The Germans are coming: an interview with Björn Fischer about Rock-O-Rama

It was 1980 in the centre of Cologne. The sign on the shop spelt ‘Rock-O-Rama: Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Punk’. Inside, small handfuls of teds and punks were swapping suspicious glances while trying to avoid each other – not easy in a room that couldn’t hold more than 10 people. The burly man behind the counter, well into his 30s and sporting a quiff, a tache with friendly mutton chops and white ankle boots, put a record on: the first production of his very own Rock-O-Rama label, Punks Are the Old Farts of Today by Vomit Visions. For once, the bewildered teds and punks were in agreement: this racket was completely unlistenable.

“Herbie”

Fast-forward a decade, and the same shopkeeper, Herbert Egoldt, is a wealthy man running the world’s biggest far-right music distribution. Skrewdriver affectionately greet “Herbie” on the back covers of their albums, his releases are lamented in the pages of Germany’s biggest news magazines, and the police search his offices, confiscating thousands of records… In between these two junctures, the trained painter Herbert Egoldt released several hundred titles on his own label and distributed thousands more. His often surreally premature punk recordings stood out for their dreadful production values and baffling cover artwork, which seemed to revolve around the German army and the two world wars a lot – quite irrespective of the sentiments expressed in the songs. Translated into English, some of the band names were: Supreme Army Command, Pre-War Phase, The Allies, Shock Troop and, er… Brutally Mouldy.

Today Rock-O-Rama has quite a cult following, albeit for all manner of different reasons… And now Björn Fischer, who was a fan of its output in the early-to-mid 80s, has written a well-researched and richly illustrated history of the bizarre and notorious label. Rock-O-Rama – Als die Deutschen kamen (“Rock-O-Rama: When the Germans came”) is available only in German for now – so here’s hoping someone will translate it into your country’s language. Matt Crombieboy has interviewed the author about the book, which is out TODAY.

Click image for PART 1 – Vomit visions and running soldiers

Click image for PART 2 – Bad uncles and nasty stuff

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3 thoughts on “The Germans are coming: an interview with Björn Fischer about Rock-O-Rama

  1. Pingback: Online-Lesung: Björn Fischer liest aus seinem Buch Rock-O-Rama. Als die Deutschen kamen. | Wasted Vinyl

  2. This is bloody fantastic! I’ve always been fascinated by the early years of ROR in much the same way GG Allin’s pre-infamy days are totally compelling. Some of those early releases are outsider art at their finest, and some just classic punk. This was a great read end to end. Many thanks, Sascha

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