The history of the Italian post punk band Der Blaue Reiter was short but intense, lasting less than one year as a full band (December 1980 – July 1981) but with a short second life as a duo, definitely calling it quits in 1983.

Based in Milan, the band was founded by Stefano Tirone, a solitary guitarist who after the release of Joy Division’s ‘Unknown pleasures’ decided to switch to bass, fascinated by the lyrical basslines of Peter Hook. Tirone was desperately seeking partners to form a band. Finally, in October 1980 he met Stefano Mazzola at a local record store called Zabriskie Point. He was a guitarist with the same musical intentions. Mazzola suggested the name ‘Der Blaue Reiter’ for the band. He was under the influence of his father, a painter who was friends with Felix Klee, son of Paul Klee who in turn was very closely related to the 1911 artistic movement bearing this name, meaning ‘The Blue Rider’.

Shortly after at the Vidicon, one of Milan’s first venues where new wave and punk music was played, they met Davide Pandini, a non-musician in the Brian Eno style, with his minimal electronic equipment (a Korg MS10 synth and an EKO Rhythmaker drum machine) and Massimo Malesani, a singer whose dark voice seemed ideal for the sound they had in mind.

While Stefano Tirone was writing new songs in his bedroom using bass and drum machine, singing the first demos by himself, the band was rehearsing in an attic, rushing to prepare for the first gig which was scheduled for April 1981 at the Vidicon. In that occasion they decided to add a drummer, Federico Di Bonaventura, to give more dynamic to the live sound.

After the first gig the line-up of the band was reassembled, with Andrea Poggi on vocals and sax, and Didi Bellotti on drums, while Stefano Tirone was singing the songs in the deeper range.

After a few more gigs and a few more songs, Stefano Tirone and Stefano Mazzola decided to split DBR to form a new band with Federico Di Bonaventura, who exchanged the drums for lead vocals, all seduced by the post punk sound contaminated by funk that was emerging in that period. That new band was called ‘State of Art’ and even despite a long pause in their career they are still active nowadays.

So… no record deal, not a single song ever released by Der Blaue Reiter? Well, in January 1983 before DBR finally disappeared from the scene, Stefano Tirone and Stefano Mazzola had the chance to record most of the tracks that they had played as DBR, performing all the instruments and vocals by themselves…

Go to OUR RELEASES section now to read more about the rescue of the DBR recordings and our limited vinyl issue!