If there ever was an incredibly strange German record, this is it. Last week it had my friends, at the small pizza place where we get together every Tuesday to hang out and spin records, shaking their heads in disbelief.
Nevertheless this is a very brave private pressing and I´m not going to make fun of it. This record is much more courageous than any Punk record I own and I own thousands.
The record looks and sounds like it was recorded around 1990. Anytime from 1988 to 1992 is my guess. Der Wirklichkeit entrückt ( I´m detached from reality) is about a forbidden love but doesn´t go into detail why it is. Wir zwei (the two of us) is another love song where again both lovers are “detached from reality”.
I really like this record. It makes me happy. I guess because I´m also quite “detached from reality”…
Last week I´ve posted some odd German private pressings that I found in thrift-stores and that I hardly knew anything about. I have a lot more to say about the three odd German records that I post this week.
The Outtasites was my own band back when I was still living in Hamburg. I met Carsten at a Man or Astro-man? show in 1995. Seeing that I had been dancing like crazy, he smiled, handed me his beer and said: ” You must be thirsty!”
A while later I met Carsten again on the street in St.Pauli. He had just moved to Hamburg from the South of Germany and gave me one of his fanzines that he was doing at the time.
We talked about Chaos Days, the big Punk meeting that was going to happen in Hannover. We both wanted to go. Another week later we all packed up in his roommate Sebastian`s car and went to Hannover.
The two days at Chaos Days are pretty much a blur. We swam in a sea of thousands of punks, gathering on the streets, drinking and shouting, hundreds of Punks throwing beer cans at each other, Total Chaos playing in a park for free, lots of cops and then the riots started… We spent the whole night on the streets until the sun came up.
The next day, still hung-over and worn-out, we walked over to Hannover´s huge baroque garden and smoked grass. Carsten and I discovered that we were both huge fans of Surf music but also of bands like the Oblivians, Teen Generate and everything Crypt Records put out. While in the park we fantasised about starting a band. At the time I was smoking a brand of cigars called Nobel. I wanted us to be the Nobel 3. Carsten already played guitar. Sebastian had a bass guitar and I lied that I could play the drums.
Back in Hamburg the three of us actually got together in a rehearsal space of a friend. Carsten knew a couple of Surf licks and Sebastian and I enjoyed backing him. After we were finished I admitted that that had been the first time I ever played the drums. I was 29 years old, but I had always liked dancing. Somehow I had figured that if rhythm was the most important thing, I could do it.
We tried out a couple of people but an accordion didn´t really fit and we didn´t want to sound like Electric Frankenstein either. We were going for a sound that was much more primitive.
By coincidence I met Stefan at a Hardcore show and asked if he knew somebody who could play bass. He said: “Yeah, me”, and that sealed it. Stefan never really got into the garage sound. He was a Punker and he liked the more elevated emo/screamo stuff that (together with the crust and grind) saved the underground hardcore scene in the early 90`s. But he gave our sound a certain edge that the more retro-minded garage bands lacked. And I had a lot of common ground with him because I had spent the later half of the 80s in the Hardcore scene.
We called ourselves the Outtasites because by coincidence Carsten and Stefan both wore big-rimmed Ray Ban glasses. They looked like twins and sometimes people thought they were joking when they saw them together. Initially when we played I put on glasses too (without lenses) to match their look. Although Stefan mostly complained, we wore matching outfits that I made before every show. We wanted to be the hardest garage band in Hamburg. Which was not a very difficult task at the time, because most bands were occupied doing the pure 60s beat style. Carsten wrote most of the songs and lyrics and also sang. Live Ann-Kathrin would often join us for a couple of cover-songs by the Gories and the Trashwomen. I also sang on two of our songs. Because I really enjoyed our music, I was always smiling when we played. When Tim Warren saw us playing our first show, he called us: “The Benny Goodmans of Punk Rock”.
We were wilder and sloppier than local bands like the Bazookas, Painted Air, the Looney Tunes, the Sinalco Bums and the Cave Girls. Until we played with the Moorat Fingers. But they were from Bremen. A hard town in the 90`s. I loved that band!
From late 96 to early 98 we played with a lot of local bands mostly in St.Pauli but also made it to Bremen and Berlin. One memorable show was together with Dackelblut, a intelligent Deutschpunk band from Hamburg. Their merch-guy Riebe had invited us to support them at Köpi, the famed squat in Berlin. We travelled in the Dackelblut van and arrived at the site of the huge impressive ruin that is Köpi. We had not played at a place like that. Dackelblut was pretty much a German cult group and soon hundreds of punks filled up the place, the line going way outside of the area. We were scared. How would a bunch of uniformly dressed garage guys go over here? It didn´t help that the last band that had supported Dackelblut at Köpi, the much more prolific Blumfeld, had been booed off the stage by the punks.
When we went on the place was packed. Glue sniffing Polish punkers came in armed with plastic bags full of beer cans. After the second song they started a fight. We kept playing. The fight stopped. I always played standing up and put my drum set directly at the front of the stage. A older-looking very drunk Punker kept messing with me and tried to hit my cymbal with his hands. In between songs I calmly tried to reason with him. No reaction. After a while I had enough. I aimed closely and hit his hand real hard with one of my sticks. He was shocked for a second, but it stopped him. After a while the punks kind of warmed up to us and some were dancing. Now the drunk punker tried to sleep on my bass drum but that only made me hit it harder. In the end we had won the punks over. I thought that if we had made it at Köpi we could play anywhere.
In October 1997 I met my girlfriend Julia and decided to move to Berlin. The band stayed together for another couple of month and we managed to record this 45 in January 1998 at Ronny´s Alien Studio. I don`t remember much of it. I was drunk when it was time to sing my song “Faster”. I slurred the line a little: “I can`t wait to the year 2000″ when it must´ve been: Faster, faster, faster -I can`t wait to live in the year 2000. The rest was all good and I tried to sing it as aggressively and over the top as possible: I wanna ride a space shuttle. I want my life to be artificial. I wanna live on the moon. I want my life to be a space cartoon.
Oh, well, that`s how it was pressed into vinyl for eternity.
Carsten had the records pressed and sent them out to some distributors and stores. That was it. I had a real good time in the Outtasites but after that I never played drums again.
At the same session we recorded another of our songs, a Surf-Instrumental kinda like Man or Astro-man? only sloppier, that was featured on the Motormania double-LP put out by Sounds Of Subterrania
Our frequent live guest star was Ann-Kathrin. She had a nice strong voice, great stage presence and impeccable taste in music. Of course she chose the Trashwomen cover. Sadly the Outtasites did not last long enough to recorded anything properly together with Ann-Kathrin in a studio but I recently found these two takes from a rehearsal.
In 1989 Boris Becker, Germany´s greatest living athlete, had a smart girlfriend, Karen, who was studying at university. Karen`s influence might have rubbed-off on the notoriously simple-minded Boris, because in an interview for German magazine “Der Stern” he made remarks that he felt closer to the people living in the famous Hafenstrasse squat than to the yuppies he was performing for and that the Hafenstrassepeople should be left alone. He also offered to give away some tickets for his matches to people from Hafenstrasse.
Now this offer was taken up by a bunch of Hamburg punks and hardcore activists and on a early spring night in 1990 we all went to a sports-arena, were Boris Becker was playing in a friendly match. Self-made signs and flyers in hand and dressed in stupid disguises we were determined to get some response from Boris for making that offer.
I don`t remember the exact circumstances any more but we were distributing flyers and shouting silly slogans like “Boris, give us the tickets!”, ” Boris come to the harbour, we need you!” and “Solidarity with Red Karen” at the unsuspecting tennis-fans, until the police showed up. But then surprisingly, Boris Becker actually let four of our people talk to him and then promised to give away tickets for his next big tournament at Rotherbaum. What a good sport!
That would have pretty much been it, if the media had not reacted so intensely. Each and every newspaper reported about our little prank. And in a positive way, applauded “those Hafenstrasse folks or weren`t they for real?” for the very first time! Like today but even more so back then, black-clad anarchists were not known for their humour, but feared and hated.
One of the main people behind that prank-demonstration was Henrik “Henna” Peschel, who later became a prolific underground film-maker. He and I were the first ones who regularly took photos at hardcore-punk shows at the Hafenstrasse in the mid- to late 80`s. After the success of that happening Henna and some friends put together a press-package and took on more actions.
In April 1990 Henna asked me to do a cover-drawing for a upcoming 45 by his fictitious group “The Tie-Breaks”. To the music of Tony Christie´s “Is this the Way to Amarillo” they were singing “Ist das der Weg zur Hafenstrasse?” (Is this the way to the Hafenstrasse?). When I showed the finished artwork to Henna he complained there were not enough black bloc people on it. So I had to draw some more and just glued them on the paper.
In 1990 I was already on my way out of the hardcore punk scene, more interested in opening up in many ways and also preparing my first autobiographical comic book Artige Zeiten. Henna had befriended some more bohemian Hamburg musicians like Rocko Schamoni ( who among others is singing on this record) and the guys that later developed into Tocotronic. At that moment we were still connected to the Hardcore scene and to the people that took part in the prank-demonstration. That scene, though strict and often restricting, had nurtured us and given us a platform for our activities. It had inspired us and it had made us proud that we were taking part in something that was worth believing in.
The Hafenstrasse squat had been the focal point of the radical left and the squatters movement but also housed the Störtebeker venue, the home of the Hamburg hardcore-punk scene. We had been to a lot of demonstrations defending it and had seen countless bands there and made tons of friends. It meant a lot to us.
This one sided schlager record, as silly as it sounds , is really a tribute to the Hafenstrasse.
Last week I bought this record on EBay. It`s the first time I ever bought something on EBay and it will be the last time. This is probably the worst record I`ll ever post here. And I have posted some really bad records so far. I`m pretty happy with the record though. I enjoy these type of records. It was only one Euro plus two Euros postage. Still, that`s too much for garbage . The sort of records I´m looking for are best bought in thrift-stores or at flea-markets and are supposed to cost next to nothing.
Also, I really enjoy digging through “stuff”. Putting “Berlin” in the search bar at EBay and then picking one of a list is not the same kind of fun. The description of the record was rather vague. It only had a very small picture (no scan) of the front cover, the name of the label and the title. From the hand-lettering style of the graphics the record could have been from the 50s and 60s. I guessed that it was some kind of strange right wing, anti-communist record
Actually it`s rather sweet. “Dany`s Clan” is a group from Alsace (France) close to the German border. Sung with a slight french accent “Berlin-Nie wieder fliehen”( Berlin-Never needing to escape again! …Well, it rhymes in German…) is their little happy ode to German reunification. It`s dedicated to Walter Momper who was mayor of Berlin when the wall came down. The record looks like a private pressing but was released on the small Bella Musica label, one of Germanys oldest independent labels that is still operating. Evelyn Künneke and Gisela Jonas both released records on Bella Musica in the 60s.
This is for my girlfriend, who is a teacher and works at a school in the same district, where these girls are from, Berlin-Wedding. Yes, there is a district called Wedding in Berlin and that´s about as merry as it gets here. Wedding has always been a working class district but it has gotten a lot rougher in the last 17 years. As in most European inner cities a lot of immigrants were pushed into certain areas, where nobody saw them and then left to stew in their own juices. When this group of teenagers played together at least they learned to speak German properly. Nowadays kids often speak worse than their parent. Because the kids only hang out with other immigrant kids who have trouble speaking good German. And our racist system is not interested in helping people (kids!) that are not considered proper Germans. There is simply not enough money going into the schools. Busing the kids to various schools to help them mix with German kids is not even considered right now.
I have a lot of respect for my girlfriend who cares for the kids at her school. She is the hardest working person I know and she is doing good work.
The early 90s was probably the last time that ordinary, amateur people were recording 45s. Cd’s don`t age with the same kind of dignity that vinyl records do. I´m glad that these girls managed to record this sweet and charming song on a 45.