Exclusive Preview: Third extract from Scooter: Always Hardcore
Scooter: Always Hardcore is a new book documenting one of the world’s most successful—and polarizing—bands. Written, in close collaboration with the band, by Electronic Beats Editor-in-Chief Max Dax and Robert Defcon, we’re excited to be exclusively publishing a series of excerpts from the book. This time, “The After-Show”. You can also read the first, second and fourth extracts. Above, Scooter today, from left to right: Michael Simon, H.P. Baxxter, and Rick J. Jordan.
H.P. Baxxter – founding member and singer/shouter of Scooter
Rick J. Jordan – founding member and keyboard player of Scooter
Michael Simon – Scooter’s current second keyboard player
Jay Frog – ex-second keyboard player of Scooter
Kai Busse – another ex-tour manager of Scooter
Axel Coon – Scooter’s second keyboard player from 1998 to 2002
Marc Schilkowski – Scooter’s long-term cover designer
Moses Pelham – a German rapper (Rödelheim Hartreim Projekt) and record producer
Stefan Beutler – Scooter’s longterm lawyer
Rick J. Jordan: After a show we usually just chill out backstage for half an hour, drink some water and rehydrate.
Michael Simon: Everything is much more relaxed after we’ve played. Except for when the show was shit, which happens sometimes if we think that the fans didn’t really go off. I know that’s a bit of a luxury problem but sometimes you ask yourself why a crowd didn’t react in the same frenzied way that you find in other places. On rare occasions we might even discuss why it was like that, but that hardly ever happens. Most of the time H.P. is totally exhausted after a show and needs a bit of a rest. During this time we just sit around, sometimes a few friends come in as well or we’ll let some fans in and there’ll be a “meet and greet”, where we have photos taken and give autographs. After about half an hour the music is put back on, people start getting stuck into the drinks and the technicians usually come along as well. Sometimes one of them might get a bit of grief from us because he did something wrong, or he’ll get some praise because the sound on stage was so good. Sometimes we talk about the concert, other times we won’t. Occasionally we have a good laugh because something funny happened, like the time when Rick crashed through the stage floor. These sorts of things happen and we then talk about them, but actually about ninety percent of the time we just chill after a concert.
Axel Coon: From early on the handcart was an important feature of the Scooter backstage set up. Our then security man and tour manager, Andreas Mulder, the “Sergeant”, has had to carry it around ever since. They put everything into the handcart: vodka, Red Bull, wine, beer. H.P. doesn’t like waiting at a bar, so one day he gave the order: “Sergeant, we need a handcart. We will take it with us to every party and supply ourselves. Anyway, if we have a handcart, everyone will come to us”. He’s been proved right, the handcart has become a kind of Scooter trademark—when people see it people usually laugh and think, “Here come those nut jobs again with their cart.”
Kai Busse: Everything inevitably gets more extreme after everyone has had the chance to refocus. Because Scooter are often booked as the headliner for festivals, they usually are on stage between eleven pm and one am. After a show, it’s not like the night is over and everyone just goes back to the hotel to sleep—no way! As I used to be the one who organizes the whole thing by myself, I can say that the after-show parties had to be the main attraction, anyway. Scooter live according to the formula: work hard, party hard. May God have mercy on you if you haven’t reserved a corner in the best club in the city for the after-party, because we’re likely to show up there at three am.
Rick J. Jordan: We normally have one or two clubs that already know that we’re coming. Our tour manager has the job every evening of reserving us our own corner in the best club in town. That’s where things really get going so it’s important to have the right spot lined up.
Kai Busse: H.P. likes it when the club is already really packed and the right drinks are all there and ready. Of course the music has to be perfect too—and the more beautiful women that come party with us, the better. Organizing all of this was always a massive task and even after all the work it inevitably happens sometimes that there aren’t many people in the club or the music is shit or H.P. doesn’t like the atmosphere. When we were overseas we were always reliant upon locals giving us good tips about where to go. This was often the event organizers themselves, but sometimes even these people would try to sell us as a product and entice us to go to a club where they could get themselves a five hundred euro provision for getting us to show up. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to check all the details, particularly when you’re also dealing with a language barrier involved. I mean, try going to Novosibirsk and reserving a corner in an awesome club with good music and beautiful women, it’s not always easy! If things were going well, for every suggestion we were given I would have a Plan B, C, and D in my pocket, just in case.
Moses Pelham: I heard that there’s a sort of “forced partying” for those who try to bail out and go to bed after a show.
Jens Thiele: Yes, that’s correct. It’s more fun than forced labor.
Axel Coon: Sometimes when I was really tired and H.P. wanted to party I would say, “Oh no, not again—I’m going to my room.” But H.P. wouldn’t accept it and reply, “The Authority has given the order—it’s closing time!” and then they would all laugh themselves silly and I’d have to go with them, whether I wanted to or not.
Jens Thiele: If need be H.P. will come and drag everybody out of their beds to come party with him. That’s happened to me before and I have to admit it was pretty funny, so I went over and had drinks with them. After a show, H.P. is always really charged up. When he performs he is more exhausted than all the others around him and you can really sense this strong tension within him. I guess a different chemical reaction occurs in his body when he performs which means he can’t simply go and lie down in a bed after playing a show. It takes a lot longer for him to come down again compared to all the others. Because of this, “forced partying” has become a constant element of life on a Scooter tour.
H.P. Baxxter: At some point, this whole thing about the “forced partying” came about because I like it when we sit together after a show and have a few drinks. Some people always have this urge to go to bed too early, they get tired straight away and want to go and lie down. So I wake these people back up. It is an unwritten law that after a show people also have to make an appearance at the bar.
Jay Frog: I sometimes ask myself where H.P. gets all his energy. Sometimes after a show I would be totally wrecked and would just want to go to bed but as soon as I mentioned that I might leave I would hear these words come from H.P. in a threatening voice: “Jay, stay here. I am enforcing the rule and you must come party.” Sometimes that was pretty brutal. Due to this situation I would use every available minute to get some sleep, whether it be on flights, in the car—whenever we had a break I would have a nap because I knew what was in store for me in the evening.
Marc Schilkowski: Why does a dog lick its own balls? Because he can. I’m no psychologist, but this whole situation with H.P. loving to party all the time surely has something to do with the fact that he has the constitution of an ox. Eventually he might fall over, but because he always parties with an entourage he knows that if need be he will be brought back safely to the hotel. What’s more, you can be sure that he will turn up on time the next day to attend the video shoot.
Michael Simon: When on tour, you’re sitting on the tour bus all day and by the evening you’re understandably tired. When we then arrive at the hotel after the show, most of the time we’d be happy to simply go lie in bed. But it would often happen that H.P. would come into our rooms with his tour manager—the “Sergeant”—and violently drag us half-naked into the hallway and then to the hotel bar. That’s what you call forced partying! When a massive guy comes into your room at night and says, “You all have to come party with H.P.,” then you don’t argue. H.P. would always be really wired and we’d just hang around there with him really exhausted. H.P. is a night person and always wants to party with other people. He wouldn’t even allow us time to get properly dressed, so the girls would be sitting there in the bar in their pyjamas and we would be just in our underpants listening to techno. We would have to stay there until H.P. eventually got tired. Unlike the rest of us however, he could then sleep in properly in the morning because he would travel behind us with his chauffeur, whereas we had to get on the tour bus absolutely wrecked at eight a.m.. H.P. loves doing that sort of thing, he likes to constantly test how far he can go.
H.P. Baxxter: In the first few years, it was always the hotel bar. Later the forced partying turned more in the direction of clubs and after-show parties.
Marc Schilkowski: In Berlin, we would often go to 90°, or to Felix, KaterHolzig or the Weekend club. H.P. likes going to the most expensive high-end bars but also to the most rundown underground places. He knows what he’s talking about when he talks about Hamburg’s Pudel Club or Berlin’s Tresor. He was there. I was often H.P.’s scout when it came to selecting the right club to go to after a concert.
Moses Pelham: H.P. always knows which is the hottest club in whatever city.
Kai Busse: If a club was shit, we’d go to the next club. This might be repeated a few times and, if all else failed, we’d just go to a strip club. The main thing was that there were girls there and people were dancing. That was a typical night out on tour with Scooter.
Marc Schilkowski: H.P. is persistent but at the same time he can be very obliging. He drinks until he can’t walk anymore, but the next day he will call you from the back of a limousine and ask you in a husky voice whether you made it home OK.
Stefan Beutler: When H.P. drinks a lot, there’s no major change in his personality except maybe he talks a bit more slowly. When you’re with H.P. you don’t have a choice in what you drink—he will put a vodka or gin and tonic in your hand without giving you the chance to choose or decline anything. It’s always hard liquor and of course as part of it all you have to do a toast with him.
Jay Frog: The weirdest after-show party ever was in 2003/04 after a concert in Norway—we didn’t have one! This came about because Jackass went on stage before our performance. They had told the audience that they should throw bottles, cans, and whatever else it was possible to get hold of. As soon as we came out, the first water bottle flew on stage and although in the past this kind of behavior has resulted in H.P. receiving cuts to his head, we started playing. As they continued to throw cans and full bottles on stage—one of them flew past me so closely that I could feel the air move—we stopped our set and H.P. announced that we would stop playing if anything else was thrown onto the stage. Then Rick chucked the music back on but after just thirty-eight seconds—he could see that on his display—another bottle was thrown onto the stage. H.P. then threw his microphone into the crowd and we left the stage immediately and got in the van and drove away. Everyone thought that we would come back, but we didn’t. We then went to the hotel where I amused myself with the crew. At one point I heard a loud crack but I ignored it and didn’t give it any more thought. The next day I looked out the window and saw a broken TV lying there in the grass. I came down to the car and H.P. was sitting in the left hand back seat grinning and writing something on his phone. I asked him, “Is that your TV there?”, to which he replied, “Yep,” and laughed.
H.P. Baxxter: It is very important to have a strong image if you want to survive in show business. Something people can talk about. It would have been spectacular if we had an aeroplane with our name written on it. That all being said, we would never think to change our logo. That logo has been with us for almost two decades. I have to admit that I’m a little bit jealous of Einstürzende Neubauten with their perfect logo. I can only think of one other brand that has a similarly strong effect on me, and that’s Veuve Clicquot. There’s something about that orange color. It will sometimes happen to me that when I go to the register with a bottle of Veuve, the well-meaning shop assistant will give me a tip that he has better champagne on offer for a lower price. But I would never think to buy some nameless champagne. I want the orange one. It’s the same with Motörhead; there were dozens of bands that were as loud as Motörhead but none had a logo that was as strong as theirs. Doing crazy things is also part of having a strong image. Back when I was twelve or thirteen years old and still listened to hard rock, I was a fan of Richie Blackmore because he always used to destroy his guitars during performances. You simply knew he would. It was never spontaneous, it was always practiced and choreographed, but that didn’t affect my excitement at witnessing this act in the slightest. Throwing a TV out of your hotel room also falls into this category. ~
Scooter: Always Hardcore is published on November 18th. Scooter’s exclusive 20th anniversary performance takes place in Hamburg on December 5th (win tickets here) and will be live streamed on our site.
Published November 18, 2013. Words by Max Dax.