Richard Müller in concert
Müller has created for himself an image of the consummate rock-star. His concerts mimic the style of any currently popular group on tour, yet retain a certain 80's caliber of technical effects and fog. His all black outfit and pupil-hiding shades give him a certain uniqueness - at least in his opinion.
"We should also be famous in America," Müller said after his Bratislava concert in early May which kicked off his Slovak tour. "It's very clear." Having played to an over sold-out crowd that evening, Müller probably has something to crow about.
Müller's music usually draws the younger generation out to the concert halls. His earlier works are already regarded as "oldies but goodies" by many, and his shock antics on his weekly radio program on Fun Radio make it virtually certain that he will never sneak out of the spotlight of controversy. Müller's christening of his most recent album "LSD," released in January, didn't surprise many, partly because one of his former works, on compact disc, had an unpublishable Slovak derogative in the title. His "alternative lifestyle" in the fast lane is a secret to few.
Heinrich Müller, Richard's father, was the forerunner of the Müller phenomenon. As a musician and actor, he gave his son a start in the world of music and even co-wrote several songs before his untimely death four years ago. Many say that he gave Richard the best of his life and that after he passed away, Richard's musical career suffered from a lack of substance.
But Müller's latest album features an ever-increasingly popular song "Cigaretka na dva ťahy" ("A Two-Puff Cigarette") that was well received when he performed it as an encore piece in his new concert. His style has changed from pop-rock to a rock-funk style accented by David Byrne's shoulder pads and movements. Celebrated rock guitarist Ondrej Šeban accents Müller's style with his eloquent solos and wailing ballads. Comedian-pianist Jaro Filip guest stars to jazz up the album for a song or two one of which is the rockin' "Karel z americke Prahy."
In the midst of Müller's ostentatiousness, he pardons himself for singing the next song in a foreign language. He shouts out several English expletives before starting into the well-known Czech song, "Štěstí je krásná věc" ("Happiness is a Beautiful Thing"). He wipes his gummy lips on the microphone and poses like a crucified religious figure while the audience sings the chorus. His rather short concert also included reworked hits from previous albums.
During his post-concert break, Müller reflected back on the significance of his trip around the United States and the people he met. "Since then I have said so many good things about America and my trips there that Hillary [Clinton] should personally give me American citizenship," he said. Don't hold your breath.
Richard Müller's latest album "LSD," as well as his previous albums, are on sale in music shops nationwide. Check local venues for specific tour dates.
22. May 1997 at 0:00 | Ron Severdia