Great masters of their art show true greatness by knowing when it's time to quit. One of my all-time favourite bands, the once almighty Turbonegro, had their chance to go down in flames and vanish into the ether of rock'n'roll mythology. Sadly, they didn't quite use that chance.
Instead, they chose to return in 2002 with the somewhat callow, yet passable SCANDINAVIAN LEATHER. They announced the new record with a series of splendidly moronic interviews able to give you the feeling that the band that self-destructed itself 4 years before had returned indeed. Wrong.
What had actually returned was a bunch of aging men unable to shut the fuck up and getting to work on the systematic, self-abasing destruction of a legend – which is almost an artform in itself and makes me wonder if I didn't completely misinterprete their intention.
But once you get a closer look at it, I don't think there is much to misinterprete here.
Back in the horrid decade that were the 90s, a dark power rose in the Norwegian punk rock underground, to become the greatest rock'n'roll act the world had ever seen. These intellectual morons, led by the ingenious Happy-Tom, decided to become the most evil band ever. That was shortly after the trial of Varg Vikernes and the rise of Black Metal, and those idiots were hard to beat in terms of cretinism and danger. What could parents possibly be even more afraid of than Satan worshipping, corpse-paint wearing, church burning idiots with shitty recording quality on their albums?
Answer: The Gay Man.
There is hardly anything scarier than five full-grown norwegian males, moustached and denim-clad, playing badass punk rock, singing about child abuse, darkness, riot, the Third Reich and raping your anus. So TRBNGR, in a step of undescribable genius, decided to become that band and recorded a blacker than black, yet brightly shining statement of raw power and purest fuck you attitude: ASS COBRA.
Sucking cock in East Africa
Ask a lesbian for a fuck
Take a shower in... Auschwitz
And it's gonna happen to you
Complaining about a drug deal at Jolly's pub
Driving really fast in a car
Scuba diving in a hippies tub
Take a shower in...Auschwitz
And it's gonna happen to you baby
It could happen to your child
You could have the same experience
Listening to ASS COBRA wakes in me a dark urge to get messed up beyond good and evil and destroy everything that steps in my way, and be it my own face. It makes me yearn for raunchy sex with total strangers and fighting with bicycle chains in gang brawls. It makes me want to grow a moustache and wear make-up and drive around the suburbs in a white Mustang with blood red leather seats, looking for places where life is still a synonym of darkness and danger. It makes me want to walk along the Reeperbahn, armed with a baseball bat, and randomly beat up people and get beaten up myself, and maybe raped in the butt but being too drunk to even notice, then wake up in my own vomit only to get shitfaced and beaten up again.
It is definitely one of the greatest records of all time, ranking third in my personal countdown, just after REIGN IN BLOOD and PAINKILLER.
After ASS COBRA came APOCALYPSE DUDES, melodious and dazzling, greasy and megalomaniac, and then, at the verge of fame and glory, the downfall, caused by singer Hank's heroin addiction. What a perfect, beautiful way to go for such a band.
Unfortunately, they chose to return. A comeback in itself isn't necessarily a bad decision, only the band self-destructed itself once again, and this time it was (and still is) a slow and painful process.
While SCANDINAVIAN LEATHER, the comeback record, passes off as a tolerable effort to tie up to the old days' greatness, the follow-up PARTY ANIMALS and the latest output retox (I refuse to write that album's title in capital letters) are, coming from a band whose name alone invokes fear and danger, mere musical flatulences. The riffs are uninspired and lame, Hank sounds like the fat, sober douchebag he's obviously become, the lyrics are – damn, I can't even remember what the lyrics are about, while I know the words to ASS COBRA and APOCALYPSE DUDES by heart. PARTY ANIMALS and retox feature songs called "If You See Kaye (Tell Her I L-O-V-E Her)", "Stay Free", "Hot Stuff/Hot Shit", "Do You Do You Dig Destruction", "Everybody Loves a Chubby Dude" and, worst of all: "What Is Rock!?" No wonder I can't remember the lyrics. I think I listened to both albums about one time each before I decided it's not worth the physical and mental pain they inflict me and sent them to the Chechens to be used as weapons against the Russian plague. I hate to compare old and new band material, but this goes too far. This music feels like toothpicks pushed under my fingernails.
What the hell are you trying to be, Turbofaggot? Fuck off. You're the parody of the afterbirth of a parody, and that stinks.
But of course you can always find worse than the worst. In this case, we have the Turbojugend.
Bad, and even terrible albums are one thing, but they can't do much harm, unless someone actually buys them and brags in public about how awesome they are and even meets once a year with people like himself, to brag all together and wear the same clothes and beat their tiny cocks raw over the great band they think TRBNGR to be.
I find it hard to find words that can describe how much I despise the giant dumbass congregation of Turbojugend. If there really were such a thing as a rock'n'roll God, those Turbojugend dickheads would be the first to be exterminated by his righteous mighty wrath. It is an even greater sin to misunderstand rock'n'roll than not to understand and care about it at all. There is no justification for being part of the Turbojugend as it is today (except if you're only in it because you're trying to score with one of the – admittedly hot – Jugend chicks). There is no justification for openly supporting rock bourgeois wanking in your face.
No wonder Chris Summers and Rune Rebellion left the band. I hope your hiatus goes on forever, Turbofaggot.