Twenty-five years ago today, Radio Werewolf ceremonially concluded the public performance aspect of its sonic-magic cycle with The Zürich Experiment, held at the historic Kaufleuten concert hall, Zurich, Switzerland at Midnight, December 30, 1991. Pictured below, the poster for the event, and a still from the Zurich Experiment video showing Nikolas, Zeena & RW percussionist Christoph D on stage
By Nikolas Schreck
In February 2010, when I was completing The Manson File: Myth and Reality of an Outlaw Shaman, I attended the book launch in Berlin for Die Zwillinge by my friends Jutta Winkelmann and Gisela Getty, the twins who became infamous in the Sixties and early 70s as the photogenic faces of the German counterculture. This event was populated by a veritable love-in of prominent survivors from the rapidly thinning Teutonic communard contingent of the ageing acid and revolution generation.
A gaunt grizzled gentleman with the bearing and look of a battle-worn pirate captain came up to me. He told me, with a snaggle toothed grin, that he was an admirer of the Radio Werewolf album The Fiery Summons. As we conversed, it turned out that this was none other than the notorious terrorist activist and author “Bommi” Baumann. A legendary and controversially contrarian figure in the radical insurgency that rose in West Germany in 1968, Bommi was revered and reviled for his founding of the self-described terrorist unit the June 2 Movement, and though he eventually renounced his violent actions as counter-productive, his dramatic fugitive years on the run as a wanted man and eventual imprisonment had made him a divisive and polarizing force.
I had quoted Bommi’s positive reflections on Manson in the original 1988 edition of The Manson File, a work he was also familiar with. When I told him that I was in the process of finishing a greatly expanded and updated version of my book, he graciously invited me to his home to interview him in depth about the relatively forgotten influence of Manson on the German radical left. Although already suffering from the liver disease which eventually killed him on July 16th, 2016, Bommi took time to share his memories of that volatile period with me. After our formal interview, to the soundtrack of old Nepali and Afghanistani music cassettes he’d purchased as a fugitive in the hippie meccas of Katmandu and Kabul in the mid-70s, he regaled me with anecdotes from his colorful criminal escapades, including his extremely eye-opening encounters with German and U.S. Intelligence operatives. As a tribute to one of the last of the free thinkers, here below is an excerpted section from The Manson File: Myth and Reality of an Outlaw Shaman which includes the information gleaned from my interview with Bommi. Om Dewa Ami Hri!
Manson Über Alles: Comrade Charlie and the German Radical Left
“That much-spoken of but so vaguely defined Revolution remained something of a middle-class student fantasy in the USA and Britain, nations with no domestic model of serious armed uprising against their ruling elites to draw on.
German hippies, known as Gammler, were far more inclined toward violent revolution than their pacifist flower children cousins in America. Imminent social upheaval was simply a more realistic prospect in West Germany. Working class street-fighting against capitalism was no pot-induced pipe-dream in the homeland of Karl Marx but an everyday historical reality.
Especially in the country’s former capitol and Cold War hotspot, that walled island of ideological ferment stranded between the Superpowers which had long been known as “Red Berlin.” It was there that the police shooting of young student protestor Benno Ohnesorg during a peaceful demonstration against the Shah of Iran on June 2, 1967 split the first fissures in the then-new Federal Republic’s staid social structure.
The Ohnesorg murder abruptly radicalized the formerly sedate post-war German left, giving birth to a movement recalled today as the “68ers”. The heavy-handed brutality with which German police and intelligence agencies, often at the behest of the omnipresent CIA, infiltrated and repressed the far left only served to push anti-establishment street fighters to ever more desperate and violent countermeasures. From the other side of the Iron Curtain, the East German Stasi manipulated and secretly funded many of these often hapless amateur Western revolutionaries in order to fulfill their owncynical Realpolitik agenda.
By December of 1969, the atmosphere was so tense that several German leftist factions could even interpret the Manson commune’s then inexplicable deeds in far off California as revolutionary acts of war. Naturally, once the German media got hold of the already grossly misreported and sensationalized story much was lost in translation. Nevertheless, the rudiments of Manson’s larger-than-life outlaw mystique struck a particular chord in West Berlin’s radical underground. Long-haired stoned orgiasts offing rich pigs? Groovy!
At the forefront of West German leftist pro-Mansonism in the early Seventies was young Michael “Bommi” Baumann, charismatic co-founder of the Central Council of Wandering Hashish Rebels. Even the name of Baumann’s loose-linked anarchic network was anathema to the more orthodox oldschool of West German Marxist-Leninists, who cleaved closely to the Bolshevik party line from whence sprang the now overused phrase “politically correct”.
Baumann’s Hash Rebels took off from where RainerLanghans’s then much publicized Kommune 1 left off. The Hash Rebels enlivened their anarchist socialist political platform with an aggressive and provocative sex, drugs, guns, and rock and roll attitude that polarized the puritanical German left, which favored bookish hyper-rational intellectualismrather than bohemian countercultural extremes. Affinities between Baumann’s Hash Rebels and Manson’s Slippies on the Spahn Ranch were obvious.
Like his confreres in the Weather Underground in the\ U.S.A., Baumann had lost faith in the potential of peaceful protest to bring any substantive change to the war-mongering pro-U.S. German establishment. By 1968, he already extolled armed revolution. However, his plans for the radical reform of society extended beyond the usual limits of leftist political platform. Even before the Hash Rebels embraced sooutre an outlaw as Manson, they supported Valerie Solanis, the eccentric ultrafeminist and failed assassin of Andy Warhol whose SCUM Manifesto is one of the more bizarre screeds produced in a period marked by incendiary rhetoric.
When I spoke with Baumann about the early days of the Hash Rebel Movement, he told me that he believed then and now that a truly transformative revolution must “reach out to all factions” including the forces of spiritual liberation. This vision included the consciousness-raising properties of psychedelic drugs, which the law-abiding “uptight” West German left largely disdained as counter-revolutionary escapism.
In this eclectic spirit, Baumann’s Hash Rebels joined forces with several disparate metaphysical streams. Along with the usual yogic acid-heads drawn to the counterculture world-wide, the Hash Rebels’ iconoclast allies ranged from a prominent Sufi translator of Islamic mystical texts to a psychedelic Satanic coven in the Berlin district of Moabit centered around an esoteric bookstore operated by an initiate of the German sex-magical order, the Fraternitas Saturni. According to Baumann, these socialist Satanists celebrated rituals on certain nights on the Teufelsburg, an artificial mountain made ofWorld War II rubble which served as one of the CIA’s most important listening posts.
In 1968, influenced by the international Satanomania craze unwittingly unleashed by Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, the Hash Rebels had already adopted some Satanic elements into their revolutionary position. The Hash Rebels’ then unheard of penchant for dressing in black at political demonstrations defied the norms of counterculture conformism and made them antinomians among the antinomians. Baumann, like Manson, didn’t consider himself a hippie and generally considered the romantic utopianism of the flower children to be naive and self-destructive.
Manson’s image as a creature of the Teufel was particularly pronounced in Germany, whose long history of xenophobic witch-hunting goes back to the sadistic Kramer and Sprenger of Malleus Maleficarum infamy. This prevalent notion of Manson as seditionary Satanist which prevailed in the German media inspired the Baumann group’s activism in its early days of street-fighting. In his once banned autobiography Terror or Love? – a title which echoes LIFE magazine’s description of the Manson circle as “The Love and Terror Cult” – Baumann wrote:
“The whole action was a little crazy, and of course everyone shouted, ‘Say hello to Charles Manson’. When the bulls came in we put on the record Sympathy for the Devil and yelled ‘Hail Satan!’ Sure, Charles Manson, we wrote that on the wall with red paint. And we were on that trip of signaling with two fingers: ‘Hail Satan’ was actually our internal greeting. Unconsciously we had touched one of those borderline places- we didn’t think Charles Manson so bad. We found him quite funny.
We still had a guy among us who celebrated Black Masses in a torn-down house on the Kreuzberg. He turned us on to this. In that film, Rosemary’s Baby, that’s where the ‘Hail Satan!’ is from, at the end, where they’re all standing around the crib, screaming.
People like Proudhon, the old anarchists, often were also Satanists at the same time; Bakunin too. God and the State is actually in some ways a Gnostic piece. It has religious content when he says that once we take the Bible seriously, we can only say at the end, ‘Hail Satan’. That story fascinated us.”
When I asked Baumann if this was pro-Manson grafitti he explained that, “We went into the apartments of guys we had some trouble with or we with them, and we painted ‘Greetings from Charles Manson’ on the wall. It was an image you can travel on, that frightened, and it was directed against certain people.”
Naturally, Baumann told me, a magical-Gnostic approach to revolution aroused the disdain of the traditional West German Left, including his erstwhile friends in the Baader-Meinhof gang, or Red Army Faction, which followed the Marxist-Leninist and Maoist hatred of anything that smacked of the supernatural or mysticism. Like Manson, Baumann’s vision of revolution broke with the old Communist model of a repressive and purely materialistic dictatorship of the proletariat. In many respects, Baumann’s anarchic approach to societal transformation has more in common with the Digger ideals of a total freedom transcending ideology than the blind Ho Chi Minh and Mao worship indulged in by so many of his supposedly “anti-authoritarian” revolutionary peers.
Baumann was amused to note that his unrepentant advocacy of Manson later led Professor K.H Frick, an academic historian of Western Occultism, to float the absurd rumor that Baumann was personally chosen by Manson to be the “head of the Satanists in Germany”. Which only goes to show that the Ed Sanders “ooo-eee-ooo” school of gullible occult fantasy so associated with Manson in Satanic Panic-prone Anglo-Saxon culture also infected Europe.
After a brief spell in West German prison which granted him his own local reputation as an outlaw hero to the subversive young, Baumann formed the clandestine terror group, the June 2 Movement, whose Mansonesque motto was “A Pig is a Pig … The Pig Must Be Offed!”
Under the aegis of the June 2 Movement, Baumann went underground, wanted by the German state as a Terrorist, arsonist and bank robber. He later served time for these crimes after a long adventurous period on the lam that brought him as far afield as India, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan. There he became involved in the highest levels of the shadowy global narcotics trade, with its murky connections to intelligence agencies. Baumann’s book Terror und Rausch, informed by that experience, sheds light on the same hidden connections between narcotics traffic and the governmental power structure which Manson so often refers to.
Even forty years later, Baumann still retains a fellow convict’s collegial pirate respect for Manson and has continued to follow the case.
When I asked him what attracted him to the Charlie mystique in his youth, he said,
“It was a big thing here in the newspapers as well when they got arrested. We had a certain sympathy because it ended all this naive hippie ‘have a nice day’ way of thinking. That love, peace and brown rice bullshit which doesn’t correspond with reality, let’s face it. So, we saw it as something that goes our way, so we supported Manson, based on what information we had. Yes, it was a bit gruesome but it stops all that idiotic bullshit. The whole idea that it went our way in that sense it was militant, it was clandestine. More extreme. We corresponded somehow … Here in Berlin he had many followers, several fans, the girls liked him, his clothes, his looks, a lot came together to create that image, of course. The real Marxist-Leninist and Maoist left-wing was appalled, of course, goes without saying, but to the counterculture, he was a hero, and somehow accepted. You could get his record, posters from America, and pictures of Manson were pasted up everywhere. He had a certain influence in 1969 and 1970.”
Baumann claims that the iconic German left-wing rock group Ton, Steine, Scherben were also Manson admirers, as were several prominent left-wing activists who eventually sold out to the establishment by becoming involved in mainstream political parties. Baumann suspected these reformed revolutionaies would no longer admit the Manson influence of their youth.
Most of Baumann’s surviving fellow revolutionaries fro the ‘68 generation have either compromised their insurrectionary ideals or continue to trade on a nostalgic romantic myth bearing little relation to reality. Baumann renounced terrorism after the police killed one of his fellow guerillas in 1972 but remains an outspoken critic of the system. He has recently made himself a controversial and uncomfortable figure in radical circles by breaking the taboo of critiquing his former comrades’ misguided but still glorified revolutionary actions, including the exploits of the fabled RAF, which he claims were largely inspired by West German intelligence operatives an police agent provocateurs.”
Experience the Official Video for Nikolas’s Song “LORD SUTEKH’S DREAM” Now Playing on the Nikolas Schreck Channel
THIS JUST IN! NIKOLAS SCHRECK OFFICIAL IS NOW ON INSTAGRAM! Sign Up Today and Receive All Updates. https://www.instagram.com/nikolas_schreck_official/
Be The First On Your Block To See The Official Video for
Nikolas’s New Song
The official concert film of Nikolas Schreck’s 28 May 2016 concert at Berlin’s Epicurean Escapism Festival, photographed and edited by Thorium Heavy Industries is now playing on The Nikolas Schreck Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5dXZsbtBmk
Tickets available in advance http://www.transformed.de/shop.html or at the door on the night of the concert.
From The Epicurean Website:
Nikolas Schreck is a musician, author, film-maker and religious teacher. His initiatory application of the arts formally began in 1984 when he returned to the West from a life-changing spiritual pilgrimage in Egypt to found the shapeshifting musical ensemble RADIO WEREWOLF, a nine-year sonic magic operation which concluded in 1993. His recent musical activities include the 2015 release of the Kingdom of Heaven album XXIII and a 2014 sonic magic ritual performed at the Tower Transmissions IV Festival in Dresden.
His Berlin performance at the Epicurean Escapism Festival 2016 will feature new solo work and reinterpretations of Radio Werewolf classics. Schreck has previously collaborated musically with Zeena, John Murphy, Death in June, NON and Sir Christopher Lee, whose first solo album he produced.
(photo: Zeena Schreck)
Here’s how the Epicurean record label’s press release announced today’s appearance of Nikolas’ new composition “Lord Sutekh’s Dream” on the Epicurean Escapism III compilation CD:
“NIKOLAS SCHRECK, the prominent voice of Radio Werewolf appears as a vaudevillian, with a perverse neo-psychedelic composition conveying allusions to the deity Lord Sutekh, merging European neoclassical with ethnic Indian music and poetry with an unmistakable Radio Werewolf accent.”
Hear the song here http://epicureanescapism.bandcamp.com/track/lord-sutekhs-dream
The CD including this piece, which is illustrated by Nikolas with art he drew exclusively for this release, is in a luxurious 6 panel 21 x 15 cm folder, 24-page catalogue, p on matt image paper with dispersion varnish and packaged in a transparent, sealable bag. Limited edition 350 copies. Includes unlimited streaming of Epicurean Escapism III via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Available now from The Epicurean Websitehttp://epicureanescapism.bandcamp.com/track/lord-sutekhs-dream. See below….
“EPICUREAN ESCAPISM III”
Epicurean Escapism III Compilation CD + Dave Phillips “Proceed With Inquiry“ DVD + 24-page catalogue
A manifesto of escapist longing, of taking things to a more extreme level, a quest for a complex contextual message: The third and final edition of the Epicurean Escapism compilation series again unites music, film and visual arts contributed by the most interesting acts in the field of experimental industrial music; exploring the viewpoint of escapism, sharing the vision of uncompromising utopian transgression, diving into this subjective counter-world. Enjoy and endure!
The CD starts with British veteran providers of the extreme, SUTCLIFFE JÜGEND, who present a straight forward power noise track with a pulsating electronic hook. Swedish units ALFARMANIA and SKIN AREA dig deep into the depraved consciousness, each of them with of their unique version of morbid industrial resonating with decay, while BUDRUS seduce the listener with beautifully melancholic Lithuanian poetry; German act GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA clank and rattle with their brand of organic industrial. NIKOLAS SCHRECK, the prominent voice of Radio Werewolf appears as a vaudevillian, with a perverse neo-psychedelic composition conveying allusions to the deity Lord Sutekh, merging European neoclassical with ethnic Indian music and poetry with an unmistakable Radio Werewolf accent. A very special treat also comes from LAST DOMINION LOST – one of the last recordings of John Murphy on drums can be heard on their ritual piece “To The Master, A Long Goodnight” dedicated to the master himself.
The contained DVD comprises video works, live performances and collaborations by radical Swiss sound artist DAVE PHILLIPS, sonically active since 1987, part of the notorious SCHIMPFLUCH GRUPPE (with Rudolf Eb.er, Joke Lanz) since 1991, having left his signature in numerous bands, projects and collaborations.
DAVE PHILLIPS uses sound as a means to activate primordial emotions otherwise hidden underneath the debris of civilization. His concept is called “Humanimalism” accordingly, meaning a state of mind that overcomes religious, material und supremacist charges of evolution, acknowledges itself as part of a whole and has grown into an empathic, conscious and connected creature allowing emotion and instinct their equal part in decision-making.
This collection presents his multifaceted work in composition, performance, psycho-acoustics, sonic rituals, voice, video, field recordings, objects and electronics, etc. in a yet unknown complexity and coherence of motion pictures. His performance work is revealed in all its undiluted brutality, the urgency and topicality of his work and his message is clearly evident, captivating and intensely documented.
Along with DAVE PHILLIPS’ video works created between 2014 and 2016, the DVD is a document of unique solo live actions and the notorious Paris 1996 performance of SCHIMPFLUCH-GRUPPE, as well as recent collaborations with G.X. JUPITTER LARSEN, and video artists PAKISE AKIN, JAN VAN HASSELT and REMOTE-CONTROL RECTUM, who in turn created their visual interpretations of PHILLIPS’ audio works. It all amounts to a mind-expanding experience, playing with altered perception and throwing back the viewer onto his own vision.
The compilation package is topped off with a 24-page catalogue with a text about the work of DAVE PHILLIPS, as well as a double page each with collages, pictures, drawings and lyrics representing the audio work of every artist featured on the CD.
Conception and compilation by The Epicurean 2015/16
Label: The Epicurean (D), Silken Tofu (BE)
1. SUTCLIFFE JÜGEND – Amuse-Bouche 6:04
DAVE PHILLIPS “PROCEED WITH INQUIRY” DVD
VIDEO WORKS: video action / scutigera / truth is invented by liars / threnody / rattus / daniel / iv ea pe
PERFORMANCES: schimpfluch-gruppe paris / abolishing religion / 130731 / hole/holy / screamscape / extreme rituals
COLLABORATIONS: as long as the victims may be quietly buried (with REMOTE-CONTROL RECTUM) / samstags nie (with PAKISE AKIN, JAN VAN HASSELT) /i curse you and all your kind (with REMOTE-CONTROL RECTUM) / ?10 (with G.X. JUPITTER LARSEN) / untitled #3 (with MOJU)
From a 2007 interview:
“Q: After a long time in the Hindu vamamarg tantra you converted to the Buddhist tantra. Can you say why you decided to make this change?
Nikolas Schreck: Taking refuge in Buddhism wasn’t a conscious decision. It was the result of spontaneous insights that came to me during a particularly intensive meditation session. Namely, what this flash of realization consisted of was that three of the basic Buddhist precepts I’d previously not accepted were undeniably true.
I don’t know how technical you want your paper to be, so I’ll try to put this in relatively simple terms. As you know, the Hindu-based Vama Marga’s yogic practices purify the personal atman, or eternal indestructible soul, refining it and dissolving the clouds of maya until the atman attains the state of one’s chosen deity, or ishtara-deva.
During this particular meditation, however, it dawned on me that yoking one’s mind to simply reincarnate as a deity rather than as a human being was still a relatively low step in the process of liberation. This accords with the Buddhist teaching that most of the gods are still enmeshed in the chain of samsara, and that their positive karma will eventually run out, which will return them to the lower states of being, such as human, animal, ghost, and hell-being. Through that realization, I understood that the aim of union with deity central to the Hindu-based Vama Marga was only one stage, but was not the end of the journey by any means.
The second understanding – and this came without words or conceptual thinking – was that the atman itself was an illusion of maya. In other words, what reincarnates is not a personal permanent soul. It’s merely another temporary and ever-changing set of mental conditions created by one’s actions in this and previous lives. And more importantly, that without letting go of that most subtle spiritual distillation of the ego, one could not possibly be liberated.
The third understanding, and this one broke most dramatically with my own deeply-seated belief system of many decades, was that all that appears to exist is not only maya, as it’s understood in the Hindu-based Vama Marga, but is in fact empty of all qualities when perceived without one’s subjective lens obscuring reality as it is. Previously, I worked on the thesis that behind the play of maya there was a permanently ”real” state of things hidden under the illusion. That idea popped like a balloon during the meditation as well.
Now, I had learned from many Buddhist meditation teachers in the past, most in the Zen tradition. But I had always accepted their meditation techniques without accepting the Buddhist truths stipulating the nature of the god realm as part of the wheel of suffering, rather than transcendent of it, the non-existence of a permanent soul, and emptiness.
In 1983, when my teacher gave me the abisheka into the Vama Marga, I made the typical youthful error of seeking only power, or Shakti, in the feminine force of the left-hand path. And Shakti certainly does provide power. It took many decades of meditative taming of the ego before I accepted that the Hindu left-hand path’s understanding of the leftwards feminine force as power is extremely limited if it’s not balanced by Buddhist left-hand path devotion to the feminine as wisdom, or prajna.
What was also lacking in my previous practice was one of the main things separating Hindu Tantra from Buddhist Tantra – specifically, that the final goal of initiation is not to be reborn in the bliss of the god realm but is to take up the bodhisatttva way of freeing all sentient beings from the causes of suffering.
A few days after this meditation, I experienced a vision too complicated to describe here. But it confirmed this change of spiritual direction. That convinced me to take refuge in the Three Jewels from a monk. I told him I thought it was ironic that it was through decades of meditative worship of the Hindu goddess Kali that I broke through to Buddhism. In a matter-of-fact way he said that in his native Sri Lanka some believe that Kali has been liberated by accepting the precepts of Buddhism, so he didn’t think it was strange at all. And when I took the Tantric vows shortly thereafter, I discovered that Kali is in fact revered in the pantheon of the vajrayana yidams.”
Read full interview here: http://nikolasschreck.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=67
“What was it like to during the Cold War and the Satanic Panic in the US to knowingly wear the stigma of “the most evil man in the world”? asks SANCTUARY webzine’s article about NIKOLAS. Partially a translation from Christopher Bickel’s excellent interview with NS in Dangerous Visions, even if you can’t read Czech or use Google Translate, you can enjoy the photos and music links. http://www.sanctuary.cz/12773-chuze-po-ostri-nikolase-schrecka