Road to Hell: 1980 Audi Quattro
A music column dedicated to the soundtrack of the daily commute.
Written by Rick de la Rey
Lets get one thing straight: I don’t know shit about the inner workings of an automobile. I can pump the wheels, and I can check the oil, but that is the extent of my skills. I am however a fan of the classics. The shape, the sound, and the interior is more my thing. When you throw performance out of the window, it all comes down to how good you look in the chosen vehicle and which soundtrack you have compiled to help you reach your particular destination. I would also like to point out that I do sometimes see myself as somewhat of a connoisseur of B sides, rarities and dodgy bars with all the trimmings.
In the first article of ROAD TO HELL, I have chosen the AUDI QUATTRO. The Audi Quattro is a road and rally car, produced by the German automobile manufacturer Audi. It was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1980. This fucker was fast and the word quattro is derived from the Italian word for “four”. The name has also been used by Audi to refer to the quattro four-wheel-drive system, or any four-wheel-drive version of an Audi model. It was the first rally car to take advantage of the then-recently changed rules which allowed the use of four-wheel drive in competition racing. And, of course, it won competition after competition for the next two years.
The idea for a high-performance four-wheel-drive car was proposed by Audi’s chassis engineer, Jörg Bensinger, in 1977, when he found that the Volkswagen Type 183 could outperform any other vehicle in snow, no matter how powerful. This made it both the first car to feature Audi’s quattro permanent four-wheel drive system, and the first to mate four-wheel drive with a turbocharged engine. Quattro car production was 11,452 vehicles over the period 1980–1991, and through this 11-year production span, despite some touch-ups, there were no major changes in the visual design of the vehicle.
I recommend that these tracks be played at full volume, as there is no other volume for a car stereo in my opinion.
The soundtrack to this Avant guard beast has been compiled from a history of mostly German experimental gems, along with some new wave classics and lost rhythms, spanning from the early 70’s to the early 80’s. I recommend that these tracks be played at full volume, as there is no other volume for a car stereo in my opinion. In fact all car Radios should just have one volume setting as far as I am concerned. Doesn’t matter what you roll in – let them know you’re on the road and flip the bird to every speed trap on route
– Love Rick
PS: I will get your coat.
CLICK ON THE ALBUM COVERS FOR THE YOUTUBE LINK.
NEU! – NEU! (1971)
All hail the founding fathers of Krautrock ! NEU! was a German band formed by Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother after their split from Kraftwerk in the early 1970s. Though the band had minimal commercial success during its existence, the list of bands that they influenced stretches six miles long. Like the Audi Quattro, this track was the first one to pop into my mind, and without a doubt, a true expression of precision and persistence. If you own this car, I would recommend that you play this every time you turn the ignition on. It’s a two-door, which means there is no room for Hans, Otto, Gustav or Helmuth when you hit the town. The passenger seat always remains open because there is no way you are going home alone driving a vehicle like this.
2. “Oh Yeah”
Tago Mago – CAN (1971)
Founded and formed in Cologne, West Germany, in 1968. They constructed their music largely through collective spontaneous composition. The band differentiated from improvisation in the jazz sense, sampling themselves in the studio and editing down the results. That alongside the haunting vocals of a Japanese busker Kenji “Damo” Suzuki and you have the definitive sound of CAN. It shows you’re an eccentric with good taste but still don’t mind strapping on the roof rack for the ski season in the Swiss alps.
3. “Neon Lights”
Man Machine – KRAFTWERK (1978)
Look, if you were driving this car in Germany in 1980, you were definitely hanging out with Architects, Artists and Models (Loads of them!). You would also have a few grams of Peruvian marching powder in a little shiny pouch made out of polished elephant ball sack leather in your matching jacket’s liner pocket.
At this point in time KRAFTWERK was making a name for themselves as the pioneers of electronic music while you were driving home slowly through the city from some late night Discotech, with a very hot woman by the name of Elfriede – with no panties on – in the passenger seat.
4. “Tango 2000”
Tango 2000 – NICHTS (1982)
Like most of the bands so far, NICHTS were also from Düsseldorf – which was at the time basically Germany’s answer to Manchester. The short lived career of NICHTS spawned this one classic hit with a clear post punk influence. The combination of the expressive voice of Andrea Mothes and guitarist Meikel Clauss’ distinctive style shaped a new sound – called Psychopop. This song was definitely playing when you picked up your new lady friend in the passenger seat mentioned above…
La Düsseldorf – LA DUSSELDORF (1976)
David Bowie went as far as calling La Düsseldorf “the soundtrack of the eighties”… After the “failure” of NUE!, Klaus Dinger went on to form La Düsseldorf with occasional Neu! collaborators Thomas Dinger and Hans Lampe. This time round, they sold over a million albums between the late 70’s and early 80’s. You were definitely rocking this baby in the tape deck, and there was no time for rewinding or forwarding tracks on the Autobahn.
Eisbär – GRAUZONE (1981)
Now this particular number was not from Germany at all… but it should have been! It all sounds German to me anyway. When a man yells at you that he wants to be an “Ice Bear”, so be it – after all, let’s not forget what Ferris Bueller said: “I quote John Lennon – I don’t believe in the Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I’d still have to bum rides off people. The band itself was from Berne, Switzerland, and active in the early 80’s. Like the aforementioned NICHTS and most New Wave type of bands from that era, they also basically churned out one battered beast of a song and disappeared into the ether…
7. “Major Tom (coming home)”
Error in the system – PETER SCHILLING (1983)
Ok, now here’s the deal with Peter. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany. His 1983 album, Error in the System, generated his only international hit single, “Major Tom (Coming Home)”, a retelling of David Bowie’s classic 1969 song “Space Oddity”. When he translated this very catchy New Wave track into English, he cemented the fact that he can still rock his red Speedo on his yacht in any harbour in San Tropez to this day.
8. “99 Luftballons”
NENA – NENA (1983)
To this day I get sweaty palms at the mere thought of this song…such adolescent beauty! This track is probably the reason why the aforementioned girl in the passenger seat has no panties on. Showing a bit of your feminine side always helps with the ladies and adding a bit of pedal to the metal during the chorus of this track is just the ticket. Gabriele Susanne Kerner, or NENA, was born in Hagen in West Germany, and once again the English version of this song is arguably one of the biggest singles to ever come out of Germany.