After visual art, Penck’s second great passion was music. A dynamic percussionist, he let off steam on the drums and was a wild, driving force in several bands. He took every opportunity that came his way to perform, and the list of his concerts is unending. Penck was as well connected in the music scene as he was in the world of art, organizing a number of music festivals and bringing out over fifty recordings. He almost always designed the LP covers himself. Drums were his favorite instrument. He also sang and played piano, bass guitar, and wind instruments. During a concert he would also switch instruments with other members of the band. He appeared with major musicians like Frank Wright, Butch Morris, Frank Lowe, Jeanne Lee, Alan Silva, Peter Kowald, Clarence Sharpe, and Louis Moholo in Europe and the USA, although he played much more frequently with artist colleagues like Helge Leiberg, Michael Freudenberg, Albert Oehlen, Martin Kippenberger, and Markus Lüpertz.
In 1979, while still in the GDR, he formed the band O.T. with his painter friend Helge Leiberg, composer and guitarist Lothar Fiedler, and double-bass player Christoph Winckel. After being expatriated from the GDR and relocated to West Germany in 1980, he was followed by a succession of other band members, and the group continued to perform under this name well into the 1990s.