1970- 1975

"FAGAU'S EPITAPH", making a starting point "REDROOSTERS", was formed by two British youngmen, Cliff Jackson (Vocal and Guitar) and James Mcgillvray (Drums), and a Germany youngman, Bernd Kolbe (Bass) in the end of 1969.

This unique mixed band of British and Germany was performing musical activities considering the live-house "Fantasio" in Dortmund in Germany as their home ground. In spring of 1970, they removed their home-ground from Dortmund to Hannover, where is the top city of the Germany music sene. They performed at live-house "Mulltonne" which existed the good position of musical activities by Hannover of those days. Their live-performance won popularity, and they changed their name to "EPITAPH", were contacted by a major record company Polydor.

They were rocording a "EPITAPH" LP, that is legendary their 1st album now, at Windrose studio in Hamburg, and Wessex studio in London in 1971. Just before or after this recording, Klaus Walz joined a band as a second guitarist, and their debut album has obtained evaluation high all over the world now in addition in spite of the work recorded in only three days.
They were influenced from the artists of the art-rock style, some of British-rock, such as DEEP PURPLE, I think. They released a single record named "LONDON TOWN GIRL" same time of release of their debut album.

They played for the performance to the TV program in Germany such as "Beatclub", etc. In April 1972, for recording of their second album in Audioton studio in Berlin. Then, "STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN" album was done. After this released, James Mcgillivray left the band in order to join the band of Toto Blanke, who is a jazz-rock artist. Dortmunder, Achim Wielert replaced James. And they released two single records, "AUTUMN'71" and "WE LOVE YOU ALICE."
They continued musical growth, they endeavored after support of a famous musicians ,CURVED AIR, GOLDEN EARING, RORY GALLAGHER ( Wow! my favorite!), and EL&P. And they received an offer from Billingsgate, a minor record label in Chicago, USA. This happening became the hard times turning point in fact for them.

I think that it was a big dream to carry out tour and to get a success in the United States for the European artists of those days. LED ZEPPELIN was also so and DEEP PURPLE was too. I think that they Epitaph probably also considered so. I surmise freely whether such an idea of especially Cliff Jackson who was British youngman was strongly concidering so.
So, they went to the United States after August in 1973, did live tour at the small club. And started for recording of "OUTSIDE THE LAW", their 3rd album. Just before or after the American tour accompanied by an album release, Drummer,Achim Wielert left the band and Norbert "Panzer" Lehmann who was member of germany heavyrock band KARTHAGO, joined replace of Achim. In 1974, although they became the year devoted to tour, dark shade would insert in them...

It was the situation that tour must be interrupted and it could not do nothing but return to their home-country Germany, I understood that, as for the notice with bad timing which reached their basis from the United States, Billingsgate of an affiliation label had gone bankrupt especially but as the album might be good sales. In 1975, Cliff knew that the debt which the label undertook would fall on themselves if musical activities would be continued using the name of EPITAPH, he said to the press, "It is the situation which cannot but carry out the activity stop for two months", and made the decision which makes EPITAPH disperse reluctantly temporarily. Then, the curse from the label which went bankrupt would be solved in August, 1975.

Although EPITAPH called back Cliff, Bernd Kolbe, Klaus Walz, and an original member's James Mcgillivray at this time and it became activity resumption, Drummer was soon changed to Fritz Randow ,a former of ELOY. The musical activities for contract acquisition started again after it in Germany.

1976- 1981

An original member's Bernd Kolbe and Klaus Waltz left the band, and newly member were, Harvey Janssen (Bass) ,a former of ELOY, Heinz Glass (Guitar) and Michael Karch (Keyboard) joined EPITAPH in summer of 1977. Although it was the first time to add Keyboardist as a member in EPITAPH, it can be said that was natural thing since they used to use a Hammond organ sound ever.
They made the concert in Hungary successful and they would do a music contract with "Brain" which is a German hard rock label in 1978. They left two studio albums "RETURN TO REALITY" and "SEE YOU IN ALASKA" and a live album "LIVE" by this hard rock label.

1981- 1983

It seemed that however, activity was not favorable ... EPITAPH revival with original members, and Cliff invited old friend to Tonstudio used by past recording, took members at the time of 1974, Klaus Waltz, Bernie (=Bernd) Kolbe, and Norbert "Panzer" Lehmann to make a album in autumn of 1981. And the completed work was "DANGER MAN" album. However, they could not get a big success, they stops activity temporarily especially. Bad luck came down to them,their equipments was stolen, and they put a endmark to their long activity history in 1983.

Klaus Waltz joined the Hannover great band JANE, and participated also in LADY which was the session band of the member of JANE around 1978. Although Bernie (=Bernd) Kolbe had also joined JANE temporarily in 1984 to 1986, KINGDOM was formed with Cliff Jackson after that, and the band name was soon changed into DOMAIN cause of Lenny Wolf's kingdome Come. They made many natural melodious tune efficiently one after another, and gained many fans in the world sure here in Japan.

With the member who was former of EPITAPH in the past, James Mcgillvray who was original EPITAPH drummer, was also member of German progressive band, MISSUS BEASTLEY for three month in 1975.
Achim Wielert who was drummer in 3rd album, joined BREAK CELEBRATION to BULLFROG.
A bassist of Brain label age, Harvey Janssen joined a germany minor hard rock band LORRY in 1982.
Fritz Randow who was a drummer of Brain label age joined a psychedelic band BASTARD in 1981 after EPITAPH withdrawal and, even now, in addition, his career is continued with VICTORY-SINNER-SAXON after that.

And Still Now

Moreover, from 1998 , Cliff Jackson, Heinz Glass, Michael Karch and their friends, they are performing the live several times in Germany in the name of EPITAPH.
Sometimes Cliff Jackson formed the band of oneself, CLIFF JACKSON BAND. And he also run the band,EPITAPH now.

Someday I really hope to see their live performance.

They are still rolling on!!

Koichi Matsunaga

Although I wrote about them for a long as above, I referred to Mr. Matthias Mineur's description in the liner notes of reproduction CD from Repertoire.