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Thread: Jane: What In God's Name Happened?

  1. #1

    Jane: What In God's Name Happened?

    How do you release Together, follow it up with Here We Are, then come up with III and Lady?

    Arguably the worst decline after two albums in European rock history.

    Listening to Lady as I write. I spun this for the first time in a while a few months ago and giving it another shot. I actually think the Gospel vocal idea could have been interesting, but Janko sounds positively weak on much of this album. And the guitar work of Klaus Hess just hasn't improved at all since Together was recorded in '71. Much of the lead work is simply not confident enough. On Together he sounds inspired if not technically there yet, and Here We Are continues in a similar vein. Here he sometimes sounds like a beginner just finding his way through the scales.

    I like the title track (the second track on the album w/o Janko). Good hard rock, nice vocal melody.

    But the decline from the first two albums is simply remarkable. From a heavy, Deep Purple/Uriah Heep meets Pink Floyd type of sound with lots of their own creativity thrown into the mix to often standard, uninspired hard rock. "Lord Love" is a killer track and almost saves this album. Even Janko's vocals work here ...

    Weird.

  2. #2
    I love, love, love Gottfried Jankoís Hammond organ tone on Lady. It is absolutely to die for!

    Unfortunately, his vocals are absolutely woeful. I understand singing and drumming at the same time is, like, hard and some junk, but seriously, Peter Panka (R.I.P.) was the best vocalist the band ever had, and had been a faithful member up until his sad death. Why would they ever let anyone else sing? Especially since some of the other people they selected as vocalists (Iím thinking Charly Maucher, Klaus Hess and Martin Hesse in particular here) were just ghastly!

    I agree on ďLord Love,Ē which has this wondrous Floydian crescendo from beginning to climax. Jankoís vocals almost donít ruin it.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  3. #3
    The Hammond tone is SICK! No question. Ever check out his tone in Dull Knife?

    Still, there is an element to this album and its predecessor which seems like regression of the highest order. Like they just figured half of the stuff they were doing could be throwaway rock stuff.

    Agree on Panka. When you have a voice like that, I say use it. I'm okay with the voice of Hess, but as I think you and I have discussed, Hesse should never have been allowed to sing in this band (or even in the shower!). Of course, that was later, but here their inability to identify their best singer was already rearing its head. And that they even got Janko in the band was kind of a bizarre decision. I'm assuming they decided they needed an organ player again and it was kind of a "package" deal.

    Maybe your drumming/singing theory was the core issue. But didn't Panka sing nearly all the time in much later years? Years when he was the leader of the group and Hess was long gone? I suppose it's very possible that he was just more comfortable with the double duty at that stage.

  4. #4
    I do know that Panka was originally (pre-Together) the dedicated lead singer of the band, but switched to drums when their original drummer left. That was presumably when they brought Bernd Pulst in, who was decent, but no Panka. It is definitely possible to be a lead singer and drummer, as Nossi from Birth Control proved. I guess Panka later just practiced enough to be able to handle vocals from behind the kit. To be fair, Jane’s drum parts weren’t the most rhythmically challenging in the world.

    Klaus Hess’ voice didn’t reach Gottfried Janko or Martin Hesse levels of hideousness, but he still sounded like he was trying to sing with a mouthful of marbles after a Novocaine injection.

    RE: Janko’s organ tone. His playing on “Waiting for the Sunshine” and “Scratches on Your Back” is so mind-melting, it almost makes suffering through his dreadful voice worth it. I heard a track or two off of the Dull Knife album but don’t remember much. It struck me as even more bluesy and pedestrian than Jane.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  5. #5
    Anyone know what the setting looks like on the drawbars?

  6. #6
    Lady was released on Capitol in the US. Record company tinkering? Wrong drugs? It's a dud, for sure.
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by strawberrybrick View Post
    Lady was released on Capitol in the US. Record company tinkering? Wrong drugs? It's a dud, for sure.

    It was III which was released on Capitol.

    Strange decision. That Brain would have had Together and Here We Are under their belt and decide to try to break the band in the US with III just about boggles the mind.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    I do know that Panka was originally (pre-Together) the dedicated lead singer of the band, but switched to drums when their original drummer left. That was presumably when they brought Bernd Pulst in, who was decent, but no Panka. It is definitely possible to be a lead singer and drummer, as Nossi from Birth Control proved. I guess Panka later just practiced enough to be able to handle vocals from behind the kit. To be fair, Jane’s drum parts weren’t the most rhythmically challenging in the world.

    Klaus Hess’ voice didn’t reach Gottfried Janko or Martin Hesse levels of hideousness, but he still sounded like he was trying to sing with a mouthful of marbles after a Novocaine injection.

    RE: Janko’s organ tone. His playing on “Waiting for the Sunshine” and “Scratches on Your Back” is so mind-melting, it almost makes suffering through his dreadful voice worth it. I heard a track or two off of the Dull Knife album but don’t remember much. It struck me as even more bluesy and pedestrian than Jane.
    I love Pulst's voice. Very guttural but with LOTS of power coming from the stomach which is a style I tend to dig when it's done well. Panka's voice was probably a bit more traditional in the rock sense and I certainly wouldn't have faulted them for swapping the singing between those two.

    Frankly, their original lineup was strong. I don't know if it has ever been explained what exactly happened to Pulst, but from there the obvious decision should have been to go with Panka and get on with things.

    While Panka's drumming tended to be pretty straightforward, he was a serious pounder. Not sure I've ever heard anyone hit drums harder. Maybe he just didn't view that fairly unique drum sound as less important than their vocal sound and decided he couldn't properly do both?

    But I can't blame their problems exclusively on bad vocal decisions. There was also a major decline in overall creativity. I think they continued to come up with some decent songs, but the imaginative displays on display on the first two albums were almost nowhere to be found. Hess was also a bit of a drag on the sound. He often just didn't play with enough command and his soloing could sound a bit aimless.

    They would redeem themselves somewhat on Fire Water Earth & Air.

  9. #9
    What about "Between Heaven and Hell?" Is that their most prog one?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    What about "Between Heaven and Hell?" Is that their most prog one?
    It's ok. I wouldn't rank it as their most "prog." The title track manages to make 20 minutes out of maybe half that in ideas.

    "Voice In The Wind" is strong. Very dark, sad and uniquely Jane.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffCarney View Post
    Frankly, their original lineup was strong. I don't know if it has ever been explained what exactly happened to Pulst,
    [/I].
    He actually got to sick to carry on, and died pretty soon afterwards.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    What about "Between Heaven and Hell?" Is that their most prog one?
    Their most Prog moment is Windows from "Live at Home" feat. ex Eloy Manfred Wieczorke.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffCarney View Post
    It was III which was released on Capitol.

    Strange decision. That Brain would have had Together and Here We Are under their belt and decide to try to break the band in the US with III just about boggles the mind.
    I’m guessing Capitol was just trying to capitalize on their German cash-cow Triumvirat by signing on some other German acts (they also released NEU! 75 in a single-panel cover. Good luck in finding that release; it’s quite rare. I owned a copy once and have NEVER seen it again!).

    Incidentally, Billingsgate had intended to release one of Jane’s albums Stateside but the label folded before they could. I’m assuming Together was the one they planned on releasing. There were also albums by Guru Guru and Elias (presumably actually Grobschnitt with a more English-friendly name) in the pipeline.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    they also released NEU! 75 in a single-panel cover. Good luck in finding that release; it’s quite rare. I owned a copy once and have NEVER seen it again!).
    I'm willing to pay the big bucks for this one.
    "Always ready with the ray of sunshine"

  15. #15
    Well, they considerably improved on "Fire, Water, Earth and Air" and one side of "Between Heaven and Hell".

    Few years ago I relistened to "III" and "Lady". Definitely you can easily by-pass them, but I doscovered that they didn't annoyed me like some 35 years before. Fuck, I'm getting older...
    Macht das ohr auf!

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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    I heard a track or two off of the Dull Knife album but donít remember much. It struck me as even more bluesy and pedestrian than Jane.
    Sold it back in the day. Very, very average, even by Jane "III"/"Lady" standards
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  17. #17
    I have a soft spot for Dull Knife.

    But my point was really about Janko's organ tones on that album. Quite nuts!
    Last edited by JeffCarney; 01-21-2015 at 01:50 PM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by TheH View Post
    He actually got to sick to carry on, and died pretty soon afterwards.
    Didn't know this and googled it. Hardly any info. Seems "alcohol poisoning" was the cause of death in early 1973.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffCarney View Post
    Didn't know this and googled it. Hardly any info. Seems "alcohol poisoning" was the cause of death in early 1973.
    It's rather unclear what really happend, he seemed to have health problems before.
    Most common rumor on his death is that he suffocated on his own puke.

    He also had a 7'' single with a German Version of "A Horse with no Name" called "Ein Mensch ohne Namen"
    (very rare stuff) in '72

  20. #20
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    Can anyone maybe comment about which is the best version of Jane's records on cd ?
    I know of old "Repertoire" and now maybe "SPV", or am I wrong ?


    Thanks!
    Last edited by Boaz; 03-10-2017 at 03:54 AM.

  21. #21
    To me they were like Satin Whale; one solid debut album - rest shite. I think I had seven or eight Jane albums at one point, tried desperately to find something to "conquer" and enjoy but ultimately didn't. Can't win 'em all, I guess.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  22. #22
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    mmmmhhh!!!... missed this thread first time around


    Quote Originally Posted by JeffCarney View Post
    How do you release Together, follow it up with Here We Are, then come up with III and Lady?
    Yup, they simply went down the drain, though they did come out of the sewer (a bit) with their next two albums (FWE&A & BH&H)... never bothered further than the Live album (OK, but not great)

    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    What about "Between Heaven and Hell?" Is that their most prog one?
    Well that and their previous one (Elements) ... but it's a little like Birth Control: a hard rock group that could/should've stayed away from prog, thpugh what theu did wasn't shameful either

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    To me they were like Satin Whale; one solid debut album - rest shite. I think I had seven or eight Jane albums at one point, tried desperately to find something to "conquer" and enjoy but ultimately didn't. Can't win 'em all, I guess.
    yup, though HWA isn't bad, it doesn't come to that awesome Picasso cover debut album's waist height. The Repertoire CD holds extra tracks from one non-album single and they add up quite nicely to the album content with Daytime and Hangman as very solid tracks, but both are shorter version from the debut album.

    But their debut is the only one I kept ... though I do have a CD-r compilation of the rest of their stuff (until the H&H album)
    Last edited by Trane; 03-10-2017 at 10:28 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  23. #23
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    Although I own a lot of Jane Albums I only listen to "Live at Home" still.

    I think H&H and the debut Album are worth keeping, don't care to much about the others.

    I got one of their 80s Albums when it came out (something like Beautiful Lady or so), which must
    have been one of the worst Albums I ever bought.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by TheH View Post
    I got one of their 80s Albums when it came out (something like Beautiful Lady or so), which must
    have been one of the worst Albums I ever bought.
    Early 80s Wallenstein, Mythos and Triumvirat aren't exactly slouches either in that regard.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Early 80s Wallenstein, Mythos and Triumvirat aren't exactly slouches either in that regard.
    Sad but true. I think I still own Russian Roulette by Triumvirat and Grand Prix by Mythos. I can't remember anything of those two,
    most likley I shelved them for good after hearing a track or two. (both where dirt cheap back then so I wasn't to anoyed)

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