When the hippie icon Joan Baez travelled to Germany for Easter marches in 1968, Peter Bursch walked by her side. There can be no more fitting picture for the formation of the crumbling machine that Bursch and four friends created a few months later - political and artistic upheaval was in the air. And a crumbling machine in the middle of it. Half a century, several reshuffles and time-outs later the band is currently very agile. This can be heard on the current album "Indian Camel".
28. The mood in the backstage area of the Burg-Herzberg-Festival is depressed on this late afternoon. At least for Peter Bursch, who had learned a few hours earlier that his long-time friend and band member Willi Kissmer had died the day before. "I wasn't really surprised by the news, Willi had been seriously ill for some time," says Bursch, "but when you're confronted with a fait accompli, it's another story."
Otherwise, the gangly Duisburg native with the boyish charisma is the best of things. May he be, too: Two days before the interview he made an impressive appearance on the festival stage with a crumbling machine. To which also the great guest musicians have contributed their part. "This gig was a once-in-a-lifetime affair that I will never forget. At the same time it was an anniversary appearance on the occasion of our fiftieth anniversary. And a signal to the world: the crumbling machine still exists."
eclipsed: You founded a crumbling machine in 1968. What's the matter with you?
Peter Bursch: Our main concern at first was to try out a new way of life. We lived in a shared flat for six years from 1968. Living and making music, everything should be free. With all the highs and lows associated with it. This experiment was certainly exciting.
eclipsed: How did the WG members get together?
Bursch: Since the mid-sixties, we had been playing the Easter marches organized by trade unions and politically very leftist groups. All five founding members were politically highly motivated, for example we were committed to self-governing youth centres. Everything had to do with trying oneself out. In 1974 the WG split up without a fight. Its members decided to become fledged.
eclipsed: Your debut album still enjoys cult status today. How do you explain that?
Bursch: We presented a style mix of folk, jazz, krautrock and psychedelic that we had never heard before. This sound has lasted until today. I'm still getting ecstatic reactions to it.