Amon Düül was a German political art commune formed out of the student movement of the 1960s that became well known for its free-form musical improvisations.
This spawned two Rock groups, Amon Düül (sometimes referred to as Amon Düül I) and the more famous Amon Düül II.
After both groups disbanded in the 1970s, some of the original members reunited in the 1980s under the name Amon Düül again, though this incarnation is commonly referred to as Amon Düül (UK) to avoid confusion with the original one.
The name grew from the Egyptian Sun God Amon, and Düül, which is probably a fictive word, came from the album Tanyet of the Los Angeles Psychedelic Rock band The Ceyleib People, which was highly appreciated by band members. This album contained a song featuring a self-created mythology with an element called "Dyl", but it was transformed into "Düül" by Amon Düül members, to create a more Germanic, and at the same unusual sounding word.
Led by Ulrich Leopold, Amon Düül included Ulrich's brother Peter Leopold (15 August 1945 - 8 November 2006), together with Austrian Rainer Bauer and Chris Karrer on guitars. Karrer has since claimed that, "the only original thing from that period which hasn't been released yet is a 1967 recording of the basic Amon Düül band".
Later, the commune would add Bauer's sister Ella, Helge and Angelika Filanda, Uschi Obermeier, Wolfgang Krischke, Falk Rogner and Renate Knaup. The commune attained underground popularity for its free-form musical improvisations, performed around the happenings and demonstrations of the youth movement at the time. The commune had a liberal attitude to artistic freedom, valuing enthusiasm and attitude over artistic ability, and as a result, band membership was fluid; anyone who was part of the commune could be part of the group. They issued a declaration: "We are eleven adults and two children which are gathered to make all kinds of expressions, also musical". A faction within the commune was more ambitious, conventional and musically structured than the commune society overall. This led to a split within the collective, and in September 1968 they performed at the International Essen Song Days—Germany's first underground festival as two groups, "Amon Düül" and "Amon Düül II", at the suggestion of drummer Peter Leopold.
Amon Düül engaged in exuberant open-ended experimentation that at times equalled their Psychedelic Rock / Acid Rock equivalents in countries such as the USA or Brazil (e.g. Os Mutantes), with a focus on political activities. The members were close to Kommune 1 in Berlin and boasted, for a time, a prominent member in the model and activist Uschi Obermaier.
Amon Düül signed a contract with the firm "Metronome Records", and continued for seven years with varying degrees of success and in various guises.
They wound down in 1973 after releasing four official albums (and a posthumous fifth), though all except one were recorded at the 1968 sessions for their debut.
Apparently, the man responsible was producer Peter Meisel, who released the albums without the band's approval in an attempt to capitalise on the success of Amon Düül II.
The LPs are these days regarded as unique, if unessential, records in the history of German rock. In contrast, their Paradieswärts Düül album featured a pastoral, Folk-influenced sound (produced by Julius Schittenhelm) which is highly regarded amongst Krautrock fans. The name 'Amon Düül' was trademarked by Chris Karrer and Peter Leopold of Amon Düül II, meaning that re-issues of Amon Düül's albums have been required to license the name from them.
Amon Düül II
Amon Düül UK
Amon Düül (UK) was the British splinter of the German Krautrock group Amon Düül II that was active during the 1980s. The band released four original studio albums during their career, and one compilation. The band was initially named Amon Düül II, then Amon Düül - the (UK) designation was later added by fans to differentiate this lineup from the earlier one.
The band was formed in 1981 by guitarist John Weinzerl and bassist Dave Anderson in Wales, both of whom had been members of Amon Düül II, and featured drummer Guy Evans from the British progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator, with Julie Waring on vocals.
Four Amon Düül (UK) releases have now been remastered and reissued as of August 2008.
1) Psychedelic Underground (1969, re-issued as "Minnelied" in 1979)
2) Collapsing/Singvögel Rückwärts & Co. (1969)
3) Paradieswärts Düül (1970)
4) Disaster (Double LP) (1972)
5) Experimente (Double LP) (1983)
Amon Düül II
1) Phallus Dei (1969)
2) Yeti (Double LP) (1970)
3) Tanz der Lemminge (Double LP) (1971) Also known as Dance of the Lemmings and in Italy as Journey into a Dream (Viaggio In Un Sogno)
4) Carnival in Babylon (1972)
5) Wolf City (1972)
6) Utopia (1973)
7) Vive La Trance (1973)
8) Hijack (1974)
9) Made in Germany (1975)
10) Pyragony X (1976)
11) Almost Alive... (1977)
12) Only Human (1979)
13) Vortex (1981)
14) Nada Moonshine (1995)
15) Düülirium (2010)
Amon Düül UK
1) Hawk Meets Penguin (as Amon Duul II, 1982)
2) Meetings With Menmachines - Inglorious Heroes of the Past... (as Amon Düül II, 1983)
3) Die Lösung (with Robert Calvert, as Amon Düül) (1989)
4) Fool Moon (as Amon Düül, 1989)
Members Name Check
Four of the bands five album releases consist of jamming sessions recorded in late 1968 or early 1969. The musicians credited on these sessions are:
- Rainer Bauer - guitar, vocals
- Ulrich (Uli) Leopold - bass
- Helge Filanda - congas, vocals, anvil, percussion
- Wolfgang Krischke - percussion, piano
- Eleonora Romana (Ella) Bauer - shaker, vocals, percussion
- Angelika Filanda - percussion, vocals
- Peter Leopold - drums
- Uschi Obermaier - maracas, percussion
Peter Leopold joined Amon Düül II in time for their 1969 debut album; Wolfgang Krischke died around 1969, freezing to death while under the influence of LSD; and Uschi Obermaier moved on to Munich's "Highfisch-Kommune" (scene of Peter Green's notorious LSD experience) and Berlin's "Kommune 1". Guitarist Klaus Esser then joined the band line-up in time for the 'Eternal Flow' / 'Paramechanical World' single recorded in June 1970:
- Ulrich Leopold - bass, vocals, guitar, trumpet, drums
- Rainer Bauer - guitar, vocals, bass
- Klaus Esser - guitar, vocals, bass, drums
- Helge Filanda - drums, vocals, guitar
- Angelika Filanda - flute, vocals
- Ella Bauer - harp, vocals
Rainer Bauer and Ulrich Leopold were guest musicians on one track on the Amon Düül II album Yeti released 1970, which also featured a photo of the deceased Wolfgang Krischke dressed as 'Der Schnitter' (The Harvester) or 'Der Sensenmann' (The Grim Reaper) on the album cover. On the band's final recording, Paradieswärts Düül (recorded in November and December 1970), the band were:
- Ella Bauer - harp, vocals, bongos
- Lemur (Klaus Esser) - drums, vocals, rhythm and fuzz guitars
- Ulrich Leopold - bass, vocals, piano, guitar
- Dadam (Rainer Bauer) - guitar, vocals, lyrics, bass
- Helge Filanda - drums
- Noam (Angelika Filanda) - African drums
- Hansi Fischer (from Xhol) - flute, bongos
- John Weinzierl (from Amon Düül II) - guitar
- Chris 'Shrat' Thiele (from Amon Düül II) - bongos