Inferno (Anti-Trust #1)

This publication is part of Dirk Ceustermans’ collection. The review in his zine mentions Stefan Neuber from Kaarst (Düsseldorf area) as the editor of Anti-Trust. The editorial (see below) tells us why he did it and why it was probaly gonna be a one-off… The content is rather political (and could still apply to the contemporary situation). Besides interviews – ‘Äni(X)Väx’ (Ger), ‘Sons Of Sadism’ (Swe), ‘Mellaka’ (Fin), ‘Siste Dagers Helvete’ (Nor), ‘Deadlock’ (Nl), Rattus (Fin), ‘Maniacs’ (Ger), etc. – there’s also a bit on anti-fascism/-nationalism & an elaboration on anarchy and its trends… The www reveals there was a second issue with ‘Razzia’, ‘Cólera’, ‘Angor Wat’, ‘Circle Of Sig Tiu’, ‘Desordeiros’, etc.

I ‘launched’ the zine after I decided to support the punk philosophy more actively than passively. It was primarily the willingness of the bands to deal with me. Unfortunately, the said willingness of foreign bands was very poor – that’s also why the zine was published so late. There won’t be a #2 very soon as I am currently busy with other things and it’s just too stressful to gather all the material. Furthermore, it was important for me to share my own ideas (even if they sound naïve – because of the wording). Although I was interested in your criticisms and suggestions, I’ld rather leave out my address because I fear reprisals (nazis, state-authority).

My thanks go to those who have somehow contributed to the realization of this publication.

Punk means a lot to me and that’s why I want to mention what I associate with punk: (yes it should be like that)

* The attempt to build better interpersonal relationships with each other, where one’s own egoism is diminished a bit by being wary of the false spirit/moral (= judging people according to their appearance) and to adopt an outlook that isn’t subject of peer-pressure (Ah, what’s ‘in’ again.).

* Not to submit to consumption as the general public does, because it only makes capitalists, who only want my money, richer and because the materialistic lifestyle destroys the relationships between people and also supports devastating environmental damage (Main thing: they have the first choice, they don’t give a fuck about what happens to the world).

* To be critical of any power-structures and if possible not to become part of them.

* Expression of frustration and nihilism mainly through the music, while at the same time compendating one’s own powerlessness.

(Not claiming to be complete.)

What has struck me lately is that the media are always picking up certain events in certain countries (El Salvador, Iran, Poland, South-Africa, etc.) and report on the mess that goes on there.

Well, it’s also important that you get informed about it but it gets forgotten that for one, it will eclipse our own grievances and second, that almost the whole world is ‘in chains’. What happens in South-Africa on a daily base also happens in other countries, maybe just not to the extent that is as eye-catching as e.g. in South-Africa; but people in many other states are defenseless against the arbitrariness of the powers-that-be, and those lowest in the hierarchy have to surrender to the state-apparatus. The whole life there consists only of mistrust, subservience, pain, blood and death.

People are unaware of the extent of what happens daily throughout the world. All you have to do is look at the laws that are in place in many countries, and you can hardly believe what is written. Things are designed in such a way that no one can endanger the position of the rulers even to the slightest extent. For the smallest deviant way of thinking one get’s ‘legally’ shot or hanged or one is immediately wasted by the secret services without judging. Almost everywhere the situation is as it was during the ‘3rd reich’ and our politicians still maintain diplomatic relations with these states, grant-loans and arms-deliveries, and by doing so support the injustice – very trustworthy these people!?

PRACTICALLY THE WHOLE WORLD IS MADE UP OF DICTATORSHIPS. TOTALITARIAN REGIMES, WHERE NO ONE CARES ABOUT PEOPLE.

And what about here? The prerequisites for dealing with people in this kind of way are clearly visible here. The institutions that characterise a totalitarian state (police, military, secret service) exist here exactly the same way as during the ‘3rd reich’, namely the principle of obedience, the uncompromising execution of orders. I believe that the need for such institutions can be contested; I also don’t want the nazis take things over here again and create a much worse system, so I advocate that the state creates institutions that protect the freedom of the citizens. But in reality, it seems to me that things are very different from what is always declared. This ‘protection of freedom’ has become a goal in itself or has always been a goal in itself because who makes the laws? It’s these who have a close relationship with the capital, with corporations. So the law won’t change anything seriously in terms of environmental protection, they can continue to painstakingly spread their poisons into the environment, no matter who or what is involved, and if you do something about it, you immediately get investigated (see Robin Wood, Greenpeace).

But back to the subject of the state-apparatus: Everyone who works in the name of the state has, I suppose, adopted a certain state-ideology and holds what he does for the absolute right; how fast can things based on all this end up in that kind of mess as that of the ‘3rd reich’.

I don’t wanna know how many cops would torture if the order came from their supervisor. To ‘refuse’ would mean not being able to benefit from their position but to become a victim themselves.

Where we are already at regarding benefiting: nowadays, there’s the greed to seize as many traffic-offenders as possible to get promoted faster, or as it’s called: grab as many dissidents and treat under the motto: ‘hard on yourself, hard on others’?

By doing so, not the freedom of the citizen is paramount but the protection. Maintaining the position of the people who get the most out of this system, that is what one recognizes by the increasing surveillance possibilities allowed by the law. That is in fact already becoming everyday life for the police.

And then there’s the secret services: even the word ‘secret’ can be used arbitrarily and that in our praised Democratic State, where the freedom of the individual is allegedly protected.

The totalitarian surveillance state sends greetings.

‘Inferno’ was a HC/punk band from Augsburg (Bavaria, Germany) with ‘Archie Alert’ Christian Pfister (guitar; also ‘Vellocet’, ‘Happy Hour’ & ‘Terrorgruppe’), ‘Zong’ Stefan Vetter (bass), Bernhard Hlava, ‘Donald’ a.k.a. ‘Howie’ (vocals) & Lorenz ‘Max’ Praxenthaler a.k.a. ‘Praxe’ (drums; later Rolf of ‘Cat-O-Nine Tails’). The first 3 went on to form ‘Soulstorm’ in the early 90s. This interview dates from right before the release of their second LP (Hibakusha)…

[Translations with help of Bernd Backhaus]

Inferno’ was stamped from the ground of hatred, fear and boredom in 1981!!! In the beginning, they had to deal with problems regarding money and rehearsal-space! The equipment is still one of the biggest problems today.

WHAT CONTACT BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR MUSIC WILL DO YOU ASPIRE TO OR DO YOU SEE AS CORRECT. I’M THINKING ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BAND/AUDIENCE/LABEL/MONEY.

The most important thing is that the band-members get along. You should talk to each other, be able to accept the others. I could never interact with people in a band that I can’t relate to besides making music. Without this said interpersonal relationship of guys with one and other, ‘Inferno’ would have split up long ago.

Especially in Germany, I would like more tolerance from the audiece towards the bands – but also among each other.

Any band that does a record for a foreign label gets fucked over in the end. It’s a lot easier to sell a good record than to write good songs and record them according your ideas. The reality, however, is that the labels earn, on average, 2-4 DM per sold record, the bands get only 0,50-1 DM. [1 DM = 0,50 Euro]

I don’t know exactly how I should think about making money. On the one hand, it would be great to be able to live of ‘Inferno’ but on the other hand, I don’t want to market myself or exploit people of which I know that they have even less money than me.

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM PEOPLE IDENTIFYING WITH YOUR MUSIC?

Basically I don’t expect anything from someone who identifies with our music. For example: a fascist would never like ‘Inferno’s music and lyrics.

WHAT’S YOUR POSITION REGARDING ‘INFERNO’S POSSIBLE FAULT RELATING THE SEPARATION FROM DOLF? [Hermanstädter; editor of the fanzine Trust, ex-manager of the band]

In my view, the fault of the separation clearly lies with Dolf. All the band-members just couldn’t identify with Dolf’s attitude anymore. We just couldn’t work with him anymore because he started to think that he, on his own, wás ‘Inferno’. The band-members, who he sometimes tried to put up against each other, hardly had any say. In retrospect, Dolf’s flyer (which consists 3/4 of lies), is the best justification for the break-up. It’s proof of an outrageous lack of character, when (on the one hand) he tries to influence people to turn against the band while a few months earlier (Dolf’s quote) we were “Germany’s best punk band”, and on the other hand speaks of a punk-scene without the necessary tolerance. But he doesn’t want to hinder us anyway. [irony]

WHAT IS THE CURRENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BAND-MEMBERS?

As I said: since the separation from Dolf, the relation between us has become quite good.

WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE?

The future will bring the second ‘Inferno’ LP [Hibakusha] in the spring of 1986; self-produced on our own label [Rise & Fall Productions]. In addition: a US tour is planned for August/September ‘86.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DON’T PLAY IN THE BAND? ARE YOU ALSO INVOLVED ON OTHER LEVELS BESIDES MUSIC, SOMETHING THAT SEEMS VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU?

Professionally: I start my civil service. Archie is unemployed. Praxe is a bricklayer and Zong works in a factory producing catalytic converters for cars. In addition, we now try – as far as it’s possible – to engage ourselves against animal-cruelty in experiments. Besides that, we’re very busy to whip our newly established record-label into shape and furthermore will also (hopefully soon)‚ ‘burst the big bomb’ [meaning “release big and unexpected news”]…

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE THEME OF DRUGS, ETC.?

Drugs and alcohol are OK as long as you do them without permanently damaging any brain-functions. The chromer-case [chroming = sniffing glue] is different, as we know. It’s proven that sniffing makes one daft (to put it in a trite way). Staying creative is everything but to do that I don’t need to be straight-edge.

WHAT’S THE LYRICS’ CREATION-PROCESS LIKE FOR YOU?

If something something annoys us we simply do a lyric about it. It’s the same with things that we find especially cool. Sometimes the lyrics are written by the individual band-members (on their own), sometimes we sit down together.

WHAT, REGARDING PUNK IN THIS COUNTRY, SHOULD GET BE BETTER OR CHANGE?

People should try to understand each other better and to tolerate each other. I’m just thinking of the two groups: the so-called US hardcores, which lately have distanced themselves more and more from the so-called studded punx, and vice versa. What’s all that about? Does it really matter how one looks, what kind of hair (s)he has, what (s)he drinks…? Where’s the tolerance that the punx used to be proud of? Try to get along; of course there are people in both camps who don’t get it and destroy everything that like-minded people try to construct or have built up. Together, let’s try to convince these people, because only together can we remain uncomfortable and unpredictable for the system.

HOW DO YOU COPE REGARDING COSTS FOR FOR REHEARSAL-ROOM, ELECTRICITY, ETC. ?

Short and painless: the four of us together are in debt for more than 10.000 DM.

HOW DO YOU GET ALONG WITH THE ‘GERMAN NORMAL CITIZEN’?

Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. When there are conflicts we try to find ways and means, mostly in a legal way.

WHAT, TO YOU GUYS, IS THE MEANING OF LIFE ?

The purpose of life for me is to try to realise one’s self; that is to say: it’s idiot to a subordinate to a certain boss all your life, just because he likes the system (the top boss). Can one enjoy a life in which one has little free time every day and afford a vacation on the Adriatic coast once a year? Does it make sense to totally subordinate to the system, to crawl up arses and to play the happy one. Anyone who goes to school for 10 years, then humps along for 50 years and dies of heart-failure a year later, has actually lived only for this system and not for himself. This would be worthwhile but only if one could stand by this system a 100% but can anyone do that in this country…?

HOW DO YOU VALUE THE INTERNATIONAL PUNK SCENE?

I can hardly judge international punk. I know too few people from individual countries, so I can hardly paint an objective picture of the local scenes. But in general, the international scene is probably not as shattered as our national one.

To all critics

Howi had to answer the questions; whether you believe him or not, you have to decide for yourself.

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