[Around Prog #4] Birth Control

Birth Control was formed in 1966 in Berlin, from the ashes of two other bands: The Earls and The Gents. The first line-up included: Bernd Koschmidder on Bass, Reinhold Sabotta on Organ, Relf Gurra Saxophone and Vocal, Fritz Groger Vocal, Reiner Borchert on Guitar, Hugo Egon Balder Drums and Klaus Orso on Guitar. In the initial five years, all the original members have taken different paths. The leadership, so passes to the drummer and singer Bern Noske, who took over in 1968 and Bruno Frenzel entered in 1969. The name of the group is the covers of the first albums are a clear provocation to the Pope proposed policy on births, which created a great controversy in those years. The sound of the band, for long instrumental traits, was a set of Hard Rock, Progressive with Jazzy and Blues cues. Themes of the texts were very busy and provocative, as well performed by the singer, powerful and incisive as the rest of the components. The first Self-titled album of 1970, already highlights a mature sound and with a pronounced Prog accent, the organ is omnipresent, well-supported by electric guitars plus in Psych vein. “Operation“, released in 1971, loses the tone of the sixties and acquires those of Heavy Prog, produced for Ohr, a label very skilled in finding talents in the German underground. This album was a great success, as was the following “Hooodoo Man“, proving that the band is in the Olympus of Prog. After a live album and changes in the line-up, the Berlin quintet recorded “Rebirth” in 1973, another milestone of German and world Prog. Pulled rhythms, distorted guitars, a warm and powerful voice and the organ that, between melodies and solos, reaches levels that are hard to hear elsewhere. In 1975, “Plastic People” came out, the last work at certain levels. The music was evolving, and for every Prog band was finishing an era. In fact, with the next “Blackdoor Possibilities” from 1976, the sound undergoes a shift to more Jazzy sounds, causing a loss of interest and a lower response to sales. The band returns to its original sound with “Increase” of 1977 and the success returns with it, even if the levels of the beginnings are by now unparalleled. In the following years, four more albums and a live were produced, but they did not receive the success of their predecessors. The sound was lightened, and the grip on the audience was on criticism with it. In 1983, Frenzel dies and the group dissolves and then reformed in 1993 with the last lineup of Noske left. The band resumed a remarkable live activity and released three studio albums. Another is recorded in 2003, and the band continuing to offer tours and concerts until 2014 when unfortunately Noske also dies. From 2016 the band is re-established with a new lineup: Peter FΓΆller on Vocals, Martin Ettrich Guitar and Talkbox, Sascha KΓΌhn Keyboards, Hannes Vesper Bass and Manni Von Bohr on Drums. Thus, they release another album “Here And Now” and continue to organize tours around the world. This group is a must for all lovers of Heavy Prog, of distorted guitars, but above all that powerful sound driven by the Organ. Birth Control has written the most beautiful pages of German and international Prog, receiving support even outside national borders. Few groups have had their prolificacy, maintaining such high levels, above all the first works are absolute masterpieces.


Birth Control (1970)
Operation (1971)
Believe in the Pill (Best of …) (1972)
Hoodoo Man (1972)
Knock Knock. Who’s There (1973)
Rebirth (1973)
Goldrock (1973)
Plastic People (1975)
Backdoor Possibilities (1976)
Increase (1977)
Titanic (1978)
Rock on Brain (1978)
Count on Dracula (1980)
Deal Done at Night (1981)
BΓ€ng (1982)
Condomium (1994)
Two Worlds (1995)
Jungle Life (1996)
Getting There (1998)
Alsatian (2003)
Here and Now (2016)


Bernd Koschmidder – Bass, Vocals (1968–1973)
Reinhold Sobotta – Organ (1968–1972)
Rolf Gurra – Saxophone, Vocals (1968–1969)
Fritz GrΓΆger – Vocals (1968–1969)
Reiner Borchert – Guitar (1968–1969)
Hugo Egon Balder – Drums (1968)
Klaus Orso – Guitar (1968)
Gerd Alsheimer – Guitar (1968)
Bernd Noske – Drums, Percussion, Vocals (1968–1983, 1993–2014; died 2014)
Bruno Frenzel – Guitar (1969–1983; died 1983)
Wolfgang Neuser – Organ (1972–1973; died 2018)
Peter FΓΆller – Bass, Vocals (1973–1977, 2016-present)
Zeus B. Held – Organ (1973–1979)
Dirk Steffens – Guitar (1973–1974)
Horst Stachelhaus – Bass, Vocals (1977–1980, 1993–1999; died 1999)
Manfred von Bohr – Drums (1977–1980, 2016-present)
Wolfgang Horn – Organ (1979–1981)
Jurgen Goldschmidt – Bass, Vocals (1980–1993)
Stefan Linke – Guitar, Vocals (1981–1983)
Ulrich Klein – Keyboards, Vocals (1981–1983)
Xaver Fischer – Keyboards (1993–1999)
Rocco Zodiak – Guitar (1993–1995)
Peter Engelhardt – Guitar (1995–2011)
Hannes Vesper – Bass, Organ (1999–2000, 2002–present)
Sascha Kuhn – Keyboards (1999–present)
Rainer Wind – Bass (2000–2002)
Martin Ettrich – Guitar, Talkbox (2011–present)

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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