Hubert's musical career started in the early 1960's with the formation of the group Jupiter, a dance band which received vast recognition in his home town of Linz. A business trip to London changed his direction after seeing the band King Crimson play at the then - famous Marquee Club in 1968.
This band had a great influence on Hubert and he consequently formed Eela Craig. King Crimson made him think about the Austrian attitude to music which was heavily oriented towards the classics. He wanted to pioneer a mixture of classical and electronic rock. Other memorable bands he mentioned were Pink Floyd, Cream, Peter Gabriel and Genesis, all of whom have an echo of recognition in his music.
The success of Eela Craig went on to see over 400 concerts in Europe and the release of three CDs. Hubert's active roles in the band were providing both the rock voice on many of the tracks and, for the first four years, he was the group's manager. Only after major success did he pass the role on to the German company, Agentur Schlote, in 1978. The formation of Eela Craig was the basis for his present career.
To read more about the history of Eela Craig, scroll down!
"However, Eela Craig produced a masterpiece never achieved afterwards. It was critically acclaimed higher than Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Tarkus" and is a collectors' item nowadays worth about US500 dollars. This debut was simply called "Eela Craig" and was released in an edition of 1,500 copies which sold out within a few weeks."
In 1972, musical differences turned up. While Horst Waber, Heinz Gerstmair and Wil Orthofer preferred to play the blues, Harald Zuschrader, Hubert Bognermayr and Gerhard Englisch continued with the name Eela Craig to perform their symphonic and electronic sound. The others moved on to form Ice Planet icluding Fred Guschlbauer and Hansi Butt, but the band split after these two members died in two car crashes a few years later without even releasing a record. Joe Drobar was added to Eela Craig on drums. This line up performed Alfred Peschek's opus "Dimensionen zwischen Pop and Klassik" (Dimensions between Pop and Classical Music). The first two bonus tracks on this CD were recorded at the Linz concert but completely reworked by Hubert Bognermayr. It was sponsored by the state of Upper Austria and donated to Dr Alfred Peschek; the CD "Dimensionen" was released which is hard to find for the collector. Eela Craig's twenty minute part of this opus is included on this CD. Harald Zuschrader left the band shortly after these gigs for two years. Eela Craig added Fritz Riedelberger on guitar, mellotrone, congas and as singer and Hubert Schauer was responsible for the equipment. In 1974 Eela Craig independently released the single "Stories/Cheese" in an edition of 5,000 copies, worth US30 dollars nowadays. The master tapes of these tracks don't exist anymore. Therefore, they had also to be decrackled and are in the final tracks on this CD. The mellotrone was played then by all members apart from the drummer. From 10.01.1974 on ORF, Linz offered Eela Craig a weekly radio play time of twenty minutes. This privilege was unique in Europe. At the end of 1974, Joe Drobar quit and planned his own band together with his brother. His replacement Frank Hueber was found in a competition contest.
Signing a contract with the progressive label Vertigo in 1975 meant international breakthrough. In 1976, Eela Craig released the well made symphonic rock LP "One Niter." Wil Orthofer joined the band on the album "Hats of Glass" in early 1978 again, but the progressive influences lost their meaning more and more. By the way, Harald Zuschrader reworked the new recording of "Cheese." Special attention was drawn by their 1978 LP "Missa Universalis," a symphonic concept album in four languages which was enriched by Bruckner adaptions. Although the Christian lyrics may disgust some critical and enlightened thinkers, the music was acceptable. In 1979 Hubert Bognermayr left the band following internal disputes, followed by Frank Hueber who got ear problems from the steady noise concentration and had to be operated on afterwards. He was replaced by Wil Orthofer on drums. The follow-up album from 1980, "Virgin Oiland" on Ariola, was a bit disappointing, although it was musically very skilful and as always, it narrated the history of earth and mankind in a melodramatic way. The new year saw the release of the single "Mo-bike Jive" / "Carry On" which did not appear on the album. However Ariola did not allow them to add any tack to this CD. Afterwards Eela Craig did not officially disband, but they stopped gigging. It was not before 1987 that Wil Orthofer and Hubert Schnauer together with Gery Moder on guitar recorded four silly singles and released in 1988 a middle of the road pop album called "Hit or Miss" which was righteously ignored. The only connection to the early Eela Craig was based on the name and had nothing to do with their original music. It was not until 17/11/1995 that Eela Craig reunited for a concert in Linz which was taped and will perhaps be released on CD later.
After Hubert Bognermayr left Eela Craig he formed the electronic and new age label Erdenklang together with Ulrich Ruetzel and released the following albums with Harald Zuschrader: "Eerdenklang" in 1982, "Bergpredigt" in 1983 and "Sternenklang" in 1991, "Blue Chip Orchestra" a self-titled album in 1988 and "Blue Danube" in 1991. On some of these they worked together with Joe Drobar and Alois Janetschko. In the fall of 1997, the Blue Chip Orchestra released the album "White River, Red Spirit" on Erdenklang.
In 1979 Hubert Bognermayr founded the worldwide acknowledged Ars Electronica festival and also the Linzer Klangwolke and in 1989, the Blue Chip Academy. Heinz Gerstmair works nowadays independently and plays th eguitar and writes songs for fun. Gerhard Englisch owns one of the biggest Austrian equipment and light show companies. Harald Zuschrader is professor for music, has his own sound studios and has produced gold and platinum records with several artists. Wil Orghofer continued producing music and works as a writer and arranger. He released two CDs with world music in limited editions of 1,000 copies each: "Bed of Roses" independently released in 1995 and "Libero" in 1996. Horst Waber was a successful architect until he got sick with multiple sclerosis. All royalties gained from this CD are donated to him