Named after the Greek Earth goddess, Gaa was one of the many fine and yet obscure second-string cosmic Krautrock bands, sounding something like a Teutonic Pink Floyd with a similar spacy organ sound and heavier guitar. Unlike many German bands of the time, they actually sang in their native language. Helmut Heisel, Peter "Bello" Bell, and Stefan Dorr formed the group in early 1973 in Saarland in the southwestern part of Germany. They had previously played in a conventional cover band, the Phantoms, but were now ready to expand into far more original music. Within a few months, they recruited Gunter Lackes, Werner Frey, and Werner Jungmann, and Heisel, much to his later regret, departed soon after. Within months, the five-piece was playing live and at one of these early gigs, they caught the attention of Alfred Kersten, owner of Kerston records. The enthusiastic Kersten wanted them to record an album, but by the time they showed up at his studio in Stuttgart in the summer of 1973, that enthusiasm had diminished. The band, with almost no money, camped out in tents for several days until Kersten, unable to renege on his promise, brought them into the studio and hurriedly recorded the sessions. No one was quite satisfied with the results, but as a contractual obligation the LP Auf der Bahn zum Uranus (On the Track to Uranus) came out in 1974 as a limited release. Some 300 copies of the record were sold and it's not clear if that was all that was pressed at the time or if the other copies ended up in a Dumpster. With its unconventional sound, Gaa had a difficult time finding gigs in the Saarland area and mainly played further north in other parts of Germany. In early 1975, Jungmann departed and Heisel rejoined the group to play second guitar and then, with the departure of Bell, the bass. With this lineup, they went back into the recording studio under much better conditions than the Kersten fiasco to cut three tracks totaling 20 minutes in length. These pieces, one side's worth of an intended second album, were eventually released on the CD Alraunes Alptraum. Unfortunately, financial pressures kept Gaa from further work on the record and by 1978, the band split up with the record unfinished. Remaining in contact, the bandmembers came together several times in the mid-'80s. Though never formally re-forming the group, some casual recordings of this time have been appended to the Alraunes Alptraum CD, but by this time the crew had become less adventuresome and far more conventional.
Share this page