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Bobby Smith
Is a London Wolves fan and punk to boot. He's made his own record praising the delights of Wolves, he writes his own column in the Load Of Bull fan mag and other more punk related zines like Kick In The Balls and he's punk.
‘Slime’ - an appreciation of a sorely under valued band.
Most people’s awareness of the musical phenomenon known as Deutschpunk probably starts with Die Toten Hosen and ends with current faves Oxymoron. Whilst acknowledging the importance and popularity of these bands there is a group far more deserving of world wide acclaim. I refer, of course, to the greatest ever exponent of Deutschpunk - the fabulous Slime.
Slime began as five young teenagers growing up in Hamburg. They came together through a love of fast late 70's guitar music, citing bands such as The Ramones and the Sex Pistols as a major influence. The band formed in 1979 and consisted of a line up that was to remain static throughout its lifetime, with the odd change of drummer. It consisted of: Dirk: Vocals, Elf: Guitar and Vocals, Eddi: Bass, Christian Mevs: Guitar, Ball: Drums (later to be replaced by Stephane Mahler). Prior to joining Slime Christian Mevs and Stephane Mahler were already active in the local Hamburg punk scene, most prominently in the band Screamer. Indeed many early Slime songs originate from Screamer rehearsals. For instance the track; ‘Alle gegen Alle’ (‘Everybody for themselves’) is a direct descendant of the Screamer song ‘Wahlrecht’. Early Slime material contained a healthy mix of German and English songs with classics like ‘I wish I was’ and ‘Karlsquell’ eventually to appear on the first LP. The first recorded output though was the ‘Bullenschweine’ EP in 1979. This four track EP contained the songs: ‘Wir Wollen Keine,’ ‘Iran,’ ‘Hey Punk,’ and ‘Ich Hasse’. The EP was released on the Moderne Musik label and is now one of the rarest Deutschpunk records to be had. Gradually the band was developing, along with the entire Hamburg scene, with its following based around venues like the Markthalle and Fabrik with support from the usual clutch of fanzines, like Pretty Vacant.
Other early Deutschpunk bands such as Male, ZK and The Buttocks were also making an impact as the crazy punk beat swept across the German nation. Slime though were always at the forefront and their first self titled LP was released to an expectant public in 1981, on the Raubbau label. Initial recordings were put out without censure but the tracks ‘Bullenschweine’ and ‘Deutschland’ were later censored when re-released on the integral Aggressive Rock Produktionen label - for their anti-government sentiment. This LP sees the band coming to terms with a variety of punk influences - from the Damned like ‘Disco’ to the Cockney Rejects sounding ‘We don’t need the army’. Slime even indulged in a spot of Clash style reggae on the track ‘Artificial’. Lyrics were still sung in a mixture of English and German but the in your face music was understood by all. The next LP - ‘Yankees Raus’ was sung exclusively in German as Slime concentrated on winning over the domestic market, at the risk of limiting appeal abroad. This album, recorded in 1982, saw the introduction of Stephane Mahler on drums. Without being too over the top this boy is a combination of Rat Scabies meets Keith Moon - a seriously good drummer. Helped by the new arrival the band was now developing a fuller sound as their music became more original and confident. Sadly, although including Deutschpunk flagbearers such as ‘Alptraum,’ the LP is flawed by a biscuit tin production that renders the sound flat. Happily this situation was rectified by the following LP - the Deutschpunk ‘bible’ of ‘Alle gegen Alle’. This LP came out in 1983, again on the Aggressive Rock Produktionen label, and is a record to compare all others with. Every one of its fifteen tracks is sheer class and complemented by a production that allows each song to be judged on its ability alone. Tunes and hooks leap off the record at every available opportunity whilst still retaining that punk edge and aggression. If you’re tired of listening to punk with just anger and need a hint of melody to spruce up the eardrums then this is the LP for you. Please don’t get the impression that this is a pop punk LP for it is one of the hardest records you could hear. I would argue that the sound is totally original with perhaps a nod towards the bollox of the Sex Pistols and the hardcore Black Flag. Most certainly Elf’s power chords serve up some of the best tunes ever committed to vinyl. Dirks ‘40 packs of ciggies a day’ vocals also make him sound uncannily like a punk Rod Stewart - without the tight pants and hot legs! All songs are again in German apart from the Buddy Holly cover of ‘Oh Boy,’ a version that massacres the original. Sadly, despite having reached the height of musical creativity, Slime split in 1984, leaving just a posthumous live LP - ‘Live at the Pankehallen’ - as a reminder of past glories. This LP was recorded on 21/01/84 and contains a mixture of songs ranging from ‘Iran’ to ‘Etikette totet’. A new drummer was also introduced in the shape of Stefane Larson. After the split the various members of Slime formed other bands, one of which was Targets. Targets was a project that involved Elf, Eddi and Stefane Larson. They released one LP - the Slime sounding ‘Massenhysterie,’ put out in 1985. This could easily be the fifth Slime LP as the only real difference sees Elf taking over vocal duties, as well as providing his customary guitar. Stephane Mahler went into the more hardcore Torpedo Moskau who released one LP - ‘Malenka Rabota’ - a record that hints at the reason for the Slime split.
Christian Mevs career centred more in the production field but he did find time to get involved with Angeschissen, who also featured the busy Stephane Mahler on drums. They were a more experimental band who released a couple of albums on the Buback label. Dirk’s influence on the punk scene seemed to diminish as he was only involved in two low key projects; Igel United and The Legendary Nice Boys, a band who perhaps suffered due to their un ‘punk’ sounding name!
However my story does not end there for it seems the Slime heart was still beating, albeit weakly. As is now common on the punk scene Slime reformed, in 1990, initially for a huge gig at the Berlin Hasenheide. This seemed to go so well that a further LP ‘Die Letzten’ (‘The Last’) was put out, again on Aggressive Rock Produktionen. This was a mixed bag album with a couple of new songs, like ‘Wir mussen hier raus’ and ‘Grosser Bruder.’ New versions of old material that originally appeared on ‘Yankees Raus’ also showed up. In addition two Deutschpunk standards were covered: Males ‘Polizei Polizei’ and ‘Computerstaat,’ the old Abwarts song from 1979. To complete the LP six unreleased live songs were added on from the same set as the earlier 1984 live album. The line up at this time was the usual with Stephane Mahler on drums. ‘Die Letzten’ though was not the last we would see of these crazy German punks. No, first of all another compilation was put out, on Bitzcore, titled ‘Slime - 81-87’. This album contained the inevitable live tracks although this time they were culled from the bands formative years. It was a welcome addition to Slimes back catalogue, as many English versions of songs that had previously only been available in German, are included. For those of us with only a partial knowledge of German this was most useful. A couple of covers were included; Black Flag’s ‘Wasted’ and Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’. Thankfully Black Lace were not around at the time otherwise ‘Agadoo’ may have been covered!
Apart from the compilations Slime aficionados were also sated with the release of ‘Viva La Muerte’ in 1992, a full length brand new Slime LP. This saw a slight change of direction as the sound became heavier, whilst still in keeping with their punk legacy. Their natural progression then reached its zenith with the release of ‘Schweineherbst’ in 1994. ‘Schweineherbst’ was certainly different from earlier Slime material with a marked emphasis on the hardcore side. Their trademark catchy songs were certainly still in evidence but the album had a darker feel to it. The LP also included the awesome single; ‘Der Tod ist ein meister aus Deutschland’. Finally Slime put out another live LP, along with a video; 1995s ‘Hamburg Punk Club’. Again this contained a broad cross section of songs from the length of their recorded output. And what an output it was. To this day I have not heard of a band who sound as distinctive as Slime, although the Bus Station Loonies have potential. Certainly they were an original band in a musical genre that often stifles the creativity it was meant to produce. Unfortunately, in a world where people are ‘expected’ to speak English, their adherence to German language songs doomed them to success on a far smaller scale than that their talent demanded. Surely one of the reasons Oxymoron are so popular now is based on their lyrics being sung in English, apart from their classy tunes? Slime were a band that sang in German and stuck to their principles, whatever the consequence, and they deserve admiration for that fact alone.
They were also big footie fans who supported local team FC St Pauli, as well as Celtic, and I often wonder if Slime shirts are now sported in the stands up at the hoops. By the way, in case anyone is curious as to how I ‘discovered’ Slime, it was via dear old Channel 4 TV. Remember the Tube? They once did a special German episode way back in 1984 and played about twenty seconds of Slime live. I guess I was a bit ignorant as to the idea of German punk and didn’t realise the scene was so alive out there. I soon discovered the error of my ways! Hopefully this piece has encouraged some interest in a band that really should be in everyone’s record collection, between the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. Slime, Punk Rock legends, I salute you. Bobby Smith. Selective Slime discography: ‘Bullenschweine’ EP - 1979 Moderne Musik. Slime - LP - 1981 Raubbau. ‘Yankees Raus’ - LP - 1982 Aggressive Rock Produktionen (AGR). ‘Alle gegen Alle’ - LP - 1983 AGR. ‘Live’ - LP - 1984 AGR. ‘Die Letzten’ - LP - 1990 AGR. ‘Slime compilation 81-87’ - LP/CD - Bitzcore. ‘Viva la Muerte’ - LP/CD - 1992 AGR. ‘Schweineherbst’ - LP/CD - 1994 Indigo. ‘Slime Punk Club’ - LP/CD - 1995 Indigo. In addition they also had tracks on the following compilations: ‘Soundtracks zum untergang.’ ‘Deutschpunk Kampflieder.’ ‘Paranoia in der Strassenbahn.’ If anyone does want any top quality Slime material, or any other Deutschpunk records, I recommend writing to: A.M.Music Mail Order, Robert Bosch Strasse.3, 71088 Holzgerlingen, Germany. They produce a top quality colour punk catalogue every four months or so. Just send a couple of International Reply Coupons and they’ll probably send you a catalogue. Or just write to them first.
Smithy - Wolves fan and punk puritan July 2000.
15a Worcesters Avenue, Enfield, Middlesex, EN1 4NB, U.K.
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