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SPERMA- Züri Punx, c/w Sinnlos 7″ (Another Swiss Label, Switzerland, 1980)

sperma_front.jpgsperma_back.jpgTime for some Mongo Rock!
SPERMA were one of the best known Punk bands from Zürich, the biggest city of Switzerland. As the majority of its contemporaries, SPERMA articulated a big deal of discontent with living here. In fact, looking back, it’s quite drastic how the whole socio-political climate has changed over the past 30 years. I remember how much shit you’d get from cops and “bürgis” (regular citizens) occasionally. A very rich city like Zürich, internationally known for banks and luxury of all sorts, always reacted tough when minorities and subcultures acted too loud. I tried to give a short sketch of the situation when I had posted TNT, so go there to read a little more about how it used to be.
Nowadays things are completely different. Like in all western countries, former “subcultures” have turned into one gigantic pool of wealth. In the early 90s, when “Techno” got big and bigger, it was almost immediately integrated into city life where the annual “Streetparade” (a monstrous and distasteful show of tits, ass and bad bad music) plays an important economic and socio-integrative role since over 15 years now.
I used to laugh my ass off about SPERMA, I remember oh too well. “Das sind die härte Züri Punx” (“These are the tough Zurich Punx”) they sing, and “E Wuche lang händs jezz gschafft, für andri Lüüt dä Dräck gmacht, doch jezz händ sie gnueg, im Ranze händs a grausami Wuet” (“They laboured during the week, doing dirty work for others, but now it’s enough, they’re fucking angry”). So what do they now, the tough punkers, you ask? “Hüt zabig isch es Konzert, für eimal isch die Langwiil wäg” (“There’s a concert tonight and boredom’s gone for a moment”). I found that so damn funny – working a shit job during the week and then going to a gig on the weekends to let off some steam. To me, that was Punk at this time: Just a bunch of fucking escapist losers gathering and acting cool. And so was the music: A harmless Geschrummel, untalented and wimpy. And in what language are they singing, you might ask: It’s in swiss german, a spoken-only language which actually consists of many different dialects.

So many years laters and not being under pressure of creating something new anymore, I see things differently. The lyrics and the music reflect a certain point in time and are maybe much much more honest in their cuddly naivety than if the tough Züri Punx had sung about a bloody revolution. It was all a game, basically. The protagonists are well saturated today, you can hang out everywhere in the city today, if you want to, and “youth” (as a social and cultural code) is basically omnipresent. I’m still unsure what exactly it was, that changed western societies so much (and whether the change really is so drastic), but I’m quite sure, Punk (and Metal, for that) played its role in these processes. The price, however, is, that subcultures have vanished totally. Now is that a bad thing? Would you, say you were no older than 30, regret the change?
This 7″ originally was released in late 1979, with a different sleeve and b-side song (“Bombs”, a song with english lyrics). This version here is a lot better though, cause “Sinnlos” not only has more lyrical glory (hillarious lyrics!) but is also musically superior. The band also had a very rare 12″ which is actually just as great as this is and a pretty weak third 7″.

Züri Punx.mp3
Sinnlos.mp3

18 Comments

  1. nomatterwho

    brillant! always wanted to hear the title track (mislabelled on kbd 7). the music is good but your article makes it special.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Sep-07 at 06:08 | Permalink
  2. Olaf

    Hi there,

    I love your blog. so many known and also unknown things from the age of my youth… I never had the TNT 7″, but I always heard it at a friend… The mp3 on your site don´t go… Please repost all of them, all three tracks, or please please mail ém to me. A very old punk born ´64 and still a lover of 77-punk and all the stuff later…

    Olaf

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Sep-07 at 12:13 | Permalink
  3. Admin

    I shall re-upload TNT very soon, Olaf!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Sep-07 at 12:18 | Permalink
  4. runkpocker

    I WAS JUST ASKING FOR THE SAME – PLEASE “RE-UP” TNT! AND THANKS FOR THE BEST EVER BLOG. GREAT MUSIC SOME OF WHICH I NEVER HEARD BEFORE AND GREAT INSIGHTFUL WRITIN FROM SOMEBODY WHO OBVIOUSLY KNOWS. I’D LOVE TO INTERVIEW YOU FOR A SF MAGAZINE OF MUSIC & ARTS. PLEASE DROP ME A LINE.

    BRATT / BAY AREA PUNK (BORN 1950)

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Sep-07 at 12:23 | Permalink
  5. mrpoopy

    You mean musical subcultures? Can’t speak for Europe but there are tons of serious religious cults in the USA and I would lump neo nazis under that catagory, as well. Punk went the way of the hippies with some good things to show for it and some bad. The 60’s movements were HUGE with a lot of heavy shit going down, had a much bigger impact than punk, and was still present in the collective consciousness when we were growing up. If nothing else it was some recent chaos to measure up against. What do the kids now have to look back at for inspiration? Stuff that happened 20, 30, or 40 years ago? It’s just old TV footage to them–they don’t get it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Sep-07 at 21:38 | Permalink
  6. Eddie

    How about posting Chin Chin – We Don’t Wanna Be Prisoners EP?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Sep-07 at 22:27 | Permalink
  7. Admin

    Yep, I was talking about musical subcultures and their disappearing. Not too sure about Nazi-lifestyle; I guess you made a point there because this surely ain’t integrated and commercialized. And sure, the 60s was a lot bigger – but at least in Europe, the period from the late 70s to the end 80s were different from what was going on in the 60s and early 70s. But isn’t it fascinating to see that Punk and HC and such vanished at around the same time, the Eastern Block collapsed?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Sep-07 at 00:15 | Permalink
  8. Fucking awesome post Erich! Well said!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Sep-07 at 05:53 | Permalink
  9. Fernando

    “But isn’t it fascinating to see that Punk and HC and such vanished at around the same time, the Eastern Block collapsed?” – Yeah it is. When the wall fell, and all the rest, I remember thinking to myself, what are the punks going to sing about now? But this seemed a bit silly. (Maybe inspired by the Pistols line – “Now I got a reason to be waiting, the Berlin Wall…”) But in some sense, that’s precisely what happened.
    Thanks for the lasts posts, amazing (Stalag etc, and those great classic comments, some day you should compile them in a book, ha). These Sperma guys sound like clumsy pop, a bit like TV Personalities or something. Good bad music indeed. The lyrics you quote are quite impressive.
    Btw here’s the ‘Bombs’ track by Sperma
    http://punkmodpop.free.fr/mp3.htm
    Bis bald

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Sep-07 at 22:46 | Permalink
  10. Admin

    Ah, thanks so much Fernando! Also for the “Bombs” link – I was going to rip it too, but I’m glad I don’t haver to now. I’m just right in the middle of my final exams (fourth last today; all over in 3 weeks), so I’m a bit on and off posting here in the next time maybe.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Sep-07 at 22:54 | Permalink
  11. I like the writing more then the songs. Are you talking about subcultures in general or just subcultures relating to music? Thinking about those crazy kids climbing around in the subway system. That’s really a subculture har har.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Sep-07 at 10:35 | Permalink
  12. Admin

    Har har. And mountain climbing is high art!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Sep-07 at 10:40 | Permalink
  13. Nic Bullen

    I think that the lyrical content isn’t all that surprising given how many different kinds of people were attracted to Punk as a whole…
    There were a LOT of Punks who were basically as ‘straight’ as their parents but just wanted the right to have a mohican while they went to work…
    It always amused me when you’d see spiked hair and leather jacketed ‘Punks’ wearing football team scarves and having moustaches just like their fathers…
    One thing I have noticed recently in England: after the best part of 17 years of homegenity, there seems to be a slowly developing group of subcultures and an increased po0liticsation on the part of the youth – interesting…

    I must say that I was knocked out the first time I heard ‘Bombs’ by Sperma about 20 years ago: what a great song! It sounds almost exactly like Napalm Death did in 1982…much as I love intense noise and total-Disorder-AAAAARGH blasts, I’ll always have a soft spot for the inept, incompetent, shambolic, faltering music that was so inspiring back in 1978 – 1980 (what they call ‘messthetics’ now)…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 01-Oct-07 at 08:22 | Permalink
  14. Nice writing in the post Erich! But my favorite Sperma song has always been “Bombs”. “Zuri Punx” is too slow and unfocused for me. “Sinnlos” is pretty good but not as good as “Bombs” for me. The “Zuri Punx/Bombs” 7″ has a funny picture of the band skipping down the street on the front sleeve. I have always been fascinated with the subcultures being co-opted into mainstream culture. When I was a teen skateboarders and punks were total outcasts in their own subculture. But nowadays this stuff is considered “cooler” and more accepted. I think the internet is the way that underground things become mainstream so quickly– information can be spread SO fast in the internet age. Ever read Herbert Marcuse’ books and essays from the 60’s? Very interesting stuff, he talks about co-opting among many other things- I would recommend “One Dimensional Man” as the first to read.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Oct-07 at 05:16 | Permalink
  15. Admin

    Oh well, Tony – Marcuse … When I read “Onedimensional Man” twenty years ago, I found it pompous and inflated. When I re-read it a couple years ago, I was seriously shocked by its stupidity. the whole Critical Theory just don’t do it for me anymore, it makes me sick, sorry, haha. I can’t even read Adorno or Horkheimer no more.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Oct-07 at 12:31 | Permalink
  16. I guess I have to “plug” (as the Promo-Fatzkes seem to say) one of my recent posts here: It’s the fabled POGO PUNK compilation with Meier, Glueams, Bastards, etc.
    (click on my name)

    Well, Marcuse? – about him you can say anything you want, but Teddy? – Don’t you dare!

    am Weg könnt ich noch erwähnen daß ich da ein berocktes Nietzsche Gedicht für Sie hätte, vorgetragen vom (unnachahmlichen hätt ich beinah geschrieben, dabei bietet er sich doch geradezu zur Imitation an) Peter Weibel und seinem Hotel Morphilia Orchester. (im letzten Post)
    Dankschön.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Feb-09 at 16:33 | Permalink
  17. Damn, Link didn’t work. For the Pogo Punk click on this here name.
    Sorry.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Feb-09 at 16:36 | Permalink
  18. elliott

    sperma rules! thanks for all the sperma erich.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 14-Dec-09 at 22:52 | Permalink

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  1. […] here is the first pressing of the first SPERMA 7″. A while ago, we’ve had the 2nd press of this single with the different picture sleeve and b-si… Thanks to the financial crisis, this copy could be acquired for about a fourth of what it used to […]

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