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Questions/Answers 3

Questions/Answers is a series of articles aiming to nail down some facts on all those Kraftwerk myths that are forever repeated by the media...
From Aktivität 10 - April 1998

The German release of the 'Trans-Europa Express' LP contains an extra track called 'Abzug'.
No. The record does indeed contain a track called 'Abzug', which is not listed on other 1977 'TEE' releases, but it is still part of 'Metal On Metal'.

e.g. On the original German LP release the 'TEE' tracks are listed with the following timings;
Trans-Europa Express (6min. 40sec.), 'Metall auf Metall' (2min. 10sec.), 'Abzug' (4min. 42sec.)
(Total 13min. 32.sec.)

On the original UK release the 'TEE' tracks are;
'Trans-Europe Express' (6min. 40sec.), Metal On Metal (6min. 52sec.)
(Total 13min. 32.sec.)

The corresponding CD releases are different altogether in terms of where the tracks start and stop! By 1991 and the re-recorded versions appearing on 'The Mix', 'Abzug' had moved before 'Metal On Metal' on the album.

Ralf Hütter studied 10 years classical music (piano) at the Duesseldorf Konservatorium before founding Kraftwerk.
We know that Ralf was born in 1946 and that he founded Organisation along with Florian, who he met at the Düsseldorf Konservatorium in 1968. This presumes then that Ralf must have been studying at the Düsseldorf Kons. since 1958 - 12 years old! There is no doubt that Ralf did indeed study there, but not for 10 years!

The band play on a record called 'Ich bin a Domina' by Die Dominas.
No, but there is a slight Kraftwerk involvement with the actual music and also by the fact that Ralf Hütter and Karl Bartos designed the record sleeve. A more detailed account can be found in Aktivität 6.

The band never or only rarely give interviews to the press.
On the contrary, Kraftwerk have benefited from worldwide, extensive press coverage generated by interviews, primarily with the bands appointed spokesman Ralf Hütter. Granted, in their earliest days there was little press coverage of Kraftwerk but since 1975 at least Kraftwerk have always given interviews to the media whenever they have a new release out. In addition, Ralf Hütter has also been interviewed by numerous radio stations and tapes of such interviews are in circulation amongst collectors. However, there have been no new interviews with Ralf since 1992 - similarly, however, there have been no new releases to promote! (Note: Since the publication of this article, there have been further interviews with Ralf Hütter, to accompany live appearances in recent years - IC, July 2000.)

They did live or playback appearances in the following German TV shows:

  • Popstop 1982 (it was in fact only a video)
  • Dreiklangsdimensionen (in was in fact only a video)
  • Hitparade 1978 (it never took place)

The band are working on a follow up album to 'The Mix', called 'The Mix 2' which will contain more re-recorded versions of old songs.
There have been many rumours and rumoured release dates of such an album, but Kraftwerk themselves have never said there would be such a release, replying, when questioned, that it may be a possibility "in a few years time" (NME, 1991).

In addition to officially released German, English, French and Japanese language versions of 'Pocket Calculator' there are also Spanish and Polish language recordings in existence.
Not quite. The band have recorded and released English, German, Japanese and French versions on the song. In addition, they also recorded a version in Italian and mimed to it for some Italian TV shows in 1981. When the band perform live they regularly change some of the lyrics into the local language. So, the band have performed 'Pocket Calculator' with some of the lyrics in Spanish, but there is no recorded release as such, excluding live bootlegs. Little is known of Kraftwerk's Polish concert appearances, so it is not known if there is a Polish langauge version.

The band sold the rights of the 'Autobahn' LP for $2000 to their US record company.
No, it was the rights to their first LP, 'Kraftwerk' and it was in fact to their German record company, Philips, in 1970, not their US record company. From the 1975 article 'Germany's Kraftwerk: Metal of the Road' is this extract; '...Kraftwerk's contract with Phonogram (the parent company of Philips/Vertigo/Mercury etc. - IC) ran out several months ago and is presently being renegotiated ... Hütter and Scheider don't intend to make the same kind of deal they did back in 1971 , when they sold the entire rights to 'Kraftwerk', the first of their three European albums, to Philips Records (a phonogram subsidiary) for $2000.' From the US magazine Billboard, 22.3.75, there is also this note; 'The story goes that Phonogram's German A&R director bought their tape master without hearing it when told the asking price was only $2000'.

  Updated: 16 : 5 : 2010