Red Army Faction

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The Red Army Faction (German: Rote Armee Fraktion), shortened to RAF and in its early stages commonly known as Baader-Meinhof Group, was one of post–World War II Germany's most violent and prominent musical rock bands.


The early years[edit]

The Baader Meinhof Gang, shortening their name simply to Baader Meinhof in 1970 formed in Parfume, Germany in 1968. The original line up consisted of Andre Baader-Meinhof (keyboards), Holger Schuring (bass), Ashton Kutchermann (guitar, vocals) and a mute drummer by the name of Jason Lovetime. They performed at the Polish student uprising in June 1968 in which students rioted over the violence of the Paris student uprising around the same time. Both Baader-Meinhof and Schuring both had extensive backgrounds in welding and originally part of another band called the R.A.F (a.k.a. Really Affluent F**kers). Lovetime previously had been a mime while Kutchermann, the youngest member of the band, just sat around growing his hair and torturing cats. The individual members backgrounds had much influence on the sound of their music. Baader-Meinhof was more accomplished in the studio since they literally bombed every venue in which they performed. David Niven who was best known for being in movies starring Peter Sellers was a huge fan of their music or at least guitarist Kutchermann and possibly not for his musical talents.

The Stamp Man[edit]

In August 1968, Armenian stamp collector Marvin K. Sunny joined the band, without knowing it, on lead vocals. It was Sunny that suggested that the band take the last name of bands keyboardist, mainly because he always walked around like he owned the place. It would have been Baader-Meinhof's band only if Schuring would have shown him how to use any of the tape recorders. Sunny's singing style was actually incoherent mumblings since he suffered from severe schizophrenia. It is only coincidence that the band happened to be playing and the recorder recording when he made such mumblings. This line-up recorded one album titled Horror Film which sold well during the 1969 skeet shortage.

The Yamaha years[edit]

In mid-1970, Sunny suddenly vanished due to the fact he really did not exist and was relpaced by Ulkrie "Dammit" Yamaha. Yamaha's vocal style was very much different from Sunny's incoherent mumbing, in that it was incoherent screaming. This was in fact a major turning point for the band. This line-up's first offering Storemusak which featured some of their best music made specifically for grocery stores and elevators. They had a specific system in which Baader-Meinhof would visit the grocery store for donuts and cinnimon buns and then would describe to the band what sort of store it was and what sort of music the store needed.

The Orange Mango Years[edit]

The years 1971-1974 were very fruitful times for the band as they were only barely noticed, instead of completely ignored. Baader Meinhof's 1971 album Orange-Mango was a double album which featured one record of somewhat incoherent repetitive noise, while the second record featured completely incoherrent, but less repetitive noise. This line-up recorded two more albums, Strained Peas(1972) (which featured Baader Meinhof's first citizens band radio hit "Spatula") and Past Afternoons(1973), the latter of which was actually an album pressed from a blank master tape. Past Afternoons was considered their most accomplished work since the existing tape hiss and vinyl noise was far less objectionable then if Schuring would have actually remembered to hook the microphones up in the first place. Sadly Yamaha left in 1974 to reclaim his role of Yokui Ohyes, wife of former communist leader Jon Lenin. They recorded several albums as a quartet and had a minor hit in Romania with the song "I Want Less," which was influenced by the music industries' acceptance of their musical output.

Bassist Boogies[edit]

In 1975 Baader Meinhof replaced bassist Holger Schuring with John Coltrane's third cousin, twice removed, Roscoe "Gee Whiz" Coltrane and his sidekick Reebop "the flying squirrel" Mabeebop on kitchen utensils. Schuring did remain in this line up for one album Fork Disgrace(1977) where he sat at a table at the back of the room where he did not bother anyone with his creative ideas. Coltrane was also an accomplished magician, well known for causing the redeeming qualities of any band he joins completely disappear in the blink of an eye. It is quite apparent on Fork Disgrace as well as Out Of Touch(1978) and Outer Closet(1979) he could pull the band Santana out of his trademark top hat at any given moment.

The disbanding[edit]

Baader Meinhof disbanded in 1980 when each member decided they would not show up at the studio to record the next album rather than actually break up the band. In 1986 the band reformed when all of the original members stumbled into each other at the recording studio trying to steal equipment to pawn in order to feed their families. This resulted in a reunion album , Wrong Time(1989) which got very little attention as no one really cared about this group in the first place.

Influences on culture[edit]

Baader Meinhof has been said to have influenced such bands as Can, Public Image Limited, Sonic Youth, Stereolab, Blur as well as Radiohead. This has gained them very little attention as no one really cares about those bands either.

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