Now in its fourth edition, Broken Violin is a Glasgow-based music fanzine and was first established in March of 1999. Its editor is Claire Lim, a German student at a Glasgow University, who, with a small team of five other principal writers, aims to put out a new edition of Broken Violin approximately every six months.

Originally planned as an Idlewild tribute magazine, Broken Violin has since expanded to concentrate on dealing with many other aspects of both British and German indie rock as well. The latest edition, which came out in June and which, running to forty pages, is Broken Violin's biggest edition to date, and, as well as the Guano Apes interview which Pennyblackmusic is featuring below, also has interviews with Elbow, Sunna, Feeder, Shellac, Superchunk Reynolds, King Adora, Couch, Super Acting Smart and Surrogat. There is a postal interview with Idlewild as well ; several pages of live, single and album reviews and also debates on the relevance of King Adora, and the differences between Edinburgh and Glasgow culture.

More information about Broken Violin at its website http://brokenviolin.cjb.net or by contacting Claiire directly at broken_violin@hotmail.com . Copies of Broken Violin#4 are available from Pennyblackmusic for £1.50.


Proud like Gods…Guano Apes Interview

Finally, the Guano Apes make a return to the Uk, promoting their 2nd album 'Don't Give Me Names'. They've come a long way since their debut 'Proud like a God' and after some extensive touring all over Europe and America, Dennis Poschwatta-the enigmatic Guano Apes drummer-talks to me a little about their humble rise to fame and what life's like on the road and recording for one of the top German rock acts of today.

As with most rock acts, the Guano Apes started small, coming from in and around the little German University town of Gottingen.

"Our first rehearsal room was in a village with 200 inhabitants, so it was really small. And it was next to a chicken cage, which was really great" the relaxed Dennis chats-away. "There's a little music scene there but it's getting worse and worse. I can see that all over Germany. When I started making music in my village, there were about 6 or 7 bands, and there's only about 1 band now…"

Unlike Glasgow, Manchester or London, the Guano Apes were recording and writing in a place with few other bands to "bounce-off" from musically. However, 1996's 'Battle of the Bands', which partially involved VIVA TV and other large companies was their lucky break-they won of course !

"Proud like a God' was almost fully financed by these awards and that was really good for us. But we were were really naïve because we'd been in small studios before, recording demos but this time we had a professional producer, which really showed us the way to make music professionally," Dennis informs.

This was all a learning experience for a band that would soon be playing in a line-up with the likes of U2 and Madonna at 1988's MTV European Music Awards.

"For me, it was really cool for us to play that because we were the only rock act there. We really wanted to kick ass and it was also a really big opportunity for us to play in front of so many people-100 million they told us. I don't believe it though…"

Do believe it. They rocked the set and have continued to do so throughout Europe and America, touring with the likes of Creed, Sevendust and POD. Despite some of these shows being truly rocking, Dennis has learnt a few things personally about his most recent visit…

"I learned a lot from America to see how I don't want to live. I don't like the country and the people are also very strange. It's all so "Hi, nice to meet you, how's it going ?" and they don't give a fuck about you and they're not very interesting and their way of living. Although the POD guys were really polite and were really great people…"

However, at a Portugese festival, Oasis were playing under the Guano Apes and Dennis remarks on their behaviour. Not all bands are a bed of roses to play with.

"I don't like the behaviour of Oasis, they don't give a shit about fans. We played a festival with them in Portugal and it was cool because they played in front of us as we are better known than Oasis, which is weird. Liam, after 25 minutes, said "Alright, fuck you" and threw down the mic just because there was more people screaming 'Guano Apes'. But that was really bad because there were still a lot of people there for Oasis."

Back in the UK, though, the Guano Apes are already building up a small, dedicated following although Dennis wishes he could talk more to their fans.

"That's what I'd like to do after the who, going into the audience and have a few beers with them. Not showing the people that you're something better than them because every evening is only a good evening if the people are in good spirits," Dennis says, an immediately friendly and chatty guy to talk to. He talks about one hardcore fan that has followed them throughout the tour.

"We had a really weird guy here from Boston. He's so weird because he always travels right behind us and sometimes he gets on our bus. He was with us yesterday in London and he had to travel so many hours to Glasgow so we let him travel with us. On the German tour he flew in from London to Frankfurt and he's at every show. He's got more bootlegs than we have, and it's a little weird because he really is a freak." Well the Guano Apes are, naturally, lovely enough people to put up with him anyway.

It seems, then, that the rest of the world have caught Guano Apes fever ina big way apart from our little island of the UK. Even though the Guano Apes have already produced two superb albums and to make it even easier for us all, they even sing in English they still haven't cracked the UK like elsewhere. Maybe us Brits are just too hard to please ?

"I think in Europe it's easier to get success because I think the people in Europe don't look at the nationality of a band as much. They look more at the music, whether they like the music or not. Sometimes I like music even though I don't like the band because of, say, their behaviour. A lot of people also forget about Eastern European bands but there are also very good bands thast make good music."

Perhaps then, it is a stereotype of all German bands being 'Kraut rock' or looking on more modern examples, like Rammstein (not a particular favourite at Borken Violin).

"Sometimes I think it's really stupid of some of the UK people to think that "oh, they are Germans, they're Kraut-rock" and they are just thinking about the history. Everybody gets more and more global and so you have to forget about the frontiers," something which Dennis feels strongly about and rightly so. After all it should just be all about the music right ?

"They can say that the music is shit but when they say "oh, the music is ok but they're Germans" that's wrong. For me, I'm a European but I also love living in Germany, that's my home." However, when it comes to music, stereotypes like this are still hard to shake.

"Because only bands like, say, Kraftwerk had success everybody thinks that is what German music was like. But maybe it is the same way as we think about Britpop."

Right now, Germany has an exciting music scene with an influx of different experimental bands, to those who sound like much of our 'Britpop' efforts and then…the Guano Apes who don't rely on gimmicks, just music. Dennis simply puts it "I hope that our image is that we don't have an image." The Apes have done pretty well, I'm sure you'd agree, so far.

But what's in store for the little band who rose from nowhere in the little villages surrounding Gottingen ? From the band of the bands, to various big American tours, performing at award shows like MTV Europe and having Oasis get "booed" offstage in their favour ; it can only get better from here.

"We would like to make more and more records and hopefully we'll always have fun making music and recording our third album of course. We can't do this as a band if it were only for the money so I'd like to make lots more records with these guys because right now, I'm having fun."

They're a band that makes music because it makes them happy. Nothing's too over produced, contrived or lacking in imagination. The Guano Apes throughout their incredible and, still short music career have kept their feet on the ground with their heads safely flying through the clouds. You can see the interest and passion in Dennis' eyes and the energy on-stage, which many bands should re-learn to do. Take heed UK : the Guano Apes will be back !







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