By Karl Bruckmaier (Bayerischer Rundfunk, BR2, 3/14/1990)
(Auf deutsch hier: http://le-musterkoffer.de/alpha/hysteric01.html)
Three weeks ago I introduced you to Hasil Adkins, raw Rockabilly genius. Today’s show features a congenial creature from Löhnberg, Hessen: Eric Hysteric, solo artist, member of the Vomit Visions, The Esoterics and Der Durstige Mann, label boss of Wasted Vinyl and Orgasm Records. Real Name: Erich Knodt.
In the mid 70s: Wrote for some fanzines, traveled the USA, contacts to hardcore bands from the west coast, import of punk singles and sale in and around Frankfurt. When Lydia Lunch vomited onto the stage during an Teenage Jesus concert and hit a friend of Eric with a beer glass into the face, a name for a band is found: Vomit Visions,
whose debut single on Rock-O-Rama you just heard.
Merciless dilettantism, refusal of all technical standards, love of the early Kinks, west coast influences from the Germs and others – for their second single the Vomit Visions didn’t find a label and Eric had to release the record himself…
When the second Vomit Visions single was released, Eric Hysteric already lived in England where he stayed until 1982.
Members of the Australian punk band THE LAST WORDS, who had a single on Rough Trade, are the core of Eric’s second project: Eric Hysteric & The Esoterics.
Single and album are released in 1981 on his own Wasted Vinyl label. The pure punk attitude of the Vomit Visions is gone, exchanged for a pop stance, which retains the punk sensibility, but not the punk form.
The Esoterics LP DRIVE YOU CRAZY is one of the unrecognized masterworks of pop music. No weak song, produced without compromises, deeply moving. On the PR-sheet for the album you could read:
”Do you like HUMAN LEAGUE or JOY DIVISION? Are you into RESIDENTS and DAF? Admit it: you think the synthesis of Jazz/Funk and New Wave is highly interesting? If you answer yes to these questions: Hands off this record! Put the record back into the rack and fuck off. Now. The Esoterics don’t make music for old hippies and pseudo intellectuals. Don’t look so stupid. Yes, we are talking to you. The Esoterics don’t care about you and won’t follow any trends. On this album you won’t find any dissonant sound experiments, no pseudo meaningful lyrics. And no mysterious messages from half-baked artists, which would be forgotten in five minutes anyway. If Eric Hysteric had a message, he would send it by mail. But most certainly not to you. This album is not for poseurs. This is the real thing. Full blasting rock’n’roll.”
In 1982 the lost son finds his way home to Löhnberg. He delights his small fan club with a single:
On side one appear the Vomit Visions for the last time, on side two
the solo Eric can easily maintain the high standard of the Esoterics-LP.
Eric Hysteric, the German Paul Weller and at the same time the German Hasil Adkins.
In 1982 begins the strange part of the story. On the fleamarket in Frankfurt Eric befriends a notorious drinker, skinhead and dull reactionary: Markus Monoton.
The band DER DURSTIGE MANN combines lyrics about alcohol, stupid rhythms and German schlager with a primitive conception of punk rock and Hysteric’s typical vacuum-cleaner-sound.
It is unbelievable, but DER DURSTIGE MANN is still around.
Seven singles, EPs and LPs were released until today, and Hysteric and Monoton still haven’t run out of song titles: SAUFEN OHNE ENDE, EIN BIER, BIER NIX GUT, ALKOHOL AUF KRANKENSCHEIN, ICH HAB DURST, FAUL, VERSOFFEN UND FETT and on and on.
A review in BRAVO was a well-deserved appreciation for their tireless work.
Absolute artistic high point and the last song from DER DURSTIGE MANN in this show: the single IM WINTER WHISKEY IM SOMMER PERNOD, released in 1985…
One can only speculate how the completely idiosyncratic, but at the same time highly sensitive music of Eric Hysteric mixes with the crypto fascist Hum-tata-world of Markus Monoton.
It is my experience that people who deeply believed into Punk highly value the freedom of others. Even if this means that the others will use this freedom to kill you.
Because of DER DURSTIGE MANN Eric has neglected his solo activities for a long time.
On the LP CRAZY KING (1985) there are only little bits of the ingenuity of the DRIVE-YOU-CRAZY-time. The album sounds more like DER DURSTIGE MANN with lots of cover versions of German schlagers, some old Eric-songs and
little steps into the wonderland of electronic…
Around 1987 Eric expanded his label activities: Wasted Vinyl changed into Orgasm Records. Besides his own records, Eric delights the world with records of the combo
Part Time Punx, who are – especially with guest singer Martina – irresistible charming.
In 1988 followed the – until today – last solo album of Eric with the titleFÜR DICH. Six years of DER DURSTIGE MANN have left their marks. The songs are better than on CRAZY KING, there is more of a pop orientation, but the endearing Eric Hysteric of the early years has been replaced by an acerbic pessimist, who says in his lyrics the opposite of what he said in songs like Robin Hood and Life which we heard before…
In spite of the bleak attitude is FÜR DICH a spectacular German production. Completely self-contained, Eric develops his own Pop cosmos and with
Song aus Hawaii he wrote a sort of German protest song, which sums up cultural imperialism, alienation and a yearning for “heimat” precisely.
The microscopicly small fan community of Eric Hysteric anticipates the next piece of wasted vinyl.
© Karl Bruckmaier 1990 (Translated and republished with his permission)
Many thanks to Karl, who was and still is a member of Eric’s “microscopicly small fan community”.