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Die Toten Hosen’s Campino hails Derry band The Undertones as trailblazers!

Punk Legend Pays Tribute While Visiting Mural of Band That helped inspire Germany's Biggest Musical Phenomenon

The Undertones have inspired many major bands around the world, one of them being one of Germany’s biggest – punk pioneers Die Toten Hosen. Campino, the frontman of the popular punk rockers, visited Londonderry/Derry over the weekend to team up with the  Northern Irish band in their hometown.

In the late 1970s, a photograph of the young Undertones was taken while they were perched on a wall in a nearby park. The band’s guitarist, Damian O’Neill, told BBC News NI that 45 years ago, he would have found it laughable if someone had said he would be memorialised on a wall in Derry.

The painting was created based on the now iconic photograph taken by the late Derry Journal photographer Larry Doherty which coincided with the release of ‘Teenage Kicks’.

Since 1982, the German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen has sold an impressive 19 million records, one of which is their own rendition ‘Teenage Kicks’.

Campino told the BBC that the Undertones most popular song had “a certain feeling to it.”

When Campino was a teenager in the 1970s, he encountered The Undertones in Dusseldorf.

“We were lucky – they [The Undertones] came to Germany in 1979 and we were blown away by them. Since then, we have been big fans and followers.”

in 2015 Campino asked The Undertones to play a few shows with Die Toten Hosen in Germany, and since those days, they’ve been friends. “Fans and friends,” Campino says

Campino mentioned that when one looks back at that time in Northern Ireland, The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers can be seen as pioneers influencing later bands such as Green Day to become globally successful.

He said the music was uncomplicated and straightforward, yet it didn’t contain the political cliches that numerous punk bands during that era had. “Therefore, it was easy and enjoyable to listen to during those difficult times.”

O’Neill stated that the music of The Undertones was generated as a result of their boredom and that they were experiencing considerable hardship for an extended period of time in Derry due to the fact that they were being harassed for their punkish appearance, their unconventional attire and their cropped hair.

He said he’s pleased to think that the band’s efforts are now being acknowledged and everyone is thrilled with the new mural and remarked that his mum and dad “would be lifted” if they were able to witness the mural today.

Drummer, Billy Doherty, expressed his feelings of being “honoured and humbled” to have been memorialised on a wall in his hometown, but he also noted that the parents of the band members would be even more “honoured and thrilled” that their children had been painted on wall in Derry. 

Guitarist Mickey Bradley commented that the mural “captures us in a perfect moment”. He jokingly remarked that by gesturing and doing the ‘cheesy’ things, they were taking the ‘star’ out of the showbiz business

The Undertones are obviously highly regarded in Derry, judging by the positive reaction the new mural has received. 

Read the full BBC interview here.

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