This year in its February issue the German magazine "Musikexpress" featured an article about the 50 best German albums, selected by a jury of critics and fans. The list, however, turned out to be twice as long, which is why the popular magazine decided to publish the list as a book, complete with reviews and accompanying interviews, due to be released in October at the International Book Fair in Frankfurt by Hannibal Verlag.

The only three digit number (#100) is taken by Rainbirds with their 1987 debut album. Here's the uncut version of the interview Thorsten Zahn held with Katharina Franck for this fall`s book.

Can you still remember how your first album "Rainbirds" came about?

We more or less walked off the stage and into the studio, but without the guitarist we played with at the time. That`s why the whole album is so strongly marked by Peter Weihe's guitar playing. All of the songs were already written, so we knew where we were going: The slight Latin-American swing of my guitar playing, the way I phrase my singing, and Beckmann`s punky to very melodic bass playing. It`s not an album in which all the kinks were ironed out. Nonetheless, it is a producer`s album, because without Udo Arndt it wouldn't have worked out the way it did.

What kind of a lasting impact did the debut album and the successful single "Blueprint" have on your life?

Up until that point I had already been organizing my life in such a way that I had as much time available as possible for making music. So not all that much changed for me. I accepted the fact that the consequences of such a success don`t in the first place have that much to do with making music. Because, a great concert, for example, where you are completely at one with yourself, can carry you through the next 20 playback TV performances.

In the June of 1989 interview in ME/Sounds you said the following about your music: "Things simply have to take off: playing, singing and somehow that`s the whole point." Have you changed your point of view in the past years? And if so, how?

line-up 1987/88
present line-up

No, I still feel the same way. But there are different ways of working, and the continuation of the Rainbirds as a duo with Ulrike Haage brought many exciting changes with it. The albums "Two Faces" and "In A Different Light" are, as studio works, outstanding, but I wasn`t satisfied with how they were rendered live. To develop a new sound for the band was`nt the only reason why, in 1994, Ulrike and I asked drummer Tim Lorenz to join us. This Rainbirds trio of the last five active years was, as is well-known, my favorite line-up.

How do you feel about your debut album today?

Of course, the story of Rainbirds began much earlier for me than with the release of the debut album in the winter of 1987. I already had my first band and stage experience about ten years before. Just two years prior to the debut I withdrew to work alone and write songs. The next time I appeared in public, I wanted it to be with my own band. So when I listen to this album today, I listen like somebody who has always done what came about naturally and what she felt was right at the time, and who was always open to new influences, upheavals and departures. In other words: I still listen to it with unalloyed joy.

Did you feed off the album's success for a long time, or did you suffer from the way the band fell apart and was never able to repeat its first major success?

Of course, I suffered from the band`s breaking up. Prior to the production of the first album, Louis Spilman, who at the time was head of Phonogram, candidly asked me if I wanted to record it as a solo album. But the idea of going into the studio without the band struck me as out of place and was simply entirely out of the question. Nevertheless, I didn't waste the opportunities which the album's great success brought, and I really love all my records and the stories they tell.

For further information click www.katharinafranck.de