Noopinion: Sheep Noses Taste Good

Once upon a time there were four lads who set out from their familiar surroundings in the very south of Germany to rock the Panda. NOOPINION are those very lads and one of the first western punk bands who were allowed to play in the People´s Republic of China. In February “Allegro”, their first album with a label, was published and reaps so many good reviews that even the makers themselves are surprised. Second guitarist and master of mayhem Patrik “Barney Gumble” Fischer spills the beans about the history of the band, their new record, of course the China trip and finally he even wants to give you some presents. So you have to read on!

Who are you, anyway? Could you, please, introduce all band members with their best and worst qualities!? What cartoon/comic character would describe you best?
Woohoow… this is already starting funny, Philippe Lenk is doing all the vocals and plays the first guitar. His best or his worst qualities…hmmm???.. haha, well… he is never on time but did a lot of good for the band. Mike Thom plays bass and does most of the backing vocals, he is a politoxicomaniac and a party machine; Stephan Sulzgruber jr. is hitting the drums, he usually is a reasonable person but once he goes big he goes big… and I mean big. Last one is me, Patrik Fischer, I play the second guitar and I´m also in charge of beer drinking and causing a little chaos. Comic characters… hmmm, I´d say Phil is Garfield, Mike is Ren from Ren and Stimpy, Stevo is the Tasmanian Devil and I´m Barney Gumble.

How did you end up playing music? How long have you been around already?
We are all skaters and hung out a lot before we started making music, and about 1999 we found out that we all also like to make music, from then on we unfortunately hit the band room more often than the streets…

What are you doing for a living?
Phil is a web designer and helps his brother with his catering business now and then, Mike is a waiter at Pizza Hut, Stevo gives drum lessons to kids and helps his family with their business a bit, and I´m a construction worker and work as bartender on weekends.

How does the songwriting process work? Who writes the music and the lyrics?
It´s different from song to song, but most of the time Mike or me are writing the lyrics, we write the music together in the band room, like that we kinda get a feeling really early on, if it´s turning out good or not…

Your new album “Allegro” was published just recently. How is the feedback so far? Did the feedback meet your expectations?
We are really positively surprised, so far we mostly got good reviews, I mean there are one or two bad ones, but I don´t even think it is because of the music, more a matter of taste. What really gets to is a lot of magazines writing that we have a unique style and it doesn´t sound so much like a lot of other CDs, that´s a big compliment for us. So we are very pleased with the feedback so far…

This was your first album with the support of a proper label?
Jep…thanx to Modernnoise

Allegro stands for the tempo indication of 120-168 beats per minute. Did you really count?
Haha… no we didn´t, but we like fast music so we thought it fits….

Will there be another album called “Presto” (168-208)
We thought about it but it sounds more like an Italian easy listening record or like something to eat…

On the cover is something like a coat of arms, is it the band´s own? On it also the “all-seeing eye”, so do you have your own secret society?
That´s it… we are not a band, actually we are a gang… the Shepherd hounds…haha… we all got our gang tattoos, I could tell you more but I had to kill you then… haha

You were also one of the first western punk bands allowed to play in China. How was it? Do the Chinese go more berserk than the Europeans?
Unfortunately yes… they are just not as spoiled as, lets say, the Germans. Any band from the US who puts out a CD is coming on tour, so I think we are a little overfed. The kids in China barely see any western band… they go nuts… respect to China. I think it´s a phenomenon in poorer countries, they have more of a “I-don´t-give-a-fuck” attitude and there´s not so much fashion involved, all that uuuuhh..”how do I look” crap,… it´s ridiculous here sometimes.

How did that China trip come about in the first place?
We were invited, a booker from Austria asked us, and a few months later we were already in the plane, everything went very quickly…

What was the weirdest thing that happened to you in China?
Oh…there are many funny stories. Stephan got peed on, we got lost in a taxi, the toilet situation is crazy in China, sheep noses taste good, and some other stories, but I don´t think your younger readers would want to know them… haha

Did you pick up some vocabulary?
Sure… the usual stuff: „hi, good bye”. It´s getting better every time we go there, someday we will be able to ramble on in Chinese…

What´s the most unusual influence on your music?
Phhhuu… good question, I don´t really think that any of our influences are strange or unusual. We all really like different styles of music, so everybody has his own influences, but I don´t think any of them are extraordinary.

What are your ambitions with the band? Would you take part in the Eurovision Song Contest?
Of course…haha… just because we would love to bring some chaos to that bullshit. Besides that we just want to get around a little more, I think that´s really important for us. Of course making a buck or two would be nice, I´d be a hypocrite if I´d say otherwise, but it is for sure not our first intention.

On your website you have a counter showing how much money the US spends on the war in Iraq, and there´s also a song on your record called “War Upon Us”. Do you consider yourself a political band?
Not really, but in our times there is just no way to get around wondering what´s going on, and everybody should take some time and think about things. We really don´t want to preach but sometimes we are directly confronted with it because we travel a lot. Don´t let them bring you down and show them that they can´t do anything they want… difficult topic…

How did you come up with your band name?
It´s a secret… you have to find out yourself, and if you do, send the answer to me and there is a gift for you… haha

If you had to think of a catchy slogan for the band, what would it be?
We got one… FUCK YOUR OPINION… it´s catchy, isn´t it???… haha. We also had “If we are too fast then you are too slow”… Maybe you got an idea.

What guilty pleasure song would you like to cover (if you had to)?
We did cover “Daylight” by the No Angels [German all girl casting band], that was embarrassing… haha, besides that I don´t know… Bon Jovi “Bed of Roses”??? Or Whitney Houston…”I Will Always Love You”….don´t know …never thought of it.

What´s the craziest thing that happened to you on tour? What happened during your most horrible gig?
Sooo many stories… stages broke down, amps flying through windshields, fights with nazis on stage, rocks through windows, drinking excesses… I don´t know. I tell you all the stories by a campfire and with a beer… it´s too much for here now…

How are your live shows like? A lot of blood, sweat and tears?
Definitely… we had it all, we dance a lot on stage, and if there is a good moshpit in front of the stage, anything can happen. Just come to a show and see for yourself!

Thanks for the interview!

Photos: Noopinion

Kathleen Gransalke

Editor for Reviews - translations, reports, photos - - - Favorite genres? - Punk, Rock, Death Metal, Mathcore - - - Favorite bands? - Coheed & Cambria, Black Dahlia Murder, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon