Gabriel Kuhn's Blog

Muehsam Goes Punk

By Gabriel Kuhn

The legendary German punk band Slime, responsible for German punk rock classics such as “Bullenschweine” und “Deutschland muss sterben”, has recently released its first album in eighteen years. With the original lyricist Stephan Maler gone, the band was looking for new lyrical inspiration—which they found in no other than the poet and anarchist Erich Mühsam, murdered by the Nazis in the Oranieburg Concentration Camp in 1934. PM Press published the first comprehensive collection of Mühsam texts in English last year.

All of the album’s songs are based on Mühsam poems and ballads, most of them using the exact original wording. The album title Sich fügen heißt lügen (roughly, “to obey means to lie”) is a line taken from the poem “Der Gefangene” (The Prisoner), written by Mühsam while incarcerated after the Bavarian Revolution of 1918-19. For the band, there was nothing awkward about fusing Mühsam’s words with Slime’s music. In guitarist Christian Mevs’ words, “What Mühsam wrote and did, but also the kind of person he was, is really very close to Slime”.

To get a taste of the unconventional Mühsam/Slime-cooperation you can check out the video for “Rebellen” or the title track in concert.

(September 2012)

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