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Radio Show: SPEED-AIR-PLAY- Christmas Special Ultra Noise (Switzerland, 1986)

Forgive me for getting a bit personal here and for the banter (in bad english) in general. Joe’s tape inspired me – blame him!

I first met the guys from SPEED AIR PLAY in 1985. They were the first “real” Hardcore guys in Switzerland that I got to know and by “real” I mean of course what was back then called “Ami Hardcore” (U.S. Hardcore). Röbi, Roli and Claudio had short hair, chucks (which back then were still called “converse”) and all in all, they looked like the guys on the photos of U.S. bands I knew from Maximum Rock’n’Roll. Coming from a Metal background but getting totally drawn into Hardcore in the first half of the 80s, these guys saved my life. I mean, I never really hung out with the ultra idiotic Metalheads anyway, but still Röbi, Roli and Claudio were of a different kind. When most Metalheads were negative and destructive, they were really open minded. No violence, no pecking order – they just were happy to meet new kids that were into some of the same music they were into.

Of course they were straight edge and so incredibly enthusiastic about Hardcore as a lifestyle like people generally just are not anymore when it comes to music (cause all paths have been laid already). Back then, you had no specialized shops (Roli soon after opened his own skateboard shop and is doing pretty strong with his stores still) and in Switzerland, things were different anyway. Although in 1977 already, a few very creative and musically top-notch Punk bands emerged from this country here, followed by a huge Punk scene (when you compare it to the size of the whole country in which at the time ca. 6 million people lived), things seemed to come to an end quickly by the end of the 70s. When the enormous eruption of the youth riots in bigger swiss cities followed in 1980 and lasted until 81, a few dozen harder Punk and Hardcore bands followed with it. A handful of these bands were very good, original (most of it can be found here on this blog), but the scene didn’t really breed a lot of hard music. When you grew up in Switzerland in the 70s and 80s and were totally into Punk or Metal music, you had very very little local bands to support. So for a lot of people it was very natural to be mainly into foreign bands and maybe there was even a mild disrespect for swiss bands in general, cause I thought (and still think) that in the end, all pearls considered, the swiss music scene was nothing compared to the big scenes in the USA, UK and such.

Now countries like Sweden that were of a similiar size had HUNDREDS of bands and records (just check out Peter’s KBD blog – crazy how many swedish bands he and Martin managed to pull out). But unlike Sweden, Switzerland had a conservative government and a pretty limited welfare state, with an unemployment rate of zero percent. The country was rich (and still is) and isolated and people were either forced into existing social structures like the economy and / or the military (a strong complex in Switzerland still) or they had to face the consequences.
When you dropped out here in the 70s and 80s, you were immediately isolated and agonized. There was, unlike in Sweden, not too much going on in terms of integration: The image of the tidy, rich little country simply couldn’t include its drop outs. So you had a barbaric and almost completely neglected open drug scene in the middle of Zurich, right behind the main train station, with people dying practically on the streets – in the richest country on earth. Or, on a more personal level, when you grew up on the country side and started to question things, they would simply use all kind of tricks to make you normal again. By the age of 14, I was forced into two intelligence tests (because in class, I drew pictures of war and violence and refused to draw cows and churches – no kidding), was threatened with mental institutions and was sentenced by a juvenile court twice for minor issues. Violence and pressure didn’t come from the institutions only: You’d get a lot of shit from regulars on the streets, in broad daylight. When I was 16, I became apprentice in the villages big factory, I got harassed daily for my long hair and not blending in. In the end, I was forced to wear a hairnet but refused to receive steelcap shoes, just to fuck around with me a bit more. After half of my foot got under a press and was crushed due to the lack of security shoes, the company tried to put the blame on me. I was 17 at the time and decided that now, I’ve had enough. I could finally plunge myself into music totally. I lanced my first two fanzines, SLUSHY BRAIN and MEGAWIMP, rarely worked for the coming years, enjoyed as much of the music around as possible and tried to overthrow the government, haha.

So that was the time I met these guys and you can maybe imagine how much of an influence their positive, creative outlook on life was. We used to make tapes of stuff we loved and so our musical horizons broaded in no time. I learned a lot about european (italian!) bands, we went to gigs everywhere, organized our own shows etc. etc. Roli, formerly in the band G.K.H. (as can be heard on Flipside Vinyl Fanzine 2!) was an obsessed skater, Claudio was more the quiet guy (who later turned into a Krshna under the influence of Youth of Today etc.) and Röbi was the driving force. He used to have a fanzine in the early 80s, a fantastic mailorder and he founded SPEEED AIR PLAY, a bi-weekly Hardcore show on a small local left radical radio station in Zurich (LORA – LOkalRAdio). With this Radio show, it was like with the music I described before, but more the other way round. The guys mainly focused on foreign bands (for the reasons I’ve explained), but although the broadcast only covered parts of the city of Zurich, it almost immediately became internationally known. Röbi designed wonderful covers for each show and distributed these tapes through adds in MRR or Flipside etc. He also let others copy and sell these apes on their own, so there was a time when people like me spent HOURS in fron of their tape decks, making copies of this for the whole wide world (www). You could subscribe to the show and would receive the cassette twice a month, often with superb regional or thematic specials (like Japan, New York Hardcore etc.).
It’s hard to describe the influence these cassettes had. Especially Röbi was a dedicated record collector, so he always had something special to come. He’s always been very fond of “hard stuff” and still is (though these days he’s into Death Metal mainly), so he never really played Punk. I guess his contribution to the popularization of Hardcore in Switzerland, Germany or Austria can not be overestimated.

Here, we have the most popular of all SPEED AIR PLAY shows, the incredible xmas special from 1986. When I ripped the tape, I was amazed not only by the brilliant selection, but also by the fact that although I haven’t played this in more than 10 years, I still knew what was coming next! All fast and furious thrash, hit after hit from a to z. If you loved that first “Party or go home” comp. LP on Mystic, get ready for this – it’s such a blast, from ROSE ROSE to the final track by B.G.K. What really surprised me was the SCHLIESSMUSKEL track – seems like I have to dig up that 7″ soon.
Presented in two unedited parts, 128 kb/s so the files won’t get too big). May the good old times never come back! The first few seconds are one channel only, but as soon as the music kicks in, it’s stereo.

SPEED AIR PLAY: Ultra noise Special Part
SPEED AIR PLAY: Ultra noise Special Part

PS: More SPEED AIRPLAY shows in the future!