Checkpoint Charlie: Biography

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Early years 1966-1973

Checkpoint Charlie was founded in 1966 in Karlsruhe after an encounter of Harald Linder and Uwe von Trotha. The idea of combining lyrics of Bertolt Brecht and François Villon with beat music quickly came up. New band members were Joachim "Krebssalat" Krebs and Werner Heß. In 1969 they performed at the last Burg Waldeck Festival. Their first LP was self-released in 1970 and contained a recording of a concert at the University of Erlangen. In their rock operetta "Scheiße" (Shit) they addressed environmental protection problems. This was followed by the first lawsuit against the band for a toilet in the colors of the german flag. As an example of the German rock scene, Checkpoint Charlie was included in the 13-part NDR series "Sympathy for the Devil" in 1971, but most of it was cut out afterwards. After a short break-up of the group Checkpoint Charlie rehearsed in 1972 at Burg Waldeck for their program "Notwehr" (self-defense). The tour was supposed to be financed by the "Verband der Kriegsdienstverweigerer" (association of conscientious objectors), but this association cancelled shortly before the beginning, which caused big financial problems. Nevertheless Checkpoint Charlie played in a smaller line-up in more than 100 german cities, but disbanded in 1973.

New formation 1977-1982

In 1977 Uwe von Trotha and Joachim Krebs re-founded the group and participated in the 1977 Umsonst und Draußen Festival in Vlotho and the subsequent events in Porta Westfalica in 1978 and 1979. The second LP was produced eight years after the first one under the name "Frühling der Krüppel" on the independent label Schneeball, in which other groups such as Embryo, Ton Steine Scherben and Missus Beastly also participated. The band founded the "Familie Hesselbach Kommune" in Bisterschied (North Palatinate). The LP released in 1979, often called "Die Durchsichtige" because of its transparent vinyl and cover, contained two studio recordings and three live recordings. In 1980 they got into legal difficulties again, because of a cardboard pig called "Franz Josef". The public prosecutor's office took a concert on July 28, 1979 at the "Burghaldefest" in Kempten as an occasion to sue the group for insulting the Bavarian Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauß. The 1981 LP "Krawall im Schweinestall" (Riot in the Pigsty) took up this incident in both the songs and the 8-page booklet. In 1982 the LP Feuer und Flamme was released, after which the band retired.

Subsequent projects

In the 1990s, Uwe von Trotha went on tour again with musician Therofal and released the album Echtes Liveblocking Gurglersinfonie with other friends.

In 2002 the band was revived again with a concert at the Burg-Herzberg-Festival and a small tour.