1974 Martin Kolbe: Last Lust of Billy the Kid
When I was 17 I had taught myself to play the guitar in the so-called fingerpicking style by listening to the records of Werner Lämmerhirt, Hannes Wader, and John Fahey. Attending a concert of German singer/songwriter Hannes Wader a year before was the initial ignition: I yearned to be able to play like that! As time went by I lost interest in just copying other players and started to use this technique for my own instrumental compositions, songs, or covers.
A friend of mine had the rather ambitious idea of producing a record of my music. To my greatest astonishment he indeed managed to do that. He found sponsors and organized everything. Peter – that was his name – recorded my tunes at his flat with his semi-professional gear; sometimes I sang in his bathroom because of the acoustics. In the end he got it all together and the record was released.
Listening to it today this LP sounds quite terrible and I am glad the 500 copies that were pressed have been sold out for quite some time. There are a lot of mistakes on it and the sound is remarkably tinny but you can hear my eagerness to play. An audible energy of late puberty oozes out of every groove of the record.
Luck was with us: the Stuttgart radio station picked one of the tracks of the record - an instrumental version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic “Mrs Robinson” - and played it daily. They invited me for an interview into their studio. Shortly thereafter I was invited to be a guest at the local TV as well. Those medial appearances produced a demand for live concerts, so I started to play gigs during the weekends – I was still attending school in those days.
All of a sudden and without having planned it I found myself at the start of a musical career. I could not believe what was happening to me. I had always dreamt of being a musician but this dream was so unreal that I never would have dared trying to make it reality. Now everything seemed to fall right into place.