1987 Martin Kolbe & Ralf Illenberger: 7
The huge folk music and acoustic guitar boom was over. Now Punk and New Wave were “it”. Though we had been able to keep a true and reliable fan base it had become more difficult to get concert contracts and money was not coming in as dependably as before. Meanwhile both of us were married and had two households to finance (before that we had been living together for years). Both of us had a daughter and our wives were pregnant with a second child. Excessive studio sessions like we had with the “Tronic” recordings were impossible. However, we did not want our new album to sound as dry and reduced as the second KID record. We found a little studio near Freiburg where we could afford at least ten days of recording and mixing.
Calmly we built up our sound and took our time to refine without getting bogged down in details. The result was an album that resembled our first record in many aspects. Of course we had matured over the years in style and playing technique. Nevertheless, to me it felt like a closed loop – back to the roots but with the experience and knowledge we had gathered over the years. I asked myself: What next? The whole thing from scratch? Going around in circles? I get bored by repetitiveness.
Such thoughts probably played a role when in March 1987 I split from Ralf out of the blue or more precisely: I blew up everything that had tied us together. All those years we had been welded together as it were, we had done everything together musically and even shared our daily life for manyyears when we were not touring. There was a reason why we were called “the Siamese guitar twins”.
It is like chemistry: The tighter the compounds are, the more energy it takes to tear them apart. Thus, only an enormous explosion could separate the duo.
Three days later I found myself in the closed section of a mental hospital. I had been brought there directly from a luxury hotel suite in Munich (definitely NOT my way of life in those days). Only a couple of days later I was given the diagnosis “manic-depressive”- the term “bipolar disorder” was not in use at that time.
This was the beginning of a whole different story that lasted for 25 years and found its preliminary end in the release of the CD “Songs from the Inside”.
“7” was released only after the duo had split, so Mood Records did not make any effort to promote it, which is a pity because it is one of our best releases.