the story of the band
Improved Sound Limited – a band of four, or of five?
The correct answer is: 4 + 1, or to be more exact, four musicians and a lyricist. That's why there are pictures with four people, showing the active musicians Johnny Fickert, Axel Linstädt, Uli Ruppert and Rolf Gröschner, and pictures with five. The complete band includes the "rhyme maker" Bernd Linstädt, who never played an instrument but had a real impact on the band through his perceptive and imaginative lyrics. The band decided quite early on, in 1966, not to release any cover versions, concentrating instead on original, self-written material. The necessary creative potential was at hand, as the six CDs demonstrate.
It all started in 1961 as a student band at the Willstätter School in Nuremburg. They called themselves the "Pyjamas Skiffle Group" and copied Lonnie Donegan relentlessly. From 1964 to 1966 they appeared under the name "Blizzards" and backed the German pop singer Roy Black at 33 shows. Starting in the fall of 1966, they called themselves "Improved Sound Limited", and so they remained, except for a brief intermezzo in 1976 when CBS called the band „Condor“.
More details are in the liner notes accompanying the CDs, but here is a chronological timeline of the band.
1st Place in the competition "Best Beat Band in Bavaria" at Bavarian Radio (BR)
Participation in the BR "Schmusical" called "How Beatles turn into citizens"
Single "It Is You"/ "We Are Alone" (Polydor, producer: Gerhard Mendelson)
Appearance at the 17th Berlin Film Festival
Appearance in Erlangen at the event "Prose-Pop-Poetry" with Peter Handke, Fitzgerald Kusz and others
Music for Megan Terry's play "Vietrock" with Inge Brandenburg, directed by: Stavros Doufexis, choreographed by José Luis Gómez
Music for the solo pantomime "Idylls of Herr Meck" by José Luis Gómez
Film music and LP "Engelchen macht weiter – hoppe, hoppe Reiter", directed by Michael Verhoeven
Film music for "Der Bettenstudent", directed by Michael Verhoeven
Single "Sing Your Song" / "Marvin Is Dead" (Polydor)
Music for the TV documantary "Ezra Pound", for the 13 part series "The 6th Day" and for the first five episodes of "The Play School"
Film music "o.k.", directed by Michael Verhoeven
Single "Oedipus" / "Where Will The Salmon Spawn" (United Artists)
More music for the series "The Play School"
Music for the series "The Kommissar", episode "Dr. Meinhardt's Tragic End"
Double album "Improved Sound Limited" (Liberty)
Film music "Lass knacken, Ive" with the song "The Policeman"
BR Open Air Concert in Bergdorf (with Tangerine Dream, Birth Control, Ihre Kinder and Klaus Kreuzeder)
German Pop Festival in Koblenz and Burg Herzberg Festival (with Frumpy, Can,Achim Reichel, Xhole, Embryo, Guru Guru etc.)
Rock musical "The Gentlemen from Verona", book by H.C. Artmann, directed by Nicolas Brieger
LP "Catch A Singing Bird On The Road" (CBS)
Music for the 10 part TV series "Krempoli", directed by Michael Verhoeven
Music for Fernando Arrabal's revue "The Thousand Year War" (Bella Ciao), directed by Jorge Lavelli
Spheric music for the open air event "The Robbers from Spessart", directed by Klaus Schlette
Demo recordings for "Rathbone Hotel"
Film music for "Kings Of The Road", directed by Wim Wenders
LP "Rathbone Hotel" (CBS)
Film music for "The Baker's Bread", directed by Erwin Keusch
Music for the series "Beer and Games", directed by Michael Verhoeven
Live performances in Nuremberg (Casablanca), Neuendettelsau and Berlin (Kant Kino)
Film music for "As Far As The Eye Can See", directed by Erwin Keusch
Re-release of the double album "Improved Sound Limited" and the album "Catch A Singing Bird On The Road" on CD, the latter with a bonus track featuring H.C.
Artmann as narrator of the song "The Dark Lord"
Re-release of the album „Rathbone Hotel“ and first release of the film music compilation „Road Trax“
A final new song "The Very Last Waltz" is recorded by the band
Re-release of the singles, film music for "Engelchen" and "Bettenstudent" plus first release of music for the shows "Kommissar" and "Krempoli", all on the CD "The Final Foreword" together with "The Very Last Waltz"
Remix plus additional recording for "Bell Cantos – Ezra Pound Revisited"
Release of the compilation "The Ultimate Collection", the complete works of Improved Sound Limited on 6 CDs
Information: All CD releases are on the Long Hair Music label