These days I was writing a lot of late 1970s music especially with Dirk in our ‘Battle of the Blogs’. I also read again the documentary from Jürgen Teipel about the birth of German punk music ‘Verschwende Deine Jugend’. This might be the third or fourth time I read this – and it still makes me smile when I get remembered to this time. This book isn’t only an enumeration of things that happened. The writer – former self a member of the movement – took the time to interview most of the musicians in Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin to remember this time. After all you can follow the punk in Germany year by year with all the comments from the people which was part of the scene. A lot of references were given to Devo and I remember well that we used to play their songs often and loud. One chapter in punk and New Wave was to reduce well known songs to their minimum to rebuilt it in their own inspiration.

I think it’s a good start in the new week – so enjoy and have fun

Devo – Satisfaction


40 Records In 40 Years (9/40 – 1982)

Back in normal life in my first own flat. Also back in my regular job with no big view that there will be no big chances that something real important will happen. My life oscillated between the everyday work, to enjoy the time of my own  with music and books at home and to go out with my mates. Nothing boring but just everyones live at this age. With a few colleges we planed to travel for five weeks through the western states of USA.

We sat together for many evenings to plan our vacation. Our plan was to rent a camper in Los Angeles an move northward on the coast highway to San Fransisco. I remember that I was a little nervous because it was the first time I will take a ride on an airplane. But afterwards it  was the start to travel most of the times by plane. We arrived in LA in a misty afternoon in may and I was a little disappointed because I always thought that there must be sunny weather. After we checked in in our hotel me and one of my colleges wanted to get out for a few beers. This was a good plan but we checked out the wrong place because we stumbled into a bar on the strip – not knowing that this place is filled with whores and junkies when the night comes. So we went to the bar ordered some pints and tried not to get in any trouble.

So we could start a few days later our round-trip that lead us up to Frisco then up to Lake Tahoo. Our travel guide told us that there would be a lot of flowers to see but we arrived in snow around the whole area. That’s we decided to move through Death Valley to Las Vegas. Impressed by driving lot’s of miles and seeing nothing more than sand and dunes we arrived at our destination by night and one more time surprised by all that neon light that made day out of night.  Next destination were the big canyons. The Bryce Canyon is not as famous as the Grand Canyon but worth to visit. One peaceful moment was when we walked down the Grand Canyon to the Colorado river. We just to a rest near the river listening to some Americans playing guitars and singing.

The next days we traveled over Flagstaff and Phoenix to San Diego to take a short trip across the Mexican border. We met a lot of friendly people over there – don’t knowing if it is possible to do this in our days now. All in all it was great experience to stay in this country with people that are open to visitors from other countries. I remember one afternoon when I decided to take the car and go to the next record shop to get me some LP’s. Bought myself around 25 records like The Gun Club and The Fleshtones. When it was my turn to pay the cashier, a young pierced girl, was astonished about my collection and asked me where I come from. So we started to talk and talk with the result, that I was invited to a local party. It was really great to listen on this garage-rock, punk, New Wave and also some soul tunes, standing around talking and enjoying some cool drinks.

Although I stayed in the US here’s some of the songs from 1982

Joan Jett – A song that rocked every party these days
Dexy’s Midnight Runners with their biggest hit
Culture Club mixing soft reggae with pop
The Jam with one of their last masterpiece before they split
Great voices from over the Atlantic ocean – perfect pop
Tears for Fears brought the sadness in songs
ABC: Simply perfect after all the years
Toto – Africa: I used to listen to on every radio station for five weeks
Blancmange with perfect synthie sound
Political statements from NY by Grandmaster Flash
And one we didn’t need neither in that time still today:
Records I remember that was published in 1982:
The DB’s – Repercussion: Collage rock at it’s best.

XTC – English Settlement: Great songs arranged perfectly

Van Morrissn – Beautiful Vision: Van the man is back with a bucket full of great songs – especially ‘Scandinavia’

Lou Reed – The Blue Mask: The guitars of Lou Reed and Rupert Quine on separate channels combined with a few very good songs from his later period.

Haircut 100 – Pelican West: Simply wonderful 

Fun Boy Three – same: A great record after the split of The Specials. Very own songs with reggae background.

Level 42 – Strategy, the early tapes: Jazz and funk with a memorable bass

Ry Cooder – The Slide Area: Return to the classic blues and rock sound with a heavy slide guitar

Joe Cocker – Sheffield Steele: The comeback from the white Ray Charles with great songs and a lot of reggae influences with the rhythm section by Sly and Robbie

ABC – The Look Of Love: A monument – nothing more to say

Joe Jackson – Night and Day: Takes us back to the times of barroom music with really remarkable song.

Donald Fagen – The Nightfly: New songs from the former Steely Dan member

Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love: His legacy before he was killed by his father

Violent Femmes – same: Folk punk and independent folk from the US

1982 in movies – what was worth to watch:
ET – Very big hype in the US but a nice movie – nothing more

An Officer And Gentleman – Richard Gere gets famous and it was the start of a lot of movies with the same theme

48 Hours – Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy. A classical buddy story with great actors. Also the start to movies with the same theme

Gandhi – Biopic about the life of Gandhi with a gigantic Ben Kingsley

Blade Runner – Mr. Scott shows us his version of the future

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid – Great homage to the classical detective movies of the 1940s with the classical dialog: ‘What does F.O.C. mean’ – ‘It’s another word for making love’

Fitzcarraldo – Klaus Kinski as a weired fan of Enrico Caruso trying to built a opera house in Peru

The World According To Garp –  One of the best novels by John Irving transformed to a remarkable movie

What happened in the world in this year:
First computer virus was found on apple computers written by a 15 year old kid; Hama massacre in Syria – the first time the Assad regime starts slaughter; the European Cort of Human Rights rules that teachers who cane, belt of tase children against the wishes of their parents are in breach of the Human Rights Convention; the Falkland war begins – Argentine troops invades and occupy the Falkland Islands; Aston Villa wins the European cup by beating Bayern Munich; the Lebanon war begins when Israel troops invade in southern Lebanon under the order of Ariel Sharon; Italy wins the world championship in Spain against Germany with 3:1 – I still feel ashamed about the shame of Gijon when we stopped playing against Austria. Just keeping the ball over 60 minutes in our own half and Austria wouldn’t attack us. It was the first time I stopped watching our team; Helmut Kohl replaces Helmut Schmitt as Chancellor of Germany through a constructive vote of no confidence.
It’s another difficult decision which record touched me more this year. For sure – The Gun Club with ‘Miami’ was the best heavy record of this year. Jeffrey Lee Pierce brought us a unbelievable combination of post punk, punk blues, cowpunk  and deathrock. Pierce former head of the Blondie fan-club in Los Angeles formed this band together with Kid Congo Powers who joined The Cramps beforte their first record. Some backing vocals on this record were sung by Blondie. Every song on this record is a killer. They transported CCR’s ‘Run through the jungle’ as a swamp blues into this days. Also his version of the traditional ‘John Henry’ is fast ride on speed through this song. I love this record until now and I am sure, that I’ll play it often in the future.
The Gun Club – Run through the jungle
The Gun Club – Watermelon Man
The Gun Club – John Hardy
The Gun Club – Carry Home
But the record that impressed me much this year comes from August Darnell’s Kid Creole and the Coconuts. It was the new big thing from New York and gave us a superb mixture of variety styles like Caribbean, South American and Trinidadian sounds combining this with Cab Calloway and the golden era of the big bands. The Coconuts were a glamorous trio of female backing vocalists. Their first records were well recommended by critics but not successful. The got their breakthrough with ‘Tropical Gangsters’. It is a perfect mixture of great arranged and very danceable songs. It was the record the most of my lads could agree this year and we all went to see them live in Stuttgart. It was a fantastic evening listening live to all them songs and getting a little Caribbean flair. Also their performing on stage was great. We used to watch bands playing their music mostly in rotten clothes and now we saw the musicians dressed up in style. That’s what became also popular this year – look over to ABC and it was the start into the new disco and club thing. Kid Creole opened my ears to the forthcoming sound of this kind of music. 
Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Stool Pidgeon
Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy
Kid Creole & The Coconuts – I’m A Wonderful Thing, Baby
Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Imitation

Battle Of The Blogs … Round 3

So welcome back to round #3 of our ‘Battle of the Blogs’. It took me a few days until I recovered from Dirks uppercut (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft). My chin still hurts and  I have to pay a little tribute to the high beginning tempo. I will mince in this round more and try to hold Dirk with my leading hand on distance.
Todays band was formed in Hannover – not a center of (modern) music in Germany. Der Moderne Man was a band that wasn’t successful although they would be able to. They started a typical punk band in the late 70s to start their more progressive kind of music. In the early 80s punk turned into a lot of different kind of music. Musicians with that punky background let more and more influences from other kind of music into their music. Der Moderne Man for example has taken influence of funk in their music and result was a little independent hit at our place.
Although they had real good punk songs on their records they tried more and more to combine classical music with their punk background. Maybe the main reason why they didn’t have the success they should have was the fact that in the early 80s tons of new German bands released their stuff – and a lot of them successful bands where shitty as hell. But the mighty John Peel recognized their potential and played them on his show.

Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven…

Last Sunday we have given our votes for the parliamentary election. We followed the projections on the composition of the Bundestag at the polling station of the locals socialist party which was located in a local pub nearby our place. It was horrible to have to watch that Mrs. Merkel could take over the autocracy in Germany in future. On other TV-screans we could follow the game of our club – but this didn’t made me any happier because thy tied at least against Frankfurt. This in our head me and my mate Ed decided to leave for a Turkish sportsbar to have some pints and watch the second half of the derby in Istambul. And the fear was continued in the overtime of the game. Galatasaray led by 2:1 as one of their players was reffered off the field. On his way to the cabin he mocked the opposing fans and all escalated. More than one hundred supporters of the local team stormed the field and have thrown the security forces with all kinds of objects such as chairs, cups and so on. The police took more than half an hour to get back control of the angry fans. So I had enough of this day and went home and grabbed a record out of my box.
It was the second record from the Canadian band ‘Godspeed You! Black Emperor’. This was just the sound to calm down a little. A quiet music of experimental/post rock with long passages of instrumental part that’s what fit right to me at this time.

40 Records in 40 Years (8/40 – 1981)

Back in ordinary life again after what felt like an eternity lifetime in the army. What also means back in a regular job again. My company offered me for god’s sake a job in the back office, so that I didn’t had any physical contacts with our customers to offer them some financial products. Week after week I more and more accustomed to the daily routine in the bank. And also day by day I got more routine to do my job. So I took the chance to get more contact to my colleges that was close to my age. Sometimes after finishing work we took the chance to spent the time on a couple of pints in one of the pubs close to our office. It was a wonderful time to do your job and nearly no one gives you any commands you have to follow exactly. In the first month after my time in the army I felt safe and harm but still knowing that something essential is missing. After a few weeks listening to what my mind and stomach told me, I knew that the next step in my life would be to look for a small apartment where I can life without any rules that my parents gave to me. Towards the end of the year a good friend offered me his apartment because he wanted to life together with his girlfriend in a bigger one. So I grabbed the chance although it was not my favorite place I wanted to life because it was in a little village close to the place I’ve been grown up. But the apartment was very well and cheap and so I grabbed my packs and moved away. I can still see the tears in my moms eyes, when her eldest son left his home. So I layed my hands around her and told her that I’m not going away, but only living elsewhere. She dried her tears and let me go with an unforgettable smile in her face. The basic equipment of the apartment does have cost me some of my savings, but it was worth it in any case. And then it was done: Finally to stand on my own two feet and to be responsible for me in all respects even.

What was the sound of 1981?

Joe Dolce and Shaddup you face: Just one more one hit wonder, but the sound of summer in 1981
Roxy Music – Jealous guy: Great smooth song with a genius whistle by Mr. Ferry
Soft Cell – Tainted love: The best track this year. A monument of a song
Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin: Pure pop with elements of Phil Spector’s wall of sound
Billy Idol – Dancing with myself: Former Genreration-X singer starts a solo career
Visage – Fade to grey: Birth of the New Romantics?
Tom Tom Club – Genius of love: Side project from Talking Head’s Tina Weymouth gave us a funky upgrade and opened our ears to the upcoming club sounds
Haircut 100 – Favorite shirts: Nick Heyward’s epochal interpretation of British styled funk
Depeche Mode – Just can’t get enough: Nice song that became a fan chant
Kristy MacCall – There’s a guy ….: Another great pop song – it wouldn’t appear here if it is not sung by her
Memorable records released in this year:
This Heat – Deceit: Arty music. This Heat combined Krautrock and other progressive stuff with also influence of dub reggae and early Can to a radical post-punk, industrial music style.

Bruce Cockburn – Inner City Front: Canadian singer-songwriter with political background brought some good songs to me.

The Lounge Lizards – same: Saxophonist John Lurie mixed Jazz like Charles Mingus with punk roots.

Trio – same: German minimalism with punk roots (more on one of the next posts)

The dB’s – Stand for decibels: Jangle power pop from America

David Byrne & Brian Eno – My life in the bush of ghosts: First collaboration from two great musicians

Motörhead & Girlschool – St. Valentines’ Day Massacre: Another great collaboration. It was just an EP but listen to their version of Johnny Kidd’s ‘Please don’t touch’.

Greatful Dead – Recocknin’: The hippies are back – but a wonderful relaxed double LP for the summer

Black Uhuru – Red: Reggae sounded like this in that year.

Motörhead – No Sleep Till Hammersmith: Hard rock at his highest level.

Kurtis Blow – Deuce: New sound from big apple. Never heard Rap before.

Stray Cats – same: The return of rockabilly music. Stray cat strut, Rumble in Brighton tonight, Fishnet stockings … awesome.

 Wall of Voodoo – Dark Continent: Synthesizer based new wave combined with Ennio Morricone

The Gun Club – Fire Of Love: Jeffrey Lee Pierce appears with remarkable songs like ‘She’s like Heroine to me’.

Heaven 17 – Penthouse And Pavement: Groundbreaking record for electric music.

Elvis Costello – Almost blue: On step over the Atlantic ocean. Mr. McManus goes country.

Bow Wow Wow – See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy: Crazy title for a record, but I loved the sound of her young and clear voice. Great songs and a cracking cover-sleeve.

Soft Cell – Non Stop Erotic Cabaret: A perfect record – timeless.

Remarkable movies in this year:
Raiders Of The Lost Arc: Harrison Ford shows us the real historic searcher

Excalibur: Back on the round table in Camelot

Das Boot: Underwater in a boat during world war II

Christiane F., wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo: Teenagers on drugs and the whole damned scene in Berlin. Based on memories of Christiane F.

Gallipoli: Peter Weir showed us the terrible fights between Australian and Turkish troops in World War I (according to ‘The band played waltzing Mathilda’).

The Postman Always Rings Twice: Great actors – Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange

A little looking back what was interesting in the world in 1981:
The 54 American hostages in Iran were released after 14 month; Chiang Ching (“Madame Mao”) was sentenced to death after trial against the gang of four; Stardust fire in a nightclub in Altana Dublin  kills 48 and injures 247; Bobby Sands a member of the IRA begins a hunger strike for political status in Long Kesh prison and was the first of 10 who died a couple of month later; Rioters throw petrol bombs, attack the police and loot shops in Brixton; Pope John Paul II was shot and nearly died by Ali Agca a Turkish gunman; Peter Sutcliff is found guilty as the Yorkshire ripper; Bangladesh President Rahman is assassinated; Seven coaches of an overcrowded passenger train fell off the tracks in Bihar, India – over 800 died; South African troops invate Angola; Egyptian president Answar Sadat was also assassinated – Hosni Mubarak was elected as the new president; Iran-Contra affair: Reagan’s administration sold weapons to Iran although there was an embargo to sponsor the Nicaraguan Contras; Muhammad Ali made his last-ever fight.

Vini Rilly released in 1981 his second album with Durutti Column called LC. There is a lot of stories written about him, his career and the record. One of the best ones I’ve ever read was over at The ‘old’ Vinyl Villan before Google closed JC’s blog. So just a few words to him and this record: 
Vini Reilly is probably a political thinking person – if not I can’t explain why he give the band this name. The Durutti Column, derived for a misspelling of the name Buenaventura Durutti, woh led a column of anarchiststs during the Spanish Civil War. nLC means ‘Lotta Continua’ Italian for ‘continuous struggle’. It was originally taped at home on a four-track recorder and shows the abilities of Vini Reilly at his best. He is no gunslinger but it impresses me so much, when he slowly picking the strings of his guitar and the tones pour out like one pearl after the other. For me this record will ever be the place where I can go to when I need something to relax. 

Love And Rockets

Thank you SA for starting my Sunday with your fantastic post about ‘Love and Rockets’ a comic series I’ve never was able to read or follow because in the times when it was printed in Germany you could only buy some comics from Mickey Mouse or others. Comics from other ones we could barley by a sample comic called ZACK in the late 70s/early 80s. But none of the issues showed me to Jaime Hernandez and his co-creation ‘Love and Rockets’. I’m just a little bit of sad that I wasn’t able to join – but it’s never too late to search some of this issues. Jaime Hernandez is not unknown to me. I think he did some artworks for Michelle Shocked and Los Lobos.

The band’ name was taken from the comics series and was formed from a former member of Bauhaus in the early 80s. They were an British alternative band that combined influences from punk and psychedelic to their own sound and got a big hit with their cover version of the Motown classic ‘Ball of Confusion’. For me they were still a good band and worth to get them remembered.

Battle Of The Blogs … Round 1

Alright Dirk, I will accept the challenge with great pleasure. I also don’t wanna bore anyone with less details in this post – just adding a few songs to see what will happen. More stories and details will be published on my regular series. I totally agree to your intention to your post and looking also forward to some comments about our German tunes. 
So listen and enjoy, friends.
The first one in this round is from a Hamburg based band and they published their few records on the famous ZickZack-label founded by the godfather of punk and New Wave journalism Alfred Hilsberg. It’s a cracking song from Geisterfahrer and means ‘Heaven on earth’. 
The second one in this round is from a band who was very successful all over the period of NDW although they didn’t made that plastic sound lot of others did. They saw them self as a part of the punk movement. And here are Extrabreit with ‘Policemen’.