Refuse Records just released a discography of the 80s German hardcore band SKEEZICKS as a double LP. Robert, who runs the label, asked me to write some liner notes. Here they are:
SKEEZICKS’s 1986 debut EP (“There’s A Charlie Brown in everyone of us”) has it all. Cover artwork by the legendary Brian Walsby, a SUICIDAL TENDENCIES rip-off band logo, 7 blasts of short, basic hardcore, and it was on X-Mist, one of the hottest labels at the time – and one of the best and most dedicated German labels to this day.
The EP’s got a raw charm that makes you think these guys were primarily a bunch of friends (two of them were brothers) who decided to learn instruments (more or less well) and have a go at it, just for fun. That’s very punk. And: there was a phone number on the back cover. So you could call the band and ask them to play the gig/party/wedding in your town.
Still, when I first heard SKEEZICKS, I wasn’t impressed. Musically, it seemed like they couldn’t decide if they wanted to be like NEGATIVE APPROACH or like 7 SECONDS – who at that time were already on their way to boring “New Wind” land.
SKEEZICKS had lyrics against Berlin, the Chaos Days, and sang about how they loved “livin’ on (sic) the country”. As a West-Berliner city kid, I took it personally. I wanted my music and lyrics with angst, anger, and chaos. Why would I listen to SKEEZICKS when I could instead listen to MALINHEADS and VORKRIEGSJUGEND? To this day, I dislike self-referential songs like “We are ….” and songs about the scene, friendship, unity, and joining crews. That’s wasn’t punk to me.
Today, I must admit that what I didn’t like back then is exactly what made SKEEZICKS great. They went against the grain of what was a stagnant Deutschpunk scene back then. SKEEZICKS didn’t invent the US-influenced bandana hardcore in Germany, but they were early in that scene, the band started in early 1984. They co-invented slamming in Southern Germany I guess.
When it comes to releasing vinyl, they came after HOSTAGES OF AYATOLLAH, SONS OF SADISM, and their friends SPERMBIRDS. Like few others, they strictly eliminated any trace of the clichéd Deutschpunk in their music and their lyrics.
SKEEZICKS helped build their own scene deep in the Black Forest, got their friends together (to join their crew, and to not forget the fun) and gave the one-finger salute to everything they didn’t like. And they played a lot across southern Germany and also in Belgium and Holland. They never played in Berlin – and never played any Chaos Days I guess.
But nothing lasts forever. European bandana hardcore also became a trend and some of the influential bands tried to became more rock. Still, of all the “Trust” bands – CHALLENGER CREW, EVERYTHING FALLS APART, SKEEZICKS – the SKEEZICKS played the longest and had the biggest recorded output.
It’s great that labels of fans keep SKEEZICKS output available on vinyl. This release gives you another chance to (re) discover the band.