FREYGANG was formed in 1977, by ANDRE GREINER-POHL in EAST BERLIN, just as the Blues euphoria in East Germany was reaching its peak. He realized early on that the group’s provocative lyrics, their charismatic appearance and energy created an explosive blend which fascinated audiences. He and the band learned how to manipulate and interact with their fans. They loved Freygang for its courage to freely express themselves.
The band developed into one of the most important bands of the underground movement. Freygang has remained on the fringes of society and views itself currently similarly as during the height of East Germany’s oppressive political regime as part of the political underground. This sentiment is clearly expressed in their lyrics.
The band swiftly moved to the top of the Blues scene and maintained its amateur status until 1989. During the early 80’s, inspired by RIO REISER, the band started performing lyrics that were critical of the oppressive political system at the time. As a consequence, the band was banned for a year. The band played on regardless, after their ban had been lifted and became highly feted by their growing public following. Their musical style resonated more and more with West German bands such as TON STEINE SCHERBEN. Cover versions and lyrical interpretations of poetry by humanistic German poets are part of their musical repertoire.
Following another public performance ban, about 3000 fans attended one of their first concerts during 1985 at the Leipzig Congress hall. A year later however the band’s short-lived freedom came to an abrupt end, when band members were arrested on stage during an open air concert. Consequently Freygang were handed a life long performance ban. From 1986-1989 individual band members performed under pseudonyms with various diverse bands. During 1988 Freygang performed under the pseudonym OK at the Erdgasstreet in the Soviet Union.
Since 1989 Freygang are an active band again. In early 1990 Freygang collaborated with other bands via projects to preserve alternative venues such as Tacheles in Berlin.
In 1990, FREYGANG were invited to meet the THE ROLLING STONES backstage at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.
To promote the album release tour ‘Wenn der wind sich dreht’ [When the wind changes] the band successfully performed in Italy and subsequently recorded a live album during 1993 in the Berliner Knaack-Klub. During the summer of 1994 the band initiated a music festival in Hohenlobbese which still runs annually and has become a highly regarded open air festival in East Germany. Another similar festival has been held successfully since 2002 in Torgau.
With the incorporation of the legendary punk singer, Tatjana Besson together with younger musicians who used to be fans of Freygang, their music became much more multifaceted and rocking with a touch of punk.
Freygang inspired and promoted numerous like-minded musicians. They collaborated with bands like FEELING B, DIE FIRMA and NOAH. Band members from these bands would later, after the fall of the Berlin wall, form RAMMSTEIN and IN EXTREMO.
Today, after 35 years of performing against the odds Freygang’s music, having reached cult status, appealling to free spirited followers. The concerts are one giant party with audiences and band exchanging their affection for each other.
During 2000-2012 Freygang’s line-up remained unchanged.. In 2000 the Freygang biography was released by the publishers Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf. Freygang’s co-performance with TON STEINE SCHERBEN on the 14th January 2005 at the Berlin Ufa-fabrik was another highlight during their career. A year later the band performed in 8 concerts throughout Scotland and England. They made more headlines in 2007 when they staged a protest concert at the US embassy in Berlin for the condemned-to-death Mumia Abu-Jamal.
During the summer of 2008 Freygang embarked on a tour titled ‘30 years Freygang – 30 years movement’ to commemorate their 30th anniversary.
Their founder of the band, André Greiner-Pohl succumbed to a heart attack on 15 December 2008 and a commemorative concert was held for him on the 16th of January 2009. The publically-owned TV channel MDR produced a program in ARTOUR about that occasion and the life of Andre.
In 2011 Freygang organized a successful benefit concert in Saalfeld for children in West Sahara refugee camps.
ARMADA FILM is currently working on a Freygang DVD which will be released in April 2013.
Thanks to the collaboration with the South African Blues Legend PIET BOTHA, the band is now looking forward to rock 2013 in Mocambique at the STRAB Festival and afterwards in South Africa, collaborating and performing with a host of progressive South African bands.
Since Andre’s death Freygang performs as FREYGANG BAND and their current line-up is:
Tatjana Besson (Vocals, Bass, Flute, Accordion)
Egon Kenner (Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin)
Brian Bosse (Guitar, Vocals)
Maik Smolarczyk (Percussion)
Andre Kick (Bass, Keyboards)
Delia Müller (Managment)
Tomas Schulz (Roadie)