One of Germany's more potent alternative rock bands, Muff Potter began in the early '90s as a fairly typical German punk band yet evolved quickly, ultimately securing major-label backing by Universal in the mid-2000s. Muff Potter were formed in 1993, in Rheine, North Rhine-Westphalia; singer/guitarist Thorsten Negelschmidt (aka Nagel; born June 5, 1976, in Rheine) is the only existing member from the original lineup, which held its first rehearsal on May 9, 1993. Other bandmembers include singer/guitarist Dennis Scheider (who joined the band in 1995; born December 22, 1977, in Emsbüren, Lower Saxony), bassist Dominic Laurenz (aka Shredder; joined in 2000; born January 12, 1981, in Steinfurt, North Rhine-Westphalia), and drummer Thorsten Brameier (aka Brami; joined in 1994; born February 7, 1975, in Mesum, North Rhine-Westphalia). The band's name was taken from a character in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; in the book, Muff Potter is falsely accused of murder and ultimately cleared of the crime.
Muff Potter the band were more or less a punk band in the beginning, with political lyrics and fast music typical of German punk. The band's recording debut was a demo tape, Bambule -- Kleine Geschichten aus dem Grossen Knast, recorded in March 1994 at Flat-Fish Studio in Rheine. An official self-titled debut album followed in 1996, also recorded at Flat-Fish and only released on vinyl. Schrei, Wenn Du Brennst (1997), the band's second album and first CD, was the first to feature Scheider and Brameier on record. Another full-length album, Bordsteinkantengeschichten (2000), followed, as did the vinyl-only 7" Potthoff EP (2000) and, a few years later, Heute Wird Gewonnen, Bitte (2003). The latter release signaled a change of style for the band, which was moving further away from its punk roots and toward a more dynamic and inclusive sound (e.g., "Placebo Domingo," from Heute, released a both a single and video) that attracted major-label interest. And so the subsequent Muff Potter album, Von Wegen (2005), was released by Universal and was the band's first to chart, breaking into the German Top 100. Moreover, the single "Alles Was Ich Brauch" charted as well (at number 88) and Von Wegen was repackaged for Japanese release as My Huckleberry Friend (2006). The successive Muff Potter album, Steady Fremdkörper (2007), proved even more popular, charting Top 40 and spawning the hit single "Fotoautomat." ~ Jason Birchmeier