Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Böhse Onkelz - Der Nette Mann

Böhse Onkelz started out in November 1980 in Hösbach as a punk rock band heavily inspired by bands such as Sex Pistols and the Ramones by Stephan Weidner, Kevin Richard Russell and Peter Schorowsky. The name is an incorrect spelling of "bad uncles" (the correct form would be böse Onkel), which is German baby talk for bad grown-ups. According to Weidner on their DVD release "20 Jahre: Live in Frankfurt", the name was created when the three founding members stole a sledge from some other teenagers, one of whom said "Hey, da sind die bösen Onkels schon wieder" (Hey, there come the bad uncles again). The band kept its initial line-up until Matthias 'Gonzo' Röhr joined them in 1981. Musically he was by far the most experienced of the group; he had been playing guitar for six years, and had played in other bands such as Antikörper. Since Weidner played guitar, Matthias started out on bass, but they switched instruments before their first recordings for the punk sampler Soundtracks zum Untergang 2. Initially, the band was active mainly in the region of Frankfurt am Main. Soundtracks zum Untergang 2 (Soundtracks to the Downfall Vol. 2) was a left-wing oriented punk sampler on which Böhse Onkelz featured in the band's first widely released recording. However, after the until then apolitical punk movement moved further to the left, the Onkelz lost interest in this subculture. "Fußball" became more important in their lives and with it, fights surrounding games accumulated.
Initially, the band considered themselves part of the (originally unpolitical) Oi! movement, but they underwent their first drift to the political right in the early 1980s. The gigs and demos that had been released until then appealed to their fans, who ranged from unpolitical to the extreme right. The release of the album Der nette Mann followed in 1984 on the right-wing rock label Rock-O-Rama. This album was indexed in September 1986 because of its violence-glorifying and sexist content. The album also contained the patriotic songs Stolz (Proud) and Deutschland (Germany), by which the Onkelz slowly gained cult status in the right-wing scene. Der nette Mann was copied numerous times to cassettes and thereby spread rapidly in the scene. Shortly after the release of the Mexico EP in late 1985 the band split with Rock-O-Rama.
After their split from the skinhead scene in 1986, the band proceeded without any distinguishable political motivation. The albums following also contained songs about drinking and violence, but were much richer musically and lyrically. Despite substantial problems caused by Russell's alcohol and heroin addictions, the band continued to work together. On the 16th of June, 1990, the band's best common friend, Andreas "Trimmi" Trimborn, was stabbed to death during an incident in a bar located in Frankfurt's Sachsenhausen district. Only two days later Böse Onkelz supporters located the assailant, a "Bundeswehr" soldier whose father held a high military rank. The murderer was tried in court but released without sentence. The judge stated that the Böhse Onkelz band and entourage were known to be violent and that the stabbing was committed in self-defense. Even today, all witnesses sharply reject this claim that Trimmi threatened the killer and his companion, both of whom allegedly snorted cocaine just minutes before the incident, with a beer mug. Russell fell into a severe depression over the loss of his friend and tried to compensate his grief with drugs and alcohol. His substance abuse habits became so destructive that he almost died as a result. The songs Nur die besten sterben jung (Only the best die young) and Der Platz neben mir (The place beside me) are dedicated to and written in memory of Trimmi.
Onkelz on tour 2004, second concert in Dortmund
Onkelz on tour 2004, second concert in Dortmund
Support-act by Wonderfools at Vaya Con Tioz
Support-act by Wonderfools at Vaya Con Tioz
120.000 fans at the last concert at Lausitzring, Germany
120.000 fans at the last concert at Lausitzring, Germany
In 1992, without any marketing, the album Heilige Lieder rose to no. 5 on the German LP charts. Despite their increasing commercial success, the band was marked with the stigma of being a right-wing band till the end. During various xenophobia-related attacks, the media discovered the right-wing past of the band. Following some critical reports, the Onkelz were faced with substantial criticism, which among other things led to individual radio stations refusing to play Onkelz songs. Many outside observers simply didn't believe that the band had "seen the light" and instead considered their exit from the skinhead scene as a maneuver to avoid bans and prosecution. The band's reputation also suffered from several poorly researched articles written about them. As a reaction to this, Weidner wrote songs like Fahrt zur Hölle (Go To Hell) on Weiß or Danke für Nichts (Thanks for Nothing) on Hier sind die Onkelz (Here are the Unclez). Additionally, big department stores such as Media Markt, World of Music (WOM) and Saturn refused to sell Onkelz albums. By the end of the 1990s, however, Media Markt and WOM took the albums back into their range of products. Only Saturn refused to sell them until the band's final album Adios in 2005 which, along with others of their later albums, was on top of the charts for several weeks. In the following years, the Onkelz repeatedly took positions against extremism of any kind and referred to themselves as outsiders with no political affiliation. The band has a huge fan community and is one of the most successful German music groups. In 1998 they sold about 300,000 copies of the album Viva los tioz within the first 48 hours after release. On 8 August 2003, despite negative headlines, the Böhse Onkelz were chosen as supporting act to the Rolling Stones for their concert in the Open Air Arena in the Hanover fairground.
The end of their career
When the band's five year contract with Virgin ended in 2003, they found a new selling partner in the indie label SPV GmbH for their final album, Adios. On 24 May 2004 the Onkelz officially announced their retreat from the active music business. After the release of the album, a gig on the Wacken Open Air in August 2004 and the sold-out tour La Ultima, the farewell show took place on 17th and 18th June 2005 at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz (in Lusatia, Brandenburg) under the name Vaya con tioz, to which approximately 120,000 fans came.

Tracks
.. frankreich '84
.. fusball + gewalt
.. der nette mann
.. deutschland
.. singen und tanzen
.. mädchen
.. tanz auf deinem grab
.. dr. martens beat
.. vereint
.. freibier
.. stolz
.. freitag nacht
.. böhse onkelz
.. alkohol

Details
.. Year: 1984
.. Label: Rock'O'Rama Records
.. Country: Germany
.. Bitrate: 192 kbps
.. BUY ME: http://www.onkelz.com/
.. Home-Page: http://www.onkelz.com/

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