Forty Years of Sunny Skies – Rope Schmitz Interview

In 2010 Bonn’s local newspaper ‘Express’ asked its readers to vote for their favourite Bonn Musician.  No surprise in first place – Beethoven.  Robert Schumann also scored highly of course.  In a very respectable 8th place though, ahead even of Schumann’s wife Clara, came local Pop coverband Sunny Skies.

Ahead of their 40th Anniversary Harmonie concert on 21 April,  3SONGSBONN asked founder member of the band Rope Schmitz how Sunny Skies came into existence, and how he explained their continued popularity.

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Museumsplatz – Your Memories?

Buyer Collects? The Museumsplatz tent awaits offers

I remember Pete Townsend jokingly referring to The Who working hard to become successful only to find themselves after all the struggles “playing outside of “a f***ing diner!”  I remember too looking down on Tori Amos soundchecking, from the roof of the KAH.  I remember a deafening blur of teenage screams as Tokio Hotel stepped onstage.   Seeing Rod Stewart for the first time – and seeing Gary Moore for the last time…  Let me know what YOU remember of the many Museumsplatz concerts.

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Zaz – Dans ma rue and in our town

Captivating - Zaz

Win a talent competition, get a contract with Sony, become a big star.  It all sounds so easy.  Why isn’t everyone doing it?  Well, because sometimes that little word ‘Talent’ actually means something in these competitions – and on Friday, in front of a huge Museumsplatz crowd, the young French sensation Zaz wrote the word ‘Talent’ in large font, block capital letters.

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Gregg Allman at Museumsplatz

The title decieves.  This wasn’t ‘just’ Gregg Allman but an evening featuring some of the Blues genres brightest stars.  Derek Trucks recently crowned a year of Awards for his own band to split it up and go on Tour with his wife Susan Tedeschi, herself a highly rated musician back in the USA.  Not forgetting either that there was also a Brit blues talent making his Bonn debut in the shape of young (just 19) Krissy Matthews.

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The Pogues – Men you don’t meet everyday

In 2002 Q Magazine listed The Pogues as “One of the fifty bands to see before you die”

A little late maybe; but last Thursday at Bonns Museumsplatz I got around to the task, and, whilst it would perhaps be optimistic to hope that Punk-Folk was well,  was it still alive?  The Pogues would be a chance to find out.

It’s 8pm, and I’ve been standing in the Photo-pit with a monitor blasting music directly into my ear for half an hour. There’s a plastic duck sitting on top of a backstage speaker that I’ve now ‘shot’ three times with my camera just to pass the time. Roadies shuffle back and forth onstage; we’re half an hour late and no band. Fans I’d spoken to on the train from Cologne had been enthusiastically talking about the Band, but I had the impression that a show stood or fell on the physical condition of singer and renowned drinker Shane MacGowan. Now, as MacGowan finally took the stage, I feared his appearance didn’t bode well for the evening.

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Lights out in Museumsplatz?

Bonn's famed Open Air Tent

Could this be the last Open-Air Season in Bonn’s Museumsplatz?

The venue that has staged such illustrious concerts as Elton John, David Bowie and The Who could soon be a fond memory.  The adjascent Bundeskunsthalle which rents the land where the famous tent stands now demands 2.5 million euros for the renovation of the Tent and it’s location spread over five years plus a regular payment of 60.000 euros each year for future site maintenance + an additional 250.000 euro downpayment.

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Museumsplatz Concert Season 2011

Canadian Jimmy Bowskill during last years Museumsplatz Season

Today saw a press conference to introduce the coming Concert season at Bonns Museumsplatz.

No Elton John, or Liza Minnelli this year, but whoever thought that the financial restraints after those heady (and expensive) years gone by would mean a boring season of has beens and never will be’s has been proved decidedly wrong.  There are some ‘Big Hitters’ still set to play.


Martin Nötzel from ‘Kult Event’ promised a very varied calendar this year:  Buena Vista, Brazilian with Sergio Mendez, traditional German with Bläck Fööss, Italian Rock with Gianna Nannini, Folk with Hannes Wader, Jazz with Til Brönner, for the Irish there’s the marvelous ‘Pogues’ .  You want a musical? how about the British production of ‘Hair’?  or comedy? there’s TV comic personality  Kaya Yanar.  Oh, and if you want Blues and Rock you are definitely living in the right Bundesstadt this year: BB King with Ana Popovic, Joe Bonamassa with ‘Black Country Communion’ and, on 10 July  Greg Allmann with  Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi (what a week for Blues Lovers that promises to be!


My recommendations are certainly The Pogues with the irrepressible Shane Mcgowan – man of many words and few teeth.  ‘Rum, Sodomy & the Lash’ is still an all time favourite disc of mine.  Gregg Allman has made an excellent new CD ‘Low Country Blues’ and with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi alongside has two of America’s most influential and popular modern Blues stars.


Of course there would be no modern Blues Stars without the original Blues Stars and they don’t come any better than Mr BB King.  Now well into his eighties; BB won’t be doing a two hour set but a dozen songs from the King are worth a hundred from just about any other musician in the genre.  Not that anyone will have grounds to complain about the music on that evening as Promoter E.L. Hartz promised that unlike BB’s last appearance here there would be only one special guest so we can look forward to a full set from Ana Popovic  and her great band (of whom I need say no more – you all know I’m a fan!).


A ‘Geheimtipp’ for the Season from Martin Nötzel is French Jazz/Pop singerIsabelle Geoffrey.  The lady better known as Zaz, has had an album at nr 1 in France for 9 weeks and her career is gaining momentum by the day.  The  “Piaf of the Blues” says Rolling Stone Magazine.


Yes, I can safely say that from July to September Summer will most definitely be here in Bonn!