Keyboard player Irmin Schmidt recalls the hit that saw Can feature on Top Of The Pops!!
I Want More b/w …And More
Highest Chart Position: No. 26
This was the 11th single Can had released, but the only one to chart in Britain. The lyrics were written by Peter Gilmour, who was the band’s live sound engineer. The single was reissued in 2006 to mark the 30th anniversary, and reached number 103 in the UK. The single is one of few occasions when all members of the bands are featured on vocals.
Where did the inspiration for the song come from?
“As was usual with us, it just came from jamming out a musical idea and seeing where it led. We never set out to write a single. Let alone a hit one. For all we knew, it could have ended up being 12 or 13 minutes long. We always did what suited the ideas we had. The fact I Want More came out the way it did was simply down to the way the idea developed.”
What was the reaction to it?
“I think we were always fortunate that our fans accepted everything we did. They had no expectations, so whatever the type of song we did, or its length, it was fine by them. That gave us the freedom to have a hit like this and know it would never undermine anything more complex we tackled.
“The other thing was that it sold a lot of copies, so there was an audience outside of our usual one that picked up on the song. That was obviously good for the band.”
Did you feel like pop stars?
“I could sound pompous and say we were too cool to be pop stars. But there was obviously an element of that going on. I remember one ‘pop star’ moment was when we were asked to appear on Top Of The Pops. But it was such a last minute thing that we all had to come back from holidays in various destinations. Michael [Karoli] was in Kenya, though, and we couldn’t reach him. This was in the days long before mobile phones and email. So, we had to do the show with a stand in guitarist. If you find the footage, you’ll see this guy at the back playing guitar and looking awkward. I can’t even tell you his name!”
Was having a hit a blessing or curse?
“Oh, it was neither. We’d had successful singles before in Germany, so we took it all in our stride. And we were never under pressure to have more hits. Our label knew trying to get us to do that was a waste of their time. We’d always do what we wanted, and I Want More didn’t alter that.”