Styles: Canterbury Scene, Progressive Alternative
Influenced by both Frank Zappa and the Canterbury scene in England, the group Brainstorm emerged in the early '70s from Baden-Baden, in southwest Germany, with a fresh take on experimental progressive jazz-rock. Brainstorm's roots begin in 1968, when a trio of schoolmates with conservatory training, Roland Schaeffer (saxophones, vibraphone, guitar, bass, vocals), Eddy von Overheidt (organ, piano, vocals), and Jo Koinzer (drums and percussions), formed the band Fashion Pink with a couple other guys. They were originally a blues-rock group, with some Pink Floyd leanings, but were soon to branch out into the more complex styles of Frank Zappa, the Soft Machine, Caravan, and others. This group recorded tracks with the Sudwestfunk (SWF) radio station in several sessions from 1969 to 1971. By that time, Rainer Bodensohn (flute, bass) had joined the band. With growing audience interest and their proficient playing, by 1972 the group garnered a two-album contract with Spiegelei, a new label on Intercord to promote progressive Krautrock. At the record company's behest, the name was changed, first to Fashion Prick, and then when that too was even more emphatically rejected, Brainstorm.
By the end of 1972, their first album, Smile a While came out, and though the cover, depicting the group in eye blush and women's underwear, was quite sensational for the times, the record languished in terms of sales. As with many bands, Brainstorm needed to find a regular bass guitarist, since up to this time Schaeffer and Bodensohn took turns on bass. This problem was remedied when Enno Dernov joined the group in time to record their second LP in the summer of 1973. Along with more original music, this album, Second Smile, also features the lyrics of the song "There Was a Time..." written by Pharoah Sanders, as Brainstorm had been soaking up influences from avant-garde jazz artists like Sanders and John Coltrane. Around this time, the band also recorded several pieces for a popular kids program on German television as well as other TV and radio shows.
In April 1974, with drummer Koinzer replaced by Horst Mittmann, Brainstorm played live on SWF radio, and this was eventually released on CD as Last Smile. No more record deals were forthcoming, and, later that year, in succession Overheidt, Dernov, and Bodensohn all left the group. Without founding members Overheidt and Bodensohn, Brainstorm floundered, with other musicians coming and going for another year before disbanding. The only one who went on to more successful groups was Roland Schaeffer, who soon joined Guru Guru.
- Rolf Semprebon (All Music Guide)