Washington Post reviewer Mike Joyce profiled Tangerine Dream:

Synthesist  Edgar  Froese,  the  founder  of   Tangerine   Dream,
remembers  all  too  well  the response the group received at its
debut performance in  Berlin  in  1969,  including  the  "apples,
oranges  and bananas" that pelted the stage. Although the concert
was scheduled to run  for  1  1/2  hours,  the  response  was  so
negative that the band walked off stage after only 20 minutes.

"There was no audience for our music then," said Froese, who will
bring Tangerine Dream to the Kennedy Center Thursday night. "None
whatsoever...But we wanted to explore how these  new  instruments
could  be  used  in  music, because no one had really looked into
that.  They  were  being  used  for  measurements  and  technical
adjustments. So when Bob Moog invented the first real oscillator,
we thought, okay, that's a start."

Twenty-five albums and tons of  analogs  and  now  computer  gear
later,  Tangerine  Dream  is  widely  considered  one of the most
influential and imaginative forces in electronic music,  creating
both  surreal  and  turbulent  soundscapes over the course of its
career. In one sense, at least, it's made  the  world  safer  for
instrumental  music,  but  don't  make the mistake of calling the
trio the "Godfather of New Age Music," as  some  observers  have.
Froese,   who  counts  Jimi  Hendrix  as  one  of  his  principal
influences and who started out  in  music  as  a  rock  guitarist
himself, considers that title ludicrous.

"I realized when {new age music} came on the market four or  five
years  ago that it would be commercially successful," he explains
in a thick German accent. "But I also knew that many people would
understand  that  music  to  be  coming from someone who had just
smoked a ton of marijuana  and  was  pressing  down  three  keys.
That's exactly what we're not into...If you have something to say
musically, it's important not to lose sight of that."

Froese's disdain  for  music  designed  as  some  sort  of  sonic
backdrop or yuppie therapy can be traced back to the band's first
album, "Electronic Meditations," which in spite of its title  was
more  stormy  than  soothing.  Synthesist  Claus Shulze, then the
drummer, dubbed it the "punk  album  of  electronic  music,"  and
Froese  is  delighted that it's become something of a cult hit in
England recently.

"It was wild," he concedes. "An  experiment  against  everything.
Maybe  it had the same root that punk came from. You stand up and
you're against  everything  --  the  establishment,  some  social
movements,  tastes  in music, the mainstream. And you say, 'Okay,
let's turn everything upside down and start again.'"

West Germany was a particularly healthy incubator for  electronic
music,  Froese  believes. After all, he says, there was no native
rock tradition to draw on. Nearly  everyone  who  took  up  music
seriously  was  classically  trained,  and  while many, including
Froese, were drawn to rock and blues, in  the  end  those  styles
always  sounded  alien  to their own culture. "That's why so many
German rock bands sound too German," he says, laughing.

The turning point for Froese came when  he  opened  a  couple  of
concerts  for  Hendrix. "I really saw, just a few feet away, what
he did, but I never figured out how he did it." More importantly,
Froese  says,  Hendrix  showed  him  that  "music doesn't have to
follow along the same known routes,  that  you  can  leave  those
routes  and get something entirely different out of it. It's sort
of like traveling in open space."

Tangerine Dream is traveling with a five-ton payload on its first
all-computer  tour  (thanks  in part to a deal with Atari). While
Froese admits that sound checks  can  still  be  a  nightmare  on
occasion,  life on the road is sheer bliss compared with when the
band lugged primitive prototypes around. "In the  old  days,"  he
recalls,  "if  you started a concert and realized that everything
somehow got out of tune, you just went on playing like a  drunken

At last count, the trio has 9,200 sounds stored away, "everything
from  a  pure  string  tone on up." Tomorrow night's concert will
feature music from several of the group's albums,  including  its
latest  release,  "Optical  Race,"  as  well as new pieces and an
elaborate light show.

A decade ago the group also struck up a  successful  relationship
with  Hollywood,  scoring such films as "Sorcerer," "Firestarter"
and "Legend." But Froese is quick to  add  that  the  film  work,
though enjoyable, is basically a means to an end.

"The films help pay our bills," he says flatly. "We've never  had
a  Top 10 hit in America, and we may never have one. I'm not sure
about that. Therefore, the films help us make a  living  and  pay
for  our equipment ... But touring is something I enjoy. This may
be computer music, but we feel a real contact with  the  audience
at our shows. There's this electricity..."