In the early 1970's Germany was rife with groups like Floh de Cologne, Lokomotive Kreuzberg, Oktober, Checkpoint Charlie, Ton Steine Scherben, Kollektiv Rote Rube, Bruhwarm and Eulenspygel who combined rock with left-wing political theater, and who performed their songs in their own language. Though not as well known as Floh de Cologne, Eulenspygel were almost as radical with their blend of psychedelic and progressive rock with classic rock and jazz styles.
The group began in Munich, Germany as the Royal Servants in 1969, who released several singles before their album We came out in 1970. By very early 1971 the group decided to change direction by dropping their English lyrics in favor of their own language, and changed their name to Eulenspygel as well. Whereas the Royal Servants relied on West Coast folk rock styles, the new group's music was far more progressive and varied.
Eulenspygel began performing live in April of 1971, and over the next two and a half years they would tour up and down Germany. As time went on, they began to print their lyrics to hand out to the audiences and then after the concert try to provoke discussion. They also made a couple live appearances on German television, in the summer of 1971 and in October of 1972.
In July of 1971 they recorded their first album in Studio Maschen in an old bunker in Hamburg. Released by Speigelei, part of Intercord Records, the record was confusingly titled 2, in reference to the earlier Royal Servants LP, and the original cover, with a half-burned newborn chick in a fry pan created enough controversy that the company reissued it without the burned chick a year later. With the success of 2 the label wanted another album within 8 or 9 months, and their A&R man at Intercord convinced management to let Eulenpsygel record the next album at the world-class Apple Studios. In April of 1972 the band traveled to London by train where they only had four or five days to record the album in both German and English versions, which included the side-long opus "Abfall".
By now the label deemed the group too left wing, and dropped them after the second album, Ausschuss, came out later that year. In the summer of 1973 they temporarily disbanded, though drummer Gunter Klinger joined another group that used Eulenspygel's name on several gigs before the other members of the real Eulenspygel took legal action to stop it. Three members from the original group along with some new musicians, reformed Euelenspygel in the fall of 1974. By 1975 after more lineup changes and unsuccessful attempts to find another record company, the group was a quartet with only one remaining original member, guitar and vocalist Detlev Nottrod. After years of not much activity their eponymous third album was recorded and released in 1979 by Bellaphon, followed by Laut & Deutlich 4 years later. Though the group had captured some of their earlier popular success with record sales and gigs, these last two records lapsed into mainstream conventional mellow rock with none of the earlier group's creativity and none of their radical political lyrics. Having sold out artistically, Euylenspygel called it quits for good in late 1983. ~ Rolf Semprebon, Rovi