a historical view
The story of versus X:
The precursor of versus X was a band called Vague Venture which played a New Wave/New Romantic style and was founded in 1984 as a trio with drum computer. This was the first band which featured from 1985 Arne Schaefer on lead vocals, although he had practiced singing with his home taping experience before.
One year later Stefan Maywald joined on drums and by the time the influence of Arne pushed the band concept more in the progressive direction. In 1989 this finally led to a split up because of musical differences. Stefan and Arne found a keyboard player who joined for one year but was never really satisfied with the musical direction and left again to work professionally in the film music field.
Back then the group was named versus X after an expression Arne found in a book about physical chemistry (he is a professional chemist). Arne just thought it sounded good and it my be interpreted as "against the mainstream".
At that time Arne performed some solo concerts using accoustic guitar, keyboards and vocals, playing mainly song stuff. At one of these concerts Ekkehard Nahm saw his performance and his interest was captured. He spoke to Arne after the concert recognizing his strong Peter Hammill influence. They agreed to meet again and soon afterwards Ekkehard joined the band.
In 1995 Stephan Dilley joined on bass. Recently, Stephan Dilley and Stefan Maywald had to quit playing with versus X to be able to perform their jobs in distant places.
In 1998 we were then joined by bass player Mike Guttera who also played a hand made upright fretless bass. Shortly thereafter Stefan Maywald was replaced by the excellent drummer Uwe Voellmar, whose powerful and precise but also very sensible playing style fits perfectly with versus X music.
By the end of 1998 Mike Guttera left again due to some differences in opinion about the idealistic understanding of the band's concept. After being forced to play without a bass player for about one year in which Ekkehard took over the bass parts using his Moog Taurus pedals, Joerg Fischer joined in on bass and on additional guitars. Joerg also contributed some riffs and melodies to the not yet released new longtracks "Fingerprints" and "Into the Vast Unknown".
By the end of 2003, still before the production of the fourth versus X Studio CD could be started, Joerg surprisingly announced his departure from the band. The reasons he stated were the time constraints due to his membership in several bands and projects. Simultaneously he suggested to substitute himself by his "Flexable" band mate Thomas Keller.
Thomas is a true multi-instrumentalist. His musical talents are offering a lot of additional options for the future sound of versus X.
Ekkehard and Arne early discovered that both of them had almost the same vision of musical conception. Ekkehard had 11 years of classical training and is a brilliant composer. In the versus X tunes he writes mainly the instumental parts while Arne contibutes the song-type parts, lyrics and the more heavy riff-type structures.
In the Band it is mainly the two of them who put the parts together and develop the basic structures. Afterwards, contributions are made by Uwe and Thomas and the final arrangement is discussed and worked out together. Being the main composer of the " FLEXABLE" project (where he plays together with our former bass player Joerg Fischer), Thomas is also keen to provide his musical ideas to future versus X compositions.
In 2006 Uwe had to leave versus X because his job location had been transferred to Cologne, which is too far away from Frankfurt to enable regular rehearsals. Both Uwe and the rest of the band felt very sorry that their fruitful 8 years collaboration could not be continued under the new circumstances. Nevertheless Uwe agreed to finalise drumtracks for the new versus X album which he did by the end of 2006.
After loosing a drummer of Uwe’s abilities the band went through some weeks of deep uncertainty whether a new drummer could be found who would be able and willing to undergo the torture to learn our very complicated material and to play with us for almost no financial reward. However, we obviously underestimated the musical reward which is associated with our music which soon after showed a clear triumph when one of our ads was replied to by the well experienced drummer Thomas Reiner.
Thomas not only was willing and able to join our musical efforts and even lives in Frankfurt, but he is also a great fan of progressive rock music and thus fits incredibly well into versus X. His technically very elaborated style is somewhat different from Uwe’s with an emphasis on percussive support of melodies plus additional noises and sound samples, which slightly change the versus X sound and add some new influences to the versus X compositions.
We are all well aware of the fact this coincidence represents a really lucky twist of fate, providing us with the opportunity to further dig into the musical realms of the unknown of progressive rock as we did from the beginning.