R.I.P., Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk
Word reaches us today that Florian Schneider, one of the founding members of the influential band Kraftwerk, died last week at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer.
Born Florian Schneider-Esleden on April 7, 1947 in what is now known as Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Schneider began his musical career in earnest in 1967, when he played in what must surely be one of the best-named bands of the 1960s: Pissoff. The following year, while attending the Academy of Arts in Remscheid, Schneider met a fellow student named Ralf Hutter, and although Schneider continued playing with Pissoff through 1969, he and Hutter would join forces in 1970 to form – you guessed it – Kraftwerk.
A flute player by trade, Schneider used electronic effects to take his instrument and transform its music in any number of ways, but he also played electric guitar, violin, and – no surprise here – synthesizer. Yes, after Kraftwerk’s 1974 album AUTOBAHN changed music forever, Schneider tended far more often toward synthesizers, but he was definitely a man of more than one instrument, and we felt like it needed to be said, so...there you go: we said it.
Also of note, although the David Bowie fans will likely know this already: the song “V-2 Schneider” on Bowie’s HEROES album was to honor our man Florian.
Schneider last played with Kraftwerk when the band performed in Spain in November 2006, but his departure from the lineup – which apparently took place in November 2008 – wasn’t officially confirmed until January 2009. Whatever the reason for leaving the band behind, one thing’s for sure: he’d already made musical history by then, which means that his immortality has been secured for quite some time.
R.I.P., Herr Schneider.