Code 13 (Past Midnight #3)

This was a donation of Duncan Mckinlay (Abderdeen, Scotland). The editor of this Swedish zine was Henke Liljegren. I’ve never been in contact with him. In the editorial he writes that some bands (‘Extinction Of Mankind’, ‘Misery’, ‘Unhinged’) didn’t respond timely enough. Bands that did make it to this issue were ‘Fleas & Lice’, ‘Kontrovers’, ‘Doom’, ‘Scumbrigade’ & ‘Amebix’ (reprint of the MRR interview by ‘Pushead’). There were also bits about christianity, the EZLN and the situtation in Chiapas, television, the women’s choice, and review- & news-sections.

‘Code 13’ (police-radio code for ‘officer down’), from Minneapolis, “mixed sing-a-long 80s hardcore like early ‘7 Seconds’ and ‘Youth Brigade’ with fast-core like ‘DropDead’ and a touch of early ‘D.R.I.’, straight-edge hardcore, Swedish HC/ Japanese thrash, 80s anarcho-punk and some grind/power violence for a fast and powerful punk sound”. They were Felix ‘(Von) Havoc’ (vocals; ex ‘Destroy!’, columnist/contributer/reviewer for Maximum Rock’n’Roll, HeartAttack & Profane Existence; owner of Havoc recs and straight-edge crust-punk), Mitch ‘Useless’ Robbie (drums; ex ‘Destroy!’ – ‘Criminal Shane’ was arrested in ’97; replaced by ‘Josh Blast’), ‘Tattoo Shane’ (bass; wasn’t on the Euro tour, replaced by Rick McKelvey) & ‘Trevor Trend’ a.k.a. ‘Trev Nugent’ (guitar). All their 7”s were on Felix’s label: Doomed Society (1995), They Made A Wasteland And Called It Peace (1996), A Part Of America Died Today (1998) and the split with ‘Demon System 13’ (2000). There was also a discography CD in 2000. The band toured Europe in 1999.

‘Von Havoc’ was also involved in Extreme Noise, a volunteer-run, not-for-profit co-op record-store in Minneapolis. For sure the man contributed/contributes a lot to the HC/punk-scene but history also obliges us to mention there’s also been some controversy: Felix was allegedly accused of rape on the More Than Music fest (Columbus, Ohio)… The rumours were all played out through the pages of HeartAttack. I believe none of it turned out to be true. There were also rumours of violent behaviour…

Josh – Felix – Trev – Shane

Posted in 1998, Swedish zines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

human nature (Synthesis #5)

Some time around 1995 I got a note from a person named ‘Albatross’ (residing in London – and later Canterbury for a while) asking for help distributing this zine. It was the start of a lively correspondence and an inspiring friendship. It turned out that the person (Laura W.) was an American studying (sociology, post-graduate in children’s rights). She is a vegan, anarchist, straight-edge, feminist, used to skate and would over the years also start distributing zines (Goodies – the name of her zine-distro; later changed to Synthesis), (help) organise gigs, volunteer at the vegan café Pogo Café (in Hackney), etc. We met up and visited gigs together, and encouraged each other doing the things we were doing. Later she wrote a chapter in the book Sober Living For The Revolution (about political straight-edge), published by PM Press and did a blog. I already posted an interview with her…

And – inside-joke – she was also the only woman who actually proposed me to marry her…

Laura did 5 issues of her zine during the second half of the 90s. #1 (94/95) was still hand-written and had short bits about veganism, militant bicycling, etc. and a brief interview with Jello Biafra… #2 (95) contained interviews with ‘Avail’ & ‘Doughnuts’, and comments on sXe, vegan activism, being a girl; plus reviews (zines/books). In #3 (97) she wrote about her travels, elections, anarchism and more. #4 (98) had columns about human rights, revolution, punk, feminism, etc.; plus a big review-section (music/zines/books/films). Some of the topics in #5 (99) included global resistance, genetic manipulation, gentrification, animal-rights, etc. For this one she interviewed Saxon Wood (Green Anarchist and Animal Liberation Front) and yours truly contributed an interview with the Brazilian feminist band ‘Dominatrix’. There was also a survey where she questioned a bunch of people active in the HC/punk-scene about human nature. That’s reprinted here…

Posted in 1999, UK zines | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Doom (Megawimp #3)

Erich Keller was the singer of the Swiss grindcore band ‘Fear Of God’. While setting up the ‘Ripcord’/’Napalm Death’ tour (1987), I had gotten in touch with ‘Fear Of God’s guitarist Reto ‘Tschösi’ Kühne & bassist Dave Philips. (They arranged a show in Zug, Switzerland.) We invited the band for a Smurfpunx gig (88-03-13) but that didn’t happen… He did this fanzine together with Thomas Mölch. Both also ran the label Off The Disk recs. Nowadays Erich is a historian and a journalist.

I only got to see this issue. It had interviews with ‘Corrupted Morals’, ‘Corrosion Of Conformity’, ‘Sic’, ‘Instigators’, ‘Lärm’, ‘Chronical Diarrhoea’, ‘Infest’, ‘Dissent’, ‘Stikky’, ‘Righteous Pigs’, ‘Subterranean Kids’, ‘Ludichrist’, etc.; reviews (zines/books/tapes/records), an article on splatter-movies and more.

erich-megawimp-kellerThis interview with ‘Doom’ was done during the band’s very early days (1988) with vocalist John Pickering … There’s an interview with ‘Stick’ (1996) elsewhere.

[Translation below]

doom-megawimp-3Generous as I am, let me close an eye and also include the following interview. I should have gone to the printers today but I’ll leave the Japan photo-page out and instead provide you with something from my present no. 1 noise band from England: ‘Doom’! Don’t be fooled by the name: this is not a “doom band” but relatively typical UK meets Sweden style. If you’re into ‘Crude S.S.’ with a shot of ‘Extreme Noise Terror’, glaced with old ‘Discharge’, don’t hesitate to get the War Crimes – Inhuman Beings LP by ‘Doom’ [1st album, out on Peaceville in 1988]! Lyrically as well as musically ‘Discharge’ is a strong influence, which one can notice especially in the lyrics (4 lines, that are repeated 4 times). But as simple as they may seem, the topics are not new, but important. In England ‘Doom’ is usually considerd as a ‘Discharge’ clone, which is really not fair! (See question below!). Off The Disk recs [the hardcore/punk label that Erich Keller and his mate Thomas Moelch founded] are planning a compilation-EP (which will be released before the compilation-LP) on which ‘Doom’ will also be featured with songs from their new (June ‘88) demo. We’re still looking for more bands for this EP; so please contact us if you are interested! But now onto the interview we did in March with Jon [John Pickering] in his role of screamer in ‘Doom’:

Since when are you guys of the true sound together then?

The current line-up exists since July 1987; with Jon on the microphone, Pete [Nash; later also ‘Extreme Noise Terror’, ‘Filthkick’, etc.] playing bass, Brian [Talbot] on guitar and ‘Stick’ [Tony Dickens] drumming. Before I also plucked the bass. [‘Doom’s 2 tracks on the Vile Peace compilation were recorded August 1987 with Jim Whitely (who was also on the first ‘Napalm Death’ LP, and later in ‘Ripcord’, ‘Filthkick’, etc.) on bass.]

Does it actually bother you that many call you a ‘Discharge’ rip-off?

We are not a ‘Discharge’ rip-off! We just play that sort of hardcore, which is made up by you. ‘Discharge’ were without a doubt an influence but a lot of other bands inspired us just the same. We had the thought that some powerful mid-tempo shit wouldn’t do any harm, for a change, that here in England there’s just either metal or high-speed thrash bands. It was clear from the start that we would be labeled as ‘Discharge’ copycats; but who cares?! Our main influences are actually bands such as ‘Discard’, ‘Asocial’, ‘Rattus’ or ‘Crude SS’. We’re more than a stupid copy band. We have something to say and we simply use this certain musical style to do that.

Your lyrics are mainly about animal abuse, etc. Don’t you think that leads to a kind of ‘dulling’ with the audience, when every English band has the same lyrics and the problem is so to say suppressed?

I fully agree: as time goes by people tend to get bored when they keep reading the same lyrics over and over again. The animal-rights theme looses its shock-effect, something that is incredibly strong when someone is confronted with the problem for the first time. Nonetheless it’s a major issue. People are still eating meat, are still buying cosmetics; hence we have to do everything in our power to fight this. Lyrics about animal-rights have always been there. Yet every time they get new audiences thinking, so they maintain their importance. ‘Doom’ as a band tackles all kinds of themes: from war to animal-rights, to emotions; these alone already provide an enormously wide spectre for lyrics!

What do you consider to be the positive aspects of the noise boom?

That boom has been fabricated by those major-like labels. It will probably rise to a peak and then fade away because it’s no longer financially interesting for them to keep them on the market. The independent/ underground bands will survive, because they do it for the love for the music and not the money. The positive aspect is that we reach a bigger crowd and therefore also get a bigger precentage of the audience to think.

But doesn’t this ‘aiming for a bigger crowd’ quickly slide off towards blindly going for profits? Can a band ever be ‘big’ but still stick to their ideals?

There’s certainly a difference between ‘selling out’ and be ‘big’, but of course it depends on how one defines the former. None of us respects a band that has wimped out (i.e. either turned metal or signed to a major). Too many have done this makes us even more careful. Death to capitalistic hardcore! A Ban can be famous without loosing their principles out of sight, e.g. ‘Napalm Death’ [???!!!] that are really big but still have good lyrics, what benefits our scene!

What is the worst thing about the scene?

There’s several things that we dislike about the scene in England. Above all the defeatism of many bands for extremely stupid reasons. Then there’s gig-organisers, promoters, that rip bands off. Those people don’t care one bit about what it’s all about in this scene; they just want keep the biggest piece of the cake possible for themselves. Britain still has a lot to learn compared to other scenes in Europe. At least that’s what we’ve heard! It’s also abou time that foreign bands are picked up a bit better in England. Also the interest for concerts should increase again; mostly very few people are turning up, but that has made the violence disappear.

What does music mean to you? Is it a kind of flight?

Music is excellent. For all of us, it’s a a kind of amusement and a valuable source of information. I wouldn’t know what I would do without it!

Would you like to say something more, Jon?

Megathanx for the questions. If anyone wants demos or other tapes, just send an empty cassette and 2 IRCs! Check out our LP and get ready for the new 12” Bury The Debt [Bury The Debt Not The Dead; split with ‘No Security’ on Peaceville, recorded January 1989.]! Bye!

Posted in 1989, Swiss zines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Avail (Tadpole #3)

‘Avail’ from Richmond (Virginia) – when touring Europe for the first time (in ’95) – were: ‘Beau’ Beau Butler (cheerleader/dancer), Joe Banks (guitar), Tim Barry (vocals), Erik Larson (drums) and Rob(ert) Kelshian (bass; ex ‘Ipecac’). They played at the Vort’n Vis in that line-up (95-06-18). The band released their first LP, Satiate, on Catheter-Assembly recs in 1992. It was re-issued on Old Glory recs (who also released Live At The King’s Head Inn) and on CD by LookOut! Recs, in 1994. C-A also put out the Attempt To Regress EP (recorded in ’92). They also put out the Dixie CD after that… 4AM Friday was recorded with Rob on bass (LookOut! ’96). The later records were with bassist Justin ‘Gwomper’ Burdick.

This interview here was done by Pete ‘Zonked!’ Craven (Who did Ventilate zine, and now Zonked) during the UK leg of their second European tour (1996). Am I being unfair to state that my feeling of the band (or is just Beau) being not all that progressive and quite flirtatious towards Dixie/Confederate States/’southern mentality’ is somewhat confirmed here? Great music but not enough critical sense and political activism, it would seem…

The zine was done by Darren Bourne from Brighton (UK), where Vique ‘Simba’ Martin used to live. Either she send it to me or she told the guy doing it to mail me a copy for possible distribution… This is the only issue I have. It has interviews with ‘Marker’, ‘Avail’, ‘Iron Monkey’, ‘Los Crudos’, etc. and ads, classifieds, reviews & some neato pictures.

Brob

Tadpole zine was a bit of fun, I was in my early 20s (around the mid 90s) and I just wanted to contribute something to the scene: a few interviews, some bad record-reviews and some really good photos (in my opinion). It was a good way of keeping in touch with people as back then you’ld send a zine & a letter in the mail and possibly get a letter back. There may have only been 3 issues but I had interviews with ‘Los Crudos’, ‘Avail’, ‘Symptom Of Isaac’, ‘Iron Monkey’ (not the best ever) and ‘Undone’; to name but a few…

Many years later on I still like the slogan A Network Of Friends, run Tadpole recs to help out local bands & mates’ bands (and a few Japanese), and have my Tadpole recs YouTube channel where I share music I like. I still love supporting the scene, checking out new bands and of course buying the records. Tadpole zine may not be the best zine that ever came out in the 90s but it was definitely the start of something for me, something that’ll stay with me till the very end.

Darren Bourne

avail-tadpole-3-aavail-tadpole-3-bavail-tadpole-3-cavail-tadpole-3-davail-tadpole-3-eavail-pic-tadpole-3

Posted in 1996, UK zines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Força Macabra (Downsided #1)

Downsided was done by Toni Eiskonen (at that time residing in a town called Mikkeli), the bassist of the Finnish band ‘Kirous’ (that played the Vort’n Vis on 96-09-21). This first issue had some columns, reviews and interviews with ‘Noothgrush’ and some other “extreme” bands. As far as I can remember it’s the only one that I got to see but I think there were at least 6 (including a split with Spit Teeth)…

Also ‘Força Macabra’ played at the V.V. a couple of times (94-09-16 & 97-05-18). The band with the Portugese name and lyrics are actually from Finland (Punkaharju, N.E. of Helsinki). The vocalist was ‘Taurus’ (‘Oswaldo’ Otto Luotonen), bassist ‘Chakal’ (‘Jaba’ Jaakko Penttinen), guitarist ‘Porco’ (‘Lalli’ ‘Pedro Anthares’ Petri Niskanen) and drummer ‘Antitese’ (‘Oscar’ Otto Itkonen). Some of them also played in ‘Selfish’. The band did numerous records and tapes. Have a look on their website: www.forcamacabra.net. They ‘worshipped’ Brazilian bands and also did covers of bands such as ‘Ratos De Porão’, ‘Olho Seco’, ‘Cólera’, etc. I got to know them when Bruno (Genet recs) released the split with ‘Corpus Christi’ in ’93. I also hung out with Otto and his mates some time in Ghent when they were staying over at the Genet HQ.

forca-macabra-downsided-1-aforca-macabra-downsided-1-bforca-macabra-downsided-1-cforca-macabra-downsided-1-dforca-macabra-downsided-1-x

Posted in 1998, Finnish zines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Spermbirds (Scène Plongeon #2)

Scène Plongeon – if one translates the name of this zine literally, it means ‘stagediving’ but it can also refer to ‘an immersion in the scene’ – was the publication my correspondent and mate Joel Person (from Saint-Herblain, near Nantes in France) did with the help of a few friends. #2 (December ’87) had interviews with HC/punk bands ‘Descendents’, ‘The Ex’, ‘Problem Children’, ‘Culture Shock’, ‘D.O.A.’, Ian MacKaye & ‘Spermbirds’, and the ska-band ‘The Toasters’; a lengthy article on revisionism, a Paris scene-report, columns & reviews. #3 (November ’88) was packed with conversations (‘Subterranean Kids’, ‘Dissent’, ‘Hate Crew’, ‘M.D.C.’, ‘7 Seconds’, ‘Verbal Assault’, ‘R.K.L.’ etc. etc.), more ska, more news from the Paris scene, etc.

Joel also did some comic-type drawings under the alias Kloporte and was the singer of the band ‘Bloody Müesli’; in the 90s he spent time in Québec where he played in another band and organised concerts.

Brob

The zine was a good way to get in touch with bands that we liked and possibly get ourselves on the guestlits at concerts, haha… Scène Plongeon was a project that gathered 3 fanzines at the beginning, one of which was Skactualités by Fred Dornier… It’s because of him that we inflated our number of pages with files about revisionism… Fred lives in England since nearly 30 years; he played in ‘100 Men’ for a while (a rocksteady band) but I lost contact in the 90s. Reynald was the major provider of vinyl novelties. He became an English teacher in Paris and left HC to become (him aswell!) an expert in Jamaican music. He settled in Brittany. At the time my brother was an absolute fan of melodic punk (‘Descendents’, ‘Naked Raygun’) and during a few years we played together in ‘Bloody Müesli’. He’s a French teacher. There were other occasional contributers, some of them that I still see in Nantes from time to time. I’m returning to university and sing in a band…

Joel

scene-plongeon-logo-2The following interview with Lee Hollis, the singer of ‘Spermbirds’, was done in August 1987 (by Reynald). That was after the release of their debut-album Something To Prove. The rest of the line-up then was Markus Weilemann (bass), Matthias ‘Beppo’ Götte (drums), Frank Rahm (guitar) & Roger Ingenthron (guitar). Around that time they also did their first gig for Smurfpunx (87-07-05), 2 more would follow… (89-12-25 & 90-01-14)

[Translation below]

spermbirds-scene-plongeon-2-aspermbirds-scene-plongeon-2-bspermbirds-scene-plongeon-2-cspermbirds-scene-plongeon-2-d

‘THEY’ ASKED ME TO WRITE AN INTRODUCTION FOR THE INTERVIEW THAT WILL FOLLOW, ‘THEY’ COULD HAVE DONE IT THEMSELVES, ‘THEY’ ARE EXAGGERATING. BECAUSE: WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO TELL ABOUT THE ‘SPERMBIRDS’ THAT ISN’T ALREADY SAID IN INTERVIEW. WELL I COULD TELL YOU THAT THEY HAVE RECENTLY RELEASED A FABULOUS 12” THAT PUTS ‘SPERMBIRDS’ AMONG THE BEST EUROPEAN BANDS (CATEGORY ‘WALTER ELF’ OF COURSE) AND OTHER THINGS ASWELL. BUT IT WOULD BE TOO EASY. A BIT LIKE MOVIE-REVIEWS IN TV-MAGAZINES, IT’S COOL, WE KNOW THE STORY, WE’RE NOT OBLIGED TO WATCH THE ROTTEN FILM.

IN THIS F**ING INTRO I WON’T REVEAL ANYTHING THAT COULD SPOIL THE EFFECTS OF MY ESTIMATED (HUM) COLLEGUE.

TO FIND OUT MORE, YOU WILL HAVE TO READ (!!) THIS INTERVIEW, IT’S AN OBLIGATION.

ALRIGHT, I’LL MEET YOU AT THE END FOR A WRITTEN TEST!

KLOPORTE

INTERVIEW WITH LEE, SINGER OF ‘SPERMBIRDS’; BY REYNALD. AUGUST 87.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘SPERMBIRDS’ AND ‘WALTER 11’?

‘Walter 11’ originally had another name, they were influenced by ’77 punk and did a lot of covers. Then guitarist Frank and bassist Markus wanted to play HC and they became ‘Spermbirds’, but without abandoning ‘Walter 11’. This gave 2 different styles, so 2 different bands.

IN WHAT BAND ARE YOU MOST INDISPENSABLE?

It’s pretty obvious. ‘Spermbirds’, of course! I won’t go as far as to say that it is my band but it’s the one where I have the biggest influence. I’m only the second singer in ‘Walter 11’! I did almost nothing on the LP [Heut’ Oder Nie, We Bite recs 1987], only a few appearances.

BEING POSITIVE, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?

Well, what’s positive is that I do what I’ve always wanted to do since I was little. There is a message that hast to come across to the public, even if it’s not that important, it’s there; it’s a pity if nothing happens. All this is very important: to be creative, meet people, talk to them, distract them, travel even if we haven’t traveled as much as we would like. From time to time, when I want to express myself on a certain point, the band gives me the possibility even if I’m not always right – far from it – I can say what I think. Concerts are where I can really do what I do best.

BUT HAVE YOU ALREADY HAD BAD MOMENTS DURING CONCERTS?

Oh yes! In the beginning people stayed outside; we still have bad concerts, the current does not always flow between the public and us, it doesn’t always work well, but not too often, fortunately…

VIOLENT SCENES SOMETIMES?

Sometimes it happens, we stop playing and we raise the finger to the troublemakers, it doesn’t necessarily stop the fight but everyone sees who’re the assholes, who then feel less at ease!

YOUR RELATIONS WITH THE U.S.?

I wanted to do things with members of old bands from Atlanta (Georgia): ‘Neon Christ’ and ‘D.D.T.’, not very well known. The drummer of ‘D.D.T.’ is very good, the others were the bassist and guitarist of ‘Neon Christ’. I wanted to sing and I thought that the formula would lead to something very strong. We rehearsed 2 or 3 times but I realised that there was a problem: the guitarist didn’t write the songs for ‘Neon Christ’. He was only the 2nd guitarist, he had no sense of rhythm; what he was doing was really too incoherent. I was really disappointed!

The U.S. scene is much larger but too focused on fashion. In Germany [Lee speaks of West-Germany, this was before the fall of the Berlin Wall.], the scene influenced by U.S. Hardcore is still young. Many excellent bands await their hour. In the U.S. it has become too big for my taste. In West-Germany, with all these new bands, I really saw excellent concerts, that’s so important to me.

DO YOU THINK THAT ‘SPERMBIRDS’ WERE THE FIRST TO HAVE A U.S. INFLUENCE IN GERMANY?

No, no, not at all! ‘H.O.A.’ [‘Hostages Of Ayatollah’; Düsseldorf area], ‘The Nikoteens’ [from Ingolstadt] had to be the first. And the Berlin bands that started about the same time as us, I believe: ‘Manson Youth’ [with Yvonne Ducksworth of ‘Combat Not Conform’ & ‘Jingo De Lunch’]. We only exist for 3 years.

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF ‘SPERMBIRDS’?

‘Spermbirds’ will continue as long as they are creative, will make music together and remain friends. As for the goal to reach: we doen’t make plans in advance, unlike groups such as ‘Uniform Choice’, they are 100% obsessed by their goal… Baaah! We’re not like that at all. We are together through friendship, we’ve been mates for years.

SO DON’T YOU THINK THAT IN THIS CASE YOU ARE MORE ‘POSITIVE’ THAN ‘UNIFORM CHOICE’, WHO SEEM TO HAVE VERY NARROW VIEWS?

It may well be. I don’t know much about them. I just discovered their LP. I read the lyrics, the music is great but the lyrics are enough to make me not love this band.

DO YOU THINK THEY’RE STEREOTYPICAL?

Yes, sterotyical is a very good expression. “Straight and alert”, pfff!, I think that’s stupid. “Rock together, think positive, skate hard”, ah! We are positive because we do what we all want to do. If we have doubts, if one of us loses his interest, I will speak to him, I will tell him to continue, but only if he wants to and not just to please me.

WOULD YOU TAKE A SUBSTITUTE IF ANY OF THE MEMBERS LEAVE THE BAND? OR WOULD YOU QUIT?

We would take a replacement only if we found someone who was 100% involved in what we were doing. The most important idea is friendship. I don’t mean to say that thinking that it’s noble but that’s what counts, after all that’s why we play together, money has nothing to do with it, we do not make much, so… We would try to replace him but if we didn’t find a substitute with whom we got along well, we would stop everything.

YOUR LYRICS ARE ENGAGED?

There is a title – What Do You Want – on the LP, which is directly political but lyrics-wise, I’m not sufficiently informed about politics to write serious and good lyrics about it. If I tried, people could say I was saying no matter what. It’s so easy to be mistaken.

SO IF YOU’LD WRITE ENGAGED LYRICS, WHAT WOULD THEY TALK ABOUT?

I want to be able to sing about subjects that don’t embarrass me, on which I have something to say! I think I have an idea: we will probably have a song against bands like ‘Uniform Choice’, but especially ‘Dag Nasty’, because for me their lyrics are so abstract, so point-less that they don’t mean anything to anyone. Nobody understands them, except perhaps the person who wrote them. If you have things to say, you have to say it and not say stuff like “I keep all my feelings to myself, I can’t talk about them, you know what I mean, you past by me in the street, we looked at each other but we didn’t say anything.” And all that shit…

BUT THERE ARE BANDS LIKE ‘INDIGESTI’ [Torino area, Italy] WHO HAVE MORE ABSTRACT LYRICS!

It may well be that some people don’t like the lyrics to this new song. Nevertheless, I believe that everyone can write the words they want. I don’t care. But at this moment I feel that the lyrics of ‘Dag Nasty’ are not sincere. When ‘Black Flag’ played Depression, people realised that the singer was depressed. For me it was a lyric with a strong emotional impact. That’s what I felt, at least.

BUT DON’T YOU THINK THAT CERTAIN STRAIGHT-EDGE BANDS HAVE SOME GOOD LYRICS?

Yes, of course, I’m not against Straight-Edge. The most important thing is that they themselves believe in what they say. If they really live it and express it from the bottom of their hearts, then it’s OK.

WHAT IMAGE DO YOU, AN AMERICAN, HAVE OF FRENCH BANDS?

I know that the most important is ‘Berurier Noir’. There’s a band that I liked very much: ‘Wunderbach’, I think. That’s it… It migh perhaps take more time for Hardcore to develop over there. But how many Americans know European bands, it’s about the same situation, right?

WHO MADE THE SLEEVE OF THE LP’S OF THE 2 BANDS?
For the T-shirts and the cover of the LP, the idea comes from Thomas Issler who runs the label We Bite recs. This cover is perhaps commercial but Thomas paid everything out of his own pocket, so…

ARE THESE T-SHIRTS ON SALE NOW?

Yes. For better and for worse. They cost 15 marks and can be obtained via the label (We Bite recs, Moltkestr. 15, 7400 Tübingen, West-Germany). It’s Thomas who decided to put them out, we talked about it with him, he’s not a businessman, you know. [That changed then obviously… 😉] We don’t know if we’ll make any money from them it, in any case, the bucks don’t make me crazy!

YOU’RE NOT AFRAID HE’LL RIP YOU OFF?

Oh no! We have good relations with him. He wants to do things professionally, while remaining independent; he lives of his label. But I don’t think we’re going to get ripped off at all.

YOUR RECENT CONCERTS?

We played in Homburg [Saarland], it was OK; in Berlin it was really great. But as we played much more often in the south, it is difficult to make good judgments.

THE U.S. INFLUENCE IN THE NORTH OF [West-]GERMANY, IS THAT A RECENT THING?

I believe so, yes, I’ld like to see the ‘Emils’ (from Hamburg), there’s a lot of talk about them right now in Germany. Apart from that I don’t really know, we didn’t play enough up north to get a clear idea of what’s going on up there.

IS THE ATMOSPHERE COLDER?

Yes, a little bit more. In Hamburg, a guy came up to us and said he was sorry but that the audience wanted something “harder”, but we do what we can, we didn’t know how to please them! That’s their problem.

ARE THE VENUES BIGGER UP NORTH?

It depends: in Hamburg, it was smaller than here (Homburg), but in Berlin it was really big! I was told that the scene in Lübeck [north of Hamburg] is great, we really want to play there.

YOUR INFLUENCES?

Our influences always change: at first for me it was mainly ‘The Meatmen’ [Lansing, Michigan, USA], ‘Angry Samoans’ [Los Angeles, California, USA]. If we have to be compared with a band, then it should be ‘Angry Samoans’; I was very pleased that they wrote that in Maximum Rock’n’roll. It really is a major influence for me and for all of us. When I was living in Texas, Houston, there were the ‘Big Boys’ [Austin, Texas, USA] in their early days, and small bands with strange names that I thought were great, with dirty lyrics. I don’t know their names anymore.

ARE THERE NEW BANDS IN GERMANY THAT YOU LOVE?

‘Stigmatized’ is my favourite German band of the moment. Their tape is super but live they’re even better! I don’t like the ‘Ramonez 77’ (from Hamburg) because they are arrogant. They will play at the wedding of Nina Hagen (??). In Konstanz [south of Germany] they took all their time for their soundcheck. It was a festival and the last bands didn’t even get to play!

IF PEOPLE ARE SAYING ‘SPERMBIRDS’ ARE ONE OF THE BEST BANDS IN EUROPE NOW, HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

I didn’t realise that too much. It’s possible, after all!

WHY ARE ‘SPERMBIRDS’ SO POPULAR? BECAUSE OF THEIR SINGER?

Probably … What do you think Tylo? (Ed.: TYLO IS A BIG FAN OF ‘SPERMBIRDS’) [Because they are good of course!] What a decent guy… If we are known, I won’t complain, I like it.

BUT PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS GIVING ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT ‘SPERMBIRDS’ HAVE A AMERICAN SINGER, ISN’T IT A BIT FASHIONABLE?

[No, it’s because of their music! It is funny, well done; there are also good singers in Germany] (Ed.: THAT’S TYLO SPEAKING). (LEE) It’s not because I speak American since my childhood that foreign singers cannot do equally well. Take ‘L.U.L.L.’ [‘Leben Und Leben Lassen’ from Odense, Denmark], ‘Everything Falls Apart’ [Munich, Germany] or ‘Tudo Hospital’ [Bochum, Germany] for example. Perhaps it’s a bit fashionable to sing in English, I don’t know … German sounds good for Hardcore. Especially ‘Challenger Crew’ [Homburg, Germany] surprised me. I didn’t like the vocals of the old German bands.

IF I TOLD YOU THAT YOU ARE IN A BAND TO GET GROUPIES, WHAT WOULD YOU ANSWER?

Ha! Ha! If we had groupies, then I’ld say you’re right! That would be great! As for groupies: they must live their own lives.

DON’T YOU WANT TO BE A ROCKSTAR THEN?

No, I just want to be a man, hahaha!

THOMAS ISSLER WOULD LIKE YOU TO PLAY IN SUPPORT OF METAL BANDS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

He talked about it with ‘Beppo’, our drummer; it’s true that I’m not against playing in front of a much larger audience, I’ld like to try it, in fact it can be good; but not all the time. It’s a fashion right now (speedmetal). We don’t have anything to do with this stuff (crossover); as they said in Metal Hammer (Ed.: German Hell magazine, that reviewed their LP). We do what we want, we don’t need these categories. No need for this shit.

YOUR PROJECTS?

We will try to rehearse more often in order to expand our repertoire. We don’t always want to play the same stuff, that would annoy our audience in the long run. If all goes well we’ll have an EP out for Christmas, we really want to be a band that lasts longer than an LP.

DO YOU THINK IT’S MORE PRUDENT TO WAIT MORE BEFORE RELEASING A 2ND LP?

We’ll take the time it takes. But we would really like to play elsewhere than in Germany. Maybe we will play in the U.K. in November or this winter, nothing certain. We also want to play in France, see if there are any groupies.

AND WHAT DO YOU SAY TO OUR READERS, THE IDIOTS (IT’S NOT TRUE, YOU’RE NOT STUPID)…?

We’re not sexists. Some people believe it but it’s not true. Some songs can be confusing, I know… These are old lyrics, it’s ancient history, because of influences. We love women. I like my mother who is a woman. And we hope to see you all very soon.

‘THEY’ HAD ALSO ASKED TO WRITE AN EPILOGUE TO THIS INTERVIEW, ‘THEY’ DEFINITELY DON’T DO THINGS HALF-HEARTED. I DON’T KNOW IF ‘THEY’ WILL BE SATISFIED, PITY FOR ‘THEM’.

SO YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE READ (AND UNDERSTOOD, IF POSSIBLE) THE CONVERSATION WITH LEE HOLLIS, AMERICAN SINGER OF ‘SPERMBIRDS’. WHILE LENDING A CAUTIOUS EAR WITH TO THEIR LP (WHICH IS GREAT I REMIND YOU).

GOOD, GET OUT YOUR PENCILS AND PAPER.

FIRST QUESTION: NAME, NATIONALITY AND FUNCTION OF L. HOLLIS, AMERICAN SINGER OF ‘SPERMBIRDS’? SECOND QUESTION: WHAT IS THE PREFERRED MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION OF THE GOD OF ‘SPERMBIRDS’? THIRD QUESTION: IT SEEMS THAT IN THE SONG AMERICANS ARE COOL, THE AUTHOR IS VERY SARCASTIC. WHY? DO YOU AGREE? FOURTH QUESTION: WHAT A BITCH IS?

I WILL COLLECT YOUR ANSWERS IN HALF AN HOUR.

KLOPORTE

Posted in 1987, French zines | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

SM-70 (Go! #4)

Adam Johnston from Glasgow was the editor of Go! fanzine. He was also the vocalist of ‘Headstart’, a band playing fast HC. We corresponded, swapped zines and I distributed his. A nice guy with a love for fast/thrashy hardcore, a weird/silly sense of humour and a down-to-earth attitude of not taking himself or anyone too serious. I never got to see his first issue (with ‘Inhuman Conditions’, ‘Psycho Sin’, ‘Filhty Christians’ & ‘Satanic Malfunctions’). The other zines contained scene-reports, articles/colums, reviews and a bunch of bands (to name but a few: ‘Active Minds’, ‘Totalitär’ in #2; ‘Three Ring Psychosis’ in #3; ‘Go!’, ‘Makhnovcina’ in #4). #5 was announced (with ‘Seein’Red’, ‘Citizens Arrest’, ‘HHH’ and yours truly) but I believe Adam quit doing the zine then…

Carsten Kissler (drums; later ‘Pink Flamingos’, ‘Stalker’, etc.), Jens Walter (bass; later ‘Pink Flamingos’, founded Thought Crime recs in ’95), Lars (vocals; later ‘Pink Flamingos’) & ‘Skinny’ (guitar) were the guys playing for the Berliner band ‘SM-70’. Their music was labeled fastcore or thrashcore; and some compared them with ‘Septic Death’, ‘Ripcord’, ‘Siege’ & ‘Deep Wound’… At the time of this interview (right after the fall of the Berlin wall) they had done a demo and there were 3 7”s out: Über Dem Jenseits ‎(Lanzelot recs, ’87), a split with ‘Satanic Malfunctions’ ‎(Lanzelot recs, ’88) & Krank ‎(on Keule Sternkicker’s label Rødel recs, ’89). Later the Cabuk! Cabuk! 7” (with tracks recorded at AK-47, Düsseldorf, April ’90) was released on Michael ‘Micha’ Meyer’s label Farewell recs (’91). Nowadays Lars is in ‘Nuclear Cult’ and Carsten plays in ‘Crack Under Pressure’.

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Posted in 1990, UK zines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment