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Jean-Hervé is the bassist who had asked the Sheffield audience whether they were going to let the hall manager adjudicate their listening taste, the same barefoot bassist whose string had snapped at the QEH show.
In Faust's case, the mirror was put in place by Uwe Nettelbeck, a noted German journalist who was connected with various left-wing factions, and served at one time as co-editor of the journal Konkret, revolutionary mouthpiece for the likes of Ulrike Meinhof. Nettelbeck declined to be interviewed for this piece, which is a shame, as he was clearly a central figure in the birth of Krautrock. In the spirit of the age, the fledgling Faust acquired a house in the country, in which to work on their music and try and find, as Jean-Hervé puts it, something new. None of the band, according to Blegvad, was exactly a virtuoso instrumentalist, but this hardly mattered.
Performance artists like Kurt Schren and Dieter Meier, later of Yello, would drop by to chat, or work on projects.
Under pressure to record a less abstract second album, Faust delivered So Far, a much simpler, more direct record than its predecessor, to the point of including real songs. By that time, however, the cultural climate outside Germany had shifted sufficiently to give the band more room to move. Faust were the first band signed to the new label, Draper negotiating an unusual deal with Uwe Nettelbeck, who had accumulated the various bits and pieces of music Faust had been working on since So Far. The new contract, however, merely served to bring to a head the tense relations within the band.
The group's sonic armoury for these shows included a series of big black boxes, designed by Joachim Irmler and built by Kurt Graupner, through which the members applied such effects as fuzz, wah-wah, echo and synthesizer distortion.
Back in Germany, the band stumbled into further trouble when they tried to record the follow-up to Faust IV in Münich, at a studio previously patronised by The Rolling Stones. This might have been the full-stop for Faust had not Chris Cutler - former Henry Cow drummer and Recommended Records' founder - picked up the baton and run with it through the '80s, reissuing the early albums in all their conceptual glory and securing a release for some of the Münich material.
Since then, their profile has risen sharply, with the aforementioned pre-Christmas shows at London's Garage packed to the rafters.


He's wearing jeans, a scruffy T-shirt and the kind of big industrial boots that have never featured in fashion spreads. What appears to have happened was that, while head of a satirical-critical magazine called Pardon, Nettelbeck was contacted by Polydor Records with the aim of finding an underground band with which to leaven the label's MOR-mainstream output. Peter Blegvad, student of the arcane, one-time member of Slapp Happy and Henry Cow - and, for a tour, Faust - and latterly the enigmatic cartoonist for the Independent On Sunday, lived at the commune for awhile, having been enticed over by his friend Anthony Moore, who was part of the avantgarde soundtrack circle which Péron mentioned earlier.
German communes at the time were considerably more politically-motivated than their Anglo-American equivalents, and possibly through Nettelbeck's left-wing connections, members of the Baader-Meinhof Gang would sometimes hide out on the premises. In Britain, a mail-order retailer, Virgin, was considering moving into the recording business, and had noted the bourgeoning popularity with this new German music. When Virgin wanted to bring the group over to England for a tour, Joachim Irmler and Rudolf Sosna apparently refused to cross the water unless they received an impossibly enormous advance, estimated by Blegvad at around half a million pounds. Still pushing the envelope of social acceptability, the booked the studio and a posh hotel some way beyond their means, and proceeded to record in leisurely fashion.
A further tickle of releases including Untitled and the new album, you know faUSt, has found a new, expanding market for the band, which now numbers just Péron, Diermaier and Irmler. Jean-Hervé spent the later part of the '60's on the road, busking Dylan songs in French, and remembers the May '68 revolution as a deeply radicalising time. Streching his brief somewhat, Nettelbeck put together Faust, designed their startling album sleeves, and managed to convince Polydor to release the group's albums on its distinguished classical outlet, Deutsche Gramophon. There was a nucleus of people doing music for underground filmmakers like Helmut Costa and Hans Hemminghaus, people that are now sort of established. At the end of '69 we had managed to do the first LP, Faust Clear; after that we got more pressure from Polydor, who wanted to invest more money. Moore specialised in non-melodic, alternative music for non-narrative, alternative films (one such LP featured wooden sticks being dropped onto different surfaces - wood, plastic, glass, metal - for three quarters of an hour), and he had been impressed that Uwe Nettelbeck had managed to get Polydor to release one of his LPs, a record called "Secrets Of The Blue Bag" (worth upwards of a ton these days, record investors). And I daresay that if they were more accomplished musically, they might not have focused on alternative strategies to make the music as radical as it was.


They no longer live in a commune but, judging by their performances, they've lost none of their instinct for the unusual. One day Uwe arrived, and he and Helmut Costa got together and said they were looking for a new group, for something new on the music scene.
Perhaps, Moore suggested, Polydor might also be interested in the kind of semi-satirical pop songs he and his old school chum could make? Werner seemed to spend most of his time in bed, as did most of the others - but that was OK, because the microphone cables streched from the control-room out of the studio, into the house, up the stairs and into the bedrooms. But the trouble with the Faust album was that 90 per cent of the people that bought it hated it! For one US event in Death Valley, the band members were placed miles apart on different hills; at The Garage shows, they brought in farm and building equipment, and hired an artist who, with welding equipment and grinder, built a metal sculpture as they played. At the time, Blegvad was in the slough of student despond at Exeter University, and jumped at the offer. Together with Moore, Dagmar Krause, and a backing band made up of various Faust members, he recorded two Slapp Happy albums at Wümme. One time we woke up to find Wümme surrounded by heavily-armed, nasty-looking policemen, with dogs and cars everywhere. Joachim and Rudolf got caught and jailed, and their parents had to bail them out - we are still in debt with them!



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