Are these the earliest pictures of German skinheads?

The first picture, shot in 1979, shows bassist Erwin Lieske of Hamburg punk band Kotzbrocken (not to be confused with Cotzbrocken from Cologne) playing live at Krawall 2000, a short-lived punk venue in the St Pauli quarter. Note the two skinheads  standing behind him. This is a scan from an early German book on punk titled Der Grosse Schwindel (authors: Jürgen Stark and MIchael Kurzawa, published in 1981 and long out of print).

1979-krawall-2000hirez

This is how skinheads are described in the book:

“Skinheads originated in England. They sport a ‘military look’ or alternatively wear cotton shirts (for a lumberjack look) and skintight black drainpipe jeans. They either shave their hair off completely or wear short crops or mohican haircuts. Their arch enemies are often punks. In England, they have been known for their penchant for boundless brutality. Some of their favourite bands are Sham 69 and, to a degree, The Damned.”

Lumberjacks with mohicans, eh? 

The second picture also shows Kotzbrocken live at Krawall 2000 – almost certainly the same gig. You can see one of the skins standing next to the bass amp.

1979 BRD kotzbrocken krawall

According to an incomplete list of Hamburg punk gigs (at oldpunx.de), Kotzbrocken played alongside Coroners, Slime, Razors and The Buttocks at Krawall 2000 on 29 March 1980. That is not impossiblem, but unlikely, seeing as Krawall 2000 officially closed its gates for good on 2 Nov 1979 due to pressure from police and local pimps.

In contrast, this YouTube clip dates its Kotzbrocken live recording from Krawall 2000 to 1979:

Skinheads first appeared in Hamburg around 1979-80. Most were punks who had returned from London visits with their head shaved and Cockney Rejects vinyl in their luggage.

The B-side of a 1979 seven-inch single by Hamburg punk band Napalm even features a song titled ‘Skinhead’, although the Genglish lyrics are indecipherable.  

Update as of 24 March 2017:

The original Kotzbrocken guitarist Rudi Raschberger (pictured below) tells us:

“Actually, Kotzbrocken played at the Krawall 2000 several times. Most of these gigs weren’t even announced. We asked other bands to borrow their equipment, jumped on stage and cranked out our stuff. That was quite common back in those days. The original photo is marked as 1979 (just the year – no further details), which seems correct.

And of course, I knew one of the skins in the photo. The one on the left was a close friend of mine. His name is Michael, and we grew up together in nearby neighbourhoods of Hamburg. Michael used to live at his mother’s house in Wandsbek-Gartenstadt, and I lived with my mum in a small flat in Bramfeld, which was just a few street corners away. We hooked up all the time because we shared the same interest in punk rock music. Together with a few other kids, we were the punk contingent from up there.

However, the whole punk thing gradually became very commonplace in Hamburg, so Michael soon got fed up and started his skinhead thing. The two of us went to London together in the late 70s, and Michael was pretty impressed with the burgeoning skinhead revival in the streets. So he decided to jump on and changed his style. Approximately a dozen other punks did the same in Hamburg back in 1979. Later, the skinhead movement grew bigger, split off, and went in that well-known other political direction like everywhere else.

Michael and I lost track of each other decades ago. I believe he lives in Berlin now, has a family, works a 40-hour week, and all the usual stuff”.

rudi

Thanks a ton for the info, Rudi!

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