Category Archives: Band

The Burning Biscuit Band

The Burning Biscuit Band are a Munich based acoustic quintet performing a variety of musical styles ranging from Irish/English folk, Country, Blues, Swing, Rock & Pop, and a splash of  humour, and using elements from these in their original compositions and arrangements.

Five individuals whose music is as diverse as their characters, nationalities, and the instruments they play. Nothing is contrived (as opposed to the corporate music and related fashion industries), this music comes from the heart, and from the pure enjoyment of playing together, having a good time and giving the audience a good time, and that is what The BBB are all about.

Suzanne BoothSuzanne Booth

Paul Richards
Paul Richards

Klaus Lamac
Klaus Lamac

Jim Klopfenstein
Jim Klopfenstein

Colm O'Tuama
Colm O’Tuama

Suzanne Booth

(GB) Vocals/Guitar

What a woman and what a singer! Suzanne has a voice Pure natural talent(and a character!) that should make her famous, and never fails to astound everyone who hears her sing. Whether its a slow folk ballad or a raunchy blues, Suzanne has a gobsmacking range of tone, emotion and raw power that often results in goose pimples for the listener. It comes from pure natural talent and is so original that no amount of vocal training could ever reproduce Suzannes earthy, sensual sound.

Suzanne was born in 1964 in Mansfield Nottinghamshire, (“Ay up ducks”) to a background of coal mining and greyund racing. Her early musical inspirations came from her family. Grandad, although no crooner himself, was a fan of Al Jolson, her father would sing Johnny Cash and Elvis songs around the house, her motherBlame mother for the pigtails couldn’t sing for toffee but played the piano rather well. At the age of 6 Suzanne started rattling the ivory herself,  taking formal lessons in which she eventually reached grade 7. Her piano tutor, Mrs Timmons, also liked to listen to young Suzanne sing. The old films and musicals from the 1920s to the 1960s were a big influence for Suzanne, the songs  were osmotically absorbed and Suzanne would effortlessly sing them all. Mario Lanza and Barbara Streisand were particular favourites. Her talent didn’t go unnoticed and she was recruited for the school choir, which toured the country performing in choir competitions. Highlights included Latin hits such as ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Panus Angelicus’, and a trio number called ‘Three little maids from school’.

Her parents were big fans of Country and Western music, and everyCoalminers daughter year would gallop off to Pontins for Country and Western week, trailing young Suzanne and younger brother Gary along with the the posse. This was seen as totally uncool for a teenager in the late 70’s (unless it was the Wild West in the 1870’s!). Although she stubbornly snubbed the stetson and spurs, Suzanne quite liked some of the music, especially songs like ‘coalminers daughter’ (she was one!), and the bluesier side of C&W. Suzanne and Gary, like any normal teenagers, were into the pop music of the 80’s and could sing the top 20 backwards. Bands such as ‘Blondie’, ‘The Eurythmics’, and ‘Adam and his Ants’ were favourites in the Mansfield clubs and discos’ where you daren’t mention Country & Western!…………. Folk music was unheard of!!

In 1982 Suzanne left school and home to study the male dominated art of Technical Illustration at Blackpool College on a four year HND course. The ‘Hard mans’ town of Mansfield had taught Suzanne to be fiercely independant, and she could draw bevelled gearwheels with the best of them. To supplement her meagre college grant and to pay the rent, she took a job in ‘Johns’ fish & chip shop’ (where it’s rumoured that old ladies were made to eat battered sausages seductively to earn an extra portion of batter bits). Very Blackpool! Besides the popBehind unexpected doors music of the day, Suzannes eccentric musical tastes extended into the realm of the blues, major influences being female singers such as Billie Holiday and Judy Garland (post Wizard of Oz!). Folk music had always been seen as ‘naff’ and ‘wimpy’ in Suzannes’ book, but the folk singer Sandy Denny opened unexpected doors.

After sucessfully gaining her HND, Suzanne became a professional Technical Illustrator, taking an apprenticeship with Rolls Royce for a few months before a report came from college mates that there was Illustrating-a-plenty to do across the channel and over the Rhine, so with her rotring pens, ellipse-templates and a sense of adventure, off she went, starting out in the little town of Salgau, moving eastwards to Augsburg, and finally landing in München, and here she is!

Suzanne teamed up with Paul through the EnglishA large bacardi and coke please T.I. scene in Munich, sharing an interest in eccentric musical tastes and sechskantschrauben. She is THE knowledge on films old and new, classic English comedy and ‘Eastenders’ (?), an expert on fish & chips, Bacardi and Coke, medieval English history, and any game she decides to have a go at, and quite a talent in general crafts to boot. Besides the Biscuits, Suzanne has sung with The Huckleberry 5, Paddy Whack and rock band Tuesday Bluesday. She still works as a freelance Technical Illustrator, but would gladly give it up for fame and fortune, however her bevelled gears are the best you’ll find this side of the alps!

By the way, Suzanne is now the proud mother of twins! See News page…

Paul Richards

(GB) Guitar/Mandolin/Banjo/Melodeon/Vocals.

Stranger on the shore

Paul is a proud Cornishman, born and raised in the proud little town of Penryn near Cornwalls’ picturesque seaside ‘metropolis’ Falmouth. He is the multi-instrumentalist in the band and songwriter, and many of his songs are based around experiences and places in his home county.

Paul was born in 1965, the height of Beatlemania, and he’s still a Beatle faHow did such a nice boy ...natic after all these years. He claims Rolf Harris as one of his earliest musical influences, (but rumour has it that his first LP was Pinky & Perky!). The late sixties and early seventies kiddies TV shows, Oliver Postgates’ smallfilms, HR Pufnstuf and the above mentioned porky duo also made a lasting impression, and his first musical instrument was a ‘Blow organ’ (?) upon which he would play the theme tunes. At the age of 9 he joined the junior school brass band firstly on flugel horn and then trumpet. His father then bought him a clarinet in the hope of producing another Acker Bilk. Paul progressed to the level of ‘Tune a Day book 2’ and then gave it all up in pursuit of…… fishing! (Why does the tune Stranger on the Shore spring to mind?).

In his mid teens, like many before him, Paul decided he wanted a guitar end up looking like this.– an electric guitar to make all those ‘Kerraaaangwoowoowaaaah’ noises popular (or not!) throughout the seventies. With the help of his father (watchmaker and DIY genius) and ‘Everyday electronics’ magazine, he built his first electric guitar, a ‘Delta’ ‘V’ shaped instrument that did the job. Mum & Dad were to have little peace from that moment on.

It was the early 1980’s and punk rock had exploded in mainland Britain and now even the quaint and quiet streets of Penryn were awakened to a ‘Horrible din’. Paul, his brother Steve on drums, and chum Alex Willey on rhythm guitar, formed a band, ‘Barry Bitter and the Dobheads’, later to rename themselves ‘The Dregs’, ‘Unshaven Whale’ and ‘Deadly Eggnog’. The core members of Paul, Steve and Alex remained together for the duration, while singers and hangers on came and went. The music however remained a horrible din (tapes exist to prove it!)

After leaving school, Paul went to nearby Camborne Technical College on a four year course in Technical Illustration, and it certainly wasn’t all nuts and bolts! College life expanded Pauls’ musical horizons (as well as other things!). Cornwall at this time was still a haven of hippydom with the NAnother bad hair dayew-age/punk ‘edge’, and the Cornish ‘scene’ in the 80s’ was in its heyday. Music, Art, Festivals, and all of the zany events, characters and substances that go with it, only helped prolong Pauls’ ‘idyllic’ childhood.

In 1985 it was time to grow up and get a job, the latter of these proved no problem as Paul was now a competent Technical Illustrator (& Space cadet!). He moved to Hitchin in Hertfordshire and worked for Industrial Artists for 2 years, still dabbling in music, including a short lived stint with the punk band ‘Scum of Toytown’. Also during this time a good friend introduced him to Horslips, Fairport-Convention and……Folk music! Something connected, Paul was now a ‘folk-rocker’ and after hearing Hearts’ ‘Sylvian song’ “Had to get a mandolin man!”. The hippy/anarchist lifestyle came to a head in 87 when Paul jacked in the job & bought a van to become a ‘Traveller’, only he hadn’t travelled very far when the van broke down and was impounded by the police. They say that money isn’t everything, but Pauls’ problem was that he didn’t have any.

Luckily he’d always had very patient, loving and understanding parents to bail him out, and he was welcomed back home like the prodigal son. PaulRock and Roll !! was homesick for Cornwall anyway and found that the place was still “buzzin”, however, fate springs its surprises and a job opportunity came up… in Munich Germany, Paul wasn’t that keen on the idea of leaving Cornwall once again, but it would have been folly to refuse, and in November 87 ‘Ein neues leben’ beckoned.

Paul has since come down to Earth (if not quite on ground level), has recently turned 40! A vegetarian for the love of animals (no more fishing! But he knows his Pollack from his Piranha!!), loves the great outdoors, non-conformity, draws cartoon strips for fun, is an expert on biscuits, and a music addict, with tastes ranging from Abba to Zydeco, trying out any instrument he can lay his hands on. He has played with the Munich based folk rock bands Paddy Whack, Six Hand Reel and bluegrass band The Huckleberry 5. Pauls current projects outside the BBB include The Bottles – yet another Beatles revival band featuring Paul on lead guitar & vocals together with Liverpudlian Phil Newton on guitars and vocals, the BBBs’ own Jim Klopfenstein on bass and Pauls brother Steve on drums. Find out what they’re up to at Phils site: www.philnewton.de He also sings and plays his Mandolin, Melodeon & Guitar with The Paul Daly Band – They have a CD coming out on 27th September. Info, photos and even video files at: www.paul-daly-band.com Paul also features on the new CD project from Puzzlepie studio “Sink or Swim” info at: www.international-chansons.de   Music aside, he continues to keep his day job as a freelance Technical Illustrator.

Colm O’Tuama

(IRL)  Irish flute/Tin whistles/kazoo/VocaEarlyls

“Colm anything you want but don’t Colm too early in the morning.” Colms’ chirpy catch phrase is just one of the countless puns in his infamous repertoire, most of them awful. “Like the Kerry farmer – outstanding in his own field” (for example). Where he picked up this annoying habit is unknown, but once he starts, the only way of stopping him is to put a flute in his gob. Colm has a tremendous character though, and never fails to raise a smile (or eyebrows!). He is also infamous for a long list of catastrophic calamities, most of them far too embarrassing to mention here.

A thoroughbred Irishman from Dublins fair city, Colm came forth into the world in the september of 1962 becoming the eighth in a family of nine children! Traditional music runs in the O’Tuama family, Colms mother being the chief instigator, playing the piano and Irish harp as well as being fluent in all the Celtic languages. His father was a civil servant, but also a very talented actor and singer and a huge inspiration in Colms’ life. There seemed to be traditional Forteen down ... kerry farmer ... is in his own fieldmusic sessions going on in the house every night, with musicians from far and wide dropping by for some crack at the O’Tuamas’. Harpists, fiddlers, pipers and seanós singers, and of course whistle players! International guests such as Heinz Becker (no relation to Boris) a German who played the saw, often paid a visit when he was in town and joined in the merriment. When there was a break from the sessions, there was always music in the house as his parents had a vast LP collection of classical music. Colm himself began tooting the tin whistle at the age of 11, encouraged by his brothers and sisters who were already diddlin’ out on traditional music.

'Normal straight kid' As a boy Colm was a “normal straight kid” (what happened???), into Football, hurling and western films, in particular John Wayne films, all good wholesome stuff, and went to a school run by the notorious catholic Christian Brothers. Until he was old enough to get into pubs, Colm concentrated his interest in football. Not quite hot enough for midfield, he was favoured for goalkeeper and allegedly made some cracking saves!

Then came the wild period of raging hormones, seventies discos, nightclubs, permed hair (?), drunken orgies…… and Irish folk sessions! Colm joined a local band called ‘Pipeline’ who played pubs and rebel clubs performing the tired and tested old repertoire of Jigs and reels with the old song with the “rousing” chorus thrown in at prompting. Matt Malloy and the Bothy band and Farrah Fawcett-Majors now replaced John Wayne and Arsenal FC as Colms heroes. After leaving school Colm worked in a greengrocers for six months before promoting himself to petrol pump attendant at a local garage where he pumped his stuff for six oily years before discovering that the dete'Blues Brothers' auditionrgent used in washing cars, (he had to do that as well) was playing havoc with his skin.

In 1989 came the clarion call, and Irishmen and women were emigrating once again, (this time nothing to do with potatoes). Jobs were up for grabs in Germany and the beer’s good over there, so Colm early if you want, got up and went along for the crack. Reappearing as a barman in a Munich restaurant, Colm ploughed his lonely furrow through numerous employment agency jobs before becoming a city gardener alloted to the city graveyard. In 1992 Colm married Susanne, a German girl, and lived in holy matrimony for 7 happy years. Colms major hobby was of course playing his whistle. He never missed a session and was playing with every Munich Irish band going (whether they liked it or not!) Then came 1999, restless times, and Colm left his job and his marriage for the sex, beer and biscuits lifestyle, his behaviour proAltogether now ...voking the archbishop of Dublin to have a word with him about it!

Today, Colms jokes are still the same, but we still have to laugh ‘cos otherwise…….er…….um…….???

Farting, snoring, beer, puns and…. what’s this?…..cycling and walking??? are what Colm has listed as his hobbies. Likes good wine, posh restaurants, jazz and sophisticated stuff……..hang on, sorry that’s Klaus’ list. Colm now spends his time playing with numerous formations in the Munich Irish music scene, teaches the tin whistle and Gaelic language. He would like to follow in his fathers footsteps and try his hand at acting, and some of his sidesplitting antics on stage (for the band at least), prove that he’s willing to give it a go. “Its a laugh my friends” says Colm before bursting into yet another ‘rousing’ rendition of “Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins”.

Jim Klopfenstein

(USA) Double Bass/Electric Bass/Vocals

original and audatious

The enigmatic Mr Klopfenstein describes himself as “Only the bass player” but, and a big but at that, he quite simply has to be seen to be believed. Not only is he more than capable of laying a solid backbone behind the melodies, his outrageous bass solos’ are famous for their audacity and originality. To see Jim in action is something else, with his wiry frame wrestling with the big double bass, putting his heart and soul into getting incredible tone and emotion out of the beast, eyes closed, brow furrowed, tiptoeing, face contorting, Jim’s a show on his own! He can play subtle too! and he even writes songs.

Jim was born on a nearly normal summers’ Nearly normalday in the midwest in 1956. His family repeatedly moved from one place to the next because of his fathers’ job. When Jim was 9 they finally stayed in one place for more than a couple of years, Long Island, New York. The Beatles cartoons and the Monkees TV shows were at that time on television, and turned Jim on to the wonderful world of music.

HisParp ! mother and father played the piano and organ respectively and at the age of 10 Jim took up playing the trumpet, becoming the first among his siblings to play an instrument and he blew it for 3 years, (Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass!).

His older brother bought some records that still influence him to this day, The Band and Buffalo Springfield to name but two. He bought his first guitar with money earned from a paper round job, and was intrigued by the music of Crosby, Stills, Kelloggs & Cornflakes (Nash & Young, sorry!, the later already an influence together with Stills in Buffalo Springfield). Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson  Airplane/ Starship, the list is long.Crosby, Stills, Kelloggs, Cornflakes and Klopfenstein

Folk, Bluegrass and country, were already prominent in the music of the Grateful Dead. Figuring he couldn’t ever play fast like the other guys in town, he then took up the bass guitar. His sisters’ (now ex) husband, John Wallace, became the bassist for the late Harry Chapin, (biggest hit – “Cats in the Cradle”, covered in 1992 by Ugly Kid Joe) who was then recording his first album for Elektra records. Jazz dominated when Jim went to college, and his sister worked for several years for the German label ECM.

Except for some theory, Jim never studied music in this period, and in 1978, with his youthful Jim endorses Persildisappointments, he dropped out of college and treked off to Europe with musical buddys’ Steve  Stress, a talented multi-instrumentalist who had studied Indian classical music, and singer Sabine Bass. This was the time of groups such as Oregon and Weather Report and the stupid phrase “World Music” had yet to be coined (although groups like these started it all!). Together they busked their way around Europe playing Country, Bluegrass and Django Reinhardt on the streets. Eventually they ended up in Switzerland where they got a lot of gigs. Jim lived there for a time and has continued to play there on and off for years. In 1980 he settled in Munich after splitting up with the originalThe audacity of it ! group, meeting many new people, including his now ex-wife Marie-Jo.

Jim has played with numerous formations in the musical styles already mentioned. Exactly how many he can’t say “Cos he can’t count past 4, 4 and a half, 5…..” He has a daughter, Sophie-Claire, who also lives in Munich, and a son, Samuel who lives in Erlangen, and he’s really proud of them and their respective mothers’. His heroes of the bass include Jaco Pastorius, Phil Lesh, Verdine White from Earth Wind and Fire and Miroslav Vitous, the great contrabassist for the original Weather Report, to name but a few. Aside from music and fatherhood Jims’ interests include astrology, daydreaming, nature walks, birds, rain, mountains, clouds, history and anthropology. He is currently listening to an Olivia Newton-John CD he’s just bought… and why not!?!

Klaus Lamac

(D) Violin/5 string electric violin

Klaus in slow motionKlaus is the baby of the band, but despite being the youngest Biscuit, he’s probably the most sensible of them all . He’s also the only German on board, and on top of that, the only band member with a beard! Quite an incredible musician he is too. Adamantly a Violinist NOT a Fiddler, Klaus is however a virtuoso and quite simply amazing! His unique and stylish playing  and skill in improvisation give the band a jazzy dimension.

It all started with a harp. In fact it was not a harp but a Bavarian Zither, but to a little boy of five years watching television and whose eye fell on it as it rested on a table, such a little detail mattered naught. He had decided he wanted to play the “harp”.

Klaus was born in Reutlingen and moved to Munich with his parents when he was five years old. He spent 4 years struggling with little hands on what was rather a big instrument. But the Bavarian music which he practised with such zeal never really set his pulses going. He started grammar school and took advantage of free violin lessons at his school. After all, violin couldn’t be any harder than zither. Not exactly true, as he was soon to realize.

Until it would come clearer which instrument suited him better, he decided to stay with both of them. About that time he saw people playing the guitar as back up for singing and other instruments. That looked really easy. And some of those people didn’t play for long and didn’t practise too much, if at all. Also the response to the guitar among other people was significantly better than to violin. And it looked like fun. No further explanation necessary: he started learning guitar as well. Still unsatisfied with his violin playing and disappointed that he spent so much time with the instrument without getting any real fun, he decided to search for something else to do with the violin.

First of all he stopped classical violin playing altogether, that seemed the totally wrong approach for him to have fun. Instead he was allowed to join a folk band, Border Affair. He tried to improvise around the main melody, playing second lines, filling the gaps and taking – or rather attempting – a solo once in a while challenging himself, as well as the patience of the other members of the band. Although he was totally out of place most of the time, this felt more like fun. Inspired by one of these fellows he picked up a little upright bass and mandolin. Within this chaos fell some records of violin players, first of all Stuff Smith, then also Joe Venuti and Stephane Grappelli as well as various other artists, which were filed under Gipsy Swing.

Now thoroughly excited and enthusiastic he started heading towards that jazz thing, totally forgetting about his other instruments. Very soon he realized that learning to play jazz without any accompaniment was awkward, and since he couldn’t imagine anyone bearing with his attempts in jazz improvisation, he found himself forced to practice guitar so as to be able to play the violin along with his own pre-recorded guitar accompaniment. Ironically, his first appearance in public with jazz featured him on back-up guitar.

After some time, although still heavily struggling to get the improvisations bearable for listeners, he found a guitar player and a base player to form a trio to play in the style of the Hot Club de France with Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Then things got moving and in 1988 his first Gypsy Jazz Band Minor Swing started to play gigs in small pubs, mostly Sunday morning brunches, exhibition openings, wine tastings (the best occasions) and private parties. And this was real fun because here was space for a lot of improvisations and groove!!!  Since then this band has remained in existence, with different musicians every few years and recently renamed Dinah’s Finest.

Very soon he felt the urge to discover more modern jazz, and he joined the Jazz Gangsters playing tunes of Scofield, Metheny, Parker, Miles and all the other classics along with the band’s originals. But after a while he realized, that with improvisation he could have fun in almost any setting, so he took every opportunity to try something new and different, often being part of an one-time-occasion band, recording session or short term project, stepping in for other musicians in other bands – sometimes leading to a longer co-operation than initially planned, e.g. with the Giesinger Sautreiber or The Wasted Folk Rangers which lasted for several years. Over the years he found himself playing in such diverse styles as Gipsy Music, bar jazz, Swedish Folk (during a one year stay in Sweden), Brass Big Band, Tangos, Singer and Songwriter, Rock and Pop, Irish, Bluegrass, Jewish music, Bavarian.

In 1998 he joined the Burning Biscuit Band and the Huckleberry 5.

Beach bumKlaus was in Florida last year obviously having a miserable time (Click on photos to enlarge) We’re still waiting for Klausys’ baby pics, but please be patient – we’ll get ‘em! & we’ll announce it on our News page when we do!