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Ton Steine Scherben’s literal English translation is “Clay Stones Shards”;

in German, “Ton” can mean “sound” as well, so the band’s name may be considered to be an amphibology.

Singer Rio Reiser usually told journalists the name was taken from a description by pioneer archeologist

Heinrich Schliemann of what he saw when he first came to the site of ancient Troy.

Other members of the band claim in the biography

“Keine Macht für Niemand – Die Geschichte der Ton Steine Scherben”

(No power for nobody – the story of Clay Stone Shards”)

that it is a play on the name of the West German labor union

Bau Steine Erden (Construction Stones Earth).

The band name is also a tribute to The Rolling Stones

and to “Die roten Steine” (The red stones),

a trainee theatre group from Berlin.

Formed in 1970 by vocalist and guitarist Rio Reiser,

guitarist R.P.S. Lanrue, Kai Sichtermann on bass guitar,

and drummer Wolfgang Seidel when the members were all around 20 years of age,

they are nowadays considered to have been one of the first genuine German-language rock band, together with Udo Lindenberg.

Their first big-stage appearance

was at an Open-Air on 6 September 1970 on the Fehmarn stage

where Jimi Hendrix had had his last appearance directly before.
A house right next to the stage went up in flames while they were still playing;

it has been alleged that it had been set on fire by the security personnel

who had just received news that the event’s organizers had disappeared with all the revenues.

Still many people believed that Ton Steine Scherben had set the stage on fire,

which gave them tremendous credibility in the radical scene.

Ton Steine Scherben were pioneers in German music culture.

Their style has been described

as rock with a “renegade stance, what in later years would be dubbed ‘punk’.”


Die Scherben released their material through their own label.

The “David-Volksmund-Produktion” (David from “David and Goliath”; Volksmund = the people’s voice)


i would call this independent music…what do you mean?

great music

it was the 1970s…must have been an exciting time…

see ya 😉