David Paich, Robbie Krieger discuss rock’s impact on the fall of Communism: ‘The only reason we got through’

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Rockin’ the Wall, as the name might suggest, traces the history of the Berlin Wall and its ultimate demise through the lens of music — with valuable insights from the likes of David Paich of Toto and Robbie Krieger of the Doors.

“There were so many people who came up to us and said, ‘Man, in the old days we used to listen to pirate radio and, if they caught us, they’d throw us in jail,” Krieger says, “and you guys were the only reason we got through that period.'”

Released in November to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Rockin’ the Wall makes the case that rock’s essential sensibility — a celebration of freedom, a call toward our best selves — played a key role in the not just the symbolism of the wall coming down, but in the fracturing of the Soviet Union itself.

“Our reception couldn’t have been better,” David Paich says of Toto’s first appearances behind the Iron Curtain. “It was so great. It’s so fun, especially when you see people who have been starving for music, for Western music. The crowd was just phenomenal there in Warsaw.”

Rockin’ the Wall, directed by Larry Schweikart, is based on the 2011 publication Seven Events That Made America America, written by Schweikart. Members of Vanilla Fudge and Rare Earth contributed original music; Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot and Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjackets are also interviewed. The film’s subtitle says it all: “How music ripped the Iron Curtain.”

More recently, David Paich and Toto traveled to Lodz to record a best-selling live project called 35th Anniversary Tour: Live from Poland.

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