I’m not sure what it was, perhaps reading Talking Point Memo the other day, but for some reason I had a real desire to hear the song “Yankees Raus” by Deutschpunk legends Slime. I hadn’t pulled that record out for some time, but still found it quite enjoyable. Slime, from Hamburg, was one of the most prominent of the early German punk bands. They were active in the early 80s and then again a decade later. Unlike many of their contemporaries, they sang most of their songs in German. It’s common for European bands to sing in English to “read a wider audience”, but Slime bucked that trend for the most part.
I had all of two years of high school German, but anyone who has seen Hogan’s Heroes surely knows what “Yankees Raus” means. Still, I wondered about the rest of the lyrics. I’ve had some success finding punk lyrics on the internet, so I Googled “Yankees Raus”. I did indeed find the lyrics, and also ran across a story that’s sadly typical of the later punk scene.
It seems that one member of Slime, the guitarist Elf, re-recorded “Yankees Raus” with some new lyrics specifically about George W. for a benefit comp. There was apparently some kind of dust up , with some people complaining the song was racist because it equated the actions of current regime with that of the Nazis. Hyperbolic? Surely. But racist? Against who, Nazis? Very odd. In the end, the comp was split into two disks and the one featuring the song did not have the logo of the political group the comp was a benefit for. It was just this kind of judgmental finger pointing that helped burn me out when I was heavily involved in ABC No Rio (a non-profit punk club/arts space I was involved with in NYC; I’ll write more about it later I’m sure).
Amusingly enough, Slime has another “Raus” song. I guess when you have a word as good as “Raus” in your language, you’ve got to use it. This one is, appropriately enough, “Nazis Raus” (and the better song of the two actually). I don’t think anyone has complained about that one!
Nik, Kate, and I are leaving for GenCon Southern California in a few hours. I imagine updates will be sporadic at best while we’re gone. We’re announcing one of the licensing deals we’ve been working on tomorrow when the show opens. It’s something of an “art” license, but I’m happy to be doing it. It’s a very cool property and totally up my alley.