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Pffft…!

From Unearthing The Music

Jürgen Gutjahr, known as „chA°s“, was the singer of Leipzig's first punk band Wutanfall, formed in 1981, and because singers were seen by the authorities as the (ideological) leaders of their bands he had to suffer the most under the Stasi repression of the early punk scene. Tired of this, but also tired of the limits of punk rock as such, he looked for something new. He found it in industrial noise, inspired by the likes of SPK or Controlled Bleeding.

With Wutanfall bass player Frank Zappe, Holger Luckas (later an important radio journalist on DT64) and the artist Hans-Jürgen Schulze he founded the core of Pffft…!, a project which lasted until 1987, when most of the members had left the country. Even amongst these underground weirdos Schulze was a special case of his own: when he was a student at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (HGB, i.e. Academy of Fine Arts) in Leipzig, Schulze had already polemicized against »slimy gits and conformist, paleslugs«, which was rather harmless, politically; but it did isolate him. Only when painter and HGB professor Hartwig Ebersbach, whose first student was Schulze, recommended him, was he given a creative break. Had Schulze been approached by those in charge politically in Leipzig, his keen interest in reform could have taken effect and made the HGB a pioneering institution of an exploded standard conception of Socialist Realism as early as 1981. Schulze had the intellectual wherewithal and the energy to proclaim a constant breaking of taboos, and, with Gruppe 37,2 (Group 37.2), he took painting, improvisation, jazz, punk, performance and theory to a landslide victory. He was serious about realizing the utopia of »the social role of art« (Concept for »scientific-artistic work in socialist production«) and used the seductive power of the word to lecture for hours about labour and liberty, about property and social radiance.

When Pffft…!, with Hans J. Schulze, Frank Zappe and Jürgen Gutjahr (plus guests „Tümpel” and Karin Wieckhorst), came on stage at the Intermedia I festival in Coswig in 1985, the place was on fire. Machine noise and rude banging on iron parts ripped into people’s senses, whether they liked it or not. Schulze plucked ideological rubbish from the Party newspaper Neues Deutschland, reciting headlines, first with the intonation of a newscaster, then increasingly aggressively. Finally he exhausted himself, bellowing like a dictator. The Stasi informers in the audience were tougher than Schulze thought and stayed until the end - and after he had fallen off the stage, they simply took him away.

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“Blutkunst” (Blood Art), by Jürgen Gutjahr aka chAOs