The Short:

Best Norwegian punk group ever.  Artists behind FC St.Pauli's team song "I got erection".

The Long:

The original Turbonegro lineup formed around christmas 1988 in Oslo, Norway consisting of Thomas Seltzer on bass, Vegard Heskestad, Pål Bøttger Kjærnes and Rune Grønn on guitars, Pål Erik Carlin on vocals and a guy named TK on the drums. 

Thomas and Vegard had formerly shared times in a band called De Dype - a noisy and subversive ensemble equipped with a certain amount of Butthole Surfers inspiration and a disturbing attitude that was basically meant to piss people off. Apparently early Turbonegro continued their conceptional styles.

An explanation for the band's controversial name - once offered by Thomas - states:
"A Turbonegro is a large, well equipped, armed black male, in a fast car, out for VENGEANCE. We are his prophets.".

First rehearsals were made during the winter of 1988/89 being followed by their first ever gig at Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen, Denmark in late march and their Oslo stage debut in april 1989 . In the subsequent weeks they began recording songs for their debut single Route Zero and the Turboloid 12" both to be released on Straitjacke - a 'free' label that had been called into being by Thomas Seltzer back in 1983. The early pre-deathpunk Turbonegro sound featured here offers thick and heavy distorted rock

In September 1990 Turbonegro set up for a three-week tour in the United States that eventually broke the band. Rune had been beaten up in a quarrel with some crackheads in front of a hotel in Minneapolis - just a few hours after their arrival in the US - and was forced to spend the rest of the tour in hospital. Further incidents include a roadie becoming involved in a murder at a party in Sacramento attended by the Turbo boys and Vegard hanging out with a stripper who was revealed to be the daughter of beat poet Jack Kerouac (?!? - hmm, not to sure about this). However, the first Turbonegro line-up soon disbanded after being back in Oslo.

In the winter of 1990/91 Thomas Seltzer (now on drums) reformed Turbonegro with Pål and Rune. Norwegian punk veteran Harald Fossberg who had acquired fame in the late 70's with Norwegian punk pioneers Hærverk was recruited as the new singer and in the subsequent months Bengt 'Bingo' Calmeyer joined them on bass guitar. 

Bengt & Thomas had already teamed up in their early teens in Akutt Innleggelse, a band that amazingly had tracks released on Pushead's 'Cleanse the Bacteria' LP and Mykel Board's 'World Class Punk' compilation tape. In 1983 Thomas had started the label Straitjacket Records to release Akutt Innleggelse's first & only 7". Throughout the following years Straitjacket put out a couple of further singles by various Oslo bands as well as the debut of Turbonegro of course.

In the summer of 1991 the reformed lineup released the Vaya Con Satan  7" in the US being followed in early 1992 by their debut album Hot Cars And Spent Contraceptives on up-coming local label Big Ball Records. Both the single and the CD give an early introduction to the Deathpunk sound - Turbo's self acclaimed very own genre. Actually the musical pre-settings are already anticipating later 'Ass Cobra' era - dark death driven punk rock with occasional excursions into hardcore and metal as well as a certain tendency to disruptive and sarcastic lyrics.

In winter 1994/95 Turbonegro had run through a brief episode of making up with afro wigs and painted faces - something that refers to the 'Al Jolson schtick' - which actually caused a couple of bizarre situations. Happy Tom remembers: "So there we were backstage with our black faces and wigs and little hats, smoking pot with our all-time heroes the Bad Brains, and the absurdity just didn't cross our minds. I mean, those guys didn't mention it, they were probably just embarrassed on our behalf."

The afro joke was dropped in may '95 at a gig in Oslo where the Turbo boys were entirely dressing up in sharp bulging denim complete with smart moustaches: "We feel that denim out-rocks leather at all levels. Leather is for empty, little people. Denim is for us big guys! And the kids LOVE it!" - as Happy Tom remarks on the superiority of the dark blue denim wear.

The improved & sexier image demanded a new sound as well !! Then recording engineer Chris Calmeyer states: "Even though we were in many respects happy with 'Never Is Forever', also musically, the band never sounded that way live. So, very early in the recording of the string of singles that forms 'Ass Cobra', we decided to make things more raw, trying to convey the power of the live performance, if not the sound." First fruits of the current recording sessions showed up on the fabulous Denim Demon and Bad Mongo singles released in spring '95. 

In the summer of 1995 Turbonegro left europe again for their second tour in the USA entitled 'NAMBLIN in the 90'ies' that included eleven shows with talented luminaries such as Candy Snatchers, Ed Hall, The Gynecologists, Plainfield and even Pig Champion of Poison Idea who joined in on a couple of songs in Eugene, Oregon. Happy-Tom comprises: "At least we didn't get the shit kicked out of us like we did the last time we were in the USA".

In the fall of '95 Bingo finally decided to quit because he didn't like the direction Turbo was developing to musically - "less Slayer, more rock'n'roll". Pål was fed up with playing and wanted to travel. Thomas at the same time was suffering from some stress injury to his arms after the US tour - thus agreements were made to put the band on ice for a while. 

The departure of Pål and Bingo finally put Thomas back in the original position on bass guitar. Therefore former Angst-member Anders Hornslien became the new drummer and thee amazing 21 year old guitar Wunderkind Knut Schreiner - soon to be introduced as 'Euroboy' - stepped in as the new lead guitarist. Knut had been playing before with Thomas in The Vikings and is furthermore fronting his own sensational combo Kåre & The Cavemen. In the summer of '96 Pål returned from Thailand and opened his famous 'Pamparius' pizza parlor in Kolbotn outside of Oslo. A few time later he rejoined for an updated engagement as keyboard player and 'dancer' which in fact allowed him more opportunities for getting drunk at gigs

The release of the incredibly famous Ass Cobra album in spring 1996 and the subsequent highly successful European promo tour in September (with 8 dates in Germany plus one each in Groningen/NL, Copenhagen/DK & Prague/Czechia) finally got Turbonegro the indeed long deserved resonance. The apparently absurd idea of putting demonized Village People looks and a notorious Tom Of Finland fixation into punk rock context equally irritated and fascinated - and simultaneously set middle-European underground into a feverish turbo-euphoria. Punk rock lovers and reviewers  unanimously agreed on the simple fact that this must be one of the best punk rock records of the nineties - if not ever !!!

In December/January Turbonegro continued spreading the deathpunk seeds on a tour with further 14 dates in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Denmark. The insignia of their stage performance - the bulging denim, Hanky's routine to stick a lit roman candle into his ass, Happy-Tom's sailor hat, Euroboy's lissom and sultry guitar choreography & Hanky's attempts in addressing the audience in their broken native tongue - sort of became the turbo trademark for the upcoming boom.

In spring 1997 Turbonegro hit European roads again - this time with new candidate Christer Engen (aka Chris Summers, ex-Big Bang) treatin' the drums. Hanky's remarkable results in crossing Alice Cooperish makeup styles with mansonesque frenzied looks and the excessive use of lipstick & rouge added a good portion of bizarre decadency to their stage performance. Musicwise - as later will be prooved on Apocalypse Dudes - it became obvious that they had meanwhile made a move into mid-70's punk territory - in the spirit of proto punk pioneers á la The Dictators, The Ramones or late Iggy & The Stooges - plus traces of New York Dolls' glam travesty thrown in (besides, they used to start shows with a cover of a modified Grand Funk tune ...'We are a norwegian band!').

The subsequent 'Summer Of Head' US tour in July broke relevant ground for their transatlantic prominence. Whilst San Francisco - capitol of notorious P.C. excitement - had welcomed the presence of Turbo's blazing rock'n'roll circus with an absurd boycott by accusing them of being 'fascists, racists, and  homophobics", in the end Happy Tom strikes the balance: "We sold one hell of a lot more t-shirts playing for black shipyard workers in Norfolk, Virginia than we did in Berkeley".

Further indications of approaching rock stardom revealed with their appearance at the international PopKomm music fair held in Cologne, Germany. During their performance - where a gone-wild crowd destroyed a TV camera - Hanky pointed out an air-guitar ecstatic Jello Biafra meanwhile Happy Tom was introducing him to the audience as the 'Emperor Of Juggling' - another punk celebrity nominated due to their current 'War Against Motherfucking Juggling' campaign.

In the autumn of '97 recordings for the new album Apocalypse Dudes took place at Endless Sound studios, Oslo with new producer Pål Klaastad - and was after some delays finally released in march 1998 on Boomba! - and furthermore on Virgin in Norway exclusively. Euroboy's rather melodic and more versatile guitar playing apparently contributed a lot to their remarkable change in sound - 'a new resurgence of 70's influenced glam'n'roll' as the Boomba announcement put it. No doubt their most successful record ever with great bombastic hymns like 'Good Head', 'Selfdestructo Bust' and 'Get It On' - to name just a few.

The subsequent sold-out tour in april / may 1998 was a huge success - 24 shows in total, 13 out of it in Germany, 2 in Sweden, 3 in the Netherlands and one each in Copenhagen, London, Paris, Vienna plus Belgium and Switzerland being followed by a bunch of appearances at various open-airs in the summer - amongst them the renowned Roskilde-Festival in Denmark and the Cologne' Bizarre-Festival in Germany.

In November they set up for the second part of their 'Darkness Forever' tour with further 16 dates in Germany, Belgium, France and Spain with then sensational support act Nashville Pussy, who had just released their 'Let Them Eat Pussy' debut LP on AmRep. Hanky's occasional 'mental indisposition' obviously became a stronger problem during the tour - he had already been replaced on a gig in Sweden earlier that year by Turbonegro's very first singer Pål Erik and furthermore refused to participate in Turbonegro's trip to their SXSW showcase in Austin, TX in April - so finally when they were back on their way from Strasbourg, France to Munich, Germany   "Turbonegro broke up in the waiting room of a psychiatric emergency ward in Milan, Italy" (Happy-Tom). The remaining 5 shows in Germany got cancelled and a few days later Turbonegro officially proclaimed their definite split. Nevertheless a last farewell show took place at Mars in Oslo on December 18th - supported by Sweden's Backyard Babies. Last ever song performed on stage has been the final encore 'I Am In Love With The Destructive Girls' - so "Yeah-Yeah! Yeah-Yeah!" were about the last words uttered. 

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