Born in the northern English city of Sheffield, famous for its steel production, Cliff Jackson grew up in a musical family. It was then hardly surprising that aged 13, Cliff decided it was time to buy his first acoustic guitar. He taught himself to play by practising songs by American blues musicians like Big Bill Broonzy and Chuck Berry.
Aged just 15, Cliff was sent to the Army Technical College in Chepstow, close to the Welsh border. There he founded his firstrockband, The Johnnie Rebs. Four years later Cliff was posted to the British Army of the Rhine in Dortmund. By now a good blues/rock guitarist, he was soon on stage withThe Chicago Sect,whose very specialrhythm and blues style soon made them very popular throughout the Ruhr Valley region!
After the break-up ofThe Chicago Sect, Cliff accepted an offer to joinThe Red Roosters, where he met Jim McGillivray (drums) and Bernd Kolbe (bass). Together with Kolbe and McGillivray,in 1970 Cliff 1970 formed EPITAPH (originallyFagin’s Epitaph), one of the first German rock bands to have international success. The band played at numerous festivals, toured the USA and made several noteworthyTV appearances, including BEAT CLUB in 1972, and two ROCKPALAST gigs in 1977 and 1979. EPITAPH released nine albums between 1970 and 1982.
Nothing much happened after the release of the 1982 albumDanger Manuntil EPITAPH reappeared in 1985 with an almost completely new line-up. The music was heavier and more powerful, and had little in common with the typical EPITAPH songs of old. EPITAPH becameKingdom,and their first album Lost In The City, produced by Cliff,was an international success. The record company was however worried that the name sounded too much like another bandaround at that time, so the nameKingdomwas soon changed toDomain. They released four albums between 1986 and 1992. In 1996 Cliff formed theCliff Jackson Band, a new age country band that played numerous gigs throughout Germany, releasing an album produced by Cliff in 1998.
In 2000 a chance remark fromScorpions guitaristRudolf SchenkertoJim McGillivrayled to EPITAPH re-forming. The reunion concert the same year was later released as both CD and DVD. In September 2005, after two years of writing and composing, Cliff got together with Bernd, Heinz and Achim in sound engineerRoger Wahlmann’sstudio to start work on a new album. Remember The Dazewas released in March 2007, followed byDancing With Ghostsin the autumn of 2009.
Cliff and his wife Birgit live in a cottage on the edge of a wood near the Baltic coast, not far from the Danish border – with bats in the roof and deer in the garden. “It’s good for my head”, says Cliff, “and I can hear the music again.”
Bernd Kolbe started to learn guitar at the age of twelve, playing with various young bands. His style soon developed his own unmistakeable style, influenced by American rock and roll and Motown artists (Four Tops, Supremes, Aretha Franklin) and the English Mersey-Beat (Beatles, The Who).
His professional career began with the legendary cover bandThe Red Roosters, in which he played base and sang until 1970. He then went on to form EPITAPH withguitarist Cliff Jackson and drummer Jim McGillivray.
The band made successful tours of Europeand – the first German band to do so – the USA. Having worked on three albums (Epitaph · Stop, Look And ListenandOutside The Law) Bernd left EPITAPH in 1977 to try something new. He then played with bands such asKarthago, Jutta Weinhold, Jane and Kingdom/Domain– without ever really losing contact with EPITAPH. In 1981 Bernd, together with Klaus Walz, Norbert Lehmann and Cliff Jackson, wrote the title track fortheDanger Man album, released in 1982.
He then appeared with several show bands in Germany, Austria and even Mexico, as well as providing accompaniment for solo artists, taking him to South America several times.
22 January 2000 was another turning point in Bernd’s career, as he took to the stage for EPITAPH’s legendary reunion concert. This was followed by numerous stage appearancesand studio albums such asRemember The Daze (2007) and Dancing With Ghosts (2009),both of whichwere acclaimed by fans and critics alike.
Of himself, Bernd Kolbe says that he’s still not got where he is going, and that he is still up for any challenges: “Let’s see what the future will bring.”
guitars, dobro, vocals
Heinz Glass, born in Kindsbach near Kaiserslautern (in the Rhineland Palatinate), discovered his love of music as a small child. He started taking music lessons with the local music society aged ten. Diligent practice and his obsession of mastering the guitar earned him a place at the Kaiserslautern Conservatory of Music. After experiencingJimi Hendrixlive at the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt,the sixteenyear old was certain: I am going to be a musician!
After leaving school he began his musical career, first as a semi-pro, then as a full-time professional musician. He spent seven years appearing as a guitarist in American clubs with a variety of bands. At the same time he spent two years studying classical guitar under Professor Wolfgang Lendle at the Saarbrücken Music Academy, before joining EPITAPH as lead guitarist in 1977. He worked with EPITAPH from 1977 to 1981, played on 3 LP’s and also appeared with the band for their gig on the legendary TV music programme ‘Rockpalast’.
Heinz left EPITAPH in the autumn of 1981 to dedicate himself to some of his own music projects. He played with Percy Sledgeon his 1985 European tour, and on a tour withGeorge McCray in 1986.
In 1988 Heinz Glass appeared as studio guitariston the TV seriesGeschichte des Rock, the history of rock and roll produced by SWF. He released four albums with his own band, theGlass Band, as well as continuing to work on a variety of projects with other artists and bands.
To celebrate 25 years on stage, Heinz organised a gig at theCotton Club in Kaiserslautern featuring almost all the bands he had ever played with, including of course EPITAPH. The atmosphere was uniqueand Heinz was soon longing to really do something special with EPITAPH.
The EPITAPH reunion concert took place just a few months later, on22 January 2000, at the Lindenbrauerei in Unna. The memorable concert was a complete success and EPITAPH was back!
drums, percussion, vocals
Achim Poret’s musical career began in a classic way atthe Dortmund Conservatory, where he studied percussion, guitar and piano from 1968 to 1969. Realising that this extremely conservative way of learning music was not for him, he dropped out after just three semesters.
During his time at the conservatory he has gathered his first experiences with several local bands, mainly as drummer, but also as guitarist.
Between 1965 and 1968 he belonged to bands such as The Mattocks and The Emetics (later Emetics Circus). Achim Poret then got together with local celebrities Eckhard Schulz and Dieter Bornschlegel (Atlantis, Guru Guru) to form Dannemanns Traumtorte. They played together until 1970, when Achim suddenly got a telegramfrom EPITAPT guitarist Cliff Jackson, asking his to join the band. Poret found the offer a great honour, and too inviting to decline – and Dannemanns Traumtortewas disbanded.
From 1970 to 1973 Poret experienced some unforgettable high points during his time as EPITAPH’s drummer. But the stress and strain of so much touring and unsatisfactory financial rewardstook their toll. Poret left EPITAPH.
After leaving EPITAPH, Achim Poret played in a variety of bands, including Bulldog and the Geoff Harrison Band until 1989, when he decided to quit his career as a professional musicianto spend more time with his partner Marion and their daughter Sophia.
From 1990 to 1999, Poret enjoyed family life, worked as a graphic designer, and kept his hand in by playing with a few bands. His unavoidable return to life as a professional musiciancame on 22 January 2000 with the EPITAPH reunion concert at the Lindenbrauerei in Unna.
The memorable concert was a great success – EPITAPH was back! In September 2005 Achim went into the studio with Heinz Glass, Bernd Kolbe and Cliff Jackson to record the first EPITAPH album in 20 years. The music press hailedRemember The Daze asa “phenomenal comeback” … “with all the qualities of a superband”.