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Spliff was a German rock group that existed from 1980 to 1985. Herwig Mitteregger, Bernhard Potschka and Manfred Praeker first formed the the political rock band Locomotive Kreuzberg in the seventies. In 1977 the band dissolved due to financial reasons. Together with keyboard player Reinhold Heil, who was then active in the jazz formation Bakmak, they formed a band with the working title Spliff (slang for a joint as in a cigarette filled with marihuana). The band was contacted by Nina Hagen to form the Nina Hagen Band. Together they had international success but relationships with the singer were already breaking up after the first album. Separately they finished the second album but after this Spliff went ‘solo’.

After the separation of Nina Hagen the four musicians created a concept show called ‘the Spliff radio show’. The rock opera was created together with singer Alf Klimek (of the band Klimax), the German-American DJ Rik De Lisle and singers Lisa Bialac and Russel Lyma. The show premiered on 2 May 1980 in Kant and was a bitter satire on the music business around the fictional rock star Rocko J. Fonzo. The English-language album appeared in 1980 but wasn’t the international success they expected.

In 1982 they returned to the German language with the album ‘85555’ (named after the catalog number of the album). The album was released in an English version but Spliff started focussing on their domestic market. Their greatest hits from this period were ‘Heut' Nacht’ and 'Carbonara'. The other singles ‘Déjà vu’ (from '85555') and ‘Das Blech’ (also from German-speaking album ‘Herzlichen Glückwunsch’) were also very successful in the German charts. The video for 'Herzlichen Glückwunsch' was made by later trance producer Paul Schmitz Moormann. In 1984 appeared to be the last album Spliff Schwarz auf Weiß with the single ‘Radio’. After this the band went on tour but fell apart in 1985 due to musical differences.

Reinhold Heil, Manfred Praeker and Bernhard Potschka founded the group Froon in 1987 (with Lyndon Connah) but had only one a minor hit ('Bobby Mugabe') and the band already dissolved in 1989. In 2004 Manfred Praeker and Bernhard Potschka back together and founded with manager Andy Gonzales the band Bockx Spliff. They played both old songs and new compositions but no cd release has come of it.

This doesn’t mean that the separate band-members pursued their own careers. Manfred Praeker and Reinhold Heil produced from 1982 to 1986 the group Nena. Praeker also produced albums for Extrabreit and Die Artze. Herwig Mitteregger published solo work since 1983. The biggest commercial hit was 1985 the single ‘Immer mehr’. A noteworthy sideproject is the Mitteregger combi with Ulla Meinecke who had a hit with ‘Feuer unter'm Eis’ (1983) from the album ‘Wenn schon nicht für immer, dann wenigstens für ewig’. On the album almost entire Spliff was present. After 1987 Mitteregger emigrated to Spain and only occasionally appeared in Germany. In 2008 he released a new album on his own label Manoscrito.

The Meinecke link was also present in the Reinhold Heil project Cosa Rosa due that his girlfriend and singer in the project, Rosemary Precht, was a band member of Meineckes band. After her death Reinhold Heil moved to the US and focussed on soundtracks for movies like ‘Lola Rennt’ and ‘The Perfume’.

On the web:

- My Space-page from Spliff fans: http://profile.myspace.com
- Herwig Mitteregger's website: http://www.herwig-mitteregger.de

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Doe Maar (Netherlands)

What do we think:

DB: Classic rockband from Germany. I dare to wonder if the first two Nina Hagen albums would have been as good as they were if made without the Spliff-band. Great musicians who recorded music that mixed rock, electronics, reggae and what more. Their debut album is a bit of a miss, but their 1982 albums should be europop classics.

PR: Fantastic musicians and great rockband indeed. Their sound is absolutely eighties, but very powerfull. Their influence can be heard in many other German band from that periode. The combination with Nina Hagen is dynamite and although their later records were good or great, they never repeated that unique quality again.


♪♪ - The Spliff Radio Show – 1981

♪♪♪♪ - 85555 – 1982

♪♪♪♪ - Herzlichen Glückwunsch – 1982

♪♪♪ - Schwarz auf Weiß – 1984

Mitteregger solo:

♪♪♪- Immer mehr - 1985

Further listening solo-work:

Kein Mut, kein Mädchen - 1983; Jedesmal - 1987; Mitteregger - 1989; Wie im Leben - 1992; Insolito - 2008; Fandango - 2009

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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