attend the McCartney concert. I met him shortly and my boss photographed us together with an old friend of the Beatles in Hamburg, Hans-Walter "Icke" Braun (the first picture is from 1966 during the Beatles' Tour in Germany):

This is Icke, Joe's German friend and manager Michael, myself and Joe (the random guy in the back doesn't belong to us):

Don't look at my shoes :S

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