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‘All that once was’ – Die Toten Hosen celebrate their 30th birthday

Early in 1982 a few young men formed a punk rock band in Düsseldorf. They called themselves Die Toten Hosen, and soon played their first gig at a club in a cellar in Bremen. That was thirty years ago, and since then the band with lead singer Campino has become one of the most successful German-speaking rock bands of all time. On 10 April 2012 they returned to the club in that Bremen cellar to open their anniversary tour.

With hardly any commercial success in their early years, Die Toten Hosen had their breakthrough in 1988 with the song ‘The Return of Alex’, followed by numerous other songs in the charts, gold and platinum awards from the sale of their albums and many other music awards. They played countless concerts in major concert halls, stadiums and international rock festivals, with 15 studio albums and a range of live records and compilations. Outside Germany, Die Toten Hosen have appeared in many European countries, the USA, South America, the Middle East and central Asia.

From your time in Germany, do you know songs by Die Toten Hosen, like ‘The Return of Alex’? Or have you perhaps been to one of the band’s concerts? Tell us about it in the in the Community group KULTUR - CULTURE at Alumniportal Deutschland!


Video of ‘The return of Alex’

‘All that once was’

Lead singer Campino and the other band members Michael ‘Breiti’ Breitkopf (guitar), Andreas ‘Andi’ Meurer (bass), Andreas ‘Kuddel’ von Holst (guitar) and Vom Ritchie (drums) naturally shared not only successes but also crises, illnesses and alcohol and drug excesses. Campino explains that some of Die Toten Hosen had known each other since school, so they always looked out for each other. ‘First and foremost, we’re old friends who make music together.’

Despite ironic titles like ‘Opiate of the people’ and ‘Put your money where your mouth is (Buy me!)’, Die Toten Hosen’s songs are no longer the provocative dynamite of their initial phase, inspired by the English punk movement. However, although they’ve long been part of mainstream rock, the musicians – all around 50 today – have stayed true to their earlier ideals in many ways. Their songs are not just about friendship, love, solidarity and faith, but express political and social concerns. They have been fighting xenophobia and right-wing extremism in Germany for many years, and support initiatives like Oxfam and Pro Asyl, whose work they even feature on their own homepage.

Songs like these

With their heavy use of guitar, memorable lyrics and simple melodies, Die Toten Hosen’s songs have always invited audiences to party and join in. Many of their songs – like ‘Stand up when you’re on the floor!’ or ‘Bavaria’ – have something of the nature of the traditional songs people sing along with at concerts, parties or as fans in football stadiums. The band’s latest hit, ‘Days like these’, became the unofficial song of Euro 2012, undoubtedly one reason why it reached Number One in the German charts.

To mark their 30th anniversary the band is doing a retrospective, suitable for the 2009 song ‘All that once was’. After the ‘Best of’ album in November 2011, Die Toten Hosen brought out the double album, ‘Ballast of the Republic’ and their anniversary album ‘The spirits that we called’, with new songs of their own and cover versions of songs by other German artists. Their anniversary tour 2012 takes them through Germany and back to Argentina – as Campino says, ‘It’s too early to stop now.’

Video Die Toten Hosen „Days like these" (in German)

October 2012

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