Die Goldenen Zitronen are a band from Hamburg, Germany. Founded in 1984, they have since branched out from punk rock and created a more experimental, arty style that fuses a multitude of musical genres. The band is also famous for its intuitively styled, sometimes chaotic live performances.
The founding members were Schorsch Kamerun (vocals), Ale Sexfeind (drums), Ted Gaier (bass, guitar) and Aldo Moro (guitar, bass). Initially they combined hard rock with 1970s-era punk and lyrics that were both angry, yet comedic and pop-like. The band rejected the traditional music industry, seeing themselves as a symbol of artistic independence not wanting to "serve the structures of rock" (Ted Gaier.) Since 1995's departure of Psycho 1 only Schorsch Kamerun (vocals, diverse instruments) and Ted Gaier (synthesizer, guitar, e-bass, diverse instruments) remain from the early days. On the other hand, with a group now functioning more like a loose collective with shared duties on most instruments than a fixed band, no member has ever left since - they are Julius Block (piano, bass, guitar, organ, diverse Instruments), Enno Palucca (drums, triangle), Hans Platzgumer (guitar, organ, drums, diverse instruments), Stephan Rath (drums) and Mense Reents (synthesizer, e-bass, clavinet, trumpet, diverse instruments).
In 1986 Die Goldenen Zitronen courted initial attention with their single "Am Tag als Thomas Anders starb" (~The Day Thomas Anders died). Their subsequent release, "Für Immer Punk" (~Forever Punk, basically a cover of the similar named Foreigner song with modified lyrics), was a cult hit in the German punk scene, inspiring comparisons with bands such as Die Toten Hosen and Die Ärzte. It even included contributions by Rodrigo González (banjo) of Die Ärzte.
The band developed their style further with 1990's Fuck You, in which they mock popular rock groups and protest against the tedium of daily life.
But, due to social, political and personal developments and encounters, that fun-punk approach wore off in the beginning of the 90s. A notion of change was first implied by the Billy Childish-produced Punkrock album of 1991. Yet it was 1994's Das Bisschen Totschlag (~That Dram of Manslaughter) that saw the major musical transition. The Zitronen mixed their power-rock style with elements of garage-trash, electro-beat, hip-hop and noise-pop. This trend of experimentation continued with 1996's Economy Class, which was influenced by improvisational jazz.
With 1998's Dead School Hamburg, the band further altered their style, pursuing a greater emphasis on electronic instrumentation. Their 2001 released album, Schafott zum Fahrstuhl (~Lift to the Elevator, a play on the Louis Malle classic), takes a more avant-garde direction.
Lenin, published in 2006 via Buback Records, is a bit slowed down. Daniel Richter, a long time friend of the band, contributed the cover artwork. 2009 saw the release of Die Entstehung der Nacht (~The Genesis of Night) with guest appearances by Mark stewart, Melissa Logan and Michaela Melian,
Die Goldenen Zitronen have had a diverse number of sometimes frequent collaborators, ranging from the poet Franz Josef Degenhardt to Chicks on Speed or Peaches (see WMFU blog for more information and mp3-examples).
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