Legendary Leipzig: How Mayhem Concert in 1990 formed the metal


As was the case with the metal scene in the early 90s: many clubs that were also metal concert venues were closed, classic scene venues were reoriented. How did you see the band scene back then?

In fact, places have gradually closed. Of the three venues Mayhem played in 1990, only the Eiskeller in Leipzig remained a year later. Big events were thrown off the ground, such as Berlin’s Werner-Seelenbinder-Halle festival “Thrashing the East” with Kreator, Sabbath, Tankart and Coroner, where all the Zones smashed the dusty records of Noise Records , bagged who starred. as organizers. Commerce became increasingly important in metal as well. Years ago you used to design your own t-shirt with your favorite stripes, but now you could buy them and the appeal was lost because everyone wore the same t-shirt.

A small Scandinavian delegation also took part in this festival in Berlin: Quorthon from Bathory from Sweden and Metalion from Norway, who published the metal fanzine Slayer-Mag. He must have put out the flyers I took with me. I wrote to Metalion at home and asked for a copy of his journal. A few weeks later I was holding this gifted Slayer Mag in my hand. It was amazing: he only wrote about the most degraded underground bands. Among them was a preview of Mayhem’s demo “Pure Fucking Armageddon”, which did quite well. When I was working on my magazine I wrote to the guys and a month later I got a reply from a very young guitarist named Euronymous.

What problems did you face in organizing and running the tour?

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Well, the GDR was in transition. Everyone longed for the hard D brand, products from the East disappeared from the stores, which further fueled unemployment. Germany became world champions in Italy in 1990, Ossis grew into an unprecedented national frenzy, and neo-Nazis became a youth culture cheered on by disappointed or proud parents. Monday’s demonstrations saw Reich war flags suddenly fluttering, Nazis marching on the front lines and unimpeded Hitler salutes. The drugs spilled into the East and no one knew about them. It’s been a tough time for us metalheads with long hair. Especially at night at train stations, a bald-headed young man lurked and waited for potential victims.

None of us had cars and had to take the Deutsche Reichsbahn to Annaberg-Buchholz, Zeitz and back to Leipzig. But the way we looked, we weren’t a target: black leather clothes, studded bracelets, bullet belts, skulls – we were bad! And in the luggage: pig heads, because the group needed them as stage decorations. In Karl-Marx-Stadt, changing from the train to the bus to Annaberg, I rushed to the butcher and asked for two pig heads. Unfortunately, the seller only had halves in stock and, stupidly, only three left and one right.

I sewed the asymmetric sides of the head with twine on the bus, and in the evening they were on stage in Annaberg, nailed to the poles of our family’s steep wall tent. Since it was a weekend and all the shops were closed, I had to take my head to other places as well. You can imagine the smell that hit us when we drove to Leipzig two days later, after Mayhem had also played Zeitze the day before!

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The early 1990s were also known as the years of the baseball bat. Was there a problem with the Nazis? How was the black metal scene positioned then?

It was a time of vacuum. The police dealt with themselves and their transformation and no longer had their right eye. Bald heads, boots and jackets have become part of youth culture. I have observed this far-right movement throughout the former GDR after reunification. In Leipzig, we experienced this first-hand: it started with Monday’s demonstrations full of German flags and continued with the first murdered punks and homeless people. In Leipzig alone, ten people died from right-wing violence after 1990.

So it’s not surprising that this fascist trend, unfortunately, was not limited to the metal scene either! Many metal heads cut their hair. Black metal has also had fans and bands that have since glorified National Socialism, heroizing the strong Aryan nation and dismissing the weak as inferior. Suddenly musicians appeared with black…

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