GDR rock legend: “City” drummer Klaus Selmke died

GDR rock legend:

He was always in the background – but without him the band would never have existed. City’s Klaus Selmke is dead.

© Photo: Britta Pedersen / dpa
ARC drummer Klaus Selmke of the band City sits on the stage with the drums.

Klaus Selmke, drummer the Berlin band City (“At the window”), is dead. “The” General “Klaus Selmke put down the drumstick forever at 2pm today. We are sad and speechless, ”wrote the band’s singer, Toni Krahl, on Friday evening by email at dpa request. Selmke died of cancer in a Berlin hospital, reported “image” (online).

City’s website – the band was one of the most successful rock groups in the GDR and is still active – was completely black on Friday. On the Facebook page it was written in white on a black background: “Klaus Selmke – April 21, 1950 – May 22, 2020”. The drummer, who liked to sit barefoot on the stage, died about a month after his 70th birthday.

Selmke had City 48 years ago with Puppel in Prenzlauer Berg founded in Berlin. It all started in a culture house in Köpenick in the spring of 1972: the City Rock Band, as it was originally called, stood on a stage for the first time – and Klaus Selmke was on the drums.

The band was supposed to provide a musical accompaniment for a five-hour youth dance evening. She played songs by Santana, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. Ten years later, 10,000 fans made a pilgrimage to the open-air concert in the Plänterwald in Berlin.


The five bald heads who once advertised for themselves with the slogan “Without bass and without hair – with city through the 80s!” Were often on the edge of the permitted with their critical texts in the socialist state.

Two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, they discussed the division of Germany in “Wall to Wall” and “Half and Half”. Singer Toni Krahl was arrested as a high school graduate in 1968 for protesting the crushing of Prague spring.

Dieter Birr, former singer of the Puhdys who are friends with City, told the German Press Agency about the drummer’s death: “Of course the news totally shocked me. I already knew that Klaus was sick. But he always kept himself covered. “(Dpa)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here