R.I.P., Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

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.