Upstairs, a band from Frankfurt, Germany was active from 1977 to 1983. Though considering themselves mainly a rock group, the band incorporated elements of funk, jazz rock and disco into their music. On their rare and privately released debut album “It’s Hard To Get In The Showbiz” from 1980 they created something that could be called Germany’s definite answer to AOR, yet still with an edgy and unique krautrock flavor.
The album starts with "Wontcha Try," a track where core songwriter, guitarist and lead singer Helmer Sauer is telling the story about being dismissed from his job: "They tried to tell me in a fucking gentle way, that the time had come to kick me…". Sauer serves more personal, hard-edged lyrics on the album as well. On "Happy Hooker," for example, he tells the story of a working girl in the red light milieu: "The job is as hard that you really can never imagine, she serves for the money, degradin' herself in a way - if you'd know how she's feelin' you wouldn't laugh at all". An empathetic view on the subject of prostitution rarely heard at that time.
But aside from the profound lyrics and songwriting, the album has a lot to offer on the groovy side of things. With catchy bass lines, rhythm guitar, Fender Rhodes, Moog synthesizer, Clavinet and swift crisp drumming "It's Hard To Get In The Showbiz" is one of the best examples of late 70s flavored funky rock from Germany. Additional to the aforementioned "Wontcha Try" another DJ delight should be "Make Your Steps On Better Lines" which showcases a superb synth line and disco funk flavors. We also get the slick mellow latinesque AOR grooves of "Get On A Plane" as well as the now-classic "You're Just Yourself", which marks the most soulful track of the LP. As followers of our label are already well aware, "You're Just Yourself" was featured on the compilation, "Boogie On The Mainline – A Collection Of Rare Disco, Funk And Boogie From Germany 1980-1987" from 2018.
The band mainly performed locally and never really had ambitions to release their music on a bigger label. Too bad that Upstairs only released this one album. Of course, the highly sought-after original pressing is almost impossible to find nowadays. Therefore, we are proud to finally make this record available again after 40 years for a reasonable, regular LP price. Only 300 copies of the carefully re-mastered repress have been produced, and included is a printed lyrics insert identical to the original.
As this is already the 10th release on our label we want to thank you for your support! Stay tuned for more hidden gems unearthed by The Artless Cuckoo.