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What exactly does KMFDM stand for? According to the members of the German Industrial outfit that will play the Saltair Pavilion on Monday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m., it is, quite logically, a German acronym for Kleine Mittlied Fur Das Mehrheit (no pity for the majority). No, it has nothing to do with Depeche Mode.
In the tradition of being multi-lingual, KMFDM has named their latest disc "Nihil," Latin for nothing. But nothing is really something if judged by its commercial success. The first single, "Juke-Joint Jezebel" found a 2 million member audience, and the disc has sold in impressive numbers, despite the band staying on its first and only, formerly obscure label, Wax Trax! Records.
As the industrial scene has expanded, so has the German band's style and popularity. They virtually attack audiences with heavy guitar riffs combined with speedy, danceable tune-making and a multisinger approach. They don't walk the industrial middle ground, much to the delight of their fans who turned out in multitudes to see the band at an X-96 show earlier this year.
Originally, the band wasn't really a band but a medium to express art and anger for founder Sascha Konietzko, who used to cover his body in flour and blood and shoot televisions. He became bored with that, so a year later (1984) he teamed up with vocalist En Esch, and the machine-gun rhythm, keyboard and electronically driven music was fired up.
Music in the '80s was vastly different from the industrial canvas of today. The music didn't resonate with the mainstream until Nine Inch Nails hit the scene. Industrial meant obscurity and tightly defined characteristics. KMFDM introduced guitar to the scene, much to the dismay of the genre, and a whole new flavor was available. Konietzko, however, says that his band isn't and never has been about commercial success. His choice to remain on a smallish label, when he could easily jump ship for a music industry heavyweight, point to the reality of his claim.
"I don't think we're accepted," he told the Chicago Tribune. "I'd say there's a small community of kids intrigued with what we're doing. This was never intended to be some hugely successful band."