Turbo Genova: the birth and rise of Italian Oi band Stiglitz

Looking up the definition of ‘turbo’, a word that first emerged in the early twentieth century, we find multiple meanings, although it usually denotes something that is in some way connected to turbines – e.g. a turbocharger, an aeronautic turboprop, etc. In the 80s, the term entered the lexicon of heavy metal to describe things that are unbelievably powerful – so powerful they may as well be driven by turbines. And so, a thrash band from the Polish People’s Republic simply christened itself TURBO. In the United Kingdom, meanwhile, Judas Priest titled their 1986 album Turbo Lover.

The 90s gave us Turbonegro of course, and more recently, a subgenre dubbed ‘Turbo Oi’ has emerged in Italy. One of the leading lights of the movement are Stiglitz from Genoa – a young group stepping into the illustrious footsteps of Gangland and many other local legends. Genoa, you must know, is one of the most important cities not only for the historical development of the world market, but also for the Italian skinhead scene.

Stiglitz were founded two years ago by Gianluca (vocals), Beppe (vocals), Alberto (guitar), Francesco (bass) and Martino (drums). Following up on their self-titled debut mini-album of 2020, they’ve just published a single called Tempi grammi on Flamingo Records. I’ve no idea if they’ll like hearing this, but the vibe reminds me somewhat of the first Skinkorps single, Une force, un hymne – or a more melodic version of it. Or maybe it’s just a more melodic version of the first Stiglitz album. Whatever the case, Valentina Infrangibile spoke one of their two vocalists, Gianluca.

By the way, 16 December will see the release of their new EP, Deja Vù.

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Golpe de Gracia: Ustela 12” EP

One thing I don’t like is when the small-scale music industry imitates the big music industry. It’s not the fact that people try to make some money to cover their expenses or pay their bills – that’s ok, we all need to live. The problem starts when everything becomes subordinated to ulterior ends. Oi bands from the continent that should be writing lyrics straight from the heart start to sing in bad English, hoping it will improve their chances of playing the festival circuit. Instead of expressing truthfully how they see the world in which they live, they rehash the most banal cliches they can think of: after all, if you leave it at commonplaces about ‘believing in yourself’ and ‘standing where others fall’ – basically the stuff that Mariah Carey songs are made of, but with gang vocals –, you won’t offend anybody.

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Daily Terror live in 1984 video

Someone posted this video on YouTube a couple of weeks ago, but since I can’t be sure that it will stay there, I added it to our own channel too. This is rough but, from my point of view, incredible footage that I’ve never seen before: Daily Terror live in Bingerbrück near Frankfurt in 1984 – so, about a year after Pedder Teumer’s transformation from punk to skinhead, and a few months before this line-up of the band split. As you can read in our Daily Terror band story, Pedder would go through a period of depression after the breakup, only to re-emerge with a new Daily Terror line-up the following year.

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Buzz Buzz and the Common Oi: Reaction EP

How’s that for a bizarre band name? The nice folks of Maximum Labour Records who sent me this slab of vinyl are certainly Oi historians: they have unearthed and remastered the demo tapes of a band from Brussels that had donned a skinhead image years before it occurred to any other Belgian punk band to do likewise. As early as 1980, Buzz Buzz and the Common Oi were seen on Belgian stages with closely cropped hair and – customary among first-generation Oi bands from the continent – more or less improvised skinhead gear. That’s early if you consider that it took the Germans and the French another year or two to get there – ‘Oi! The Album’ had only just hit the shelves.

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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.

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Good night, white pride: an interview with Jeff Schoep

Jeff Schoep was once described as ‘the most famous nazi in America’. From 1994-2019, he was the director of the National Socialist Movement, which – as names go – was one up from its forerunner organisation, the American Nazi Party (imagine a far-left organisation calling itself the ‘Commie Party of America’…). Schoep was a dedicated white supremacist for twenty-seven years. 

Our writer Gareth Postans first became aware of Jeff in Deeyah Khan’s documentary ‘White Right: Meeting The Enemy‘. He saw a man who didn’t look completely convinced and came across as lost, but intelligent. It was his friendship with Khan that made him question his beliefs. 

Jeff now runs Beyond Barriers, which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to a world devoid of ‘extremism’. Gareth asked him some questions via email, and he kindly replied very promptly. And because I have my issues with the catch-all term ‘extremism’ (which is why I’ve wrapped it in the most disdainful quote marks I could find), I sent him two follow-up questions to boot. Enjoy!

Matt Crombieboy

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What is Möh? A historical debate

Arguably, some chapters of skinhead history are best left forgotten but, conscientious historians that we are, we talk about them anyway. Today we want to find out: what is ‘möh’? The expression was often seen in German skinzines from the 80s, usually accompanied by drawings of bulldogs or super-skins.

If you listen to live recordings of German skinhead bands from about ‘84 or ‘85 onward, you’ll often come across this crowd chant:

That’s Daily Terror live in Schöppenstedt ’87, an event we have described at length elsewhere – and the chant you hear is spelled “möh, möh, möh” [phonetically: mø: mø: mø:]. It follows this simple melody:

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Warsaw Uprising: Kortatu’s incendiary visit to 1980s Poland

Western punk bands didn’t get to play the Polish People’s Republic too often back in the 80s, not to mention bands linked to skinhead culture. In August 1987, however, Kortatu from Basque Country were invited to play at Róbrege, a 3-day festival in Warsaw largely featuring native punk, reggae and new wave acts. Although a Basque independentist band with radical left-wing leanings, Kortatu thus appeared at a festival that was generally perceived as a kind of cultural opposition against the socialist government. And even though Kortatu were something of a skinhead group – cropped hair, Harringtons and DMs visually accompanied their punk, ska, and reggae hybrid – many say that the Polish skinheads who came to Róbrege were more interested in disrupting the festival than they were in dancing. Some even go as far as to imply that the skins were operating in cahoots with the state security services…

These are just some of the contradictions that made it seem like an interesting event to explore. Although this article should be seen as no more than an attempt to reconstruct what happened, based on a mere handful of sources, I still hope it’s an engaging account that doesn’t draw on too many ‘when punk brough freedom behind the Iron Curtain’ cliches… 

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Classic albums: ‘We’ve Got the Power’ by Red Alert (1983)

If you were assembling a track by track feature on classic Oi/punk albums, then Red Alert’s We’ve Got The Power (No Future) would be high on anyone’s shortlist.  A literal document of life in the North East in the early 80s, living up to their label’s name for sure, the LP packs an urgent vocal delivery and wall of sound production feats.  

The dole, Soviet missiles, police brutality, even the influence of hairy rockers UFO, it’s all on there as lyrical content. Still belting them out live after the band’s 40th anniversary in 2019, vocalist Steve ‘Cast Iron’ Smith was on hand to dust off his slab of vinyl and talk us through each of the tracks.

Andrew Stevens

You were something of a singles band after you signed to No Future, how long did it take to write the album?

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Skinheads of Chicago (SHOC): an interview with Corky ‘Boxcutter’

There are some varieties of skinhead that we prefer to others – but overall, we enjoy the culture’s different facets. We like that aspects of skinhead change over time and vary from country to country, reflecting their environment while still retaining that basic essence that is hard to pin down. We like the fact that such a broad range of different music styles has somehow become associated with skinhead over the years.

And we like that the skinhead world can be as surprising and contradictory as life itself. You wouldn’t expect a bunch of skins, for instance, to head to the Nation of Islam headquarters to watch Public Enemy (the hip-hop one) – especially if some of them were white and Jewish. But that’s just one of the things that Corky’s mates got up to back in the 80s.

Corky is bit of a legendary character from the Chicago scene. Back in the day, he ran with SHOC (Skinheads of Chicago), a multi-ethnic crew that stood on the opposite side of Christian Picciolini’s nazi skins, CASH (Chicago Area Skinheads – we interviewed Christian about them here)
. Our own Girth first came across Corky on Instagram under @BoxcutterBrigade, where he documents his memories of characters with photos and interesting stories – and he decided to interview the bloke.

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