Kraftwerk Co-Founder Florian Schneider Dead at 73
The band was formed in 1970 alongside Ralf Hütter, who are the two longest-serving members of Kraftwerk and are largely credited as the primary creative forces responsible for such groundbreaking records as 1974's Autobahn, 1977's Trans-Europe Express and 1978's The Man-Machine, among others.
Schneider was a multi-instrumentalist and innovator of electronic music having played the synthesizer, keyboard, organ, drums, vocoder, flute (electronic and acoustic), saxophone, electric guitar, violin, bass and percussion. Kraftwerk's experimental nature was often exemplified by the use of homemade instruments and much of their music has served as the foundation upon which following generations of electronic artists (including Nine Inch Nails) used as a guideline.
In 2008, Schneider formally exited the group he had been a part of for 38 years, having performed on all 10 of Kraftwerk's full length albums. Since his departure, the band has not released a new record, though they have continued to perform around the globe. Most recently, the band had to cancel their summer 3-D U.S. tour due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite being nominated for entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame six times, Kraftwerk remain on the outside of the establishment's ranks.
When speaking to Rolling Stone about Nine Inch Nails' induction, Trent Reznor was befuddled at how he had made it in, but Kraftwerk had not. "When it gets weird for me is when you think about, 'OK, who’s in? Who’s out?' And you see Kraftwerk and Todd Rundgren not get in. That’s when it’s like, 'OK, what’s the criteria here? These guys should absolutely fucking be in there.' Both of those that I mentioned were hugely influential. I don’t think I would be me had those guys not existed. That’s where I think of it with a grain of salt," Reznor confessed.