Look at this record. How could I not buy it when I came across it at New Jersey’s Record Museum, nestled right in front of multiple copies of Big Country’s Big Country? German punk rock from 1977? Yes please!
I found a little bit about these guys online. They kind of kept active into the mid 1980s before dropping out of sight for a while, resurfacing with a new record in 1998. Like most punks from the period they made a point of being controversial, which when you’re a German band means, of course, pissing people off by having a singer named Baron Adolf Kaiser (lots of historical references there) who would sometimes wear some Nazi gear and sported the Hitler ‘stache. They’re punks. It’s what they were supposed to do.
As for the music itself, this is classic punk rock – 17 songs, most of which are under three minutes in length and have catchy titles like “I’m A Punk,” “Kick Her In The Dirt,” “Schlitz-Blitz,” and a song I can’t believe has never been covered, “I’m Singing To You With My Finger In Your Ass” (someone should do it on American Idol for sure). Most of the material is original, but there are three covers here as well, with versions of The Stooges’ “Search And Destroy,” Velvet Underground’s “White Light, White Heat,” and a modified Sex Pistols number dubbed “Anarchy In Germany.”
Musically Big Balls And The Great White Idiot is pretty rough and garage-like. This is music by punks who heeded the call of, “hey, it doesn’t matter if you know how to play, just pick up some instruments and get after it,” though that may be a bit hard on them. They’re not terrible musicians, they’re just intentionally not making any effort to sound particularly good. That being said, their cover of “Search And Destroy” is actually a solid musical effort, particularly the lead guitar.
You may think from this description that I didn’t like the record. But nothing could be further from the truth. I love this early, sloppy punk rock. It sounds more real that most stuff that was committed to vinyl, more energy and attitude than talent and practice. I’m not sure how this sucker ended up mixed in with a veritable ocean of classic rock, but I’m glad it did and even more glad I found it – frankly I think it’s one of the best punk records of the era, and I’ll be playing the hell out of it.