Three graves, two together, the other ten paces away. Today Olivia, myself and friends Brigitte and Mathias finally found the resting places of Holger Czukay and his wife, and close by Jaki Liebezeit – two members of CAN and Holger Czukay’s wife and collaborator Ursula, known as U-She and Ursa Major.
They are buried here in Germany in the Melatenfriedhof, a large cemetery in the Ehrenfeld area of Cologne (Köln). Jaki Liebezeit was my favourite drummer and Holger Czukay my favourite experimentalist. I’m sure they would both have been happy to hear us play CAN beats on three watering cans at the side of their graves in tribute (yes, there is a video).
All three died in 2017 – Jaki on 22 January, Ursula on 28th July and Holger on the 5th September. Ursula died on her birthday and Holger just 5 weeks later. He was 24 years older than her and must have been shocked by her death as she was so much younger than him, possibly dying himself of a broken heart. A bad year for CAN fans, but they are at least survived by keyboardist Irmin Schmidt. The two ex-CAN singers are still going strong – American, Malcolm Mooney sang with them from 1968-70 and Japanese Damo Suzuki sang with them 1970-1973. Guitarist Michael Karoli died in 2001, aged 53.
In 1973 I saw CAN live at Liverpool Stadium and I have been a fan ever since the early seventies. In fact in the eighties whilst touring in Germany I got to meet Holger Czukay through a friend of his that worked for the record label. We met in a Cologne cafe and I had a lovely fan-nerd evening with him, talking about CAN, music and life in general. A really special memory.
Jaki Liebezeit – 26 May 1938 – 22 January 2017
Ursula Schüring (Kloss) – 28th July 1962 – 28th July – 2017
Holger Czukay (Schüring) – 24th March 1938 – 5 September 2017