German ‘punk’ band Strassenjungs circa 1980.
In 1977 two German producers decided to try to follow Malcolm McLaren’s success with the Sex Pistols by creating a “fake” punk rock band. The result would be a quad hailing from Frankfurt called Strassenjungs (which translates as “Street Boys”).
Axel Klopprogge and Eckehard Ziedrich pulled Strassenjungs together during a time when the punk scene was still in a formative state in Germany. Their timing, as far as Strassenjungs was concerned, was pretty perfect. It should have worked. But it didn’t.
Despite getting lucky enough tour rather extensively through Europe with The Clash in late 1977 (and according to the band’s official site Siouxise & The Banshees in 1980), Strassenjungs’ albums pretty much bombed as soon as they were released. Which is strange because they were seemingly laser-focused on being as “aggressive” as possible penning songs about teenage rebellion, sex, drugs and booze. While the combination of these things generally produce hit-making results, this was not the case for Strassenjungs until much later in their career. They were never truly accepted into the punk scene in Germany and in 1977 German musician Peter Hein accused the band of not being “punk” at all but “langhaarig, blödfressig, deutsch” or “long-haired, loud-mouthed Germans.”
If certain folklore about Strassenjungs is to be believed after a couple of failed records in 1982 the band’s debut record was added to the German Index (a censorship program) under the charge of “inciting crime and alcohol abuse” both of which seem pretty fucking punk rock to me. Sadly the dubious classification now prevented the album from being sold to minors. With all that working against them you’d think Strassenjungs might have called it quits, but they didn’t. Though they’ve been through various lineup changes over the decades the band still performs today with original bassist Nils Selzer. I’ve included some singles from Strassenjungs for you to consider below as well as a couple of photos of the band pretending to be punks back the day. If you dig what you hear in this post here’s a link pick up a “best of” compilation from the band Strassenfeger: Die Hit-Box! (best of) by Strassenjungs.
The goofy cover of Strassenjungs’ 1977 debut.
The back of Strassenjungs 1981 album ‘Los!’
Strassenjungs, ‘Jet Set Flicker.’
Strassenjungs, ‘Nachts auf Tour.’
Strassenjungs, ‘Hey hau ab.’
An energetic performance by Strassenjungs on German televison in 1982.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Berned in D.C.’: Images of Bernie Sanders with hilarious fake punk rock quotes
Rock Against Racism: On the front line with The Clash, Specials, Undertones & Elvis Costello