Few readers, aside from fans of old-school European punk, will have heard of Daily Terror. Yet in the 1980s they were an important West German punk group – and later, they arguably turned into the best skinhead band the country had produced, even if the likes of Böhse Onkelz were more popular.
Truth be told, it’s hard for me to be objective because the matter is to a certain extent personal.
I’m from a mixed background and have spent some of my formative years in Germany. Daily Terror were the first Oi band I saw live as a young teenager, and they were playing on stage when I kissed a girl for the first time… Many years later, when I learned that their vocalist Pedder Teumer had died from complications linked to lung cancer, I smoked my last ever cigarette on the same day.
To write about Daily Terror means to write about Pedder, who pulled the band into the skinhead scene and was its sole consistent member. As we will see, he later distanced himself from certain aspects of his skinhead years. Did he feel genuinely regretful? Or was it because times had changed and he wanted a quiet career in the punk rock industry?
I’ll try to approach the matter in my preferred way: firstly, no censorship – unlike so many anti-fascists, I don’t believe that suppressing speech is the best way to counter bad ideas. Secondly, no self-censorship for the sake of ‘keeping politics out of it’: I’ll tell you as honestly as possible what I make of it all.
Finally, I should probably add that this isn’t meant to be the ‘definitive’ Daily Terror story. I didn’t know Pedder personally. What you’re reading here is what I’ve pieced together from memory and from various sources – and I tried to put it all in context. If I got something wrong, or if you think that Pedder was a very different person than I’m making him out to be – be my guest and let me know.
I’d like to dedicate this series to Pedder’s daughter Charley, who contacted us when the first few parts were originally published.
Part 1 – The punk years 1979-83
Part 2 – Transformation
Part 3 – Emotion, toughness, alcohol
Part 4 – On a forelorn mission
Part 5 – Playing with fire
Part 6 – A turning point – coming soon!
Text: Matt Crombieboy