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GABI's MUSIC CLUB

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.Joe Strummer - R.I.P..
In Memoriam of JOE STRUMMER
Donate a tree to the JOE STRUMMER MEMORIAL FOREST at FUTURE FORESTS
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"What came first? The music or the misery?
People worry about kids playing with guns and watching violent videos.
Nobody worries about thousands - literally thousands - of songs about
broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.

Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable, or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

John Cusack as Rob in the film "High Fidelity" (Book by Nick Hornby)

Music or Misery - video clip (More really cool stuff available at the High Fidelity WebSite)

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''If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another.'' ~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

''There is no way to peace - peace is the way.'' ~ Abraham Johannes Muste (1885-1966)

''You can always tell when a politician is lying. Their lips move.'' ~ Max Headroom


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| Intro | Work, Holidays & other Passions | Music was my 1st Love | Real Life started on June 22, 1991 |
| Trivial Details | Movies & Actors | Movies & Actors | No Life without Bits&Bytes | How it goes on |
Switch straight to the Latest Addition(s)

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My beloved DrFeelgood TattooMy name is Gabi, actually it's ''Gabriele'', but I just recently started to like this form, after reading an old interview of an actor whom I like, who mentioned the archangel Gabriel in a very touching way. Surname is Schwanke (even worse than Gabriele, but in the end it's just a name...). I was born mid 1963 in Hannover, Germany but seriously believe I better should have been born in England or California, 'cause those are the places where I feel like ''being home'' like no where else.
The color of my hair is black (almost), my height is 165 cm / 64.96 inches / 5.413 feet, the weight usually is a bit more as it should be but it's ok (man, I like good food!). I am a (kind of) convinced single (or shall I say ''forced to be''?) and have got no kids. Obviously it's like this because music is no. 1 in my life since decades, also I spend lots of time at the computer. "The Records are my kids - My bass is my lover - My friends are my family". Obviously no man is able to understand or willing to accept this. Well, I can work out appearing problems quite good on my own but sometimes I do miss someone to share the good things in life with. Sharing joy and fun doubles it up! So it's a bit sad though, nevertheless no reason to worry about it too often, because...
 
1.) ...I've already found what I really need to be happy. The music and friendship of my best mates Dr Feelgood. They are reliable - do not put any pressure onto me, they don't reduce my freedom - they simply take me how I am, there's no need to wear a mask (something which I HATE!). They've made me realise the reason, why I'm on this planet. They are my real family and I proudly will carry their symbol - the always smiling face - tattooed on my left arm, close to my heart. Forever and a day.

2.) ...there is someone there, who always puts a smile onto my face. Although we do live thousands of miles away from each other, our minds and thoughts always are connected. Our friendship knows neither time nor distance. Whenever I need him he's there. Always honest, supportive, understanding - A real friend. My Mexican boogie brother and soul mate Fito.

3.) ...I've met some other people (mainly in the music business) with which I straight or at least very quickly felt a deep relation to. An understanding even without words which was there from the beginning. Can't explain. Actually it does not need an explanation, I guess. It's there and that's what counts. It creates a good and warm feeling between each other. Same like my inner connection with Fito it doesn't gets reduced from big distance and/or time limitations. A wonderful and precious gift.

Meeting all those people made me start to believe in destiny.

Since June 2003 I am a supporting member of Greenpeace in Germany. If you want to join Greenpeace too, visit www.greenpeace.org for international info.
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Work, holidays & my other passions

The first profession I learned was design-writer. A great profession! It seemed I was born to do that. What a pity I became highly allergical against few of the materials I had to work with and so had to leave this job. Spent two years in a school for electronics afterwards to then work as a service technician for about 6 1/2 years. Have fixed machines in amusement arcades, owned by a man who was not just my boss but a good friend too. I enjoyed this job very much, because only rule given to me was to keep the machines going. It was like working self employed (just without the same payment unfortunately). Quickly I ended up to manage as good as anything which had to do with the business and my boss could concentrate on other things. I've had a good time and only rarely had to get up early in the morning. For someone like me, who prefers working during nights, it was perfect. My boss was allright. Because of me daily being in 24hours emergency service he offered me to go on holiday whenever I wanted to go to gigs or on tour with bands in Germany, England and Holland etc. I've spent a lot of time in England because most of my best friends live there and I like the English and their lifestyle very much (would like to live there better today as tomorrow). At that time I had a nice business car which I could use for my private drives too. Sometimes it was like living in a dream! Got countless good memories on endlessly cruising around in Canvey and Southend in 'my' Ford Granada 2.8, listening to Dr Feelgood and other bands from that area. I always still carry a photo of that car with me because I really loved it and miss it a lot (You're allowed to call me mad...).

Take me back home... Down by the Jetty... ... Down to the Jetty
Canvey Island, Essex, England - May 10th, 2001

In June 1997 I've lost my job because of financial problems of my boss (not just this branch of business obviously goes downwards in our country...). I can tell you life isn't much fun since then. I learned the government treats you like s**t as soon as you can't fulfil the duties of an 'decent citizen' (for which reason ever) - which seems to be nothing other as regularly to pay taxes. Naturally I tried/try to get a job in other firms but it seems there's no good chance, especially as my job definately is an unusual one for a woman. It might sound strange, but this treatment sometimes makes me feel some kind of racism. In times with having more than 4 millions of unemployed people in Germany plus incompetend politicians, who are unable to get the problems managed, it is not easy to survive. Seems it was good I've early started getting involved with the internet. I was fetched at first second on the possibilities of creativity which it offers. In fact, it's the area where I hope to get a chance to earn a living in the (hopefully near) future. At the moment I fight to get a place in a school for a proper multimedia / internet production course to get a certificate which is very useful to go for a job then. To be honest, my dream would be to work self employed, with a laptop and a mobile modem, while being on the road with a good band till I die. Yes, I know, it sounds crazy and seems to be as good as impossible - but I can't get this wish out off my mind. Too bad some silly laws and rules of the german employment office do impede people like me instead of giving the support they should. It's quite frustrating always to ran against closed doors... Anyway, I don't give it up! (Addition March 30, 1999:) Eventually I received a letter of a school saying I can start a 1 years course for Multimedia production end of May! If I really can make it depends on the decision of the employment office, which has to pay it. Fingers crossed they will give their ok. - I will keep you informed. (Addition May 10, 1999:) Great news, at May 31 I finally will start the course! Hope it will come out useful for the website and other multimedia projects I got in mind regarding the bands. (Addition June 13, 1999:) The course is great, I am learning a lot of new things but have to concentrate on it to do it properly so unfortunately there is not much time for doing the websites. Nevertheless I will try to keep the pages interesting enough for you to return! (Addition October 22, 2002:) In the meantime I made a course for "how to start your own business" and there met a guy, Jochen, who now is starting a Yoga products order shop. He asked me to do a catalogue for him (incl. doing the photos of the stuff he wants to sell), which I have done. Everyone who saw the printed catalogue has liked it. Currently I am working on an online order shop website for Jochen. The whole thing turned me a bit onto Yoga philosophy. My mind and eyes straight were fetched by a photo of a man on the cover of one of the books I had to scan in: Paramahansa Yogananda. Learning more about this man made me realize my "natural" way to think and feel has lot in common with the "Yoga spirit", even without knowing. There are some very interesting similarities although I've got my own interpretation for God/Allah/Manitu... Back to business: If Jochen's shop works out financially, he wants to do a magazine. I would be responsible for the technicial and design stuff. Personally I have started to brainstorm for a big yoga-related project I plan on the internet. Can give you no details though, as it's something not available yet for German www-surfers and naturally I don't want someone to "borrow'' the idea.

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Music was my first love and it will be my last...

6 months old Gabi - December 1963I was into music before I could even speak. Main reason for this surely was the jukebox in the pub of my parents where I grew up. Remember being a little girl in between men who hard worked on getting drunk - talking, shouting, laughing, often to end up in bad fights. But the scene always was filled with music. More than once someone was holding his nose, blood was running, but the jukebox played some funny tune. How absurd... the adults' world. Maybe the reason why I'm until today like a kid in many ways, who knows?! My dad can not believe it was him whom - without knowing - first introduced me to Dr Feelgood, when putting 'Trying To Live My Life' and other Feelgood singles into our Rock Ola. In those days who would have expected me many years later would become one of the most hardest Dr Feelgood addicted around? Today I wonder what made me collecting records of bands like The Sweet, Alice Cooper (I was a dedicated fan of him when I was nine, while my mates still read Alice in Wonderland...), The Bee Gees, Jim Morrison & The Doors, The Police (Sting inspired me to start playing bass), Level 42 (although I never slap the bass, Mark King was big influence to go on to practice), John Watts and Fischer-Z, The Damned, The Ramones (sadly missed! - R.I.P. Joey...), The Stray Cats, Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul (Thanks to Steve van Zandt for opening my eyes and ears for injustice against human beings - especially to the black ones - in this world!), The Alarm, U2, The Gun Club, Lords Of The New Church - but to own 3 Feelgood albums only. Of course I've also listened to The Beatles and Beach Boys (Brian Wilson is a genius composer). The music teacher at school got it managed to lead my interest a bit into classical music, too. Yes, all this is a wild mixture and I can imagine many of you will shout out 'Oh no!' You're right, how the heck could I ignore a great band like Dr Feelgood? Believe me, I could kick myself for letting pass by many precious Feelgood years! I've missed a big lot of their history. But who knows, maybe I wouldn't be how and where I am now (music wise) if I wouldn't have taken the steps I took (Wow, that sounds wise, doesn't it! <big grin>).
(Addition March 6, 2003:) Can you imagine, it has needed the death of a really great guy to make me realize how much a band - not mentioned above - has meant (and still means) to me: The Clash. Way back in 1977 I was 14 years old, still at school and it seemed Punk was not yet existing in Germany. The first contact in this way I've had when hearing The Ramones first album. Till today I like all the stuff from Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Marky. It's simple but dynamite. They continued all through the years to be one of my fave punk bands. When I was around 18 and living on the dole (and chose to 'become' a Punk, 'cause it seemed to mean absolute freedom and an obvious sign of protest), I most liked The Damned. Have even created selfmade clothes wearing their logo, some ''wise'' slogans, etc. The Damned were aggressive like The Ramones, but more ''flexible'' music wise. That's why. A tape of ''Machine Gun Etiquette'' was best compain at my first trip to London. A full week I strolled around between Elephants&Castle (lived in a squat there) and the town center. One day I even walked from there to the other end, just to see the Hope&Anchor pub! Who knows the distance will be able to image what this means... Of course, it was impossible not to recognize the ''only band that mattered (muttered :o))'' aka ''The Last Gang in Town''- The Clash. Naturally I've bought their first album on vinyl, have also danced and shout to ''London Calling'' (mainly in the Red Cow, a punk club in Hannover, or the no.1 meeting center for the Punks, the ''UJZ Kornstrasse'') and was highly impressed of their 3-LP album ''Sandinista!''. In my opinion, The Clash have invented real cross-over music, 'cause they didn't accept any rules and frontiers whatsoever. Well, at least, they've brought it to perfection. Critics may say whatever they like - I will always respect the Clash guys for their sheer passion, union and honesty. What a mixture of characters they were! Each of them loveable and interesting in his own way. I wish to have met them. We would have ''teamed up'' very well for sure. Yes, in the beginning they were young and full of dreams, unsatisfied with their lifes, somehow naive and blue-eyed even (probably everyone would have been like this, just imagine yourself in the situation they were in and what all happened short time later), but as The Clash they united followed and fought for their beliefs, took all chances given to make things happen and to inspire other people too, to fight against injustice and inhumanity. They lived with, cared for and respected their fans. I believe no other band - before or since - has achieved as much as The Clash's have. ''The right time, right people, right place'', springs to mind... I never saw The Clash live unfortunately. If there would be a time machine available, I straight would beem me back to 1977, right in front of their stage for as long as possible! Thank you Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicky 'Topper' Headon.
--- When Joe died on Sunday, 22nd of December 2002, it rocked my world. The intensity of the hit took me by surprise. I wasn't aware how much Joe (and the Clash) mean(t) to me. Must have been hidden in the underground of my mind/heart/soul somewhere. Anyway, fact is, I literally was unable to do anything constructive, felt like paralysed for weeks afterwards. Setting up a web page
In Memoriam of Joe Strummer was a therapy to handle the shock. It sounds crazy, but I can not remember to have felt touched and deeply shattered this much about the passing of someone since my mom died in 1968, when I was five, and the second time in 1994, at the (expected) death of a friend, Lee Brilleaux from the band Dr Feelgood. As already said, although I have never met Joe, it feels like having lost a partner, a related soul. It will hurt forever. Only good thing on this is, I returned to regularly and often to listen to the Clash's records. How could I let them get dusty in the rack? I am an idiot. Have also realized that I am still a punk at heart (not only on the head ;-)), maybe today much more as I was a punk in the early 80ies... Sad enough, compared to 1983 not very much has changed. Like way back then, I have got no job and not much hope to receive a fair offer in the near future (todays news read: 11,7 percent of unemployed people in Germany, tendency pointing upwards. Thanks to the german government. Career oppuntunities? What are you talkin' about??!!). I still live in a crazed decorated flat, it's packed with memories and dreams, and it looks like a museum. Hundreds of photos of people I like, my paintings and drawings, tons of cds, books, videos, dvds (only difference: I haven't had this many way back then, and no cd's/dvd's, of course). And: I still got massive problems with the complete family, They simply got a different way of thinking as I have, and - main reason for inefficient communication - far different definations of what's life about. Maybe I will have to burn in hell, God may have to save their souls...

I don't want to miss a thing. I've had many great times with the music of the bands mentioned above and hope I always will be able to listen to it till I have to die (and maybe longer, who knows what comes afterward?!). Few of their records mean a lot to me and sometimes still spin at my record- or cd player. By the way, I also enjoy good old Piano Boogie (Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons), some Jazz (Miles Davis, Chet Baker / Gerry Mulligan, Ben Webster and such), orchestras like Glenn Miller's and Duke Ellington's and Soul music (Otis Redding, Ray Charles, etc etc...). Naturally there's some ''old black Blues'' in my collection!
Music which I don't like is Techno, Speed Metal and most of the electronically stuff which is created on computers by people who can not play an real instrument. I don't mind if you hate me, but I usually call those people "wanna-be-musicians".
(Addition June 28, 2002:) Lately Russell Crowe not even made me watch the Gladiator movie six times in 6 weeks (more times followed since) - and what a great score / soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, wonderful vocals by Lisa Gerrard - he also instantly fetched me musically with his band ''Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts'' (which exists since 18 years!!). Not only when he speaks he gots a very pleasant voice.... By the way, I like his directness and (most) of his humour. Although it's not obvious on fist look, he seems to be a genuine and nice person.

Gabi - 1967Gabi, approx 4 years old, in Grandpa's garden. Nicely dressed (ahem...) like usual, but already having the glance of rebel (look into these eyes!). My favourite job at that time was picking up all the dead birds from the walkways to the garden, to then bury them - including a proper ceremony with a funeral speak - in my very own sand box. Many years later Grandpa told me, he really loved having me around that often, but not at all enjoyed having to clean the sand box every day. - Oh yes, I was a horrible kid!
My dad used to say: ''I only hope the children you will have will become exact copies of yourself.'' And he never meant this well. Until today I tell him, ''if I would have children, I would be pleased if they would at least be a bit like me, when I was a kid. It would mean some trouble but lots of fun, too.'' - I always would prefer creative kids with own personalities, instead of little soldiers who follow any command.)
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As a kid I strummed around on a cigar box with rubber bands fixed around, and also played 'amazing' piano soli at the keys of our jukebox! (wish I would have photos of that!). Once my parents caught me in the act which made them buying me a cheap acoustic guitar ('Better let the kid use an real instrument, just in case if a neighbour sees her!'). From that day on noone saw me without that red guitar. Like countless others before I started practicing to my favourite records. Very soon I realized I'm not made to play chords (too silly or what?) so I played single notes only. Who cares when it is good fun?! Around 1982/3 lucky me won an electric guitar in a competition, but because of the 'chords problem' (I still can't 'think' while playing) it straight was exchanged for a new Gibson 'The Ripper' Bass. By the way, it's a horrible bass to play (now I know why nearly noone plays this model). Still got the Ripper today, but as soon as possible I've bought a Fender Jazz Bass. Sorry, Mr. Gibson! Since May 1998 I'm the proud and very happy owner of an 1966's Fender Precision, sunburst, in original state and very good condition. It's a truly wonderful bass! I love it and whoever got an instrument like this will understand what I'm talking about. It's the real thing! It was owned by Paul Junior, bassplayer of Omar & The Howlers, who played it for about ten years. Because the Howlers and me are friends he sold it to me for a really good price. I borrowed my 'Sunny' (thet's how I named it because of its sunburst color plus it makes my life sunny) to Phil Mitchell of the Feelgood's at the german tour in January 1999. Phil played it at two or three gigs and straight loved it, too ('Wanna swap?' - 'Sorry, no way.')!

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If this isn't true love... Sunny and Gabi ...what else is?

Since 1983 I played bass in various bands in and around my hometown. Started (simple but fast) with Punk, then going over to Reggae, Rock, Blues and some indefineable styles. At home I've practiced various other stuff too (just have a look above at the list of my fave bands at that time). Sometime the other members of one of the bands asked me also to do the lead vocals (and song writing). The audiences liked it but I've always prefered to stick with my beloved piece of wood with the 4 strings... It's simply like that if you've found your real satisfaction, am I right?

Real life started on June 22, 1991...

Unexpected and by pure chance I've met the guys of Dr Feelgood on June 22nd 1991 (my absolutely best belated birthday present ever!) at an open air festival in the middle of Hannover. Straight my connection to music became deeper as it was already. Getting to know the Feelgoods personally totally changed my life. Through them I could take a close view behind the scenes, met quite a few other bands and musicians and I'm very happy some of them became good friends in the meantime. The first time in my life I've met people who really do understand what and how I feel, they don't call me weird, 'cause they've got similar feelings, priorities, dreams, wants and needs (Visit a page I made for those "Special People" right now, or read on further and use the link at the end of this text). My most precious memories go back on things which happened to me in the last decade - I will always be absolutely grateful for that. Something such great and special doesn't happen to each one of us, doesn't it! How often do I wonder why I'm the fortunate, why did/does it happen(s) to me... Pure chance, destiny, purpose? Purpose, I think. Everything happens for a reason.

God bless them
- all the Feelgoods, Canned Heat, Omar & The Howlers, Eric Burdon, Mike Sanchez, The (original) Big Town Playboys, The Hot Rods, The Inmates, Nine Below Zero, The Hamsters, The Two Timers. Sting, Brian Wilson, Jude Cole and all the other great musicians who make me feel good
- Robert Downey Jr., Martin & Charlie Sheen, Peter O'Toole, John Cusack, Kiefer Sutherland and all the other actors who are inspiration for my thoughts and dreams
- all the "non-artistically-creative people" around, who belong to my life in this or that way
All of you make my life special and enjoyable. Some do it just with their art, others add their friendship too! I frankly can say some of them mean much more than the family I belong to. What would I be without 'em?!

Some of the 'trivial' details

I especially like Italian and Chinese food, various fruits and vegetables, tea, cola, fresh orange juice, beer, sweet red wine, white wine, chocolate (in any form), wine gums, sweets and chewing gum. I could quite easily become a vegetarian, don't eat meat too often (which is totally untypical for a german, like statistics say).
My favourite animals are dogs, rats, sharks, wales, dolphins, owls and parrots - but I like most other animals too (except of most of the little crawling ones, the insects). They're better ''people'' than us. Favourite plants are cacti, palms, various trees and bushes, natural grown flowers and grass. I like the smell of lilac and freesia.
I don't follow fashion rules, just wear what I like and what's practical. Of course, in publice I tend to wear Dr Feelgood t- & sweat shirts :o) Anyway, sometimes I would wear some fancy dress, but it's such hard (and painful) to walk in high heels, it makes me quickly to return to the casual outfit. The guys I know always say it's a pity, they want to see me in skirts and dresses, although I would like to surprise them but I follow a philosophy which says: "Never torture your body if you don't really have to." Sorry, boys!
Second real passion of mine are fast cars and oldtimers. Since ages I'm dreaming of a 1963's Corvette, (actually I would take each model). Just to have one available for a single day would be fantastic. I surely would drive around the full 24 hours!! In a next life (if there's one) I want to be a racing driver, of course only if no offer as a professional musician or successful career in other arts (writing, painting, acting) is available.

I read biographies, mainly about/from music(ians) or other artists, and lots of other stuff which widens my knowledge in various spheres and outer spaces. Got some interest in PSI and similar strange mysteries (fortune telling fascinates me, even if I don't really believe in it - it's spiritually relaxing to do tarot cards or alike). Like millions others I like Stephen King's stories - his manner to think and write is brilliant. I enjoy cartoons, comics and stories which make me laugh or ones out of the horror genre which are truly scrary and exciting (no the splatter crap). Almost forgotten: The cartoons and brilliant poems of german artist Wilhelm Busch. It's surely is impossible to get his words properly translated into other languages, his manner of rhyming and setting words was simply too special and unique. His humour was excellent!
My other interests in art: No.1 fave painting artist always will be Caspar David Friedrich. His paintings make me relax because of their charisma of peaceful wideness. The era of the so called 'Neuen Wilden' ('New Wilds'?) in the Mid-Eighties fetched me very much, the raw energy of their paintings inspired me to start to paint too. Few of my paintings are colourful but mainly I use graphit, pencils and coal to portay people who mean something to me (and black always was my favourite color). In between all this I'm fascinated of old and modern architecture of any kind.

 Sunny and Gabi - 2
Talk through me

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My other passion: Movies and special actors

I've got a huge collection of videos and DVD's. The contents are movies with starring Peter O'Toole (man, I do love this gentleman since decades! That guy gots style!), Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Rock Hudson, Bette Davis, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck, Doris Day, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Michael York, Elisabeth Taylor, Tony Curtis, Jerry Lewis, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Richard Chamberlain, Danny Kaye, Christopher Plummer, Donald Sutherland, Sidney Poitier, Peter Sellers, Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando and similar actors of that time.
There's 3 (since early 2002 it's 4) actors of "my generation" who with each other kind of share the No.1 place as "my favourite actors". The three of them are extraordinary and special, each one in his own way, although they've definately also share(d) a few other things and experiences in their lifes... (The order of their appearance below doesn't mean I like one more than the other, ok? I couldn't say which one I like the most.)
>>> Charlie Sheen: I'm proud to own an almost complete collection of his movies in german and english language. He's such a talented actor and - what I admire at him the most - he's a truly honest person, no compromise. I really appreciate to see him living like he wants, giving a f**k on all the 'Hollywood rules', false moral, the press etc etc... Nevertheless it's good to see he finally stopped cruising the "road to ruin". Thumbs up, Charlie!! Well done! Next one is
>>> Kiefer Sutherland: A special guy because he not only always was (is!) a brilliant actor (what an impressive job he already has done as a young guy in "Trapped in Silence". WOW!!) but also is an excellent director (see "Truth Or Consequences N.M." or the touching film "Woman Wanted"). My Sutherland movie collection in english and german language is almost complete, too. When I check it there's almost only really good movies, not much nonsense stuff (sorry, Charlie...). He's got a lucky hand (and the courage) to pick the right movies to become a part of. In fact, often enough he was the one who made a movie what it was in the end. He's simply incredible and seems to be a nice person (down to the earth) too. - Third of my 3 No.1 actors has to be
>>> Robert Downey Jr.: No idea what was the silly reason, but actually I just recently became kind of "addicted" to him (or his works), in early 2001 (SHAME OVER ME!!). Yeah, life again tought me I'm always very late with exploring the really good "things" in life (just remember what I've said about the Feelgoods earlier...). Anyway, it wasn't too bad, like a browse through my videos has prooved, I've always liked his movies! There already was a small but fine collection of films he's in, which went with me from flat to flat since many years. Now, just about 8 months later, I've got 36 of his movies on video and/or dvd. The missing ones will be added as soon as I can get hold of them. I believe Robert is an intelligent, very sensitive, highly-talented man, not just in acting but also when it comes to music. He definately was born to be an actor/artist. To use the word "become" an actor/artist doesn't work in his case - I think, he always was one. It looks like if he doesn't have to "act / mime" when he's on camera, it seems to come all naturally, straight and pure - it's part of him. He offers himself. It's very touching, impressive, fetching and really beautiful to watch him doing such a perfect job, no matter which kind of role he's got. Most actors can work their asses off but not even achieve slightly the same kind of effect (or (e)motion) which one minute of Robert's presence in a movie has got. He appears and directly IS THERE. It's excellent, brilliant, perfect, wonderful. Seems he's doing it light like a feather but also as mighty as anything mighty I can imagine - not easy to find words to describe what I mean. Unfortunately he not only gives 101 per cent of himself when he's doing a movie, he also is crazy enough to put the same amount of energy into his continuing (partly) self-decided killing of his soul & body. With all my heart I wish and hope he will get & take the chance to save himself from the devils in his head before it's too late. It's selfish, but I would miss getting to see and hear new material of his arts regularly. And, most of all, it would be damned sad and frustrating to see him becoming totally broke by Hollywood and its devils.
(This is To Robert Downey Jr. - if he may access this page, which I don't expect. But after the world became such small since the www was opened to the public, you'll never know...)

 Smile...  
Me looking over the shoulder of Robert Downey Jr.

That's a photo collage, of course! Nevertheless I've
rarely seen 2 shots fit together so well. Couldn't
hold me back from putting it onto this page, just for
fun, it looks good and makes me smile!

The shot of me was taken at the 8th Lee Brilleaux Memorial show in Canvey Island, England on May 11th, 2001. Note my new tattoo, the barbed wire (inspired by Kiefer Sutherland, NOT Pamela Anderson!!!). It was made in November 2000 in L.A.. The "tattooist" was a real Hells Angel from the 60s/70s, born in L.A., has never left it. I like the idea I took something with me, genuine and original from L.A. - which is a hell house, but I like it. I was quite amused and didn't wanted to trust my eyes when I read that guys name at certifications on the wall: Charlie Green! How close is that to Charlie Sheen... Funny coincidence! Although I have to admit Charlie Green was a nice guy, but not even half as handsome as is Mr. Sheen. To top this, another strange thing happened: While working on the tattoo, Charlie and me started to natter about this and that to quickly learn we've got a connection with each other without knowing. Many years ago he had a statistic role in a movie which was produced by a head of the Hells Angels at that time (named "The Push", just for the record). It was made to promote Los Angeles Blues&Boogie veterans / Woodstock legends Canned Heat. They're friends of mine, their drummer and boss, Fito de la Parra, is one of my dearest friends and a true soul mate. It's a small world, isn't it? Amazing! (The film mentioned is "Boogie Assault". It never made it into the cinemas, I believe. No big surprise. I've seen it and it was just weird, hasn't even had dialogues. If not taken serious it was kind of entertaining, with lots of Hells Angels running around dressed up as monks while Fito played a cool dealer. To be honest, it's only recommendable to true hardcore fans of the band. But maybe I'm just too blind/stupid to find out where the real art is hidden?)

>>> John Cusack joined the club of my "TOP 5 favourite Actors" early 2002 (better late than never, am I right?), although there already are some videos of movies with him in my collection since years. Due to the fact I kept films of other actors I like it was good luck he also was in the same movies, this makes it a lot easier to get together the now wanted "complete works of John Cusack" as quick as possible. Again I have to admit, it's simply sad it often takes me such long to realize how good some people are in their jobs! No idea what's wrong in my head... - So what do I like about John Cusack? Well, like Robert Downey Jr. and (my all time No.1) Peter O'Toole - he has got the special gift to be able to be the character he plays.It must be stunning to see him live on a theater stage! Also it seems he's straight, honest, down to earth, and got the balls to speak out his thoughts if there's need to do so. An intelligent, curious, creative person. I tend to call him a "thinking man", who is wise enough to laugh often, not to take himself too seriously and who enjoys having a good time whenever possible. It's pleasing he obviously is not attracted (touched?) by Hollywood's "poison". I'm not talking about drugs here, but about the lies and fake shows celebrities often play to "fit" silly schemes. I am curiously looking forward on what all this multi-talent will produce next! - Oh, almost forgotten (as if above listed positive qualities are not enough already to be a loveable person): John makes a good figure in casual clothes as well as in suits and looks like if it doesn't needs champagne and caviar to make him happy.

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Other actors I pay big respect for are:
Martin Sheen (not only an outstanding actor but also activist for peace & love. Truly a great man! Many thanks to his wife for keeping him and the family "going"), Robert de Niro, Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper, Harvey Keitel, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Viggo Mortensen (a fantastic photographer and interesting art painter too, by the way, also he writes poems. I am glad he finally, after the Lord of the Rings trilogy, receives the recognition he deserves), then James Belushi, Christopher Walken, Jimmie Smits, James Woods, Donald Sutherland, Jeremy Irons, Jeff Bridges, Sean Penn, Michael York, Dustin Hoffman, Richard Harris, William Hurt, Tim Robbins, Richard Gere, Nick Nolte, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Michael Douglas, Al Pacino, Michael Caine, Gerard Depardieu, Tom Berenger, Louis Gossett Jr., Kathy Bates, Tom Hulce, Gary Cole, Jeff Fahey, Val Kilmer (what an brilliant Jim Morrison impersonator he was in "The Doors"), Sam Neill, Graham Greene, Robin Williams (who also is a damned good stand-up comedian), Rob Lowe, Johnny Depp, Emilio Estevez, Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Kyle McLachlan, Ray Liotta, Chris Mulkey, Lou Diamond-Phillips, Jeff Goldblum, Meg Ryan, Melanie Griffith, James Spader, Susan Sarandon, William Dafoe, Richard Chamberlain and few others of such (oops, seems I prefer mainly handsome male actors obviously!).
The series Twin Peaks to me is a genius mixture of acting, art and music, absolutely fantastic and unbeatable, a definite milestone in movie history. I love mystery series like The X-Files, Outer Limits, Millenium, The Legacy (Poltergeist), American Gothic. If I want more than just entertainment I prefer documentations and films about, for example, slavery, racism and (inconseivably still going on) apartheid and similar sad historical abuses. Also technical and medical reports catch my interest. For easy entertainment I like some of the american sitcoms, especially Spin City (started to watched when Charlie Sheen joined in, and I was in California. Back in Germany I also enjoy the original episodes with really cool Michael J. Fox, which currently runs on german TV, but have a friend taping me the Charlie seasons), West Wing with Martin Sheen and Ro b Lowe also is a good one but yet not on over here. Tim Allen's Home Improvement / Tool Time I hated at first, just hearing the start melody made me straight zap to an other channel... while today I even watch the repeats! I regularly watched Miami Vice, Starsky & Hutch, Quincy, Jake & McCabe, The Mask (Rick Springfield) and such series alike. Well, since I am stuck to the computer night and day, the tv runs almost all the time too, even if I don't watch, I can listen to it... Sometimes I wish back the days when the cassette or vinyl player ran all day, it is fact it definately was/is more inspiring... (I really should switch back to that!). My fave series' of the 60/70's are ''I dream of Jeannie'', ''Star Treck'' (the original with Kirk and Spock) and ''The Partridge Family'' & ''The Monkees'' (although these were quite silly stuff, it was addictive for a kid who loves anythink which has to do with music). In general I can frankly say, german series are horrible. No idea what exactly the Americans and Brits do different, but even the worst stuff they produce looks more real as the best stuff the Germans put onto TV. The typical german series ''actors'' (I really don't want to call them so...) are such stiff, and when they speak their dialogue it is like if an automatic doll is switched on. You must see it to believe. There are only a few actors we've got, which are as good as some of the famous american and british ones. Some of them even made it to Hollywood (and I'm not talking about guys like the austrian Schwarzenegger here!!), the others (thank God) stay in Germany to ensure we sometimes are provided with good own TV-films.
My fave actors of all time are: Peter O'Toole (I even watch the b-movies because I like to see him), Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Robert de Niro, Martin Sheen, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Romy Schneider and - from the generation of my age it's - Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey Jr., John Cusack, Keanu Reeves (after "The Matrix" and especially "The Watcher" I count him to "the good ones"), Sean Penn - who all, in my eyes, are really true and honest actors each in his/her own way. Surely there's a few ones who belong into this category too, which I've missed out here, sorry. (I got the feeling, Russell Crowe will be added as soon as I've seen more of his films...)
My fave stand up comedian is the wise Bill Hicks (unfortunately he died too young). Of course the Monty Pythons bunch also is present, the Marx-Brothers and (genius) Charlie Chaplin, same like Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. There's nothing better as having a good laugh about silly jokes - which are based on the truth - about the strange and weird behaviour of us human beings, am I right?

Favourite movies? Too many to list.
An all time favourite since my childhood is H.G.Wells' ''The Time Machine'' with Rod Taylor and this cute blonde, Yvette Mimieux. No idea how often I've watched it. I read the book and went to our local small and dirty cinema anytime the film was shown. I'd always liked the decoration, all the little details, and my favourite scene will stay the one with the mannequin in the window of the shop across the road. It's great to see the fashion style changes through the years when Rod switches on the time machine - Up into the future! How funny and excellent! Incredible what women do (wear) to attract men...
''Cape Fear'' with Robert de Niro is a great one, same like ''Shining'' with Jack Nicholson. Aaah, almost forgotten, my absolute No.1: Roman Polanski's "Dance of the Vampires" (english title is something like "The fearless vampire hunters" or so). There were times when I could speak the complete dialogues incl. the phrasing, exactly like in the movie (all in german, of course), such often I've watched it. Well, it's time to see it again, I think.
David Lynch's Twin Peaks, Deerhunter, Little Big Man (NO OSCAR for Hoffman!!! - but Tootsie was good enough for one... how strange...), Chaplin (NO OSCAR for Downey, Jr. !!! - Hey, what goes on in f**king Hollywood, where Julia Roberts gets one for Pretty Woman while really true acting skills stay unrecognized???!!!), Platoon, ... Man, it's not fair to go on, cause too many great movies would be left out...
(Addition on April 1, 2002):
"Lord of the Rings" is my latest fave. And, again this year (2002), the Academy awarding the Oscars continue to leave me wondering about the way of picking the final winners. I think Sir Ian McKellen should have received the Oscar for best supporting role as Gandalf, Peter Jackson the Oscar for directing. At least it seems they have stopped to include the colors of the actors for making the final decisions... Nevertheless I never will be able to understand and forgive since decades they always have missed out the great Peter O'Toole, who was nominated 7 times. I suppose it is because he always lived how it has pleased him, instead of hiding the truth to satisfy "Hollywood's rules". The same argument works perfectly on Robert Downey Jr. and various other actors/actresses who don't hide addictions and/or similar ''embarrassing passions'' behind a wall of lies.
(Addition on March 1, 2004):
YES YES YES!!! They have finally received the awards they deserve. The makers of The Lord of the Rings trilogy even achieved what never has happened at all 75 Annual Academy Awards in the past: To be nominated for an Oscar 11 times AND to take all of them back home. Fantastic! - ***CONGRATULATIONS*** - A billion thanks to Peter Jackson for making his dream come true and sharing it with us (waiting for the Return of the King extended dvd kills me!!). To the screenplay writers and the designers for making J.R.R. Tolkien's words, worlds and visions visible and touchable in such a perfection and beauty. Thanks to the especially dedicated and wonderful cast, you were (are) an incredible ensemble. Thanks to the countless people ''behind the scene (screen)'' for providing the environment to make the Lord of the Rings trology what it is: A masterpiece, a true Precioussssss. Thanks to the ones who had faith into Peter Jackson. You see, sometimes it pays off to take a huge risk ;o)
A very special thanks to J.R.R. Tolkien for creating Middle Earth and its folks, stories and languages.
Also congratulations to Sean Penn and Tim Robbins (God bless those who stand up and fight), and - of course to all the other winners and nominees. Too many good movies and actors/actresses, directors, composers and all the other creative masters - and far too few Oscars to give out. Wishing you good luck for the next time. (Seems there really was no way to win against those who had the ''Ring of Power''...).

No life without the Bits & Bytes

How can I forget to list the 'something' I spend most of my time with: the computer. Some years ago I've spent endless nights and days in ''another world'', playing adventure games like Larry, Kings Quest, Shivers, Zork, The 7th Guest, Myst, Discworld, Simon the Scorcerer, and such alike. Unfortunately since joining the internet and doing the websites it seems there's no time left to waste with such kind of truly relaxing entertainment...

Here are the bands whose music (and the friendship of some of them) touch my heart and soul nowadays:
Dr Feelgood (any era), Omar and The Howlers & Gary Primich, Canned Heat, The Hamsters, Nine Below Zero, Mike Sanchez, The Big Town Playboys, The Inmates / Bill Hurley, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Eric Burdon, Little Steven, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Damned - and there still are some more around from the faves in the past.
I would vote The Canned Heat as 'Best Still Continuing Legends' (seems absolutely nothing can stop them to play us their great Boogie&Blues since more than 30 years - Respectful thanks and a biiiiiiiig big hug to Fito de la Parra for navigating 'the ship of madness' through all tides), The Yardbirds for today being more powerful than ever (as far as I can judge, very subjective but nevertheless my clear opinion) AND for making me feel like being part of the family, Eric Burdon as the 'Best Blues (etc) Vocalist ever' & 'Most Impressive and Powerful Survivor of the 60ies', Stevie Ray Vaughan as "Sadly missed most touching (Texas Blues) Guitarist", Brian Wilson as 'Most innovative Composer/Arranger of the 20th Century', Barry "Slim Hamster" Martin as 'Guitarist with the best vocals', Bill Hurley as the 'Best British Vocalist' (1000 Thanx to Peter ''Gunn'' Staines for always excellent lyrics and music!!), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as 'Most brilliant Composer/Arranger of all time', Neil Hannon's The Divine Comedy as 'Best New Musical Project of the last Decade' and Jonny Lang as 'Best new Blues Vocalist'. Just for fun: I nominate Rick Springfield as 'Best Looking Musician since decades'.
Musicians who unfortunately already have "left us" far too early, which I would have liked to get to know in person are: Joe Strummer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jim Morrison, Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson, Jimmy Hendrix, Dennis Wilson...

(Addition on September 9+12, 2000):
Latest "new" thing which fetches my interest is the good old Baseball. I really am into it a lot now (have always loved the various baseball movies) and hope to see a game (or better a few) some day in the USA. Over here in Germany it's mainly crap, noone seems to know how to play it right. Can you imagine they play with aluminium or plastic bats!!! No respect for the tradition... Disgusting! The ladies teams play a kind of "reduced" Baseball, called Softball... In fact, german Base- / Softball to me is not very exciting, it obviously still is in its beginning phase. Probably some support from the sports TV stations would help getting more recognition for this absolutely fantastic sport! Anyway, I've bought me a wooden bat, some balls (including one with marks for the fingers to practice proper pitching) and also got me two gloves (very hard to find as not many sports shops sell Baseball stuff). Next thing I need is someone who helps me to practise. That's the only bad thing on Baseball, you always need someone who pitches or bats if you want to learn how to play this wonderful game. Well, I really hope the german media offer us some regular Baseball info and broadcasts soon, until then I'll go on surfing my favourite Baseball Websites while the official Major League Baseball's news online broadcasted at MLB Radio... MLB Radio 
(Updated on June 7, 2001 / Oct.. 2002)
Gabi in California - Nov. 2000
Finally I've started to add some photos and comments of my California trip. I've got many more really wonderful shots but noi idea when I will find time to complete the online gallery. Unfortunately it was long after this journey (Nov.-Dec. 2000) that I have "met" the wonderful Paramahansa Yogananda, who - same like me - had very special feelings for this area of our planet (he built the first center of the
Self-Realisation Fellowship right on the beach of the breathtaking Pacific Ocean, in Central California). Hopefully some day I will be able to go there to see (t)his place. To wander his footsteps in the sand, to see what he has seen, to maybe feel what he has felt.
In June 2003 I explored a wonderful website: www.californiacoastline.org. It offers webcam photos (with interactive navigation) from the Californian coastline (actually build for observing the environment). The photos are really great and a welcome opportunity to return to this beautiful place even without having to take a long journey! I love it and would like to thank Barbra Streisand who is involved in this project.

Yeah, all this is me - my feelings, thoughts & crazyness, all the people & things who/which keep me 'ticking'. After many people via email requested info about the person who's doing the websites for all these wonderful bands and musicians of Gabi's Music Club, I've thought it would be easier to make a page on the internet instead of emailing the same info again and again.

Thanks a lot for your interest and DON'T FORGET TO BOOGIE!!!

How it goes on
(Addition on January 5 & March 2, 2004):
Still no job in sight, no forthcoming possible. It is frustrating and makes me feel kind of useless in the meantime. I have to admit sometimes I am very depressed, but thanks to my nature (and uplifting music and movies) this usually does not last for long. The situation in Germany is due to the continuing sick decisions of highly overpayed politicians and other ''rulers'' getting even worse. No justice, no fairness. Just poor and rich, no real middle class. We are returning to the place were we were decades ago. And they lie. Not only to the german people (who are silly and lame enough always to take anything like undefeatable, without starting a revolution - or at least - to fight back), but they lie to the whole world. Sure, we still are far richer and a better country as most others in this world, but even in the ''great'' social Germany people die out on the streets, because they have no home, no money, no support. And believe me, you even can die if you have a roof over your head. There's a saying: ''You can not miss what you've never had.'' A lot of truth in that. I believe it is easier to survive mentally well in front of an empty plate instead of a plate full of delicious food which you can not reach. --- Our president and ministers should not pretend our country is stronger and more stable as it really is. This is not what the people want. I am ashamed about the men and women who represent me in the world, who get payed to talk ''for me'' - 'cause they do not tell the truth. Just one simple example: TV and print media talk about ''We have 4.5 millions of unemployed people'', a lie! They hide the truth, cause this number does not include the many people who are ''on work'' in one of those terrible programs to ''educate'' people, the others who receive money from the Social department, the immigrants and alike. All those probably will make another 4.5 million (or even more). No idea, why the government does not tell it like it is. I just don't want to start thinking on what else they try to hide from us. But as long as the Germans stay accept all orders and actions we get presented by our ''leaders'', no matter how mad and unbearable (because not fair) they are, that long they will continue to ruin the ''little man'', right? Right.
Due to various circumstances I finally realized, I am almost at the same point where I was during my ''Punk-days'', when I was around 18/22 years old. No job, no future, not sure which directions to take. The difference to those days: Way back then I have had the will, power, energy, hope, dreams, illusions. I had faith into myself. Today I only have left some dreams and many memories. The energy, hope and faith into myself is almost gone, wasted for fights with family members and for living under the system of our government.
No question, I am grateful they care for my body. They don't let me die from hunger, or leave me in the freezing cold outside. Like it should be in a family and 'civilized country', right? But they give a sh*t on my soul, and for one bit of support they give, they want to own (and rule) your life two times more. - Don't think I do not know that I am a very lucky person! Daily I think on the many people - and animals - who don't even know how wonderful life can be, the ones who never lived in peace, those who have to fight for their life every single day. Those suppressed, tortured, mistreated. Should make me feel better, maybe, but it enlarges the fury. How to change things when you feel helpless against the madness everywhere around?
Knowledge, sensibility and love are treasures.
Thinking too much can become a burden, sometimes.

Thanks to the financial support of some friends (the Feelgoods, Fito, Hanz and Helmut) I still am able to continue to do the websites and to stay connected to the internet. Their mental support helps to keep the balance to the heavy knifes that my family members stick into my soul. No idea where (and if) I would be without my self-chosen (true) family of friends.

Yours sincerely (and 'theirs' always and forever)

Gabi
Gabriele Schwanke
[E-MAIL]

~ A wise man enjoys the memories of a great past without ignoring the future. (Gabi, 30.Oct.2002) ~


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