Hubert von Goisern


ALPINKATZEN >> The Alpinkatzen Years: 1 2 3 4

Hubert von Goisern and the Original Alpinkatzen

BMG Ariola 1992

Pop and gstanzl, blues and landler, rock and doubles - that doesn't exist? You must be kidding! Since 1984 Hubert von Goisern und die Original Alpinkatzen having been breaking just about every musical taboo. It's not easy to find a focal point in their creativity. If you must, then it is the area of folk music, which runs as the main thread through the Alpinkatzen story. And it exactly this which is a thorn in the side of the folk music purists. For the Austrian formation mix together whatever there is to be mixed. The Austrian troupe shy away from hard rock yodelling just as little as they shy away from a dancefloor landler.

There is simply no musical path that the four member band would not consider. And so arise astounding symbioses, like something in in the style of an alpine reggae, or a house-rock 'n' roll breather upon in Styrian style, or, or ... It could only come to this unique mixture because with the association of the interpreters, different musical pasts simply crossed over. Founder and head of the alpine tomcats is Hubert von Goisern.

He once played music in a brass band in his homeland. Afterwards, he concerned himself with the sound cultures of exotic countries and dedicated himself to various avant garde projects. His favourite instrument is the "Steirische", a special kind of accordion. Aside from that he handles the fife and the beefhorn. But Hubert is also perfect on the guitar and as singer. Reinhard Stranzinger (guitar), Stefan Engel (keyboards) and drummer Wolfgang Maier are also highly musical. And they can sing too.

At the same time, with the Alpinkatzen things don't depend so much on perfectionist vocal cord violation. The lyrics of their songs are much more important: here one can be totally confounded by the composed mélange offered by the rocky band and then the really biting, ironic and distinct words go one step further.

When the alpine tomcats stand on the stage, then the audience doesn't know whether now, for example, it should swing to the call to a mountain-pasture-rap-metal-yodel, or rather remain sitting to let the lyrics melt in their ears, or both, or what? Well, it's all really quite strange, what the band around frontman Hubert von Goisern has to offer.

The motto is: "spreading odd folk music among the people". That's how it was with the previous vinyl pressings, it's how it is with the newest LP, which is called Aufgeigen stått niederschiassen. One has seldom heard the fusion of folk music roots and rhythm 'n' blues elements in such authenticity. Furthermore the technical quality of the product convinces.

There is something for everybody. For all those who can't shed their Anglo-American listening habits, for all those who can't renounce folk music and for all those who can't lower their high quality standards. Only so much is guaranteed: Alpinkatzen stand for unashamed folk music, based on the motto "Ziehharmonika goes Rock 'n' Roll!"


Of calf rock and alpine blues

FF Südtiroler Illustrierte 11th November 1993 | Text: Beatrix Unterhofe

Interview with the Austrian alpine rocker Hubert von Goisern

Hubert von Goisern, born 1952, is currently the most successful Austrian rock musician. With his CD Aufgeigen stått niederschiassen and the catchy tune of Hiatamadl, he's sold more than 100,000 records. Folk music in linen complexion: an astonishing mixture of alpine reggae, blues, gstanzl, and rap metal yodels. Last week, the alpine rocker appeared in Meran.

Hubert von Goisern, in Meran, in the middle of the Alps, are you a fan of alpenglow, or is that just kitsch?

No, I really like the Alps, and I think that kitsch can only be something man-made.

With your music between blues and rock, country dance and gstanzl, don't you ever have the feeling that you are violating tradition?

The people who charge me with violation and condemn a change in folk music, and be it only with a new instrument, are those who would never forgo their cars and their fridges.

How does your music develop, where do you draw from?

I grew up with folk music, then I came to blues and jazz and funk and avant-garde. Aside from that, I travelled a lot and in doing so simply opened my eyes. All that comes to me when I write my lyrics and melodies.

It is said that you eloped and lived for a long time in the Philippines. Did you return to your own roots and to folk music through that?

That's right, because I experienced there what folk music means. There was neither a radio nor a television there. When a celebration took place, everyone simply sang along and nobody thought, oh dear, the old numbers again, it was just music, no matter if the songs were a hundred years old. It impressed me a great deal, how life, lyrics and melodies were interconnected and I thought to myself, the remainder of that must have been detectable at home too. When I then returned, I began to get into folk music, which I had actually broken with.

Are there models towards whom you orient yourself?

There are many people I highly regard. From Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Wagner to Miles Davis, Fellini and André Heller.

It's said that there will soon be an alpine opera from you.

At the moment there is the concrete plan to make a film, and we'll see if the same story can be translated to an opera.

It's Marika Rökk's birthday. Do you like the music of the 30s?

Each era has their good, creative people and their cultural dwarves who have nevertheless managed to make it into the spotlight. Generally, I don't like musical and opera especially, but I know that my grandmother really liked Rökk, and since I really liked Grandma, I then really liked her too.

You had your first Styrian accordion from your grandfather. Were your grandparents the very first fans from the beginning?

Yes and, for a long time, the only ones. My grandfather is more than ninety years old now, he gave me his Styrian because he said, I'm too old and can't press the keys any more. For me, this instrument was always connected with dusty melodies and I didn't touch it for five years.

Jörg Haider also comes from Bad Goisern. What do you think of him, and where would you put yourself politically?

I'm ashamed of Haider and I can only hope that God's ways are mysterious and winding and that he also has a function in society.

Do you see folk music as a rebellion against power and control?

It must be. Folk music simply can't be whitewashing of the facts, it has to express what the people feel.

You made the absolute breakthrough with Hiatamadl. Do you have a calf complex, do you especially like girls with fat calves?

I didn't write the refrain, it's an old folk song from a time when the people of the countryside squinted in the direction of the town and imagined that life is more comfortable there. And because the grass is always greener on the other side, the girls were also imagined to be better, more buxom and more beautiful.

What do you think the reason is for your success?

I think it's the contrast of the songs. That people are so exhausted after numbers like Sepp bleib do or the Wildschützrap, that they are really open for something that would ordinarily make their ears close with a snap.

What relationship do you have personally to yodelling?

Certainly an erotic one, and yodelling is a form of singing where you can't hold anything back. You can't yodel with half strength, it only works when you open up just like that and give it, it's like breathing.

When and where did you learn to yodel?

It was about five years ago, I got hold of a cassette, because I was fascinated by this singing technique and everyone maintained that you can't learn to yodel, you're born to it. Then I wrote down the notes and the phonetics of the syllables of a yodel, found my vocal pitch in which I could yodel and practised nonstop.

Are you a religious person, do you believe in God?

For me, God is not a man with a beard and penis, God, for me, is an idea. I left the church because I couldn't abide this masculine image of God.

Hubert von Goisern, a Luis Trenker for the 90s?

The comparison flatters me a great deal. I always liked the Luis trenker films, although he was always suspect to me, he didn't just play someone from the mountains, but he was one too. I'm totally convinced.

What do you think of the Tracht look?

I do like clothes where you can well identify a regional identity, I most like to wear linen clothes, but since this Tracht boom broke out, I hung up my leathers.

Do you go to discotheques and how do you bear computer-controlled rhythms?

There was a time when I went to the disco a lot and danced away to the general booming. I still like to dance, but it must simply be music that's man-made if possible.

Your very personal wish for the future?

That I will never become a copy or caricature of myself and that I remain human and don't dash from stage to stage, from hotel room to hotel room, out of touch with the real world.