In November 1981 a concert titled "Berliner Krankheit" is to take place in the Berlin club SO36. Invited are among others the Einstürzende Neubauten – and The Deadly Doris. However, the organizer did not ask the band before the concert. One would only have learned about posters that one should play in the evening, writes deadly Doris singer Wolfgang Müller in his memoir book "Subculture West Berlin 1979-1989". A cancellation is not accepted by the organizer, and at least there are 300 Mark Gage. Nevertheless, Müller, Dagmar Dimitroff (drums) and Nikolaus Utermöhlen (guitar) do not want to put on stage this evening.
Instead, the experiment "The deadly Doris in foreign incarnation" is carried out: Three people who do not know each other and had nothing to do with the band, get the money, rehearsing a week before the concert their own music to texts of the dead Doris and then play live.
The concert in SO36 takes place, but the band members are in the audience and almost watch themselves. "It's a wonderful experience," remembers Wolfgang Müller, "to be able to see your own body with great distance and to discover that he is not only body, but also has his own mind." According to the idea, the deadly Doris should also exist beyond Müller, Dimitroff and Utermöhlen.
The anecdote reveals the aesthetic concept of Deadly Doris, which has now released a new album over 30 years after its dissolution in 1987: "The typical thing – reenactment (I)". The rigorous denial of the common is the first thing that stands out in this music – 1981 as in 2019. Denial, however, not as a heroic gesture, but as a playful, undermining every clear attribution strategy.
Other bands in the West Berlin of the eighties were always clearly to locate in all their forced offshore noise. The Einstürzende Neubauten, for example, were soon identifiable as "those with the construction site equipment and the Pathos texts" after their founding. The deadly Doris, however, operates between performance art and pop and wants to remain intangible, then as now. "Everything fluid, open and alive can become solid, rigid and dead through habituation and repetition," writes Müller.
Womanizer 2Go in lipstick look
The imaginative attempts to remain indefinable resulted in a multifaceted work that was temporarily forgotten in the nineties, but now in six volumes,, two at , has been comprehensively worked up. The Deadly Doris released cassettes and LPs between 1980 and 1987, including two plates that, when played at the same time, make an invisible third, as well as 4-inch mini phono records. The first three, later four band members fabricated in their wedding also a sheer unmanageable number of performances, Super 8 films, texts, photographs and drawings.
Dagmar Dimitroff died in 1990, Nikolaus Utermöhlen in 1996. Today, the deadly Doris is above all a project of Wolfgang Müller. The now published, alleged re-enactment of the very first Doris cassette "The typical thing" from 1981 initially raises puzzles.
The box contains a record with 31 about one-minute shots of different dildo and vibrator models. Attached are very nice drawn device portraits of, the fourth member of the deadly Doris, who has largely disappeared from the public since 1990. There are also lyrics: The author Katrin Kämpf has reviewed the individual devices, which reads like this: "Womanizer 2Go is marketed as a lipstick look-a-Like travel version of the popular clitoral purging, but is in fact almost as big as the standard variant ".
You can try to approach this strange object through the sound. For example, the "Feather" model makes a rushing loop, while the "Vortex Vibration" white noise and the "Motörhead Overkill" produce percussive sounds. "Little Paul" sounds like a persistent insect. As ambient music, the Gesurre and Knockfe certainly does not work. ()
Even according to common criteria of what good music is, what the Deadly Doris does is largely inaudible. Nevertheless she is fun and courage. It combines the conceptual freedom of the avant-garde, which in practice is too often constricted by sacred austerity, with a not-so-ridiculous cheerfulness. You do not have to understand all this. But it's nice to be able to listen to a record with dildo and vibrator sounds, even though it's hard to say why. But you do not always have to put everything on the term, that is a key insight. As long as it stays fluid, open and alive, it's good.
It is not in the case of this music, first and foremost, how it sounds. It is about ideas that open up possibilities, instead of clogging potential by definition and assignment. Life in the Kreuzberg of the eighties was, with all the hatred shown, determined by a form of lightness that today seems impossible.
A place that was largely freed from coercion to wage labor and self-optimization, freed from conscription and abstrus high rents. This lightness is still noticeable in the sounds on "The typical thing – reenactment (I)". Dealing with the plate takes away from the heaviness of the world.
The Deadly Doris: "The typical thing – reenactment (I)" is on March 8 at appeared.