In 1989, at the time the Berlin Wall came down, a young punk-rock band called WIZO was recording their first seven-inch-EP in a smelly little basement studio on the dark side of Stuttgart, Germany. The songs on this record, three pieces of hyperkinetic punkrock, soon became hymns for a whole young generation of punkrockers in Germany. Punkrockers,who were just like the guys of WIZO themselves:
Growing up with seventies Brit-Punk, early-eighties political punk bands from Germany such as Slime, Hass or Razzia, bored by the arrogance of straight-edge-U.S.-Hardcore and sick of all those bands, that started out as punkbands and then tried to sound like Guns ´n´ Roses. The kids seemed to be waiting for a band playing infectious punk tunes with serious political statements and a good sense of black humor.
And there was WIZO! They were soon to be known all over Germany for their highly energetic live-shows, their catchy songs and strong anti-racist and anti-fascist statements. In the following years, WIZO played some hundred shows all over Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary and kept releasing record after record. They played with almost every foreign Punk- or Hardcore-band and released songs on many compilations. From time to time they caught big attention of the German media with some rather unusual methods:
In 1991, when they released their first album "Für´n Arsch", they played a surprise-concert from the back of a truck in front of a courthouse. There, the trial of a famous german actor was held (somehow like the O.J.Simpson-trial!). One day later the story of the impudent punkrock band from Sindelfingen was all over german TV and newspapers.
In 1992, WIZO released a rather mean "tribute" -seven inch for the first annual of a famous german singers death. This guy used to be a real housewife-darling (like "Engelbert" ) and the WIZO record caused a big scandal. It even was called "worst record of the year" by Germany´s biggest daily newspaper, the "Bild-Zeitung" . Of course, the kids loved the record.
In 1993, WIZO recorded a cover-version of ACE OF BASE´s "All that she wants" and released the record while the original-version hit the Top-Ten in Europe. WIZO´s self-produced Video was shown on MTV, the song was played on radio-stations all over Europe, it entered the charts in Denmark and became a dance-floor-filler in alternative-discotheks. It turned out, that the WIZO-cover was the only authorized cover-version of "All that she wants" worldwide, because Ace of Base liked the punk-remake a lot. Almost a dozen techno-remixes of the same song got prohibited.
In 1994 WIZO released their third album "UUAARRGH!" on Hulk Räckorz. It became their "breakthrough" in Germany, fanzines called it "a milestone in german Punkrock-history" and more than 100.000 copies were sold so far. WIZO also played a legendary concert on the "Chaos Days" in Hannover/Germany, where more than two thousand punks from all over Europe caused massive riots. WIZO somehow smuggled their van through police-checks, unloaded their equipment, started a generator and played in the middle of the street. Some hundred punks (the rest was already arrested) were pogoing and WIZO was on TV and in the newspapers again.
In late fall 1994, the scandal-trio was in the newspapers once more, when a South-German-District-Attorney started investigations against the band. Reason for that was the song "Kein Gerede" from WIZO´s 1991 debut-album "Für´n Arsch" which apparently contained "illegal anti-government statements and instigations for terroristic actions". The office-rooms of WIZO´s record label "Hulk Räckorz" and their german distributor "SPV" were searched by the police and some hundred WIZO-CD´s were confiscated. WIZO were sued and fined to pay some thousand marks and were no longer allowed to sell records containing the "Kein Gerede"-song and printing its lyrics on lyric-sheets or in CD-booklets. The punkrockers later remixed the song, took the vocals of, blackened the CD-booklets and re-released the "Für´n Arsch"-record in a "childsafe" version with a great "Kein Gerede-Karaoke-track".
The whole German punkrock-scene and the band themselves were really upset about these incidents. According to the German government, there is no censorship in Germany and, of course, freedom of speech.
In 1995 WIZO played two shows with California-Punk-Legend NOFX. Fat Mike, NOFX´s singer/bassist and owner of San Francisco-Cult-Label Fat-Wreck-Chords was so impressed by the three Germans, that he offered them to license their Album "UUAARRGH!" for the U.S.A., Japan, Canada and the rest of the World.
After a long time of releasing records on their own label "Hulk Räckorz" only and ignoring many offers from multinational major record companies, WIZO agreed to work with Fat. Thinking, that Fat Mike was crazy to bring out a record with mainly german lyrics (only two songs are in english!) for the rest of the world, the punkers where happy to be members of the Fat-Family now.
Surprisingly, the kids in America liked the energetic and catchy Punk-Rock-Cocktail on the WIZO-Album and WIZO got invited to play on the Warped-Tour, a big open-air-skateboard-circus-show-with-bands, the same year. After returning from that tour, they released their record "Herrenhandtasche" on Hulk Räckorz. This album stayed in the German album-charts for weeks (rather unusual for German non-major acts!).
In 1996, WIZO got a new drummer, toured extensively throughout
Germany, Hungary, Switzerland and Austria, played plenty of big Open-Air-Festivals,
recorded a new seven inch, played a bunch of shows in California/U.S.,
caused a big scandal during the live broadcasting of Germany´s biggest
alternative festival on TV, when they smashed some cameras, played more
shows and started working on their next album. It´s going to be ready
perhaps in ´98. In March ´97 WIZO followed an invitation to
tour Japan with „Hi-Standard", their favourite japanese punk-band and Fat-Wreck-Chords-Labelmates.
After that great experience, they released together a limited Split-EP called „X-Mas stinks" (Weihnachten stinkt), which was sold out within 2 weeks.
Future plans: recording a new record soon, staying independent and having more
fun with punkrock all over the world.