It’s been a bad week for disco—first the death of Loleatta Holloway, and now comes the news that Kurt Hauenstein of the German band Supermax has passed on. Supermax were one of the most popular disco bands of their era on continental Europe, managing to seamlessly blend funk, prog rock, sci-fi and sleaze. They had also won over a lot of new fans in the last few years, when the growing interest in revisiting Cosmic and European disco shone the spotlight back in their corner. Their biggest hit was “Love Machine,” which by anyone’s standards is a bone fide classic. Here they are performing it on Dutch TV:
Supermax - “Love Machine”
With his own particular Lemmy-meets-Kraftwerk style (thanks Richard!) Kurt Hauenstein, originally from Austria, was one seriously cool guy. Supermax were still touring up until last year—unfortunately I never got to see them even though I knew a few promoters who wanted to book them (cost permitting). Well, Kurt is jamming away in that big disco in the sky they call Heaven now. Here’s what taste of what a Supermax show would have been like:
Supermax - “It Ain’t Easy” (Live 1979)
After the jump, more excellent clips of Kurt Hauenstein and Supermax…
Legendary disco and soul vocalist Loleatta Holloway passed away last night in Chicago, after a short illness. She was 64.
While the title “Queen of Disco” may be hotly contended by Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and even Sylvester, for many it is Loleatta Holloway who is rightfully wears the crown.
Holloway started her career in the early Seventies on the label Aware, working on gospel-tinged funk with her husband Fred Smith, before moving on to work extensively with Salsoul Records/MFSB producer Norman Harris and writer/producer Dan Hartman. She released a string of cult hits on the label, and provided vocals for the in-house Salsoul Orchestra. Though these were never big commercially at the time, they have since gone on to define their era and the disco genre itself. So much so that Holloway has become one of the most sampled artists of all time. Producers have been known to make entire tracks out of her throw-away yet distinctive ad libs, and some (like Black Box and Marky Mark) have turned these into huge global hits.
There is practically no studio quality footage of Holloway performing live on YouTube, though there are some mobile phone recordings of her recent live appearances. We’ll just have to settle for this - a fleeting appearance in a TV spot for a Salsoul 2LP set, mixed by the dj Walter Gibbons. Rest in peace Loleatta Holloway, one of the best voices in popular music!
Loleatta Holloway - “Dreaming”
Loleatta Holloway -“Catch Me On The Rebound” (Dimitiri From Paris Edit)
Loleatta Hollway - “Only A Fool”
Loleatta Holloway - “Hit And Run” (12” Mix)
Sad to hear this:
Howard Zinn, an author, teacher and political activist whose leftist “A People’s History of the United States” became a million-selling alternative to mainstream texts and a favourite of such celebrities as Bruce Springsteen and Ben Affleck, died Wednesday. He was 87.
Zinn died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California, daughter Myla Kabat-Zinn said. The historian was a resident of Auburndale, Massachusetts.