Klaus Dinger, R.I.P.

Jess Harvell | April 2, 2008 4:15 am

Klaus Dinger, the often-imitated drummer for Krautrock band Neu!, died of heart failure on March 21; Billboard notes that Dinger’s death was not “widely publicized” until Neu!’s record label finally issued a statement today.

Though he lent his man-machine power to Kraftwerk during the band’s first phase, Dinger and Neu! became infamous in the international underground rock scene of the early 1970s for their trio of albums driven by his “motorik” rhythm–Dinger called his most famous invention the “Apache beat”–and guitarist Michael Rother’s mix of ethereal proto-ambiance and visceral near-punk riffs. An infamously fraught working relationship, Neu! split after 1975’s two-headed masterpiece Neu! 75–Rother’s half downright placid, Dinger’s outright bloodthirsty at times. In the aftermath, Dinger moved on to La Dusseldorf and Rother focused on his Harmonia project, two successful, often exceptional outfits that channeled their respective interests in rhythm and texture.

A botched attempt at a reunion in the ’80s aside, Dinger and Rother had failed to reconcile by the time Neu!’s catalog was reissued to much fanfare in the 21st-century; in recent installment of The Wire magazine’s Invisible Jukebox feature, Rother spoke somewhat wistfully, if realistically, about the limited possibilities for a Neu! reunion; fans holding out hope will now have to suffice with their initial, near-flawless* trilogy. Dinger was 61. [Billboard]

*Noting the lingering debate over side two of Neu! 2.