23 January 2009

Bands that name-check Hitler

Steven Wells, on the cavalcade of mediocrity unleashed upon an unsuspecting world by bands that thought it would be quite cool to name themselves after Adolf Hitler:

[It's] definitely not a suitable name for a band. Think about it: Adolf Hitler and the Pacemakers, Badly Drawn Hitler, Everything but the Hitler, Hitler Killed the Cat. No way, a total non-starter. But it does make you wonder: how would a musical act called Hitler fare? Fortunately, we'll never know, because no one would be stupid enough to … oh wait. I'm having a flashback.

Moscow, 1991. Communism has collapsed and the embittered youth of the former Soviet Union have turned to the aural dementia of Napalm Death, who are playing a series of sell-out gigs in the Russian capital. I'm backstage with the band. A young man approaches Napalm bassist Shane Embury with a tape.

"You called your band Hitler?" says Shane.

"Yes, we like Hitler because he was against communism," says the kid.

Shane drops the tape, stamps on it, flings it in the toilet and flushes. The kid freaks, screams abuse, runs from the room yelling – and minutes later falls to his death down a stairwell.

And then there was Jerry Hitler – a big noise in 1960s reggae. Had he been called Jerry Gandhi or Jerry Jesus, would we now be speaking of him in the hushed and reverential tones we reserve for Bob Marley? (And, as a slight aside, did the similarly awkwardly named Jah Wanks, ever really stand a chance, career-wise?)

- Guardian music blog, 23 January 2009

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