I found the Tunnel Users 45 a couple of years ago in a Berlin second-hand record store and couldn´t listen to it in the store, but bought it anyway because of the nice graphics, somewhere between the B 52´s and the Revillos.
Dance? is about a girl who takes the initiative because the boys are too shy to dance.
Sun Arise Dub is a sort of sped-up dub-style cover version of Rolf Harris´British #2 hit song from 1962 Sun Arise but with some added 1982 background noise.
The Tunnel Users were from Liverpool and I found the only information about them on a Welsh music site:
Tunnel Users – band (1981-83) feat; Colin Pennington (gtr,voc) (later of Decemberists, Hell Fire Sermons, James), Phil Butcher (voc), Clint Gannicliffe (keys), Gary Rowlandson (drms) (died 2006), Paul Maloney (bass), Geraldine French (voc), Jeff Hill (keys). Played Larks in The Park Festival 1981 and noted for their live performances rather than recorded work. Rel ‘Ideas’ tape (Mar81) on a label(?) was run by Garry Gannicliffe and based at Gladville Road, Mossley Hill, L’Pool, L17, and 7″ Dance on Ex-Jukey Recs (Jul82).
I was never a big fan of the Talking Heads. They always seemed to be a little too pretentious and serious. So this silly cover version of their classic new wave song doesn´t sound so bad to my ears. This record is a good example of the sell-out of new wave, but then wasn´t new wave already the sell-out of punk?
Either way I like this German disco version of “Psycho Killer”. It´s still a weird song and Debbie Neon is trying her best to sound reasonably crazy…
In 1980, the band Sportpalast came in first, in a band contest held by the city of Berlin, and won a record contract for this 45.
It was the first in a series, that was sponsored by various record labels. Each of the records had a press run of a 1000 and they were distributed by the bands themselves. That said, the female singer still managed to say “Scheisse” (shit), “Ficken” (fucking) and “Disco zerstört dein Gehirn” (Disco destroys your brain) on a record that was financed by the city of Berlin. Nena certainly wouldn`t have done that. I can only assume that it was this boldness that prevented the otherwise catchy song “Ich will hier raus” from being played on the radio and eventually becoming more successful.
“Sportpalast” is a well chosen name for a Berlin rock band. Built in 1910 the Sportpalast was Berlins first multi-purpose arena. Max Schmeling boxed there. Social-Democrats, Communists and Nazis held conventions there. Goebbels held his famous “Total War speech” there. After the war many rock groups played there, among them: Bill Haley, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. It was torn down in 1973
I´m not sure if I would have liked this record at the time of it`s release. It`s not really sophisticated compared to what was happening in the Underground at the time. It´s not Punk, it`s not Post-Punk and a little too rock-ish for New Wave.
Strangely, today it sounds like a typical “Neue Deutsche Welle” (German New Wave) record. The weaker A-Side “Koockakoolaintschina” (Coca-Cola in China) points out that instead of drinking Coca-Cola the Chinese used to smoke Opium. The B-Side “Ich will hier raus” (I want out of here) though, is a fast saxophone-driven rocker with a touch of Poly Styrene. I really like it.
SPORTPALAST, Koockakoolaintschina, 1980
SPORTPALAST, Ich will hier raus, 1980
Extra were similar to Sportpalast in that they were also from Berlin and also had a female singer.
But while Sportpalast only recorded one 45, Extra recorded a LP and were more successful nationally.
Extra were featured on a 10″ New Wave-compilation called “Prima Tanzmusik” that included many well known German New Wave bands. I bought that record when it came out in `81 and while there were similar Hard Rock bands posing as New Wave on that comp, I remember particularly not liking the band Extra. Too rockish for my snobbish 15-year old taste back then. And I hadn`t even seen the naked bearded dude on the cover of their 45…
The German new music magazine “Sounds” wrote that Extra played “simple Hard-Rock in the most embarassing German tradition”. Actually they were not hard enough for the Hard Rock and not new enough for the New Wave crowd.
25 years later my taste seems to have changed. Now I like the aggressive voice of singer Katia and the powerful approach of Extra. A lot of the old German New Wave stuff sounds awfully tame and complacent today. Extra at least had some balls.
EXTRA, Du bist so eitel, 1980
EXTRA, Leg an, 1980
I`m just guessing this is from 1980. It could be from 81 or 82, but somewhere in that time-slot. The time-slot is: “When we were trying to play cool, new 80s music but we still had to play with some bearded dude from the 70s”
I´m also just guessing this is from Berlin because it has the Berlin area code listed on the back. “Kleiner Pilot” is not Punk, not Power Pop, not New Wave but it`s trying very hard.