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Jan Ulrich Max Vetter, better known as Farin Urlaub (from the German "Fahr in Urlaub!" ("Go on holiday!"), after his love for travelling) is a German musician and songwriter. He is best known as the guitarist/vocalist for the German punk rock band Die Ärzte. Vetter has been a solo artist since 2001, touring with his band, the Farin Urlaub Racing Team. His releases starting in 2006 are credited to the band.
Vetter was born on 27 October 1963 in West Berlin. Until the age of seven, he lived with his mother in a flat in Berlin's Moabit district, and then in Frohnau until he was 18. His parents were low-income civil servants, and he has a younger half-sister named Julia. His mother often played records by The Beatles, and Vetter was introduced to music at a young age.
When he was nine, Vetter decided to take guitar lessons with an elderly woman who taught him classical standards. He played guitar while visiting holiday camps. A later music teacher advised him: "Whatever you do when you grow up, don't do anything with music!". At the age of 16, Vetter went on a school trip to London, and returned home as a punk with dyed blonde hair.
In 1980, he met Dirk Felsenheimer (later known as Bela B.) at the club Ballhaus Spandau, one of the few clubs in West-Berlin that occasionally played punk rock. Vetter joined Felsenheimer's band Soilent Grün, replacing the previous guitar player whose guitar had been stolen. When it was time to come up with stage names, Vetter decided to refer to his favourite hobby of travelling, contracting the German phrase "Fahr in Urlaub" ("Go on holiday") to Farin Urlaub. After completing his Abitur in 1981, Vetter enrolled in archaeology at the Free University of Berlin, but soon quit his studies to focus on his musical career.
After the breakup of Soilent Grün in 1982, Urlaub, Felsenheimer, and Hans Runge (Sahnie) formed Die Ärzte. Vetter told the youth magazine BRAVO that his surname was Vetter-Marciniak to find out which of his fans really knew him well: fan mail addressed to "Jan Vetter-Marciniak" he would throw out unread. Even today his surname is often erroneously cited as "Vetter-Marciniak." In 1988, at the height of their popularity, Urlaub and Felsenheimer decided to split up and, after one final tour with the new bass-player, Hagen Liebing, Die Ärzte disbanded.
In 1989, Urlaub formed King Køng with, among others, drummer Uwe Hoffmann, who had been Die Ärzte's producer. Urlaub called himself "Jan" during this time, as he wanted to distance himself from his time with Die Ärzte. The group was never successful, and Urlaub declared it defunct in 1999.
In 2001, Urlaub started his solo career with the album "Endlich Urlaub!" (literally translated meaning "Finally Holiday!", but also a pun on his pseudonym, "Urlaub"). "Am Ende der Sonne" ("At the End of the Sun") was released in 2005, followed by Livealbum Of Death in 2006. The next album Vetter chose to release under the name Farin Urlaub Racing Team, after the band playing alongside him when performing live. The latest album titled "Die Wahrheit übers Lügen" ("The Truth About Lying") was released on 31 October 2008.
Besides Vetter's solo career, Die Ärzte continued to exist. In November 2007, their album, "Jazz ist anders" ("Jazz is different") was released and was ranked #1 in the German Media Control charts for six consecutive weeks. Their latest album, "auch" ("also") was released in April of 2012.
Since his childhood, Vetter has been influenced by The Beatles and Frank Zappa. In addition, he listens to Johnny Cash, Depeche Mode, and "more or less everything except free jazz and techno." Vetter has stated that he does not consider himself to be a particularly good guitarist. He says that he often plays "unclean" chords and that he has only a very limited ability to read music, although this has not affected his success as a musician. Vetter is a very creative and productive author and relevant musician, familiar with many styles ranging from punk to rock, funk (Deine Freundin), ska (Dermitder), reggae, dancehall, country and even, albeit in a jocular manner, in Volkstümliche Musik (Wenn es Abend wird).
According to some reports, the difference between the songs Vetter has written solo and those he has written for Die Ärzte is that his solo pieces are more personal and topical. He tried to make his songs for Die Ärzte as "timeless" and funny as possible, influenced by the Comedian Harmonists. Many of his songs are about being left by one's partner (Zu spät (Too late), Wegen dir (Because of you), Wie am ersten Tag (Like on the first day), Komm zurück (Come back), Nie gesagt (Never told you), OK, 1000 Jahre schlechten Sex (1000 years of bad sex), Nichts in der Welt (Nothing in the world)) or are just nonsense (Buddy Holly's Brille (Buddy Holly's glasses), Außerirdische (Extraterrestrials), WAMMW (Abbreviation for Wenn alle Männer Mädchen wären -- If all men were girls)). Since the reunion of Die Ärzte, he has also written socially critical and political songs (Kopfüber in die Hölle (Headfirst into hell), Schrei nach Liebe (Cry for love), Schunder-Song, Der Misanthrop, Rebell, Deine Schuld (Your fault), Nicht allein (Not alone)).
Whereas his first solo album contained several very satirical texts, Am Ende der Sonne deals with more serious themes such as politics, social criticism, and personal subjects. In some solo pieces, Urlaub also shows some tendency towards ska punk (Dermitder ("The Guy With The", contextually, "der Mann mit der Posaune" -- the man with the trombone), 1000 Jahre schlechten Sex (1000 years of bad sex)).
Farin Urlaub Racing Team:
The Farin Urlaub Racing Team (abbreviated to "FURT") is the band with whom Vetter performs his solo work. So far, he has completed four tours with the band. He describes the difference between Die Ärzte and the Farin Urlaub Racing Team as follows: "With Die Ärzte, complete anarchy dominates on stage, whereas with the Racing Team you have an orchestra full of dynamite." Fanart Banner