dimanche 22 décembre 2013


Disclaimer : be kind, English is not my mothertongue.

  So you got bored to death with the whole californian punk thing and you seek the next big thrill into this good ol' sinking Europe. You really want to give Euros a try, and you found that the days of glory for Bristish punk are long gone... Too bad. But you also discovered somehow that kids and old wrecks in the East are still high on what used to be England's greatest threat. I can help you my beloved sister /brother to convert  you to the new faith of rock'n'roll nihilism. The pogo-anarchy is welcoming you with open arms, and its Mecca's called Berlin. But before you take the plunge into that crazy deutschpunk nebula, I can show you some tracks that changed my life, you know, for real.

   I've always lived in the eastern part of France, the one the Germans used to call heimat not so long ago. Basically we're all Fritzs in disguise here, but it was considered to be a total taboo to be into german music except old operas or austrian schläger. In another hand listening to american gansta rap, even though we were all whites back in the days, was and is politically OK. The same goes with the rai music from our "beloved" lost colonies of Algeria and so on. Sick state of mind in the French omnipotent State. Thinking about it, I still don't know why I typed "ich bin ein punk" at school back in '98 while not listening to my socialist teacher. I barely listened to punk (I used to be a 70s and 80s soft rock fan) and I didn't speak a word of German, because those Germans are evil c'mon. What I discovered was a brand new sound to me, something I had never heard before, and it was already too late, deutschpunk became my weirdo obsession.

   Just to set you things right, it was a time where in Europe punk  used to be considered fuckin' dead, especially in my shitty whiny country. The Offspring didn't achieved mainstream audience until later that year with their ultrahit 'Pretty fly'  played every hour on the motherfuckin' MTV. We hadn't any of your so-called pop-punk either, 'cause we're dumb retards and we're always 3 years late. Only a smash hit coming right from Orange County could bring us some of the best records the US produced in recent years... The Pistols were virtually the only reknown punk band a poor lambda teenager like me could easily find right in the middle of the death metal, french gangsta rap or Eurodance crap. And they were just a memory, a relic from some better days. The only german tracks I could find at home were '99 Luftballons' or traditional shitty volksmusik. Rammstein were still an underground band here in France, because of the nazi bullshit stuff we're brainwashed about at school. So it was for me really a big deal to find those records and a schock to discover that these german scenes existed and produced such amazing songs. I've grown up, listened to so many albums since, but deutschpunk still holds a part of my soul.

01. Ich bin ein punk - Terrorgruppe - Musik für Arschlöcher (1995)


  This was the first german punk song I ever heard. The magic random words joining had a result. And wich one ! This nearly perfect track, I still listen to on a regular basis, is imo today still relevant. Even if  Terrorgruppe's first album gets about 20 years old. Terrorgruppe, along with The Offspring and the Sex Pistols, got me definitely into punk.

02. Ich bin ein punk - Die Ärzte - 5,6,7,8, Bullenstaat ! (2001)


 About two years later, I surprisingly found  an other track with the very same name. But this time the cultural shock was very different. Way shorter, faster and nastier this was one of my first angry punkish song, and the one who got me into Die Ärzte's follower army. This band used to be one of the first cult german bands to be recognized outside Germany, even if most of their stuff can appear cryptic for non-german speaking people, as the band fame relies mostly on tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Nevertheless, they gave some of the best tunes German rock ever produced, including these ones.

03. Keine Gerede - Wizo - Für'n Arsch (1994)


  My youth wasn't really peace and love. One thing seemed very clear to us all at school : they were the white kids and the islamic shithead kids (mostly from Turkey or of algerian descent). We had each our zone in the school yard, like in an american jail yard (btw my school plans were based on real prison plan...). Total failure of the anti-racist and multicultural values the State keeps to tell us everyday, I never believed in this crap, only fear of reprisal existed for us. Among the white kids the most popular groups were without any hesitation what in the UK is called chavs, or whiggers, and the nazis. Everybody thought a civil war would happen some day, and since the idea still haunts borderlines political groups in "my"country. France built its own mental prison through one of the dumbest propaganda this world knows. So when the perspectives for an anarchist revolution came through this Wizo track, I couldn't agree more with. I got many times beaten by whites and islamic shitheads for this, but a least I never were part of their troops. I fully understood what an anarchist rebellion in  a rotten society was about, and it was no joke, believe me. Exactly like those born in Aceh, L.A. or Berlin.


04. Hass und Gewalt - Das Untergangskommando - Hass und Gewalt (1998)


 The three previous tracks were somehow, how to say it... too happy. This one is different and stank hate and violence, reflecting what I lived with. The alternation of quiet and then pissed-off moments recalled me heavily of Nirvana, which was quite popular in those days. But it was also way better, because no one knew it, even the TV proto-hipsters. Oh, by the way this little 4 tracks EP still kicks ass today.

05. Solidarnocs - Doedelhaie - Oi! It's Doitschpunk (1998)


  At the closing edge of the XXth century, Internet didn't existed in real life. We had no Wikipedia, I didn't know who the Angelic Upstarts were. So it was impossible to put a date on a track, or sometimes to know who played it first. I had to wait weeks before some nerdy friend of mine downloaded new stuff, yeah it was definitely an other time. 'Solidarnocs' seemed to be a really old song, from the glorious Warsaw Pact days. I was all wrong, but the feeling to hear some underground Cold War shit was really amazing. The lo-fi and the cheap keyboard sound  only made it better.

06. Punk ist keine Religion - Normahl - Auszeit (1993)


  During my youth days, I hated the "dressed-in-black-people", goths or black metal fans alike, the same way I hated the chavs or whiggers and their islamic counterpart. Even if they appeared less scary to me. But it didn't meant I liked the Christians (today I got smoother on that point, thank you Jesus). When I saw punk and religion written side by side, I had to listen to this song. It became an instant classic, combining punk and hard rock à la Guns'n'Roses. Normahl is one of those cult bands and a livin' proof that in order to shit on God you don't have to worship Satan.


07. Faschopack - Rawside  - Staatsgewalt (1997)


   A minute and a  "guitar wall" I will never forget. This was the first hardcore track I ever heard (and I played it over and over). It's an interesting point to know this is a cover from 'Warschauer Pakt' by OHL, a really good 80s punk band. Rawside had some other fantastic songs in the days like 'Schlag zurück' or 'Es herrscht Krieg', where in the memorable video a giant swatika exploded. They are the reason why I always found the American hardcore unimpressive and quite pathetic. It's a a cliché for an Euro like me to say that but when it comes to hardcore Americans are fuckin' pussies who got lost far from punk.

08. Für immer punk - Die Goldenen Zitronen - Porsche, Genscher, Hallo HSV (1987)


  An easy title to write for a non-german speaking kid. Again. Here I was fond of the old and exhausted sound, which made this track so old-fashioned and far from my mediocre daily life. Die Goldenen Zitronen were one of the first german punk bands who turned to a more regular pop rock sound and to be in the charts, just like Die Toten Hosen or Die Ärzte. But for them the glory was short, mostly because they lost theirselves into unpopular other genres. This stays their greatest hit, even though it's a parody of 'For ever young' by Alphaville. It's funny but I didn't had the track end and during ten years I wondered how it sounded. And somehow I prefer when it stops at 1.56...

09.Hc/hc - EA80 - Schweinegott (1998)


  This one comes from a very underrated band, even for deutschpunk. Often dealing with mental depression issues (the depropunk, stuff like DSBM but with a mohawk), this band is like a ghost. No advertising, self-releases, no interviews. The old-timers released a new EP from time to time, and it landed in no time on the P2P networks. Since acronyms are eye-catchers and seem to have an hidden meaning, I had to know how it sounded like. Again I was surprised. Acid, anrgy, ulcerish, amazing. I told you US hardcore wasn't enough.

10. Wann wirds mal wieder richtig Sommer - Creme 21 - 30% mehr (1996)


  The end of the 90s was the beginning of the good US pop-punk days, and some Germans in the middle of hardcorish albums also played this kind of music. The short-lived Crème 21 topped the charts with this cover from Ruddi Carell, a famous dutch singer, who covered popular american songs. Like many, I was outfoxed thinking it was an Ärzte song (no Internet at home, do you remember ?) but I really enjoyed this happily melancholic track. Back in the days I discovered this pop-punk masterpiece in a cheap medley made by an unknown musical DIY enthusiast. The mix contained Die Toten Hosen's 'Altbierlied', some J.B.O., crazy german songs for kids and german drinking anthems so old I still don't have a clue what I really listened to today. Days without Internet...

11. Punk und polizei - Das Untergangskommando - Hol' dir die Pest (1997)


  Untergangskommando were great at the end of the century, one of the best german punk acts. The happy tone here contrasted with 'Hass und Gewalt', and sounded even like the damned volksmusik. But there were nothing to do, this sound got stuck in my poor mind since the very first hearing. And once again I had only a losely idea about the lyrical theme (even if I'm quite OK with the police for a punk listener).

12. Schrei nach Liebe - Die Ärzte- Die Bestie in Menschengestalt (1993)


  And finally a nothing-but-original MTV song. How many little Germans got hooked into punk through this record, written after neo-nazis attacks in the former GDR, no one can tell. Beside a catchy intro, this tune had another good point, I could understand they talked about assholes. And when you're 12 you don't need more to listen to a song. You can also be blown by the video symbolics. Evil neo-nazis look like hobo-skinheads-clowns so ugly they make the vampire Ärzte leaving their coffins, playing together once again because things got that serious. The crappy tattoo on Bela B.'s shoulder is also a visual gem. It was another time !

   As a conclusion I'd like to say once again that it was especially difficult to find this music for a kid like me with no money and who never tripped to Germany. But weirdly, this fascination for these scene had been with me since those days, and it always seems dummy to say it but this stuff influenced me more than what my peers considered cool or what teachers could say to us. If you have children, never underestimate the power of music, it is the best way to spread some propaganda today.

  NB : Check also Polish, Russian, Swedish, Spanish-speaking and even some French bands. They're definitely great and could give you some of the best records for your personal collection. Their sound is still mostly uncorrupted and for you dear English native speakers should sound exotic. You could learn a thing or two with those albums, dear ex-Euros from the ex-colonies.

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