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Blixa Bargeld

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Blixa Bargeld
Background information
Birth nameChristian Emmerich
Born (1959-01-12) 12 January 1959 (age 65)
West Berlin, West Germany
  • Musician
  • band leader
  • solo artist
  • spoken word artist
  • actor
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
  • keyboards
  • drums
  • percussion
  • beatbox
  • synthesizer
  • electric organ
Years active1980–present

Blixa Bargeld (born Christian Emmerich, 12 January 1959) is a German musician who has been the lead singer of the band Einstürzende Neubauten since its formation in 1980. Bargeld was also a founding member of the Australian rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, serving as a member from 1983 until his departure in 2003.

Early life[edit]

Bargeld left school prior to completion, and is self-taught. He experimented with audio equipment as a teenager, including the disassembling of tape recorders.[1] The first album that he owned was by Pink Floyd, but he quickly moved on to German krautrock acts such as Kraftwerk, Neu! and Can, which he described as his biggest influences at the time.[1]

Bargeld is from the Tempelhof area of West Berlin[2][3] and he moved out of his parents' home in the late 1970s.[2] A 2008 documentary featured him visiting his mother and talking to her about his childhood and the relationship that he had with his parents.[4]


In 1980, Bargeld founded the group Einstürzende Neubauten.[5] Bargeld spoke of the early days of Neubauten in 2010:

The starting point for Neubauten was more that we didn't have anything, so I didn't really have the choice to say 'I am doing this, I am doing that, or maybe I should play organ'. I didn't have any of these things, and I could not afford any of these things, and neither could anybody else in the group. It was more of the logical consequence of what can we obtain, and that's how it turned out. It certainly didn't start out as an artistic concept to say "let's do something different", it started as an extension of the live situation as it already was.[1]

Around this time, Bargeld became involved with the German film scene, appearing in Kalt wie eis in 1981 and Berlin Now in 1984, performing music in both.

From 1983 to 2003, Bargeld was a guitarist and backing vocalist with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He also sang lead vocals with Cave on several songs, such as "The Carny" and "The Weeping Song". Cave first saw Bargeld performing with Einstürzende Neubauten on TV while the Birthday Party, Cave's band at the time, were touring in Amsterdam. He described the music as "mournful", Bargeld as looking "destroyed", and his screams as: "a sound you would expect to hear from strangled cats or dying children."[6]

Bargeld played guitar on the Gun Club song "Yellow Eyes" from their 1987 album Mother Juno.[7] He also played on the album Novice by Alain Bashung in 1989.[8]

Since the mid-1990s, Bargeld has appeared live with his solo Rede/Speech Performances. During these performances, usually supported by Neubauten's sound engineer Boris Wilsdorf, he works with microphones, sound effects, overdubbing with the help of sampler loops and speaks English or German. The performed pieces include a vocal creation of the DNA of an angel and a parody of a techno song.[citation needed]

In 2000 he worked together with Oliver Augst on the music for the plays Rosa Melonen Schnitt Freude based on words by Gertrude Stein and Rom, Blicke by Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, which they also performed together in Italy, Germany and Austria. [citation needed]

In 2007, Bargeld started a collaborative project with Alva Noto (a.k.a. Carsten Nicolai) called ANBB, an abbreviation of Noto's and Bargeld's initials. An EP, Ret Marut Handshake, was released on 26 June 2010, followed later that year by a full-length album, Mimikry.[9]

In June 2013, Bargeld collaborated with Italian composer Teho Teardo for an album called Still Smiling, which was released on the Specula record label. A music video for the song "Mi Scusi" was created and an Italian tour was scheduled.[10][11]

In early October 2014, Neubauten announced 24 November 2014 as the release date for their next album, Lament, described as a "concept album based on a live performance and installation commissioned by the Flemish city of Diksmuide, Belgium to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War in 1914."[12] Bargeld explained in the official press release: "The Second World War is nothing but the elongation of the first one … As a child of the post Second World War era, and the resulting division of Germany and Berlin, I’m of course hugely influenced in my upbringing about the results of that."[12]

Bargeld explained in October 2014 that Neubauten is essentially a materialistic band, leading them to employ two scientific researchers to seek out material to support the development of Lament after the album received financial backing in August 2013. The band opened their 2014 European tour in support of Lament with a performance in Diksmuide, Belgium.[citation needed]


Bargeld's guitars of choice are a Fender Jaguar and a Fender Mustang, as seen on the concert DVD God Is in The House and at various media appearances. Initially he used a battered Höfner Model 173 and a red Höfner Colorama II until they "broke down." After his effect pedals were stolen in the early 1980s, he relied exclusively on the Fender floating/dynamic tremolo (like the Höfner units), which both raise and lower pitch, along with Fender Twin amplifiers, metal slides and changing his amp settings for each individual song to create a unique guitar sound.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Bargeld is married to Chinese-American mathematician Erin Bargeld (née Zhu), daughter of the entrepreneur Min Zhu.[14][15] Together they developed the concept of web-based fan subscriptions as a new business model for musicians. The couple is featured among 37 other design and media figures in the 2010 book Designing Media[16] by designer and IDEO co-founder Bill Moggridge.[17] The couple resides in San Francisco, Beijing and Berlin.[4][18][15] They have a transgender son.[19]

Bargeld was a vegetarian for 30 years, but stopped as a result of difficulties that he encountered while practicing vegetarianism in China.[18]




  • 2010 – "Ret Marut Handshake" 12" single (with Noto as ANBB; Raster-Noton)
  • 2014 – Spring by Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld
  • 2017 – Fall by Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld

Soundtrack compilation[edit]

  • 1995 – Commissioned Music
    • Dumpfe stimmen – theatre play (1994)
    • Jahre der kälte – film (1994)

Other appearances[edit]

  • 1999 – "Ein gleiches" (from Rosebud: Songs of Goethe and Nietzsche)[22]
  • 1999 – "Soul Desert" (from Pop 2000: Das gibt's nur einmal)[23]
  • 2000/2001 – "Allein machen sie dich ein" (from Die erben der scherben: Keine macht)[24][25]
  • 2001 – "Bilbao Song" (from Kurt Weill: Die musik zum film)[26]
  • 2005 – "The Fight" (from Sound of ?!?!?!?)[27]
  • 2006 – "Little Yellow" (from Jukebox Buddha)[28]
  • 2013 – "Grand Hotel Tbilisi" (from Songs of Decadence: A Soundtrack to the Writings of Stanisław Przybyszewski)[29]

Other recordings[edit]

Band work[edit]

Session work[edit]

  • 1993 – actor in radio play Radio Inferno[30]
  • 1996 – "Die Sonne" (for Gudrun Gut and Members of the Ocean Club single)
  • 1998 – vocals on Bad Blood album by Ice
  • 2001 – actor in Elementarteilchen (audioplay based on Michel Houellebecq's novel Les Particules élémentaires)
  • 2009 – guitars on Novice LP by Alain Bashung
  • 2015 – Marcher sur la tête by KiKu feat. Blixa Bargeld & Black Cracker, composed by Yannick Barman (Everest Records)
  • 2017 – Eng, Düster und Bang by KiKu feat. Blixa Bargeld & Black Cracker, composed by Yannick Barman yannickbarman.com(everest records) kikusound.com everestrecords.ch
  • 2021 – Bright Magic by Public Service Broadcasting feat. Blixa Bargeld on the track Der Rhythmus der Maschinen


  • 2006 – Blixa Bargeld liest Bertolt Brecht Erotische Gedichte (spoken voice recording in German of Bertolt Brecht's erotic poems)


  • 1996 – To Have and to Hold (with Nick Cave & Mick Harvey)
  • 2000 – Recycled (composed by Blixa Bargeld, arranged by Tim Isfort and performed by his orchestra)
  • 2001 – Elementarteilchen (score)


  • Bad Blood for the Vampyr
  • Recycled (2000)
  • Die totale Therapie
  • Die Terroristen!
  • Wings of Desire (as himself, during the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds performance)
  • Dandy (1987, directed by Peter Sempel)
  • Nihil oder Alle Zeit der Welt (as himself, 1988, directed by Uli M Schueppel)
  • Strike Back [de] (1981)
  • Jahre der Kälte/Frozen Stories (filmmusic, 1993, directed by Uli M Schueppel)
  • Liebeslieder (1995)
  • Code Red (1997)
  • The Mummy (1999) (Mummy sounds)
  • Palast der Republik (2004)
  • Halber Mensch (2005)
  • On Tour with Neubauten.org (2006)
  • Listen With Pain (2006)
  • Blixa Bargeld: Rede / Speech DVD (2006)
  • Elektrokohle – von wegen (as himself, filmmusic, (1994, directed by Uli M Schueppel)
  • Hornbach commercials (German hardware store) reading tool catalogs as spoken word
  • 20,000 Days on Earth (2014)[31]
  • B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin
  • Swans: Where Does a Body End? (as himself, 2020, directed by Marco Porsia)


  1. ^ a b c Luke Turner (18 November 2010). ""You Can't Kill The Drill": Einsturzende Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b Jason Gross (March 1999). "Blixa Bargeld interview". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  3. ^ John Robb (31 October 2014). "Einsturzende Neubauten have just released one of the albums of the year- in depth interview with Blixa Bargeld". Louder Than War. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Mein Leben – Blixa Bargeld" (Documentary Film directed by Birgit Herdlitschke, ZDF / ARTE, Germany 2008)
  5. ^ "Blixa Bargeld - 'Listen with Pain!'". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  6. ^ EN: 20 ans de Nostalgie
  7. ^ Mother Juno album sleeve.
  8. ^ "Alain Bashung - Novice (French)". Lesinrocks. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  9. ^ "mimikry anbb: alva noto & blixa bargeld". Einstürzende Neubauten. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld in concert". Teho Teardo. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  11. ^ a b Sam Wiseman (25 June 2013). "Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld – Still Smiling". The Skinny. Radge Media Limited. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  12. ^ a b John Robb (7 October 2014). "Einsturzende Neubauten New Album Lament … Full Details Here". Louder Than War. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Einstürzende Neubauten - Interview 2 - Blixa Bargeld Einstürzende Neubauten Video - bendecho". Archived from the original on 21 June 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2009.
  14. ^ Blixa Bargeld and Einstürzende Neubauten: German Experimental Music, Jennifer Shryane, Routledge, 2011
  15. ^ a b "Ich bin so glücklich wie nie zuvor". Der Tagesspiegel. 24 May 2020. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Designing Media Interview of Blixa Bargeld and Erin Zhu". designing-media.com. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  17. ^ "Ideo". designing-media.com. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  18. ^ a b "Ich war ja nie der Punk, der vorm Postamt rumsteht". Der Spiegel. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  19. ^ Liebert, Juliane (30 March 2024). "Interview mit Blixa Bargeld: "Obwohl, doch: Old Spice! Das hatte er"" [Interview with Blixa Bargeld: "Although, yes: Old Spice! He had that"]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Archived from the original on 30 March 2024. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  20. ^ DNC. "Tiny Mix Tapes Review of Mimikry by ANB". www.tinymixtapes.com. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  21. ^ Teho Teardo (10 April 2013). "Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld - Mi Scusi (video edit)" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  22. ^ Various Artists - Rosebud: Songs of Goethe and Nietzsche Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic, retrieved 4 May 2023
  23. ^ Various Artists - Pop 2000: Das Gibt's Nur Einmal Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic, retrieved 4 May 2023
  24. ^ Various - Die Erben Der Scherben - Keine Macht Für Niemand, retrieved 4 May 2023
  25. ^ Die Erben der Scherben - Keine Macht für Niemand Album Reviews, Songs & More | AllMusic, retrieved 4 May 2023
  26. ^ Various - Kurt Weill - Die Musik Zum Film, retrieved 4 May 2023
  27. ^ Various - Sound Of ?!?!?!?, retrieved 4 May 2023
  28. ^ Jukebox Buddha by Various Artists, 13 November 2006, retrieved 4 May 2023
  29. ^ "Various – Songs Of Decadence: A Soundtrack To The Writings Of Stanislaw Przybyszewski". Discogs. 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  30. ^ "Musical Radio Theater Version of Dante's Divine Comedy". WFMU's Beware of the Blog. WFMU. 18 February 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  31. ^ "How Nick Cave Lost His V-Card, and More From the Rocker's Sundance Doc". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 January 2016.

External links[edit]