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Selig Biography

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Selig In-depth Biography

Probably Germany's "biggest small band" during the second half of the 1990s, Selig had all the ingredients for true lasting stardom: a singer gifted with a truly unique voice, a bona fide guitar player, the tunes to give weight to all those good looks, and a highly energetic live set. With a strict dress code warped from the 1970s, Jan Plewka, Christian Neander, Malte Neumann, Leo Schmidthals, and Stefan Eggers were a welcome contrast to the omnipresent grunge look, ensuring levels of press coverage that other bands (and not a few German politicians at the time) would have died for. Three years into the game, however, the magic had faded quickly and the band called it quits only weeks after its third album saw the light of day.

Meeting in a bar in Hamburg's infamous Reeperbahn in 1992, singer Plewka and guitarist Neander generated the chemistry that would lead to both Selig's immense public appeal and ultimately the band's early end. Grunge was still going strong, but according to Plewka and Neander it had definitely started to smell funny. Referring to their own music as "hippie metal," Selig employed some seriously heavy guitars, mixed them with vintage organs and pianos, and rounded the whole thing off with Plewka's introverted psychedelic lyrics. Without any big single to their name, Selig's self-titled debut went to number 35 on the German album charts (number 12 in Austria) in 1994, and MTV and (the then still independent) VIVA picked up the videos and played them on heavy rotation. Hier followed in 1995, sparking the single hit "Ist Es Wichtig?" and climbing the charts to number 15.

A sold-out headlining tour and a well-deserved break later, Selig returned to the studio in 1997, this time setting up tent in New York City, where their third album, Blender, was to be recorded. Inspired by the electronic playground of U2's Pop, main songwriter Neander (along with longtime producer Franz Plaza) experimented with loops and samplers -- much to the dislike of Plewka, who spent less and less time in the studio, delaying recordings and ultimately the release of the album. When, after weeks of struggling, Blender was finally released, it was met with mixed reviews. Many critics disliked the group's new sound (and yuppie-ish look); radio mostly ignored the first single, "Popstar." The large fan base didn't much care, however, and helped Selig repeat their first album's chart success. Ever-growing tensions between the singer and guitarist could no longer be ignored, however, and as it dawned on the rest of the band that Plewka had no intention of ever touring with Selig again, the group quietly disbanded, only three years after its explosive rise to stardom. ~ Nico Tobias Wirtz, Rovi

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