Boike, do you still remember, how and when did you discover music and rock/metal in general? What were the very first bands, records, songs, that made a huge effect on you?
I started listening to the Beatles when I was six years old and that made me want to play the guitar. But I got my first own guitar only when I was nine. Around that time, I wanted to listen to harder music and discovered Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. Then came AC/DC, then Motörhead, then Venom and Metallica, then Possessed.
How did you end up becoming musician? How did your choice fall on guitars? Who were the musicians, that influenced your style? Were you self taught by the way or…?
I do not consider myself a musician and I was never really interested in equipment. Just two things were important: The guitar had to be solid and withstand all the tormenting on stage and beyond, and the amps had to be loud and brutal. But I did get a training in classical guitar from about nine to seventeen years of age. I never had training in electric guitar. In terms of mere guitar sound and technique, I used to like Van Halen, Malmsteen and a few other speed maniacs.
Was SONS OF SATAN the first act, that you were involved in or did you play in several acts prior to S. O. S.? What about your musical experiences as a whole?
I was in the US until 1982 and had a band there. We recorded a tape or two but never sold it. I don't even remember the name of the band... but it was great fun.
The band was formed in 1982 in Stuttgart by you on guitars, Peter Baumbach on drums, Peter Eistermeier on bass and Uli Häfner vocals how did you get together? How about the musical background of the other members?
I got to know Peter Baumbach at a local rock concert and we started jamming. We wanted to play as hard as possible. We quickly found a bass player but it was difficult to find a singer with a really brutal voice. Uli was perfect. But all of these guys were crazy and impossible to deal with. Baumbach was lazy and too slow in the end. Eistermeier was an alcoholic. He filled his bass case with beer bottles so that he could not even carry it. And it was not possible to open the door to his apartment because of the beer cases. Häfner was a complete lunatic. For example, he attacked ticket controllers in the subway with an axe and things like that and I think he really believed in Satan... We had a great time together but everything got completely out of hand. We just got drunk and made so much noise that we were kicked out everywhere we went.
Did you choose the band’s name on the base of the VENOM song?
Would you say, that you belonged to the first wave of the German thrash/speed scene along with the likes of DESTRUCTION, KREATOR, SODOM and HOLY MOSES?
Yes and no. We knew several of these bands but we wanted to be faster and we had no professional interest so we were rather close to the Punk scene. We also exchanged a lot of stuff and ideas with bands in Latin America like Sepultura.
At the early/mid ’80s a lot of new heavy/speed metal bands were popping up such as GRAVE DIGGER, HELLOWEEN, AVENGER/RAGE, ATLAIN, RUNNING WILD, LIVING DEATH, WARRANT, STORMWITCH, STORMWIND, VAMPYR, AXE VICTIMS, BRAINFEVER, STEELER etc. from every part of Germany, all started making a name for themselves, did you keep an eye on what’s going on in the German underground scene at this point or were you only caring of your own things? Were you familiar with these bands at all?
I listened to all of these but for us, fun was most important. And we remained rather local, our fans became our friends, it was a large local scene.
Can Düsseldorf, Hamburg and the Ruhr area be named as the most important parts/areas as for the developing, forming of the German metal scene?
Do you agree with, that the German heavy/speed outfits were heavily influenced by ACCEPT, especially by their „Fast As A Shark” song, that can be named as one of the first speed metal tracks of all time?
I don't know - but you hit the mark, this was one of my favorite songs at the time and I still like it.
With these huge amount of bands that started their career at this point, was the situation in Germany the same as in Britain with the N. W. O. B. H. M. movement? Were you also familiar with the British outfits?
In fact, I followed the British scene much more closely. I started listening to Motörhead already in 1978 I think, also got all the early tapes by Maiden, Angelwitch, Tygers, Venom etc.
In your opinion, were the German bands easily distinguishable from each other in terms of songwriting, producing, sound etc.?
Yes, definitely. However, I don't remember exactly but I never got into Destruction, Sodom, Warlock etc. And I did not listen to the bands that were as unprofessional as we were...
What do you recall of the early S. O. S. rehearsals? Did you start writing originals right from the start or were you jamming mostly on covers?
As I said, everything always got out of control sooner or later. Every time we would end up just creating one hell of a noise for half an hour. I am sure this was the first grindcore ever made... We played a couple of covers like Am I Evil but mainly did our own stuff.
You released you first demo in 1984, do you still remember, how was it recorded? Could you speak us detailed about this material in terms of songs cover artwork, sound etc.?
We just put a tape recorder into the rehearsal room and played. In hindsight, it is quite embarrassing... Everything was entirely amateur.
Was it your first studio experiences?
As I said, no studio there.
A year later you released your second demo „Live in the Cellar”, but at this point you were a three piece since Peter Eistermeister and Uli Häfner left the band, what happened with them?
They became too unreliable. Concerts got completely out of control as well. Peter was drunk, Uli attacked the audience etc. I should have left Baumbach as well, he was too slow.
Peter Schneiderhan on vocals and bass joined the band, how did he get in the picture exactly? Did you perhaps audition other musicians as well or…?
Yes, we auditioned but I do not remember how we found Peter. He was a great guy.
How do you view this demo compared to the first one? Was it a better representation of the band?
Actually not. If there had been a minimum of discipline and good sound, the first demo would have been great and I would still listen to it today. But I was terrible on it as well... In this regard, the second one was better.
Did you the demos shop around for getting fans and/or to attract some labels interests? Through which channels did you promote/sell your materials?
Back then, everything was underground and self-organized. I still have hundreds of letters I received back then by fans and other bands. It was a global anti-commercial community. This is also why I disliked many of the other bands, they commercialized the scene because they wanted to make money. But more and more, my aversion was directed against the record companies. When any of these people showed up at our concerts, we poured beer over their heads... Later, Markus Staiger who had just started Nuclear Blast was interested in us and we told him stuff about satanic rituals and so on. I think he was really scared. That was nice! He exploited a lot of the bands we were friends with.
From what I know you were featured in some German fanzines back in the day, what do you recall of those fanzines? Did it help you a lot to make a name for the band, to sell more demos etc.?
Yes, we appeared in a lot of fanzines together with the bands you mentioned above. And yes, this is how people in other countries got to know us.
Did the band split u pin 1986 or did you simply rename it to SPEEDRAGE?
We replaced Peter with Bernard and then just decided to rename the band. I don't remember the details.
SPEEDRAGE came from Esslingen, does it mean, that you moved from Stuttgart to Esslingen?
No, we were always based in downtown Stuttgart.
The line up of SPEEDRAGE consisted of you and Bernd Armbruster on bass, but who were the singer and drummer? How did you get in touch with them at all?
I sang - which was not a good idea. Bernard had be a friend for a long time and really got into bass playing so that he had become quite good at the time. The quality of the tape and the music on the tape are not be either - but too slow.
What can you tell us about the „Argl” demo (1988)? Did you develope a lot compared to the S. O. S. materials?
I must say, I don't remember...
Your last musical involvement/activity was TOTAL MOSH PROJECT with Bernd Armbruster, singer Lupo and drummer Patric Pachura, what can you tell us about their musical past?
In 1986, Peter Eistermeier and I figured that we wanted to play as fast as humanly possible. He had stopped drinking. We knew that Baumbach would never be able to play really fast. We were extremely lucky to find possibly the fastest drummer of all times. Patric had begun to study music at university, he was really talented. We auditioned an infinite number of singers but all of them were too slow. Lupo was the only person who got the point of our music and was fast enough. In 1987, we played with bands like Napalm Death and were surprised to find out that other people had similar ideas. However, very few of them had any musical capabilities.
You released three demos („Uuaaarrgh !” - 1987 „Speed Tech on it’s Way” – 1988 and „Greed and Lust” – 1989) and a full length CD titled „Vegetable’s Life” – 1991, could you tell us everything about these recordings?
We did the first recording after only a few rehearsals. In fact, the first tape also contains a few live tracks, and we did our first gig after a couple of rehearsals. The tape is bad quality. The others are better, we rented equipment that was alright at the time. We recorded the CD at the Musiclab in Berlin and even though a lot of good bands have recorded there, I am not content with the sound. The sound was absolutely great on one of the tapes. We had to put the guitar speakers in a separate room because they were so loud, since I had created a series of amps through line-out connections and each pre-amp was cranked up. Lupo was in there for a bit and one half of his face was paralyzed for the rest of the day... Unfortunately, the final production went wrong, so the sound on the tape is very subdued. I know people who wanted to do a remix but I think this has not happened.
Was it a kind of fun project or did you take it seriously?
Everything we did was fun.
It was a death metal/grindcore act, what made you to turn into a faster, more brutal direction?
What about live situation? Have you ever gigged with S. O. S., SPEEDRAGE and T. M. P.?
We played a total of about 50 gigs. We were definitely live bands. There always was a lot of action, sooner or later the audience would go mad too. I had s may interesting experiences around our concerts, I could write a book about it... A couple of gigs were filmed and I found one piece on the internet.
How did you view the late ’80s/early ’90s underground scene? Would you say, that the scene started becoming oversaturated at this point?
Not really. Our fans and us always remained in touch and I even get tips what to listen to from them up to this day. However, all music became much more commercial at that time. And I think our group of bands (Napalm Death, Electro Hippies, Cryptic Slaughter, Wehrmacht, ENT) took the louder-harder-faster mania to the limit. So many of us were no longer looking for anything new.
What did you do after T. M. P. broke up? Did you stop playing music? Did you get out of the music business/underground scene?
We never broke up. Patric got cancer and died after two years in and out of hospital. Somehow, we did not want to replace him. We did play a few gigs in the decade after his death with Migge Schwarz (Atrocity) who was and is a good friend, though. Actually, we wanted to have a gig again last year but eventually we had to cancel. Maybe next year... But I rarely play guitar or any other instrument any more, no time.
Are you still in touch with your former bandmates? What about them as a whole nowadays?
Lupo remains a good friend, and I am still in touch with the later TMP bass player, Nanno Smeets.
How much and on which way did your life change after you stopped doing music? Tell us please everything about yourself, about your present activities etc.!
I have become a university professor more than 10 years ago and the ten years before that I did PhD and Postdoc and the stuff you have to do in this position. But even my staff say that I have remained a metalhead - probably they do not mean this in a positive way... And they are right, I do not feel that differently from those times, I still meet a lot of the old guys, still have long hair, still wear a T-shirt, still listen to noise and things still get out of hand... And I keep quite a distance from all the VIPs I deal with every day. Speed metal is a way of life, you cannot simply trade it for a suit or a standard life.
Do you still follow what’s going on int he metal scene? Are there new bands or records, that made an great effect on you these days or do you rather prefer the old classics?
I try out new things - but the longer the night lasts, the more I would eventually put on Motörhead, then Exodus Bonded by Blood, then Slayer Reign in Blood and then Possessed Seven Churches and then possibly some of the extreme stuff like ENT or even TMP. I also listen to Mahler, Berg, Webern and some new composers. But nothing else. Just noise and the best classical music.
Boike, thanks a lot for your answers, any closing words?
Thrash till death or whatever.
Interview by Leslie David