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Guru Guru - Afric Steals The Show

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Published on Oct 2, 2008

From the book The Crack in The Cosmic Egg:

Guru Guru

Formed in Zurich in summer 1968 by former Irene Schweizer trio musicians: Mani Neumeier (drums) and Uli Trepte (bass) as Guru Guru Groove. the history is abridged here, but they were quick to develop an original music from their free-jazz roots, moving on and developing a new type of psychedelic rock music. Ex Agitation Free Ax Genrich joined a guitarist who could do unbelievable things with his instrument - he could even make it talk! Instantly Guru Guru were one of the hottest bands on the scene and were promptly signed by Ohr Records, making the extraordinary free-form rock album UFO. This proved to be amongst the ultimate musical acid-trips, with greatly condensed versions of music thrashed out in concert jams. Titles like "Stone In" and "Der LSD-Marsh" instantly tell us where they were at! With rattling drums, scuttling, shuddering bass, and a swamp full of guitars, with vocals used mainly for effect, incredible through and through, right down to the ultimate space-trip, "UFO" itself! With the same line-up, the subsequent two albums saw a refinement of style, with composition replacing free-form jamming.

Not wanting to yield to the pressure of trying to make it big in a rock band, Uli decided he should try to go it alone. So, now came the start of a regular succession of personnel changes, firstly with bassist Bruno Schaab (previously of Night Sun) filling in on the eponymous fourth album. Another change of label, another bassist (the much travelled jazzer Hans Hartmann), relocating to Heidelberg, and again a change of direction. DON'T CALL US would seem to be very much Ax Genrich's show, with a totally outrageous blend of styles, there's a bit of "Hari Krishna" and much silliness. Eiliff's Houschäng Nejadepour stepped into Ax Genrich's place, turning Guru Guru into a mini fire-breathing Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the unbelievably hot and energetic DANCE OF THE FLAMES. Barely existing long enough to make the album, Conny Veit (from Gila) had joined the band before the album's release.

For over a year and a half Guru Guru was shelved as Mani worked on other projects (check the Mani Neumeier section for more on this) though eventually a new band was grouped featuring a reliable side-kick in ex-Brainstorm multi-instrumentalist Roland Schaeffer. This new Guru Guru would create an offbeat blend of jazz, rock, psychedelia and mad-cap cabaret, and debuted with the schizophrenic TANGO FANGO. Live they would perform a selection of new and classic old works like "Der Elektrolurch", as featured on the double live album. Attempting to create a new image, credited to "Guru Guru Sunband", HEY DU! saw Mani becoming lead singer of a Guru Guru that showed hardly any of the innovation of early incarnations (note that the rest of the band worked without Mani as the vastly different experimental band Hausmusik) and eventually again, after the dreadful MANI IN GERMANI, Guru Guru disintegrated.

Later 80's reformation attempts were of little interest, some were in fact horrendous attempts to break Guru Guru as a pop band! Though Mani has been prolific and inventive in numerous other projects, as a guest with L.S. Bearforce, Moebius & Plank, Tiere Der Nacht, and also solo. More recently Guru Guru have again reformed, and to great surprise, issued the remarkably offbeat and creative fusion album WAH WAH.

Mani Neumeier (drums, cymbals, gongs, voice, tape), Uli Trepte (bass, electronics, radio), Ax Genrich (guitar, echo, pedals)

UFO (6/70)
LP Ohr OMM 56005 (1970)

HINTEN (7/71)
LP Ohr OMM 556017 (1971)

KÄNGURU (28/2-6/3/72)
LP Brain 1007 (1972)

GURU GURU
LP Brain 1025 (1973)

More Hot Juice / 20th Century Rock
7" Atlantic ATL 10402 (1973)

DON'T CALL US [WE CALL YOU] (8/73)
LP Atlantic ATL 50022 (1973)

DANCE OF THE FLAMES (12-20/4/74)
LP Atlantic ATL 50044 (1974)

TANGO FANGO (2/76)
LP Brain 1089 (1976)

featured on: BRAIN FESTIVAL ESSEN

GLOBETROTTER (1977)
LP Brain 60.039 (1977)

LIVE
2LP Brain 80.018-2 (1978)

HEY DU!
LP Brain 60.187 (1979)
Credited to: Guru Guru Sun Band

MANI IN GERMANI (1980-81)
LP GeeBeeDee GBD 008 (1981)

HOT ON SPOT (1972)
LP United Dairies UD 024 (UK, 1986)

Cosmic Hole / Ungluck Bei Tiffany
7" Face ? (1986)

JUNGLE
LP Casino 87302 (1987)

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