Wolfgang Fuchs was the electron microck pioneer of the GDR. After years as a classical rock drummer he turned to electronic rock and prog with his project POND and became the eastern equivalent of the internationally acclaimed Tangerine Dream. The Berlin musician, who turns 70 on 7 December, is still active and has released the double album "40 Jahre POND (Das Jubiläumskonzert)" on his label PONDerosa on the occasion of the band's anniversary in 2018.
POND stand for a piece of German rock history. As the first band in the GDR they brought electronic instrumental music to the stage. Also their albums were the first in this area in the GDR. Their debut "Planetenwind" (1984) and their successor "Auf der Seidenstraße" (On the Silk Road), which appeared two years later, sold very well. Wolfgang "Paule" Fuchs knows how to report exhaustively and amusingly about the sometimes difficult circumstances in which he worked in the GDR. During the interview in a Berlin pub it sometimes sounds spacy and in the truest sense like from another world when he talks about former models of the West and the establishment of the electron microck in the land of real socialism.
eclipsed: POND were the first electronic rock band of the GDR and as such a historical project in 1978.
Wolfgang "Paule" Fuchs: From today's perspective, yes. We were actually the first band in the East to play electronic instrumental music live.
eclipsed: You were a drummer in hard rock bands at first. How did you come up with electronic sounds, where there was practically no inspiration in the GDR?
Fuchs: Electronic music was not at all popular in the GDR, right. But one day I saw the Polish jazz rock band SBB in the Palast der Republik, only with two musicians - a keyboarder and a drummer - and they played like animals. Awesome! That's what I had in mind. So I left the band Babylon, and our keyboarder Manne [Manfred Hennig; Note] came along. We founded POND, but at first we did relatively normal rock. Then Frank Gursch joined us as Hammond organist, and so we had a totally unusual line-up with two keyboardists and a drummer. As a highlight I had a church bell cast in the only GDR bell foundry in Apolda, a 65-kilo part.
eclipsed: Not exactly a classic rock instrument.
Fuchs: Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who also used one, had given me the idea of the bell. A pensioner had brought me her album "Pictures At An Exhibition" from the West. I thought it was absolutely fantastic and we played it. We really got into it, which you can hear on an early concert recording with a Japanese radio recorder, which is included on our anniversary CD. We were almost as good as ELP, I'd say. "In 1979 we even performed "Pictures at an Exhibition" with a symphony orchestra from Cottbus.