New fashion, new music, new educational style: kitzingen experienced a kind of revolution in the 1960s. The hill billy bar is not the only place where life goes wild. Sleeping during the day, partying at night – and the (female) audience at your feet: this scene sparked the dream of a musician’s life for many young people. Also with four kitzingen "falcons" who learned to fly in 1964 in a musical sense: the "falcons" became one of the most famous youth bands. After four and a half decades off the air, they returned to the stage a few years ago as a cult band. The death of sanger pre (karlheinz huckmann) five years ago made the other members of the early days – mike (wolfgang popp, guitar, vocals), pip (hans dieter hufnagel, guitar) and arnold frey (drums) – even more tightly knit together. With guitarist robert brussig they can be seen live twice in the county in november.
What is the significance of the band name "falcons"??
Wolfgang popp: honestly: we all don’t know that anymore. Probably just sounded good.
Where did you learn to play instruments?? A music school gave?S not for a long time yet..
Hans dieter hufnagel: our music school were the scout camps. There we copied the different grips from the older ones.
Popp: we also hid behind the stage curtain of the hill-billy-bar and watched what the bands did.
Hufnagel: and we listened to records of the shadows, ventures, rolling stones, beatles and spotnicks up and down, we put the pickup arm back again and again, listened to melodies and lyrics. That was muhsam! In the end the records had hardly any grooves left.
Arnold frey: we spent every free minute with music.
And how did you get the band equipment?? Wasn’t it quite expensive??
Frey: (laughs) mike’s first bass drum was an upside down baby bathtub made of plastic.
Popp: yes, we also used pots and plastic buckets that were worked on with wooden ladles with foam wrapped around them. Our technical equipment were old radios, to whose TA-output we connected small mics with banana plugs. When arnold joined us and the rude hullers edi gave us a real verstarker, our development made a jump. At the same time my drumming time was over. Arnold had bongo drums and a complete drum set. Then the others ordered me: "you play bass from now on!"
It was so easy?
Popp: in the beginning i just played the basic notes to the chords that pre played. But soon there were more difficult instrumentals in it, from the shadows, spotnicks or ventures. When that worked out, we started to do songs with vocals as well.
Where did the rehearsals take place?
Popp: first in the wine cellar of my grandpa, at bernbeckplatz. When arnold joined us, we moved into a basement room in his parents’ house in talstrabe. Mostly we rehearsed on saturday afternoons. And in the evenings we organized parties with girls..
How important was musical development?
Hufnagel: we all wanted to be able to play as well as our idols. Popp: for that we put everything else on the back burner, even school. I’ve been dreaming of a real bass guitar for a long time. When I was able to buy a hofner with three pickups in gold and red from a guy from kitzingen one sunday morning after church, we immediately scheduled a rehearsal. The full sound… It was a great feeling!
Frey: in april 1965 we had a gig at the bernbeck school in kitzingen with the shakers and the rats. That was like an initialzundung. The people were completely enthusiastic. And so did we.
There followed hot beat parties and acclaimed performances. But the enthusiasm didn’t last too long anyway..
Popp: after pre had joined another, musically more developed band, we simply lacked a good singer and guitarist. The only thing we could do was to give up.
45 years later you got together again, just before the first "wild times"-festival 2010 in kitzingen.
Frey: i remember exactly a phone call in february. The caller answered with "popp". At first I didn’t know whose turn it was. Then "der mike" told us about the "wild times" and asked if we wanted to revive the falcons for that. To my objection that I hadn’t played for decades, he countered that it was about time again.
Is the equipment different than before??
Hufnagel: (laughs) fortunately yes. I could never afford a fender stratocaster when I was in school. But nine years ago, my wife gave me a 60th birthday present. I was given my dream guitar for my 50th birthday. With this I started – after 45 years – to make music again.
Frey: we held the first rehearsals before "wild times" in the pip’s winter garden.
The "old" falcons-feeling came up again right away?
Hufnagel: you can say that. We just complement each other well. In the meantime we have a repertoire of 100 pieces.
What has changed compared to the past – apart from the fashion and the hair??
Hufnagel: when we were 15, we played songs even when we couldn’t play them perfectly yet. Today we rehearse songs where the sound isn’t really good yet, just for a long time. The song "sealed with a kiss" by the shadows, for example, didn’t work for a long time – now we play it at almost every gig.
Frey: since the death of pre, robert, who had already helped out before, is a permanent member of the band. And our bass player mike has become a singer, supported by the two guitarists.
Do you have a special "falcons" song that is particularly important to you??
Hufnagel: for example "apache" – the song is a beautiful memory of the legendary performance in the auditorium of the bernbeck school.
How often do you see each other in the flesh for rehearsals, now that arnold frey lives near mannheim??
Hufnagel: on average, about once a month – whenever arnold is there. Before gigs we try to play together more often. We have a super rehearsal room at the brussigs in mainstockheim, which we use from time to time only in twos or threes.
Where else should the "falcons" fly to??
Popp: we don’t have a specific performance goal. We just want it to go on for as long as possible.
Hufnagel: music keeps us young.
Brussig: music is good for the head. And for the joints.
Frey (with a nod towards the well-equipped kitchen next to the rehearsal room): and for society as well!
INFO: the "falcons" are on saturday, 11. November, from 20 o’clock live in the kitzingen bistro gambrinus and on 24. November in the volkach "techtel-mechtel" to hear.