Pullermann (Reptil #4)

 

One of my all-time-favourite hardcore bands is ‘Pullermann’ (from Frankfurt, Germany). I saw them perform a couple of times (they played for our Smurfpunx collective twice: 90-03-31 & 90-12-22) and did an interview in Tilt! #6. I’d been introduced to them by Jörg Rosenbaum (R.P.N. recs) and helped distribute their records.

The band had 2 singers: Cybèle (de Silveira) & Mathes ‘S.A.M.’, which blended very nicely: the outgoing, almost boisterous male and the more intimate female (not to be stereotypical). Instrumentalists were Tobias Schlepper (bass), Jörg Wabnitz (guitar) and Stephan Grohe (drums). Their music was very inspiring HC (with ‘Bad Brains’ influences)…

Brob

Reptil zine started in Barcelona in 1990. I took the name from the ‘Motörhead’ song Love Me Like A Reptile. We got the chance to do it through Ramón Porta, who was the editor of Metali-K.O., a metal magazine. So for the first time in Spain we got to do a publication specialised in hardcore and punk music with a commercial distribution in all of the kiosks of Spain, Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. At first it was going to be me and Ramón doing it, but I preferred to ask Jordi [Llansamà; bassist of ‘24 Ideas’] of BCore [Bcore Disc; label] to get involved as well, so he could support his label and the contents of the magazine would be more diverse. Later on different collaborators joined: the people from Desconcierto [zine] – Zamabombo Producciones [concert-organisation] from Zaragoza and others from Madrid, the Basque Country [Euskadi]…

I think we begun at a good time, as in 1990 the promoters and bands started including Barcelona in their tours. The first issue had an interview with ‘Fugazi’ and after that ‘Verbal Abuse’, ‘Pullermann’ and others visited us as well. The first issue was completely on recycled paper, in line with MRR, but the editors (who ran all the expenses and also kept all the benefits), convinced us to use a different type of recycled paper to get a better quality of the images, layout, etc.

After 7 issues and one/one and a half years of work, we asked the editors to give us a minimum money for all of the expenses like mail, photo-developing, etc. but they refused. That was the end of our period with Reptil zine. After that the editors wanted to make more profit from the job we had done, and without our consent they published some more issues pirating and translating interviews from other publications.

After Reptil zine, Jordi BCore started Absolute zine and I did other things.

‘Boliche’ (‘Subterranean Kids’ drummer)

Full copies of Reptil #4 & #7 (in Spanish) are available on the www.

review in MRR #105

[Translation (by Luis A.) below]

 

Many of you have seen them on the last tour that they did in our country [Spain]. It wasn’t long ago, and although this interview should have come out in the previous issue, we didn’t want to leave it unpublished and include it in this one because they have some interesting things to say. Others have heard about them and have already got some of their excellent records. If you don’t know them yet, you now have the chance to get to know some of their opinions and then, you might be interested in getting some of their music. We have no doubt that you will like them.

The interview is done by ‘Semolina’ [Juliana Tomic] and as usual she interviews the foreign bands that play in Barcelona. A good example of this were the ones that she did with ‘Fugazi’, ‘Victims Family’, ‘Assassins Of God’, … and now, this next one with ‘Pullermann’.

This interview was done the day after their gig in Barcelona (in a venue called KGB), in a popular rehearsal-place known as La Ratonera (The Mouse Trap), guess what it is? (it’s the ‘Subterranean Kids’ rehearsal-hole). This is what we got from ‘Pullermann’…

S: Semolina – B: Belle – ST: Stephan – M: Mathes – T: Toby – J: Jörg

 

S: The typical question for the people who don’t know anything about you. Tell me about your start and where the idea to form ‘Pullermann’ came from…

T: I first started to play with Stephan and another two guitar-players four years ago, but it wasn’t serious and we quit. Later on Jörg joined the band and we started squatting a nice squat in Frankfurt: In Der Au. The idea to form the band was just for fun and to play punk-music.

M: The beginning was crazy and it was a lot of fun. At first, when we used to play with two guitar-players I sang in a rude way and Belle in an opera kind of manner because she was studying singing. It was quite a funny mix but at the same time weird…

S: Have you been singing for a long time or did you start with ‘Pullermann’?

M: In the beginning I was very mad and I used to get the lyrics from the comics. Yes, from the American MAD magazine, where you can find good lyrics.

S: And you, Belle? Did you start with ‘Pullermann’ or did you sing before?

B: Yes, I started with ‘Pullermann’.

M: But she had already sung before.

S: When you started, did you get many gigs in Germany?

T: Yes, at first everybody asked us to come and play (laughs).

S: When did you do the first tour with the band?

T: With ‘Loveslug’ [band from Amsterdam with Tony of ‘B.G.K.’] but we only did two days. And also with ‘H.D.Q.’ [UK]: they asked us to go and play in England, so we did a mini-tour over there. That was in ‘88.

M: We didn’t have a record out in those days.

J: We had recorded the EPs but they weren’t pressed yet.

M: It was good but very weird. We didn’t get any food or drinks, we had to play and pay for it.

S: Have you played in Holland?

M: Yes, we played a couple of times in Arnhem and Leiden. We played with ‘Do Or Die’ [all female band from Amsterdam].

S: And in Italy?

B: Yes, in Torino, but not as ‘Pullermann’. Toby got measles during the tour with ‘Subterranean Kids’ and he had to go back to Frankfurt.

M: We played as ‘Kill Roser’, a fun-band. More than anything, we played ‘AC/DC’ and ‘Deep Purple’ covers to have a laugh in the gigs.

B: Our driver was playing casually in another band; he joined us so we could play.

S: Have you played in any Eastern European countries (Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, …)?

M: Yes, we played in Yugoslavia once, but as ‘Kill Roser’ (laughs).

S: In what city?

M: In Ljubljana. We would like to go to other places there but now the situation is a bit erratic, isn’t it?

S: No, the problems are more inside the country. People are still attending concerts in the big cities, near Italy, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade, … Have you read that in the newspapers? [Semolina is origanilly from ex-Yugoslavia]

M: Yes, the “problems” of Croatia, Slovenia…where police fight against the other.

S: Well, let’s stop talking about Yugoslavia. What is the meaning of ‘Pullermann’?

J: Nothing.

S: Someone told me that ‘Pullermann’ was something to do with taking to pee…

M: Yes, it has two different meanings…

T: For me it doesn’t mean anything, it is just a name. We don’t want to have an English name like any other band, they all sound the same!

B: Yes, but it’s a name that the children have for their penis.

S: The penis?

M: Yes.

T: In Berlin they didn’t want us to play because of that, they said the name was sexist and more nonsense.

S: It is true?

T: Yes, we are sexists… Well; they said that because we call ourselves ‘Pullermann’.

S: That’s very stupid. Apart from that, tell me about your records.

J: We recorded our two first EPs, one of them called simply Pullerman and the other I’ve Got My Rule To Play. We recorded them in three days and we released them on our own label [Angry Mob recs]. It’s a weird story. A man told us that he would release our LP with the two EPs but then he disappeared. So, the solution was to release them as two separate EPs. There are still six songs that haven’t been published anywhere, that was in ‘88.

S: How many copies did you do?

T: 1.000 copies of the first and 2.000 of the I’ve Got My Rule To Play EP. We did the second one together with RPN. The LP was also released by them.

S: And the next recordings?

T: The next one was a live album with Your Choice Live Series. We’re going to be part of a compilation released on Beri Beri recs [label from Hamburg] featuring ‘Spermbirds’, … [Life Is Change Vol. 2] We also have recorded a song for the Frankfurt Hit Collection LP and the Die 2555 Nacht compilation featuring ‘Subterranean Kids’ [benefit-compilation on RPN recs].

S: Are you happy with RPN?

T: Yes, that is very important.

B: At one time some people from England were interested in releasing a record of ours but we eventually did it with RPN because we knew them and we knew how they worked.

M: There isn’t a contract with them but they live near to Frankfurt and we see each other constantly. Like I said before, there is a good working relation (laughs).

S: Since there are two singers…who writes the lyrics?

B: I write mine.

M: I don’t write lyrics, I only think, sing and the lyrics come from there. It’s a very crazy way.

S: OK, but what are they about?

T: I don’t know, it depends on the song (laughs).

S: But what are they about in general?

M: The songs talk about what surrounds us, the hardcore scene, politics, attitudes and people’s problems. There are bands like the ‘Dead Kennedys’ or ‘Crass’ that have brilliant lyrics and people like them, but some really don’t understand them. They just pretend they are good…but they don’t know what the lyrics are about. There are a lot of people that go to hardcore gigs and buy records, but that’s not what it is all about. It’s a general problem. The hardcore scene is only a small part of life.

T: He’s not studying hardcore, but it looks like it (laughs).

M: I hate people who study! Hey, can I get a rider of the gig?

S: OK.

B: They deal with the experience that you get throughout life.

S: A guy from Zaragoza told me something about your song Generation 68. What it is about?

B: Which guy from Zaragoza? The one with the dark hair?

S: Yes.

B: I was talking with him about my parents and what they thought about the Revolution, after the hippies, but that is very personal. It’s about the relationship with students and in general, with young people nowadays.

S: How do you compose?

T: We explain all of our ideas to the others and then we go into our rehearsal-room and improvise on the fly.

S: This guy from Zaragoza also told me about the pamphlets included in your In Der Au LP.

T: We put them in because we spent a long time there. It’s a place where you feel comfortable, where you breathe freedom… We wanted people to be aware of it and to know what we do and what we organise. We thought it was OK.

T: The record isn’t just about music, it’s also our ideas; and this pamphlet, for example, makes you think.

S: Do you all live in the squat?

B: You should decide for yourself if you want to live in a squat or not, or in a community, but for me it’s a paradise.

T: Too much stress sometimes, although we don’t tell anybody what to do. They must decide what’s best for them.

M: Music isn’t everything. Hardcore is like living in a squat, everything is part of an attitude. Hardcore is getting more popular all the time. You can see people with band T-shirts and all that, but there is more behind it. These people are only interested in music. They can say “I like hardcore” but hardcore is something more, more than the posers, the middle-class and people like them…

S: What do you do apart from ‘Pullermann’?

M: We study (laughs). I play music because I like it, I don’t want to get any money off it.

S: And you, Stephan, what do you do?

T: I watch TV (laughs). No, I do an engineering-course.

S: How is the Spanish tour going?

M: Quite well, we got the chance to stay in Spain for three weeks, and as I have no money for holidays, this is a way I can visit other countries and get to know a lot of new people. Our music is the way that we communicate, through it everything comes. Thanks to the music, it’s not like working or having to sell out for a living.

T: When we get some money it’s ok, we don’t say “Oh, I need to release a new record because I have to pay my rent.”. It’s special; you do it when you want to.

S: About the tour: who organised it?

ST: Connie [Conny Hoenes of In Der Au squat] from Frankfurt was in touch with Xavi of Cap Cap (booking-agency)…

S: When did you decide to come to Spain?

ST: When? During the tour with the ‘Subterranean Kids’, they and Xavi’s Cap Cap told us that it would be very good, that people would like it if we came, so since then we started to work on it.

T: Yesterday’s gig went very well but I didn’t like the venue.

S: Where did you first play?

T: In Zaragoza. Musically it was good but in our opinion the atmosphere was a bit subdued. ‘Mimo’ (‘Subterranean Kids’ singer) came with us and explained to the people that we couldn’t speak Spanish, but even then it was still a bit hushed. When we spoke to them in English, they didn’t understand us, and when they spoke to us in Spanish we didn’t have a clue. At the end we spoke to them in German (laughs).

B: At first it was hard but they recognised that we couldn’t speak to them because there was nobody who spoke English.

M: Only two people.

S: What venue was it?

T: It was something like Entalto…

S: Was it a venue, bar, pub…?

T: I don’t know, I found it there (laughs).

ST: It was a bar. It was weird because in Euskadi we only played in Gaztetxes (squat), some of them were free entrance like in Vigo (Galiza [Galicia]), where we played for expenses and drinks.

S: How did it go there?

T: Good, there were quite a few people but not the typical audience of a hardcore-gig but every other type of person… But I liked it and I think the people did as well because I saw they were quite excited.

M: It was exciting because almost nobody in Barcelona knew much about Galiza. ‘Boliche’ (‘Subterranean Kids’ drummer) told us: “Are you going to Galiza? Where? How strange!”. So, because of that we went without knowing exactly what we were going to find. There wasn’t a big hardcore-scene over there. There were normal people who listened to rock’n’roll… but everything was really positive.

S: How many concerts in total?

M: Eight, all over of Spain.

S: Anything else to comment about the Barcelona gig?

M: It was the first concert where there was a big PA, lights, good stage…but the venue was shit.

B: The people who worked in the venue.

M: We don’t usually play in those type of places in Germany because we don’t want the people to pay 400 Pesetas (2,40 €) for a beer… But we have youth-centres and cultural organisations there and here there aren’t any. We can’t do like ‘Fugazi’ does: they come from the USA and say the gigs can’t cost more than 10 German Marks (5 €). When we came here we already found the tickets a bit expensive.

S: What are you going to do when you go back to Germany?

M: Work.

ST: I will carry on studying and playing. Not much, it may be 2 or 3 times per month and not too far away from Frankfurt (just 200-300 km).

S: How is your life normally in Frankfurt?

M: The people are more quiet.

B: But sometimes, there can be lots of concerts, parties…very mad!

M: The people are more reserved than here, everything is more relaxed. At 2 a.m. you don’t see anybody in the streets, they’re deserted.

S: Tell us about your Summertime cover?

B: It’s a special song, it’s for the kids and it makes you feel good… You know: the birds sing, life is easy… It has some slow parts and other parts are rougher. We like it a lot.

S: To finish up, another typical question. What bands do you listen to?

B: In the van we mostly listen to Jimmy Hendrix, Joe Jackson, Glenn Danzig, ‘Descendents’, ‘Crucifucks’, ‘AC/DC’, Frank Zappa…and a lot of 70’s punk.

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