Jaki Liebezeit

Jaki Liebezeit (born Hans Liebezeit; 26 May 1938 – 22 January 2017) was a German drummer, best known as a founding member of experimental rock band Can. He was called "one of the few drummers to convincingly meld the funky and the cerebral".[1]

Jaki Liebezeit
Jaki Liebezeit, December 2011
Background information
Birth nameHans Liebezeit
Born(1938-05-26)26 May 1938
Dresden, Germany
Died22 January 2017(2017-01-22) (aged 78)
Cologne, Germany
GenresKrautrock, electronic, European free jazz
  • Drums
  • percussion
  • double bass
  • piano
  • saxophone
Years active1961–2017
Associated actsManfred Schoof, Can, Michael Rother, Brian Eno, David Sylvian, Phantomband, Jah Wobble, Phew, Philip Jeck, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Bernd Friedmann, Cyclopean, Robert Coyne


Hans 'Jaki' Liebezeit[2] was born in Dresden, Germany.[3][4] In the mid-1960s, he was part of Manfred Schoof's quintet, who were early exponents of European free jazz.[5]

He subsequently moved towards the new possibilities being opened by psychedelic music as a member of Can. His drumming was prominent in the band's sound, particularly in his much-admired contribution to the side-long "Halleluhwah" on Tago Mago. Liebezeit is best known for his exceptional "metronome" style of playing; other members of Can have suggested that he sounds as though he is "half-man, half machine".

Liebezeit provided drums, in the form of the distinctive "Motorik beat", for Michael Rother's late-1970s solo albums.[6]

In 1980, he became a member of Phantomband,[5] and formed drum ensembles such as Drums off Chaos and Club off Chaos.[5] Later he recorded with numerous musicians, such as Jah Wobble[5] and Philip Jeck, with whom he produced an album for Jah Wobble's 30 Hertz Records, and contributed drums and percussion to many albums as a guest musician over the years, such as the Depeche Mode album Ultra and Brian Eno's album Before and After Science. In later years, he worked with Burnt Friedman on the Secret Rhythms[7] albums and with Schiller on the Atemlos album.

He also worked on the Cyclopean EP, released on 11 February 2013 on 12" and download for Mute Records. Cyclopean was a project that involved, other than Liebezeit, Irmin Schmidt from Can alongside long time collaborators Jono Podmore (Kumo / Metamono) and musician and producer Burnt Friedman.[8] from Faust an album called Flut released 18 July 2014.

In 2013 he recorded the album The Obscure Department with British singer-songwriter Robert Coyne. Two more albums with Coyne, Golden Arc (2014) and I Still Have This Dream (2016), followed.[9][10]

Liebezeit died of pneumonia on 22 January 2017.[11]

A tribute concert to Liebezeit, at the Philharmonic Hall, Cologne took place on 22 January 2018.[12]



  1. "Jeff Norman's website". Uwm.edu. 23 September 1999. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  2. JON PARELES. "Jaki Liebezeit, Influential Drummer for Can, Dies at 78". www.nytimes.com. New York TImes. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  3. "Jaki Liebezeit Discography". Discogs.com. 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  4. Krämer, Ralf (10 December 2008). "Techno, im Prinzip ein flotterer Marsch: Jaki Liebezeit im Interview". Spex – Magazin für Popkultur.
  5. "Biography at Spoon Records". Spoonrecords.com. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  6. "Michael Rother". Michaelrother.de. 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  7. "Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit Discography". Discogs.com. 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  8. "EP Release – 12″ & Download Out 11 Feb 2013". Mute Records. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  9. "Robert Coyne – laut.de – Band". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  10. "robertycoyneintervew". MUDKISS FANZINE. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  11. "Can Drummer Jaki Liebezeit Dead at 78". Pitchfork. 22 January 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  12. Philharmonie, Kölner. "Jaki Liebezeit – A Tribute". Kölner Philharmonie. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
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