Published May 11, 2020Ahead of forming Neu! in 1971, Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger were early members of Kraftwerk alongside Ralf Hütter and late co-founder Florian Schneider. Now, Rother has written a eulogy for his onetime bandmate Schneider, who passed away last week at age 73.
"The news of Florian Schneider's passing hit me like a blow," Rother writes for Uncut. "Even though we hadn't met or spoken for many years, he was always firmly in my mind as one of the most important musical figures of my life."
Rother remembers meeting Schneider in the late 1960s while studying at the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf, recalling the time he "noticed this guy with an awkward way of walking who played flute in the classical orchestra"
"He was obviously different from all the other pupils, an outsider," Rother said of Schneider, ahead of the late artist inviting him to join Kraftwerk and perform with the group.
"The trio with Florian, Klaus Dinger on drums and myself on guitar only lasted for five or six months, but I remember some truly exciting concerts, and everything that followed in my musical life had a connection to this beginning with [Hütter] and Florian."
Rother wrote that they would cross paths again in 1974, when he played Hütter and Schneider the debut album from Krautrock supergroup Harmonia.
"I remember being happy that they were impressed," he recalled. "Florian called me later in 1974 and asked whether I'd be interested in joining them for a Kraftwerk tour (Autobahn) but at that time I was happily working with Harmonia and also Neu!, and therefore declined the offer."
Rother concluded, "In later years, the music of Kraftwerk always stayed on my horizon although I didn't put the records on at home myself. Friends of mine who were big fans of Kraftwerk played them, and until today, I admire the reduction and clarity in their music. Florian and his ideas will stay with me and the many musicians he influenced."
Revisit footage of the short-lived Kraftwerk trio of Schneider, Rother and Dinger below.