Herman “Ze German” Rarebell assembles his drum legends in Brighton

Herman “Ze German” Rarebell – drummer with the German rock band Scorpions during their golden years – has assembled a special night of Drum Legends in his adopted home city of Brighton.

Herman Ze German Rarebell
Herman Ze German Rarebell

He will be joined by Ginger Baker, late of Cream, and Pete York at Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Friday, April 12 at 8pm.

“It was my original idea in about 2005, and I did it with Pete and then the third drummer was a jazz drummer from Switzerland who was fantastic.”

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In 2008, Herman moved back to England and his neighbour in Brighton was Ginger Baker’s manager and booker. Some years later, she asked Herman if he wanted to see Ginger play at the Old Market in Hove with his jazz group.

Herman went along – and saw the crowd shouting out the Cream classic Sunshine of your Life as Ginger played: “We got talking after the gig, and I said to him ‘Why don’t you play Cream?’ and he said that he didn’t want to for personal reasons. He was not good about speaking about Cream for whatever reason. He didn’t want to play Cream songs at that time. I said there was no point doing Drum Legends because you would need to play songs from your past. I was thinking the best three or four songs each and then a piece together.

“But then we had another meeting about half a year ago. I said again it makes no sense if he doesn’t play Cream songs. I said to him (Cream bass player) Jack has passed away and Eric (Clapton) is Eric and will be Eric for the rest of his life and doesn’t need us. And I said that for each of us the best time was when we were with our bands. We had major hits. I said we are old men now, we don’t have to do a 90-minute show each…”

And so Herman finally hooked Ginger, a musician he’d admired for years.

One of the first drummers to influence him, though, was The Who’s Keith Moon. Herman remembers seeing The Who when he was a 14-year-old in his home town in West Germany.

“Keith Moon made my mind up to become a musician, and then I heard the others. There was Radio Caroline, and I heard The Kinks and The Yardbirds, and I thought what is this?”

And then he heard Bonham, the late drummer of Led Zeppelin – and that was it.

“He was the best. For me, Bonham was the biggest influence. He handled the bass drum fantastically. I think it was the combination. He could be very simple when he needed to be and then do some amazing off-beat stuff.”

And it is Moon and Bonham that Herman will be thinking of: “We are still alive and we are still playing. I said the other day that we should be doing something in the show to honour those that are no longer with us.”

Pete York’s work with The Spencer Davis Group included the number-one hit Keep On Running while Herman wrote or co-wrote a number of The Scorpions’ biggest hits, including Another Piece of Meat and Rock You Like a Hurricane.