The American music market is ticking differently than the European and especially the German one. Quite a few musical greats there find little or no attention in the Old World. Guitarist Henry Kaiser, for example, is only known in Germany to absolute connoisseurs of the niche between rock, jazz and avant-garde. He combines the best sides of Jerry Garcia, Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin.
Since the mid-1970s, the 67-year-old, who has already released more than 50 albums, seems to be constantly squatting in the studio and hatching new projects. But appearances are deceptive: if he is regarded in the music world as one of the most innovative minds of the last 40 years, scientists value him as one of the most renowned research divers. With filmmakers like Werner Herzog he is in demand as an underwater cameraman. Henry Kaiser is an all-rounder who leaves many traces behind.
Since his early albums, which he released on the Californian label SST in the best company of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Hüsker Dü, Minutemen, Black Flag or the Bad Brains, Kaiser has been known as a stylistic jack-of-all-trades. He was one of the pioneers of American metamusic, which strictly rejected genres and musical categories. "They are nothing but marketing tools," he still stresses today, and so the topic is over for him.
In view of the fact that the musical universe itself is obviously not enough for him, this attitude is of course not surprising. But how he manages to belong to the top of the world as a musician, underwater researcher and cameraman remains his secret: "All three aspects are one and the same for me. I don't first do one thing and then the other, but always do everything at the same time. It's always been that way, and I can't imagine it any other way. I search and always find the same things in them. It's all about experimenting on the basis of trance."