On Yer Bikes

Is it true that Kraftwerk‘s relatively low profile of late can be blamed on the band’s love for biking? Either way, the band has made time for a few dates for this summer.

Rock music history is littered with acts that have split over acrimonious personality clashes, money, irreconcilable artistic differences, money, one member’s desire for a solo career and money.

But the main threat to German electro pioneers Kraftwerk, according to the U.K.’s The Independent, was the members’ mutual love of getting on bikes and pedaling off into the proverbial sunset.

This harmless hobby seems to have developed into something of an obsession, leading to the band taking a 17-year break before coming back in 2003 with Tour de France, an album named after the famous cycle race.

During its 36-year career, the band has composed entire albums on the theme of the German motorway system, as in Autobahn, and even dabbled with the occasional piece based on rail travel.

So far, the only trips the band has planned for the rest of 2006 are to Norway for Bergen Grieghallen August 8th and Oslo Spectrum August 9th, a relatively local visit to Saalburg SonneMondSterne August 12th and a quick hop across the Czech border to the Summer Of Love Festival in Pardubice August 19th.

“They’re playing shows that sound interesting or that are in places that appeal to them. So, whilst we might add the odd extra show, we have no real tour plans,” explained Helter Skelter agency director Emma Banks, who helps organize Kraftwerk’s schedule.

– John Gammon