An interview with Danny Fichelscher, member of Popol Vuh, Gila, Amon Düül II and Niagara
founded by pianist and keyboardist Fricke, Holger Trülzsch
(percussion) and Frank Fiedler (recording engineer and technical assistance), but on their fourth album, Danny Fichelscher was invited to be part of Popol Vuh. They managed to change boundaries of music with their incredible albums, influenced by various of classical music and Indian music. They were also invited to be part of many film projects. Before joining Popol Vuh, Fichelscher was a part of Niagara, Gila and Amon Düül II. We are very happy, that Danny Fichelscher took his time to share his part of the story.
You were the most stable partner in Popol Vuh with Florian Fricke. How did you
join them? You were a bit younger, than most of the guys.
the first time we met was during the recording for Gila album Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Florian heard about my work with Amon Düül II, who I joined for
playing guitars and drums since 1970.
Toby Fichelscher, who was a famous blues singer in Berlin at that times.
Was anything released?
record in ’72 when I was with Amon Düül II.
Gene Krupa, fantastic Max Roach playing with Miles and Charlie.
Berlin. And for sure the biggest influence has been the whole stuff from the
early ’60s from GB and USA. It would take too long now to tell all the details.
can you tell us about the scene? There were clubs like Zodiak Free Arts Lab. In a
recent interview with Roedelius (Cluster) he told us, that a lot of very young people came there and
experiment on their own. Were you a part of this and how did it looked like back then?
the place! There were the newest releases.
and I want to get into some details about it. You formed around 1971 in
Munich? Were you a part of Amon Düül commune? I know you were later a
big part of the band and you still are. How was it to arrive in Munich and
to meet all this people?
from Amon Düül heard about the best drummer in town and so they came to “Sameti”.
Two weeks later I had the job. What a joy to play in Paris! Wow!
the other in famous Olympia. In those days the ’68 Revolution was still going
on and these politicals groups used our stage as platform. Therefore, we
suddenly had the police with water cannons in the music hall. Because nobody could stop the aggressive mind
we decided to blow it away with our music.
first and last time (we were a great team but also a little bit competitors on
the drums). The performance was brilliant – and loud – and the audience was
happy. And of course we had a great time and we enjoyed the french
lifestyle. What a crazy time!
first recording as a percussionist. We met because of the connection of
Doldinger to my father. And Doldinger was close to Klaus Weiss of Niagara.
percussion oriented band. The first album is really hypnotic. Where did you
record it and what do you remember from recording it?
Discobeat, winner of a Grammy for Donna Summer production. With Udo Lindenberg, best drummer of Doldinger, with George Green, one of the biggest big band-drummer in
Germany and also with Klaus Weiss, jazz-drummer in the sixties, band-leader
of quintets and quartets.
more albums, right? Did you ever perform live?
congos on two very amazing albums, released in 1972, “Carnival in Babylon” and “Wolf
City” on which you also played guitar. Tell us about recording and producing
these two albums? What are some of your favourite memories from it and how was
it to be a part of the band?
Rogner and Chris Karrer. I could work out my talent with these guys. One of the
best moments was to record Wolf City, because I played on a high level all my
Veit’s group “Gila”. You were part of their second album,
“Bury My Heart in Wounded Knee”. Band members of Gila’s first line-up
lived together in a flat-sharing community. Was this in Stuttgart? In 1972
Conny Veit (the forming member) decided to work closer with you and Florian.
How did that happened?
Vuh. We played many festivals with Sameti and Gila in 1970.
and I played with Amon Düül. Conny asked me to play on “Bury My
Heart”. This was my first connection with Florian Fricke. This was the
beginning of Trio Infernale and hold
for one another production, Seligpreisung. After this I had two
in that time.
vocals and I think she did an amazing performance on the album. Main concept behind second Gila album was Dee Alexander Brown’s novel about Native Indians and their suffering.
situation of the Native Indians that time.
Popol Vuh. Florian Fricke largely abandoned electronic instruments in favour of
piano-led compositions, by the time you joined on their fourth album called “Seligpreisung”. How did the recording sessions looked like for this
album? What are perhaps some of the strongest memories from recording it?
was the recording inside a church, like Holy Halls. The acoustic sound was
Germany. The mixing was in Cologne.
years and major thing in Popol Vuh music are well painted soundscapes with spiritual and religious themes. You drew from many diverse cultures. Would you
mind tell us about Fricke and yours interest at the times. What inspired you
the most and what would you say as far as religion/spirituality goes were you
the most interested in?
to Africa and all the Gods. We felt response to the word is given to us.
the band and you recorded soundtracks for a lot of his films including “Aguirre, the Wrath of God”, “Nosferatu”, “Fitzcarraldo”, “Cobra Verde”, “Heart of Glass” to “The Enigma of Kaspar
Hauser” in which also Florian Fricke appeared. How did you got to know him?
did audience respond?
it!!! By the way, isn’t it beautiful when a guy came with all your recordings
of 40 years to a concert like in London and wants an autograph? I love it!!
currently working with Amon Düül II again. Can you reveal some details
interest please contact John Weinzierl.
anything you would like to remember?
still in my heart.
musicians, why not in your country…
what is on your turntable and perhaps what are you reading?
Jimi Hendrix, Chilli Peppers, Captain Beefheart, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Billie
Holiday, Ray Davies, Taylor Swift.
Thank you a lot for your time. Would you like to share
anything else with us? Perhaps a message for It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine
past because it belongs to the future.
– Klemen Breznikar
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