Harald "Sack" Ziegler
I started trading tapes with Harald “Sack” Ziegler in the mid-late 1980s. His musical approach was distinct, humorous and personal to me. Plus, he was a very nice and engaging guy with no pretensions. I met him twice at his home in Koln amid his musical instruments, his list of every live gig he had ever done, his musical minaret and more. To me, Harald is one of the real originals, a truly singular voice and vision.
Listen to Sackparade, a best of collection from 1980-89. Harald gave this tape to me in 1989 to distribute on my Lonely Whistle label. Songs culled from his early period, this tape still has much charm and energy.
Harald’s songs are imbued with a lot of life and humor. And even though I do not understand German, his English language songs give a tiny insight into his funnybone. He has also collaborated with many artists including Mouse On Mars, FS Blumm and many others.
Just for the record…where did the “Sack” name come from?
it was my favorite „Schimpfword“ in the 70’s and became my nickname 1979.*
*You have done many collaborations ( Mouse On Mars, FS Blumm,etc) but your work has mainly been solo. Do you prefer working solo? Were you ever in bands as a kid?
I started in a mandolin-orchestra with 7 or 8, with 14 I joined the fire brigade brass band with a french horn. I played drums in the school jazz band at that time too and 3 friends & me started a rock-band. Later in the 80’s the band shrunk to 2 members. Me and the guitar player because I moved from Frankfurt to Cologne. Today I join a lot of duos an the free jazz band “Jaruzelski”.
Was French horn your first instrument?
no, it was mandolin and drums first.
Do you ask people to collaborate or do they come to you? Do you turn down many requests?
Sack & Blumm was initiated by a friend. Jaruzelski asked me to join in. Some of the other duo- & project-partners asked me or I asked them.Yes, I have to turn down a lot of requests of bands to join in with my french horn.Sometimes, if I like their music, I’ve been a part time guest musician.
In the early days ( 1980 or so) how did you make your contacts? Magazines? Friends?
During the tape scene era in the 80’s I got contact via fanzines and tape-exchange.
When you found out about the world wide home recording network how did it make you feel? Do you remember your first tape trade?
The home-recording-thing was the best thing that happened to me. I was able to release and distribute my own music without any help of the industry. My first tapes I copied for my close friends. The first compilation I contributed to, was the Intrendent Fansette of MAM-tapes of Michael Maier.
Have you traveled and met people from the underground music network outside of Germany?
yes, I travelled to France and met people from the tape scene of Grenoble. I travelled to England and met people in London and in South End. In Belgium and The Netherlands I gave a lot of concerts organised by people from the underground music network. In the 90’s I’ve even been in New York for a concert.
Much of your material is humorous. What makes you laugh?
Intelligent humor. Ironic Things. Satiric Stories. Strange Situations …
Do you ever bring politics into your lyrics or music?
Of course, I have songs about social themes.
Is music therapy to you? Do you want people to know you better from hearing it? Do you know yourself better from making it?
No, music is fun, enjoyment. I love to dance in discos and clubs! I love to scream and shout on stage. It’s great to do extreme things on stage. Things you will not do in normal live.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
First of all the Beatles, Blondie, The Police, even Supertramp, Zappa, Ultravox, Devo in early days. Today it’s myspace and youtube, facebook and so on for new influences in pop and rock … and a lot of jazz and classical music too.
You have done many types of music . From nutty songs, solo French horn outings, outre rock excursions and much more. When you look at your body of work what are your favorite releases?
I couldn’t point out a few. There are too many. I enjoyed making tapes as a kind of multiples, like an artist. I love my vinyl-releases. I like the Internet.
You have worked in German radio as a musician for many years. Do your fellow workers know about your own music? Have you ever had a person from work play on your recordings?
I worked as a music corrector and now provide the symphony orchestra of our radio station with all the sheet music they are in need of. Yes, some friends working at the radio became fans of what I’m doing. With one I founded a duo-project. There are a lot of creative people all around me …
You have done some pretty crazy live performances, and lots of them. What is it about playing live that excites you?
As I already said, the stage is the place you can do things you are not doing in the streets.
Has the internet been beneficial for you? Some people are against Facebook or MySpace for various reasons. What is your opinion?
I like all kind of communication and I use all possibilities.
Do you ever miss the old days of getting packages in the mail?
Not really, it costs a lot of time and the less parcels I get the more I enjoy them.
What’s next for you?
Concerts, recordings, concerts, recordings …
Thank you for your time Harald and good luck with everything.
listen to Sackparade