The Band

Carlo van Putten

Carlo van Putten was the lead singer in a band called The Convent. He also made two highly acclaimed albums with the late Adrian Borland from The Sound under the name White Rose Transmission.

The Convent came together as a concept in late 1985 and throughout the band’s evolution some members have come and gone , and all of them have been at one time or another, vital to the band’s development. That they were able to continue to grow for over 15 years and generate genuine affection amongst lovers of guitar music in Europe, is a testament to passion and the power of it, the root of all fine art They began with an occasional independent single, which in turn led to the band’s first cd Counting the stars ,self financed and distributed for the most part at the numerous concerts the band played across Germany and Holland (the singer’s homeland).

The band began to gather a strong reputation and came to the attention of strange ways records based in Hamburg. Strange ways agreed to take over the distribution of “Counting the Stars” as well as finance the band’s second album “Tales from the frozen Forest”. Mark Burgess, former lead singer of the UK indie band The Chameleons, who was also a big fan of the band, was invited to produce the album. He was already partially involved in a production role on the first album.

However with strangeways came a degree of inflexibility as the realities of working within the constraints and financial motivations of the music industry began to seep in. A band of visionaries, dreamers, idealists, found the compromises too great and it was decided that they would strike out on their own once again. Besides, the group’s two leading lights, Carlo van Putten and JoJo Brandt were beginning to move beyond the boundaries of the traditional band set up. As the nineties influences took hold JoJo began to yearn for a more progressive approach, whilst Carlo began to paint his canvasses in a wider arena, resulting in a collaboration with Adrian Borland . Adrian, the leading light with The Sound , an English band Carlo admired very much. It also saw him reunited with one of the founding members of The Convent, Florian Bratman. This collaboration, entitled White Rose Transmission was released in 1995 and was a watershed in Carlo’s development as a singer and lyricist.

The Convent
came together again the following year, 1996 to record the band’s third album. Produced by Yves Altana, a Corsican musician/producer living in Manchester England. Crashed Cars & Loveletters contains some great moments. The band were able to well and truly put the eighties behind them and embrace the nineties, “crash the car, and walk on down the hall.”

Adrian Borland
and Carlo decided to work on the second White Rose Transmission album in 1999. The Album was called 700 Miles Of Desert. What basically began as the two of them ended up into another collaboration with Mark Burgess (singing a song called digging for water) Florian Bratmann, Claudia Uman and David Maria Gramse.

Adrian Borland went back home to England to record another solo album and sadly committed suicide on the 26 th of April 1999. The album became second after Tom Waits for the German lyrical & music award “Der Deutsche Schallplattenpreis”

The Convent recorded their album Red Light Melancholy in 2001and went on tour for a while. For an independent band as they are, the album did get great reviews but never made it into the limelight. The band ended up with the album About Kings & Queens. Carlo went back to the Netherlands where he is now working par-time as a German teacher on a Dutch high school. He lives in Utrecht But nevertheless he’s started another band called Dead Guitars.

Dead Guitars was named after a song that Adrian once wrote for the last WRT album. The band began as a project of Carlo van Putten and Peter Brough from a band called 12 Drummers Drumming. After Ralf Aussem, one of the founder-members of German band, 12 Drummers Drumming and mastermind behind the hugely succesful band Sun, joined forces with vocalist Carlo van Putten They collectively gave life to Dead Guitars.

Recently, Dead Guitars have been joined at the hip by their rhythm section: Patrick Schmitz – Drums and Sven Olaf Dirks – Bass Guitar. Both are immaculate musicians and fit so very nicely into the family. Dead Guitars released their debut album Airplanes and went on tour supporting The Mission on their Farewell tour through whole Europe. In the beginning of 2009 they will release their new album Flags.

But also the White Rose Transmission project never died. In 2007 a new album came out called Bewitched And Bewildered Carlo met the painter and guitarist Ron Keijzer and started to work on songs. With some help in the studio of Rolf Kirschbaum, Mark Burgess and Florian Bratmann it turned out to be what Carlo always wanted to do. A stripped production of simple, beautiful diamantes in the rough. Within a bonus CD where Carlo did some female cover songs together with Marty Willson Piper of The Church & All about Eve. Right now they are joined in by Frank Weyzig, former member of the Dutch band Clan of Xymox to work on the 4th WRT album called Collector Of Souls.

Pete Brough
acoustic guitars

Whilst visiting a few friends in Hamburg in the later part of 2001 I was strumming a guitar, playing a few of my new songs I had just written, and mentioned to a good friend of mine, Kai Schwochow that I was looking for a singer who was into the same kind of style and music. Kai said he would think about it and so he came back to me a few days later with Carlo van Putten’s phone number.

At the time Carlo was the singer in THE CONVENT. Amongst other projects he had recorded albums with ADRIAN BORLAND (THE SOUND), MARTY PIPER WILSON (THE CHURCH) and MARK BURGES (THE CHAMELEONS). He sounded like just the man I was looking for and so I got onto the phone to Carlo and we exchanged our histories, favourite bands and all that kind of stuff. We felt an instant affiliation to one another and decided we should meet up a.s.a.p. So because I was travelling up to Hamburg to see Depeche Mode at an open air gig we decided to meet each other in a “St. Pauli” pub after the gig.

After a long chat and a couple of beers we’d already made a plan to meet up for a week or so to play around with a few ideas and do some song writing. Carlo invited me to his house situated in the beautiful countryside of the “Devil’s Moor” about 25 miles north of Bremen. A perfect setting to get into a song writing mood, subsequently after about 4 days we had written 6 new songs. We were really excited about the results and thought it would be a good idea to lay the tracks down in a studio. So just after New Year 2002 we spent a week in a studio in Bremen and came out with 4 finished songs which we then mixed down and mastered.
The 4 songs were: Mothers of Mary, Should I, He, Delicate.

I then took the train back to my home town Mönchengladbach with the 4 songs in my luggage. On the way home I was thinking about ways we could take this venture a step further and so I came to the conclusion that we needed more songs and maybe an additional musician to expand the range of instruments and song writing. My first thought of whom to approach on this idea was Kurt Schmidt, a long time friend, partner in crime and fellow musician from the early days and the driving force during the TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING era and at that time the Bass player with SUN. I got home and phoned Kurt the very next day. He came around to my place and we listened to the songs Carlo and I had recorded in Bremen. I believe Kurt really liked the songs and the vocals because on his way out he told me that if we should be requiring his services he’d really be very interested.

So then we were 3.

Carlo, Kurt and I got together on various occasions in my flat to carry on song writing and the results were improving by the day. The blend of Kurt’s and my acoustic guitars and Carlo’s voice was developing into a unique sound. Songs like: Sweet Revenge, Crash, Crumble Zone, Living With Clouds were written during that period. Our song list was growing steadily and we started to toy with the idea of performing live. Up to that point we had been using acoustic guitars, we were fully unplugged, very fragile and delicate, you could hear a pin drop most of the time. It then occurred to us that it would be extremely difficult playing the live circuit in that kind of format. We just couldn’t imagine that we could keep our listeners concentration span alive for up to 60 minutes playing our fragile and sometimes rather melancholic acoustic songs.

Enter Ralph Aussem.

Guitarist, multi instrumentalist and sound wizard from the TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING days and founder of the band SUN amongst many other great projects like BELGIUM, NINA HAGEN and RAINBIRDS to mention but a few. This was a giant step forward for us, as Ralf complimented the songs with his atmospheric carpets of sound, amazing electric guitar performances, catchy solos and counter melodies. We were beginning to sound like a band and were even more inspired and highly motivated to record our new material in the studio.

As we didn’t have a drummer at this point (Late summer of 2002) we were blessed with the fact that Hermann Eugster, from the 12 DD “Loveless” line-up flew in from Switzerland for a long weekend to help us out and record our songs with sound engineer Guido Lucas in the “Blue Box” studios (near Cologne/Bonn). Songs recorded at these sessions were:

Sweet Revenge, Crash, Crumble Zone, Should I, Delicate and Secrets.

After these recordings our next priority was to get into a rehearsal room and arrange the songs to be able to perform live gigs. Seeing Hermann lived and worked in Switzerland we had to look for a drummer who lived nearby our home base. This turned out to be quite a difficult task until Peter Koerfer arrived on the scene. Peter, an excellent guitarist, who joined up with SUN to take Ralf’s place after he left the band in the late 90’s had mentioned to Kurt that he had recently started playing the drums and would be only too happy to help us out until we found a permanent drummer for the band. It was within only a matter of weeks that we all realized that our search for a new drummer was over. Peter’s dedication, feeling and attitude towards our songs, combined with his immense talent and skills on his new instrument was met with sheer admiration on our part. It was then only a matter of formality to ask him very nicely if he would join the band. It was summertime in 2003 and the band of brothers was complete.

From here on we carried on writing new material and with the help from our friend, sound engineer and producer from the early 12 DD years, Rainer Assmann, we performed in Holland and Germany through to the summer of 2004. The live experience was refreshing and many of the songs were adapted, updated and rearranged to suit, some were put on the shelf.

Songs written in this period are: Airplanes, I See, The Great Escape, The Name Of The Sea, White Light, Feels Alright.

All of which we then recorded at Jörg Schneider’s “Sound Cage Studios” with Rainer at the control buttons.

In the meantime during late summer 2005 we have finished mixing our Debut Album with Guido Lucas in the Blue Box. We now have a mastered finished product just waiting to be released.

That, in a nutshell is how DEAD GUITARS came to be.

Hope to see your face in the crowd.

Ralf Aussem

Born 6-6-1963 gemini – in Moenchengladbach, Germany
Have played guitar since the age of six.
First studio job at the age of 16 for EMI studios, Germany.

Kurt Schmidt

Kurt started as a guitar player when he was 14 but changed instrument after a few month. Since then he loves playing his bass guitars.

His early influences are Blues, Tamla Motown and bands like Led Zeppelin, Cream and some Prog Rock bands like Genesis and Yes. Influential bass players were James Jamerson, Chris Squire, John Entwistle and John Paul Jones.

Kurt became a professional musician in 1978 when he joined successful German band WALLENSTEIN.

He left in 1981 and started Twelve Drummers Drumming one year later. From 1982 until ’90 the band released three albums with Ralf and Pete.

In 1994 Kurt joined SUN who supported bands like Pearl Jam and Monster Magnet among others. He recorded also three albums with SUN. They split up beginning of the new millennium.

Kurt was co-founder of Dead Guitars, but left the band soon after they recorded their debut album Airplanes. In 2013 he rejoined the DG’s for some shows and to work on the new, fourth album Shelter – where he found – together with Ralf, Pete and Hermann – some of his musical roots again.

Kurt is also part of German Electro-Rock band Plexiphones.

Hermann Eugster

Hermann`s passion for Music and Drumming has developed before coming unto this planet and still seems to be growing.

His early mentors where John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and Ian Paice (Deep Purple), later on he also got into R&B and Black Music.

He worked as a professional Drummer for a dozen of years in South Africa, Germany and other countries with different kind of acts like: 12 Drummer Drumming (Rock/New Wave), Ella Mental (Pop, Rock), Eric. St. Michaels (Singer/Songwriter), Joe Colombo (Blues), and over the last few years as a semi-pro Drummer in Switzerland with Acts like Lilly Martin (Singer/Songwriter) and Colours (Latin/Funk/Rock Combo).

He rejoined Dead Guitars in 2012 – almost 10 years after having recorded parts of their first Album Airplanes. He now recorded all drums and percussion parts for their latest Album “Shelter”, which will be released in autumn 2015.