Perfect Sound Forever


Holger at his home studio in Cologne, November 1998.
Note the guitars and doll's legs in the background
Photo by Jason Gross, © 2017

Tribute by Jason Gross
(October 2017)

When my girlfriend shared the sad news that Holger Czukay died, I felt kind of numb, having known him for a few years and feeling terrible that I hadn't been in touch with him for a while. What was even worse was hearing that his wife U-She (who I also knew) had died shortly before that and thinking 'that's probably not a coincidence.' Luckily, The Wire magazine asked me to write an obituary for him and I was glad to oblige- I thought it would be a nice way to honor him.

As I rushed through to write the article and dug through my memory, some old photos and my old e-mail's with him (where I found that I actually shared suggestions for the title of his 1999 album Good Morning Story), I felt a little relieved as I found the whole writing experience to be cathartic and a good way to work through my grief. I recommend that to anyone that you might lose also- talk through it or write through it to honor them and help yourself too.

Me and Holger in a Cologne hotel lobby, November 1998. Photo by Jason Gross, © 2017

You can see my memories of Holger in The Wire article below, which also includes some hilarious stories about his pranks. There's also some photos here that I took from the time that I visited him and U-She in Cologne in 1998 as well as the interview I did with him when I first met him and some articles that he was nice enough to write for PSF.

Surely, every real music fan will want to dig through the Can catalog to remember Holger (Tago Mago is always my favorite) and his 1979 album Movies is well-loved and props are rightly given to him for his early sampling experiments on 1969's Canaxis but you owe it to yourself to also check out his loopy (as in funny and as in tapes), blissful early '80's albums On the Way to the Peak of Normal and Der Osten Ist Rot. You might want to check out some of the articles below to help remember him too.

Holger, U-She and me at an Asian takeout place in Cologne, November 1998. Photo by Jason Gross, © 2017


As I went through my e-mails, one story I forgot to include in The Wire article was about the time that Holger went to Heathrow Airport in London dressed in a white naval captain's outfit in the early '80's, shortly after the senseless Falklands war that England had with Argentina. The British customs people weren't amused by Holger and wanted to know which ship he had come from. "I'm from the Belgrano, sir!" he replied. The Belgrano was an Argentinean ship that the English navy had sunk shortly before that (over 300 men died there) so Holger was basically pretending to be a ghost coming back to haunt them. The English customs people didn't find it funny and Holger later opined that maybe it wasn't the best joke he pulled. Still, I would have liked to have been there to see their expressions.

Me and Holger in a Cologne hotel lobby, November 1998. Photo by Jason Gross, © 2017

Also see an interview with Damo Suzuki

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