Every rock snob loves them their Cans, their Kraftwerks and their Fausts, but what about Amon Düül II? Amon Düül II’s thunderous psychedelic Krautrock sound has influenced bands from The Dead Kennedys to The Fall to the early sound of The Psychedelic Furs. They even lived in a commune together like Gong. What’s not to like?
Fans of acid-drenched hard-rocking underground freakout music, you cannot possibly go wrong with either their 1969 debut album, Phallus Dei (“God’s Cock”) or their sprawling two-record set, Yeti.
Pre-YouTube, I’d have assumed that very little footage of Amon Düül II existed—it certainly wasn’t reaching bootleg stalls in American flea markets—but there’s actually tons of great stuff out there. Jammy, druggy riff-rock and wonderfully anarchic. Listen LOUD.
A massive live jam of their “Between The Eyes” single from 1970:
Live version of “Kanaan,” the bone-crunching opening number from Amon Düül II’s 1968 classic Phallus Dei:
A “Jailhouse Frog” so good that the group should have been able to levitate that night…
In the 1970 Fassbinder TV film, Die Niklashauser Fahrt with Hanna Schygulla:
Amon Düül in the German Sci-FI film, Der grosse Verhau (“The Big Mess”), 1969:
Rüdiger Nüchtern’s short film Amon Düül II Spielt Phallus Dei dates from 1968 and is a single camera documentation of the Krautrock legends performing the title track from their soon to be released first album. This is the earliest known footage of the band, who perform in a studio in Munich against a wall with psychedelic projections, with shots of a sunrise, sunset, clouds, trees and the German countryside added in.
The personnel here are Christian ‘Shrat’ Thiele (bongos, vocals) Peter Leopold (drums), Dieter Serfas (drums), John Weinzierl (guitar), Falk Rogner (organ), Chris Karrer (violin, guitar) Renate Knaup (vocals) and Dave Anderson (bass).
Although the film, which apparently was shown at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1972, is in crappy condition, it’s worth watching (once) if you’re a fan of the band.