Interview: First we take Leipzig … Then we take Berlin

In January 1989 the Leipzig Indie band THE REAL DEAL played their first concert in Berlin. The performance was in the movie theater club ,,Gerard Philipe” on Karl-Kunger-Straße in Berlin-Treptow (the building burned to the ground in 1995). The event was called “x Mal: Musik zur Zeit” and was the mecca of the underground scene in the East. The “Independent Disco und Konzertreihe” was begun in 1986 with Ronald Galenza at al. . Kai “Kaiman” Müller (drums) and Kai “Cairo” Reininghaus (voice and guitar) remember.

tirsa perl_ziegrastrasse_berlin_2015
Müller & Reininghaus talking about old times …

Why was this performance so important?

MÜLLER: There are several reasons.  At that time it was, of course, cool to play in Berlin. And from a later viewpoint: It was the only gig that has good recordings in terms of the sound quality. That’s why we released a tape of it a shortly afterwards [By The Wall – The Real Deal Live] And the event series was really good.
REININGHAUS: I can’t remember if we realized at the time what an important event the x Mal Musik zur Zeit was for the Indie scene…
MÜLLER: Well, if you just look on the Internet, it really wasn’t. There was – of course – word-of-mouth advertising. People said this and that, but we were not so connected to that whole scene. Maybe we had heard about it on “Parocktikum” [a music show by Lutz Schramm on the GDR Radio, that played indie music and dedicated itself especially to GDR-Underground music]. But that is just speculation today.

Take a break: Some Music from this concert in 1989: The Real Deal live mit WHY I’M NOT

REININGHAUS: At any rate, we got into the gig because of Ebi Fischel.  He was “our” man in Berlin who took care of our performances. In Berlin there were a lot of Underground Bands, and right next door was the West – it was simply important that we played and got known in that city. And we were excited about it.

Real Deal Backstage in Berlin Januar 1989

The Real Deal backstage at the Kinoclub „Gerard Philipe“ (January 1989). F.l.t.r.: Müller, Reininghaus and „der Dicke“. On the right stands Ebi Fischel – the Tourmanager.

MÜLLER: Even the trip there was an experience. During the first 20 kilometers we asked ourselves why the Trabant [East German car] wasn’t moving very quickly. It was as if we were going uphill with a giant weight. Of course, we were travelling with our driver and three other people and were also pulling a small trailer. But that was not really a problem for the Trabbi (26 horsepower!). We stopped at a gas station. Somehow for us it wasn’t that big of a deal.  The gas station attendant came, looked at the car, looked at us (musicians!) and thought that our handbrake was only half pulled – for some reason it had not lifted the whole way. A little pulling this way and that and all of a sudden our Trabbi took off like a cat!

REININGHAUS: Ya, that was great. Especially since back then it took a long time to get from Leipzig to Berlin. When we got there, we had to set up our instruments. It was a good venue and above all there was a good sound technician! Dieter Huth was his name. We noticed that right away at the sound check. Wasn’t so easy for both of us: it was the first time together for both of us, the mixer didn’t know our sound or even how we wanted to sound. But it all went well from the start. He was really creative – you could hear it on the recording, he worked with the right effects, without ruining the music.

The Real Deal Live in Berlin 1989

Mixer von oben: D. Huth war für den guten Sound verantwortlich. Rechts oben im Bild ist Cairo’s Tapedeck zu sehen, was extra für diesen Abend aus Leipzig mitgebracht wurde.

MÜLLER: Cairo brought his tape deck and we still had some extra tapes from the West from the Intershop. We were always annoyed that we hadn’t recorded previous performances. This time we were going to get it right. And that was no problem for the mixer, he connected our tape deck to the mixing console. And it worked. Unfortunately there are only a couple of photos and they are somewhat blurry. Something was wrong with the camera. We really couldn’t be bothered about that at the time. We were rather naïve and careless. And today we are happy for every picture that still exists.

Another break, another Song: THE REAL DEAL performs SEE YOU

By the Wall …

REININGHAUS: After the sound check we were hungry and wanted to get something to eat. I remember that the club was rather close to the Berlin Wall. Behind us was Kreuzberg, maybe 20 meters away. But unattainable. A different planet. That was clear to us and we had grown up with it that way – the border, the Wall and everything that went with that. That whole sick shit. But when you were standing directly in front of it, it was something else. Well, on our East side, you really couldn’t get right up to the Wall.  Police or Border Police came quick as lightening and you were “permitted” to show your identification. We went into the concert thinking of these impressions and feelings.

MÜLLER: We also had a song on our list about “Being free”, “Freedom” – THE LOOSE.  And that was really weird to play that song directly next to the Wall.

REININGHAUS: And we released the live cut a couple of weeks later with the title BY THE WALL. Hohoho! Of course we were nervous about that back then. Cos of the Stasi (Secret Police) and so on. The Wall was not called the “Wall” officially by the State, they called it the “Anti-fascist Protection Barrier” – and you could really get in trouble back then. We shouldn’t forget that today – they didn’t fool around back then. They took it very seriously. There were enough people who went to prison for such things.

The Real Deal Live in Berlin 1989 x mal Musik zur Zeit

Müller an den Drums, Reininghaus an der Gitarre – vom Gig selbst gibt es nur ein paar Fotos, und die sind meist auch noch unscharf – der Fluch der Technik (defekte Kamera).

MÜLLER: Apropos THE LOOSE – if I remember correctly, it was the first time we played that song and afterward NOBODY’S PERFECT, transitioning right into it … without a break.

And here it is: THE LOOSE und NOBODY’S PERFECT – live in Berlin, January 1989!

REININGHAUS: I know that I had a bad cold and a stupid sore throat. Really bad for a singer. Had to take some medicine – the “good ol’” Analgin … with red wine, not exactly ideal. But we were young. I can’t even remember what we did after the concert. Did we stay in Berlin or did we drive back that night to Leipzig? We played again in Berlin in the Spring.

MÜLLER: That’s right! In the Schmenkelclub…

Translation by Susan Wansink


A couple of pictures

Real Deal 1989 in Berlin: Backstage im Kinoklub "Gerard Philipe"

Real Deal 1989 in Berlin: Backstage im Kinoklub "Gerard Philipe"

Real Deal Backstage in Berlin Januar 1989

The Real Deal Live in Ostberlin 1989 - die Bühne im Kinoklub "Gerard Philipe"

Kurz nach dem Soundcheck.

Time for a last song from this evening: THE REAL DEAL in East-Berlin performs: MAKING HEROES


More stories about THE REAL DEAL:

FIRST TAPE STORY! Alles zum ersten Tape (oder Kassette, wie man damals sagt), das im Februar 1988 erschienen ist.

FOTOSESSION IM TAGEBAU! Im Frühsommer 1988 gab es die erste (von zwei) richtigen Fotosessions mit den Jungs von Real Deal – an einem Ort, der heute komplett unter Wasser steht.

NOBODY IS PERFECT! Das zweite Tape von Real Deal erscheint im Oktober 1988 – wie wurde aufgenommen, wie entstand das Cover? Und: Musik + Bilder!