From the beginning…
The success story of the band Fools Garden started already in the year 1991. At this time Peter Freudenthaler and Volker Hinkel became acquainted during their studies and realized very soon, “that we both have a big weakness for music“. “We started writing songs together and have also ascertained here relatively fast, that this works just fine. So it had to be really some kind of fateful encounter.”
Peter then participated in the project Magazine, which had been brought to life by Volker and Claus Wissler. Based on Peter’s demos of the songs “Sandy“ and “Tell me who I am” and Volker’s initial ideas for the song “Lena“ developed the “cornerstones” to the very first common recordings, which were published at that time still as a MC. The three of them made one of this MC’s available to a Sqash centre. Via Steffen Koch (later for some years manager of the band Fool’s Garden), the cassette finally reached Gunter Koch (fan-maintainer of the first hour). Gunter liked the songs so much that he offered the musicians to make the first recordings with them.
Volker and Peter discovered one day a newspaper ad in which the one-off production of CD’s was advertised. The price for such a CD at that time still amounted to approx. 130 DM. The very first CD of the newly formed band Fool’s Garden originated from the material of a CD, which had been produced at that time only in a limited edition and carried the title “Magazine”. Besides the brilliant piece “W.A.R.”, the CD “Magazine” also includes excerpts from “a time of life” (both from the time of the Magazine project) and a cover of the Beatles’ song “The walrus”. This CD was therefore a first “musical exclamation mark” on the way to the album “Fool’s Garden – Man in a cage”, which also appeared in 1991, as a promotional CD. The spine-tingling title “spirit of disappeared” is in turn solely to hear on the CD “Fool’s Garden – Man in a cage”.
In order to present the first common titles also live, more band members were sought and thus Thomas Mangold (E bass), Roland Röhl (keyboards) and Ralf Wochele (drums) soon supplemented the existing duo Volker Hinkel (guitar) and Peter Freudenthaler (vocals)
In 1992 the band got the possibility to appear at the land horticultural show in Pforzheim. By numerous other concerts as well as radio and television appearances Fool’s Garden became known in the whole region.
In the course of time the decision was made to mix and master the material of the CD “Fool’s Garden” anew. Thus originated the first “real” CD – “once in a blue moon” – which was published in 1993, first under the label Town Music (own distribution).
The band scored the first success in 1994 when the song “Wild Days” was selected from more than 700 applicants for a commercial of C&A.
Celebrity visit for Fool’s Garden in the same year! In the supraregional newspaper “Sonntag aktuell” a band portrait about the up-and-coming musicians should appear, author:Wolle Kriwanek! On site the established artist listened to the recordings of the young band. Even at this first visit he prophesied the band’s great success and that is exactly what happened!
The biggest hit of the band to date was published in 1995: “Lemon Tree”! The single (triple gold in Germany; platinum in Norway and Ireland; gold in Switzerland, in Austria, Belgium, Denmark and France) as well as the album “Dish of the Day” (platinum in Germany; gold in Switzerland, in Austria, Denmark, Italy, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia) sold, also beyond Germany, very well. The single “Lemon Tree” ranked from 23 February to 21 March on place 1 of the German charts, the album in the week from 8 until 14 March!
In 1996 the previously recorded CD “once in a blue moon” finally became redouble released by Intercord.
Several honourings followed in 1996 and 1997! Thus, in late 1996 Fool’s Garden was awarded the Bambi (“Bambi Shooting Stars”), the Golden Europe (“Newcomer of the Year 1996 national”) and the Golden Tuning Fork, and in early 1997 the Echo ’96!
The album “Go And Ask Peggy For The Principal Thing”, including the hit singles: “Why Did She Go?”, “Probably” and “Rainy Day”, was also released in 1997. With regard to the album, the maxi-single “Why did she go?” was published in June 1997. As a special gag the promo version was provided with a combination lock. Only on the day of the official launch of the song, on 14 May 1997, the “safe” should be opened with the figure combination “145”.
Almost 3 years later, the CD “For Sale” appeared, already under the label 7days music. The name of the album reflected at that time, unfortunately, also the situation of the band: After the dissolution of the label Intercord / EMI Fool’s Garden had temporarily no record deal anymore and so the band was – in a figurative sense – at times actually “for sale”.
On the question, what they would have to write to get back to No. 1 of the charts, Peter Freudenthaler at that time was long passed: The inner credibility of one’s own rather counts. “The beginning of ‘It Can Happen’, with its pizzicato strings, we have trimmed, as an ironic dig on some people, consciously on ‘Lemon Tree’ simply because we were tired of hearing that nothing would sound like ‘Lemon Tree’ any more”, told Peter once smiling during an interview. The same report continues that: “Responsible for the production of ‘For Sale’ are guitarist / songwriter Volker Hinkel and the internationally successful James Herter (among others Two Of Us, Hubert Kah). Together they have succeeded in creating a sound which does justice to every single song individually and integrates it, besides, into an extremely round complete structure: The variety as a unity”.
A contract was signed with Polydor in 2001. The single “Dreaming” was released in the same year, whereby the maxi-single was brought in circulation with two different covers. The song was at that time also to hear at the tour of Holiday on Ice.
In the same year Fool’s Garden also celebrated the 10th jubilee and made themselves and their fans to this occasion a special present: “The internationally successful band has invited friends, sponsors and companions for a 2-day party to Pforzheim, into the Culture House Osterfeld, … and everybody has accepted with pleasure, also the quite big names.
(…) PUR, Die Prinzen, Kraan… are on the programme.“ But also: “… Camouflage, Wolle Kriwanek, David Hanselmann & Band, Brainstorm (mega stars in Latvia), The Brothers, Stone the crow, You and Tea for Two (from Luxembourg).
All artists waive their fees, the net proceeds of the fundraiser will benefit the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Foundation. Already for five years Fool’s Garden supports the work of the Foundation, domiciled at the University of Witten / Herdecke, which opens up a whole new world, among others for autistic children, through music therapy. (…) “.
Originally it was planned to launch the album “25 Miles to Kissimmee” at the beginning of 2002. The release was then postponed, however, again and again on the part of Polydor. For this reason Peter and Volker finally terminated the existing contract with the record company.
On 19 April 2003, three days before the publication of the single “Closer”, the rumour was spread by the press that Fool’s Garden had separated! The fact is that the joint decision was made to go seperate ways in the future.
Thomas Mangold and Roland Röhl operate since then a common advertising agency and a print shop, where CD’s and DVD’s are printed. Thomas Mangold is incidentally still in duty, as a bassist, with different bands (all in the semi-professional environment).
Ralph Wochele is part of a in southern Germany sought-after cover band, called CoverUp, since that time.
After the foundation of a record label of one’s own, Lemonade Music, and the signing of a distribution contract with the company Alive, in autumn 2003, “25 Miles to Kissimmee” was officially published on 17 November 2003 and is available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in the regular trade since then.
In the same year Gabriel Holz (guitar), Claus Müller (drums) and Dirk Blümlein (bass) joined the band, which Peter Freudenthaler and Volker Hinkel continue since then under the name of Fools Garden (without apostrophe). Claus and Dirk were in the run-up already involved in the production of a CD of Volker’s band HINKEL (“Not A Life-Saving Device”).
On 25 April 2005 appeared the album “Ready for the real life”. On 9 May the first single release, which made it straight away into the listener’s charts of many radio stations, followed with the song “Man of devotion”.
Fools Garden could score greater successes in Lithuania and in parts of Russia in the course of the years. Thus, the band performed on the 750 annual celebration of Kaliningrad on 3 July 2005 in front of approx. 100,000 visitors!
The brilliant song “Does anybody know?” was the second single release from the CD “Ready for the real life” and appeared on 21 October, one day before the youth film “The treasure of the white falcons” started in the German cinemas. The title song from the film was among others part of a “double A-sided single”, published under the title “Does anybody know?”. “Welcome Sun” was to be heard during the final credits of the film and was also part of the CD “Ready for the real life”.
“Welcome Sun” has developed, in the meantime, a sort of “own way of life”! Thus the song runs since 2010, for example, in Las Vegas in the advertisement of a casino chain. “Moreover”, Peter Freudenthaler told recently during an interview, “the title was still used for a commercial with Jürgen Klopp, for Mitsubishi”.
For the “mixed doubles” – which is now known as “Fools Garden Meets Morscheck & Burgmann” – Peter Freudenthaler, Volker Hinkel, Peter Morscheck and Chris Burgmann received, also in 2005, the “Ravensburger Kupferle”.
In 2007 Gabriel Holz left the band and has made one’s mark since that time as well as live and studio musician, but also as an arranger.
Another piece from the album “Ready for the real life” is since 2007 title song of the RTL series “Looking for daughter-in-law”: “Man Of Devotion”. In 2012 VW has used this great song also for a commercial, which was already aired in Eastern Europe and is to be seen, in the meantime, also in Malaysia.
The EP “Home” was released 2008, as a “Limited Tour Edition”. Besides an excellent remix of the song “Reason”, first published in 2003, which here is called “Reason 2.0”, three new songs are included: “Karma”, “Million Dollar Baby” and “Home”.
In late summer 2009 appeared the first best-of album, titled “High Times – Best of”, on the one hand as a single CD and parallel as a limited edition, consisting of two CDs. It contains, besides 14 songs from the albums appeared to date, with “High time” also a new song. The Limited Edition was supplemented by a second CD, on which 15 live and unplugged songs of the band are to be heard. The single “High Time” entered the German airplay charts and temporarily even ranked 1st of the listener’s charts at HR1! Fools Garden presented the album “High Times” at several concerts among others also within the scope of the DTTB tour.
By several unplugged concerts the band elates numerous spectators and fans in 2010, at candlelight and in a living room-feel-good atmosphere.
In 2011 the next highlight followed, which was announced by Fools Garden themselves with these words: “20 years Fools Garden! In our anniversary year, we want to realize the things we always wanted to do. A long-cherished wish comes true on 30 April: Together with the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim we give a charity concert at the Pforzheimer CongressCentrum. Together, we have re-arranged 15 Fools Garden songs especially for this concert. Fools Garden – classic. What an honor! The proceeds will be donated to the charity ‘Hand in hand’ of the Pforzheimer newspaper and the city of Pforzheim. Moreover, we support the use of the clinic clown Dodo, at the Pforzheim Children’s Hospital“.
In a follow-up assessment of the concert it was said, among others: “The visitors of the common concert of Fools Garden and the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim have experienced a real high-altitude flight. The charity concert, in the well-attended CongressCentrum Pforzheim, aroused enthusiasm with anew arranged hits of the rock pop group from the region, which has come to fame internationally with the song ‘Lemon Tree’, and a hilarious stage show of musicians – including a singing interlude by SWDKO-chief conductor Sebastian Tewinkel. ”
“Tewinkel has prescribed rock music for his ensemble calibrated on classical music: Songs by Fools Garden. Arranger and film composer Christoph Zirngibl has brought them impressively for the SWDKO in shape.”
“The premiere had been eagerly awaited by Peter Freudenthaler for a long time. ‘This is a classic accolade for our songs’ he rejoiced. ‘I don’t know any pop or rock musician who wouldn’t like to do this’ Freudenthaler swarmed. 15 rock songs in orchestral sound waited for the visitors, in addition an own set of Fools Garden and the SWDKO “.
At the end of July, 2012 the brand-new song “Innocence” was first presented to different radio stations. Peter and Volker, asked during an interview what the song is about, may not really betray this at all. “One mustn’t explain songs because otherwise they lose their magic“, said Peter Freudenthaler and summarised grinning: “It is just a song about the innocence!“
Already in August this wonderful title, about the sung innocence, temporarily ranked 1st of the listener’s charts at SWR3! The single is available since 14 September, as a first single release from the new album “Who Is Jo King?”. The song is to be heard on the single in two different variations: As a slightly shorter “Radio Edit” and also as an “album version“ which was recorded with the film orchestra Babelsberg.
On 14 October Fools Garden occurred in the “ZDF Autumn Show,” with Andrea Kiewel, and could also present the latest hit there. Further appearances on radio and television followed.
In the meantime, “Innocence” runs in all branches of McDonald’s and is in rotation at the following radio stations: SWR3, SWR1, WDR4, HR3, Aerial 1, Radio Salü, Radio Gong, BB Radio, Aerial Koblenz, Radio 99three Mittweida, Radio Saarbrucken, Hit Radio SKW, Ems Vechte Wave, Bit Express, AFK Max Nürnberg …
The video for the single was presented exclusively at GMX, Web.de and 1und1. Thorsten Wingenfelder has shot the photos of the CD booklet and parts of the video for “Innocence” were filmed by Kai Wingenfelder (Ex – Fury In The Slaughterhouse). Peter Freudenthaler told in this context: “In the near future we also want to record a common song!”
“Who Is Jo King?” – “Who is this ‘Jo King’?” Or “Who is joking?”
The title of the new album originated in memory of a trip to an event in the Chinese Chongqing, three years ago. During a brainstorm conversation with the management, early in 2012, someone from the team didn’t understand the city name properly and, therefore asked who this “Jo King” would be. Unfortunately, at the time the engagement ended tragically, as the region was hit by a severe earthquake. The planned multi-day music event thus became a charity concert. “Especially in this disaster the laughter about the misunderstanding was a ray of hope for all of us. It gave us strength and with the title we remind of it“, said Peter Freudenthaler.
On 9 September the label “7days music entertainment” presented the new CD “Who Is Jo King”, in the Hard Rock Cafe Munich, to the press and the fans. The CD contains 14 new tracks and was published on October 12. For the design of the brilliant album cover, Klaus Voormann, who already sketched the legendary revolver cover of The Beatles, could be won. The video to the single “Innocence” also based on his graphics.
Shortly after the publication of the CD the ARD reported in “Explosive” about the new album.
The instrumental “Are you Jo King?“ which merges as an “Intro“ into a song that is just about the limit – “Shut“ – originated in cooperation of Volker Hinkel, Heiko Maile (Camouflage) and Peter Freudenthaler, who drew inspiration, on this occasion, by the movie “THE FOURTH STATE“ (starring Moritz Bleibtreu). The soundtrack to this film, which is set in Moscow and directed by Dennis Gansel, comes from the feather of Heiko Maile.
The album title also yields a marvelous pun – “Who is joking?“ – what Volker Hinkel likes especially well as he told in the broadcasting “Night Drive TV“, which was aired on 1 December 2012.
Also in 2013, there were some more highlights: In January the single “Maybe” was released as a download in a special music mix which is not to be heard thus on the album.
Since February, the vinyl edition of the album “WHO IS KING JO?”, limited to just 500 pieces, can be ordered directly from Fools Garden. The portrait picture discs are real unique items, however! Only 5 pieces of every motive (Peter, Volker, Claus or Dirk) are available! These can also be ordered directly from Fools Garden – while stocks last!
2014 – a very special concert and a lot of surprises …
All fans and spectators were able to enjoy a very special crossover concert in March, in Potsdam, as Fools Garden was on stage together with the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg! That was definitely THE concert in 2014!
All those who were ready for the island and for a very special “event”, were surprised in the summer by Fools Garden, as it then said for two concerts: Wingenfelder meets Fools Garden!
The next surprise was waiting in autumn if the same year to all fans and friends of the band, when it was revealed that Gabriel Holz will not only accompany the duo Peter and Volker for the “Celona Living Room Tour”, but now again will be permanently part of the band!
Of the surprises not enough, it was announced in early summer 2015 that with Claus Müller a long-standing member has left the band.
But the band is now – in full occupation – more rocking and groovy than ever! For the first time in the band’s history since summer there is a six-pack to marvel at: Jan Hees spreads good mood on drums and Thorsten Kiefer now enchants the audience on keyboard!
Under the motto: “Rock meets Classic – Fools Garden and chamber orchestra” also in summer 2015 three musical greats came together who had already moved the audience in rapture in Pforzheim, in 2011: Fools Garden, the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra and Christoph Zirngibl!
Due to a severe weather warning, the concert was initially laid by necessity from the courtyard of the Reuchlinhaus to the town church. That a virtue can be made out of necessity appeared on the one hand by the fact that now even more tickets were sold, what particularly pleased the homeless work of the Wichernhaus of the Stadmission in Pforzheim, since it concerned a benefit concert. But the “more” of visitors pleased absolutely also the artists who thereby received even more standing ovations from even more eager spectators!
At the only two concerts in complete occupation (Bad König and Mühlacker) the new six-pack did not only rock to their hearts’ content, two new songs were also introduced: On the one hand the catchy “High again” and, secondly, a song, in which the masterminds, Peter and Volker, probably do not agree yet completely what concerns the title – therefore the winking piece of music sounds quite great!
With “Flashback”, Fools Garden entered new terrain for the first time in 2015/2016, as Charthits from the 90s were covered, which received an unmistakable Fools Garden touch – predicate “absolutely audible”!
25 years of Fools Garden and the band rocks!
Many listeners from A like Ascheberg to R like Reutlingen could convince themselves in the course of the year 2016 with their own ears! And for the celebration of the year the Pforzheimer Kulturhaus “Osterfeld” was rocked – yeah!
New song – new album – New World
Together with Karl Frierson, Peter, Volker and Gabriel recorded the song “New World” at the end of 2016, which was released in January 2017 (e.g. on Amazon ) and can also be heard on the electronically inspired album “Rise And Fall”, which has been on the market since 2018.
And again – New World … ?
Due to the Corona Pandemic we all – musicians, promoters, fans and all those who live from and for music – had to do without a lot in 2020. Peter and Volker have been very busy despite all adversities, have organized benefit concerts via social networks and have, among other things, performed with the whole band in a drive-in cinema.
Besides new songs, Fools Garden is currently working intensively on a new album, which has been announced for 2020 / 21. Let’s be surprised what the guys in Volker’s studio are going to conjure up in the near future…
From conversations with Peter Freudenthaler.
Furthermore, from various texts, published on the Internet and from own experiences.