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The Peace & Freedom Magazine Lord Litter Interview
Lord Litter interviewed by Gypsy for Peace & Freedom, No. 6, Vol. 2, Summer 1989
The one-man band and tape label took time off to answer some questions for P&F
recently. Lord Litter released his first cassette album in 1984, and since
then has enjoyed increased popularity, both in his home country of Germany
G. Well, Lord Litter, it's hard to know where to start. Umm, I've had a few
visits from some German musicians here, they tell me that nobody knows your
real name, on letters you write it says c/o Dittmar, so is that your real
LL. My real name is Jorg Dittmar, but with time I think I became much more
Lord Litter, because if life's plans would have worked out fine, Jorg Dittmar
would be a "Mr Normal" now, sitting in some normal office - but that failed,
G. Your music varies considerably in style, who would you say has influenced
you most in what you do?
LL. This is very difficult to answer. I once made a "thank you for
inspiration" list with more than 50 names! The "problem" is that I like all
kinds of music/sound. From every direction there are some musicians who
really touch me. Some really important names are Ray Davies (The Kinks), Link
Wray, Alex Chilton, The Bee Gees, PIL (early days), Jah Wobble, Dean Martin,
Slade, Rip, Ric & Panic, Antonio Rivaldi, Status Quo, Roy Wood... but also
black blues (Muddy Waters), bands like Throbbing Gristle, music arrangers
like Nelson Riddle, country people like Johnny Cash, funk freaks like George
Clinton, Europeans like Adriano Celentano, Jaques Dutronc, 50's jazz, real
punk bands, not to forget good powerful heavy rock (Lemmy is great!), etc.,
etc. - you see what I mean? Today I'm only influenced by tape people 'cause
almost all the "official" music is just washing powder to me - clean produced
products without any feeling. Sure there are exceptions, but I think you know
what I mean.
G. Onto your collaboration with Rattus Rex, who sings on "It's Always the
Same", and have you done other music with Rattus Rex?
LL. The female voice on that record belongs to Rex's girlfriend. The song is
from a Cassingle we recorded when Rex and Gaby visited me in early '88.
Unfortunately, we only had enough time to record two songs, but who knows,
probably next time...
G. How long have you been involved in the tape scene?
LL. Like I said, I was always recording, but the first time I put my songs
onto more than one tape was in 1982. The first official cassette I released
was in 1984. The first person who really told me what it was all about was
Joachim Reinbold from JAR music here in Berlin. He has been distributing
music since 1982, and makes very fine tapes of his own music. He gave me the
idea of what the whole tape movement really means, and he is still struggling
to make it all happen. The second one to give me loads of inspiration,
tape-wise, was Martin Newell. You know I heard his tapes and thought, wow
this is really great music - then I wrote to him and he answered... well that
started me up!
G. How long have you been playing music?
LL. Well, I think it really started around 1972. We had a band called "Roy
Boll and the New Run Gun Flash Animal Corner Weekend Band" - yeah, that was a
crazy time! Looking back, I think we played some Punkustic music in the
streets and at parties. We also recorded at that time. Sometimes, I find
songs on tape-samplers that sound very much the same.
G. Do you record live gigs, or do you only record your music at home?
LL. At the moment, I'm only recording at home. Up to 1983, I was with a live
band here in Berlin. We played many of the popular clubs and it was great.
But, then, the typical problem smashed all the plans to go further. As soon
as it became a bit more serious - you know a bit more work, real struggle,
etc. - the members suddenly had more interest in watching TV, going to the
movies, etc. So, I left, then I made another try a bit later to find
musicians for Lord Litter live, but it became very obvious that I wasn't
fitting in with the Berlin fashion scene, so I couldn't find anyone. Now, I
have the plan ('cause some people asked me if I would like to play live at
their concerts) to put up a short one-man acoustic set with guitar,
harmonica, kazoo, etc. Well, we will see - I really miss being on stage.
G. Which bands do you listen to at home when you're relaxing?
LL. I never relax. Ha, ha, no, if you really mean "relaxing", then I mostly
listen to acoustic stuff. Bands like America, Fleetwood Mac, Kevyn Dymond,
Evan Cantor (both great tape musicians from the USA), or to experimental
floating sounds mostly from tapes.
G. What do you think of the German music scene as a whole?
LL. Another tricky question. Well, there is probably one big problem here in
Germany: many musicians are not able to let their emotions float, I mean they
very often try to imitate something and if that does not fit with what they
can do it really sounds terrible. One of the reasons is that many people sing
in English when they would do better in their own language. There once was a
time here when it was "allowed" to sing in German. That was a very good
start. Many musicians were singing in German. But, then, the whole movement
was sold out again by the music industry. Another point is that it is very
pretentious here. For example, if you tell someone from the "scene" that you
like Fleetwood Mac, they probably will never speak to you again! - You are
not allowed to listen to Fleetwood Mac, if you want to be hip. To see music
separate from the business, and to see it as a whole, seems to be very hard
for many people. Sure there are some real fine musicians over here -
basically the ones who are natural, however, how the music sounds... if
people would listen more to their hearts and not so much to the fashion and
to the money, I would like it much more over here.
G. Of all your tapes, which would you recommend to a first-time buyer of your
LL. Well, if you like mostly the queer and harsh sounds, it has to be "No More
Rock 'n' Roll". If you prefer mellow, soft pop, then go for "Another Dark
G. Can you tell me a bit more about where and how you live in Germany?
LL. I'm living in a city surrounded by a wall... West Berlin. Yeah, it really
is 100% surrounded by the wall. After some time you start to feel it. 50km in
any direction you go, you'll find the wall. Though, it is not too bad here.
We have forests in the city, lakes, motorways, well, basically everything,
and life never stops. Any time of day you can grab a bite to eat, loads of
bars and nightclubs are waiting for your money, every night you can go to a
concert and "everything" is 'round the corner. But, sometimes, I really miss
to hop in my car and go to visit musicians in another city. To make a one-day
trip is impossible from here... But this city can give some real power if you
use the action in it for good. That means, if you let the permanent city life
inspire you to do the same thing, it is a real help. But I think many people
here do it the other way around - they think "Yeah, great action," then hop
into the night scene and are never to be seen again. To get pissed every
night and waste your life is all so very easy here. I was with the "night
people" for quite some time, but it became very boring - everybody was
dreaming about what they will do, but they never started, so I left, to
become Lord Litter, who is always in action. I study journalism and can
combine that perfectly with my tape work. I'm writing for some magazines and
do the information work for Kentucky Fried Royalty (the worldwide tape
G. Have you ever been on a visit to England, if yes, what did you think about
LL. Yeah, I was travelling through almost the whole country in 1975. I'm
probably not very objective about England, 'cause you could call me an
England maniac. I've always liked the country, the language, the music,
people, well, basically everything. Sure, there are severe problems, such as
good ol' Maggie, but I think the culture, history, etc. counts much more than
rotting Liverpool streets. I've always felt that there is something about
English people that I call "human". I had a real good friend over from
England and we had endless talks about life, history, today's situation, etc.
When Stephen from BBP Records & Tapes visited me, I immediately had the
feeling that we had already known each other for quite some time. Yeah,
that's England to me.
G. Your lyrics, as far as I know, are always in English, are you planning on
doing some songs with a German text?
LL. I tried to do some German lyrics in the early '80's but it sounded
terribly pretentious. I realised that when I start to think about music and
lyrics my brain only works in English. I don't think that will ever change.
G. What do you think about modern technology?
LL. Now comes the answer no-one probably expected: I think it is OK. I don't
think that the modern technology, or TV satellites, sampling keyboards, etc.,
are the problem. The problem is that it is all used the wrong way. For
example, I have cable TV, that means I get 24 stations and I could decay very
easily in front of the screen. But life is more important to me - that means
I choose the films and information programmes I want to see, and then back to
other fun! If people would use all the new equipment to create something new,
something you could only create with this equipment, that would be great. But
what do they do? They sample some real stuff on their machines and turn it
into some sterile product... terrible. That goes for all kinds of new
technology - people have to start to change the basics of life, then I think
they can use all the new equipment in a better way.
G. What do you think about feminism?
LL. The movement was much more than necessary! Women were slaves and still
today it is terrible worldwide, so the fight has to go on. But some of the
women overdo it. I mean, sometimes, I have the feeling that some just want to
turn it the other way around. I once went to a lesson at university, which
was about violence against women in films. I was really interested, because I
think there are some forms of violence you don't realise if you are male, I
really wanted to learn. Well, what happened? The women threw me out... That
is what I mean.
G. What do you want to achieve with your music?
LL. Hopefully, one day I can make a living with the money I'll earn with my
music, but probably more important, I want to be more well-known, so I can
inform the people that everybody can do something very unique, and that it is
much more important than imitating all the plastic products. I'm working for
Kentucky Fried Royalty, which is a worldwide tape network. The aim is to
build up to a worldwide real independent level, 100% leaving the beaten track
of the music industry. Everybody should have the chance to have his (or her)
music distributed worldwide, without becoming some kind of plastic product.
To give this information to the whole world is what I want to do. This also
means that the people will get more self-confident, 'cause they will realise
that every single person is important. This could also lead to
more "humanity", 'cause the people would respect each other much more. Well,
I know, big plans, but if no-one tries...!
G. Do you think condoms should be given for free?
LL. Yes, I think, if you mean to stop this planet from dying out by AIDS?
Well, I think that everybody should live the way he or she wants to. I don't
want to dive into explanations too much now, because from that one condom I
could start explaining how rotten this world is. And I definitely don't mean
the people who are condemned now 'cause they have AIDS - I mean, the ones who
G. If you could play a part in a film, which film and what part would that be?
LL. Definitely would have to be a science fiction movie! One where outer space
beings would meet human beings, but where it would turn out that we get
along with each other very well - sure after the usual problems caused by
human insanity and greed. My part would be a green monster with eight arms,
who could play four guitars at the same time! Yeah, something like
that 'cause some real crazy humour should be in that movie.
G. Maybe, to end this interview, you could give our readers a rundown on what
is available of your music.
LL. Well, there are fifteen Lord Litter solo tapes available - here we go...
1. Take the Trash (1984)
2. Rough Cuts '85 (1985)
3. The World is Going Down (1986)
4. Tits, Zombies 'n' Assholes (1986)
5. I Just Play the Rock 'n' Roll for You (1986)
6. I Know What We Could Do (1986, Cassingle C10)
7. WOOSH - then the Hammer Comes Down (1987)
8. A New Magic in a Dusty World (1987)
9. Something Different (1987)
10. No More Rock 'n' Roll (1987)
11. Descended Trash Vol. 1 (1987)
12. Descended Trash Vol. 2 (1988)
13. At the Hippodrome of Life (1988)
14. Military Madness (1988)
15. Another Dark Night (1988)
16. Tales about Death, Destruction, and Everyday Fascism (1989)
There is also the Cassingle with Rattus Rex, two songs (review here).
One last word to everyone: Don't give up!! We will make it! And please write
for further information about Kentucky Fried Royalty - this really started
much better than we thought! The whole world sends tapes, and we will offer
something different to the plastic world!!
Lord Litter - Dittmar - Pariser Str. 63 - 10719 Berlin - Germany.
Lord Litter & Lefty Leech's 2006 Collaboration.
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