Early Embryo history
THE BIRTH OF THE MUNICH UNDERGROUND
An embryo founder remembers
END OF THE 60's it also started in Munich. Those who dropped out were the first to offer an alternative to conventional life in Munich boredom, and they were soon joined by Musicians. They played the music for the protesting counter-movement. Slowly but surely, the village of Munich, which had until then floundered in trist provincial parochialism, was transformed into a boiling pot of rebellious alternative culture. The hippie barkers took a run-down building complex of empty barracks in the Ungererstraße. Their autonomous small state in the middle of the City they called "Paranoia Center." From now on the dropouts had a meeting place. And the Munich underground was born.
Even before its foundation in 1969, the guys from the Munich musician collective "Embryo" also came here. Here they could rehearse loudly, get together with other musicians exchanging ideas, giving concerts and experimenting with drugs. Christian Burchard, aged boss and founding member of the "flagship of the German underground" (Stern, early 80s) remembers the wild years of that time: "The Paranoia Center was unique in Germany. All the really independent German bands played concerts here." The musicians around the commune of Amon Düül of the Einsteinstrasse took over the big hall in the "Paranoia-Center" for rehearsals and concerts as well. Republic-wide known underground groups like "Guru Guru" or "Checkpoint Charlie," didn't miss out on the opportunity to perform for the Munich alternative culture Audiences of hippie writers, psychedelic fanatics or student drug specialists. But on the front lines, Embryo got involved. The formation became a star of the German underground. With their clappery tour bus they travelled to their first festival in Fehmam, where stars like Jimi Hendrix also played. The protesting student movement rocked to the Embryo sound and the oppressed population in Franco Spain sang to Embryo sounds "Revolution is the only way". They finally gained greater recognition for the Munich philistine bourgeoisie through the Munich media, which had reported that the police had banned the counter-passion planned by "Embryo" in Oberammergau. During the student riots, students kept the Art academy in the Akademiestraße occupied for days. Here, too, "Embryo" was playing while the police outside had the entire block surrounded. In the academy of arts there were non-stop celebrations during these days. Incredibly colourful, imaginative and creative actions took place here: the students painted the walls of the Academy of Arts and organized bicycle races in the corridors. In the wild early years until 1974, the Embryo people lived as a music commune in a three-room apartment in Metzstrasse in Haidhausen. Two floors below them, the RAF couple Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Rolf Heisler. Burchard remembers: "We hardly had any contact with them. We went down to them from time to time when we needed something, onions or such. Nevertheless, the police stopped by regularly and turned our place upside down at 6:00 in the morning." Laughing, Burchard tells the ironic side of the incipient German surveillance state: "My life partner at the time was studying chemistry. When the police came once again, there were big problems because the officers suspected that their collection of chemical formulas contained instructions on how to build bombs or manufacture drugs." Eventually, the excavators arrived during the night. The Paranoia Center was closed and razed to the ground. The magic cauldron in which alternative culture was bubbling suddenly disappeared. Burchard describes the time from the early 70s onwards as follows: "Munich fell back into its old ways. The spirit of optimism of the years 1968 to 1970 was blown away. Many places were forced to close, elsewhere they played fabric softener underground." For "Embryo" it was the time when they started travelling. On the way they developed the idea, which is still the principle of the "Embryo" sound today: international communication and cultural exchange through music. The still active pioneers of world music have played with over 400 musicians since their foundation 34 years ago. In hardly any country in the world they have not yet inspired people with their music. And they have told. About Munich - where it all began.
From Clash 24.06. 2003 (Posted on embryoworld.info)
Christian Burchard, Edgar Hofmann, John Kelly, Lothar Meid, Ralph Fischer
Recored 1969 at the Paranoia-Center, Ungererstr. München
One of Christian Burchards many self-burned CD-Rs which he mainly sold at concerts.
Parts of it are now available as bonus on the CD "Anthology+" (Cosmic Egg)
Hof, Autumn 1969
Rare lineup from sometime around autumn 1969
München / PN, November 27, 1969
"THE EMBRYOS" perform tonight for the first time with a live session in Munich's Beatlokal PN. As guests are announced: Jimmy Jackson, organ and Dieter Serfas, drums. At the moment the "Embryos" are producing a "motorcycle-action-movie" on the motocross-ground Nuremberg (our picture).