Florian Schneider, right, with Kraftwerk co-founder Ralf Hutter
After a certain point in a marriage, divorce becomes a rather unlikely occurrence. When enough decades have tripped by, it becomes more convenient and painless to die naturally, arm in grudging arm, than to pick up and begin anew.
But Florian Schneider, who founded the incalculably influential electronic band Kraftwerk with Ralf Hutter in 1970, is packing his steamer trunk, returning his ring, and cutting the kids in half. After a staggering 38 years active in Kraftwerk, the reclusive Schneider is calling it quits.
Rumors of Schneider's departure have circulated since November, and were at last confirmed yesterday afternoon on Kraftwerk's official fansite, and then again on Pitchfork. Though no reason has yet been cited, Schneider has always been a stubborn, secretive member of the band. Described frequently by Hutter as an intractable perfectionist, Schneider's finnicky ears have often made him reluctant to tour.
Quoth Hutter, "He is a sound perfectionist, so, if the sound isn't up to a certain standard, he doesn't want to do it."
At the risk of being too speculative, the hard announcement coincides rather nicely with the announcement of a series of South and Central American tour dates in support of Radiohead, another tour shy, fussy troupe of perfectionists. Future ticket holders standby-- Kraftwerk's remaining members indicate that the band will continue to function without Schneider, so dreamers can keep right on dreaming.
For proof of Schneider's reclusivity and ultimate awkwardness, see the video below. The whole picture gets a little clearer after viewing it.