Blue Flower

In 1989 I decided to change the name of the label from Anti-Schelski Records to Crucial Response Records. Anti-Schelski Records was a sophisticated name to express my feelings against the conservative government in Germany which was a coalition between the christ social and liberal party under chancellor Helmut Kohl at the time. Helmut Schelsky, a fundamental conservative sociologist, preached that the difference between the rich and the poor class would be become less and less. But the reality was quite the opposite. Instead of an ”y” I choosed an ”i”, so I named the label Anti-Schelski Records in 1987. I can’t remember why I did this but I feared that the guy would sue me probably. Funny thing is that he already died in 1984 which I didn’t knew at the time. The change of the label name made sense for several reasons. Anti-Schelski was too sophisticated and Crucial Response Records is a more common name, it expressed very well how I felt about straight edge. At the same time iit was also an appropiate name for running a hardcore label. The name Crucial Response was taken from a fanzine Marc Zeyen, a friend of mine and I was planning to do. I can’t remember if he already made the logo for the fanzine or if he designed the logo later on, but I ended up using the name Crucial Response for the label.

Anti-Schelski Records started in 1987 with the release of the Chronical Diarrhoea ”Royal Diarrhoea” 7” which was later released on a 12”EP. Anti-Schelski Records also released a 7” by Challenger Crew ”s/t” 7“, a band from the South of Germany, and a 7” compilation named ”Small Bands, Big Sound” with Anti-Toxin, Spermbirds and Crowd Of Isolated. The Profound ”Integrity” 7” was the last release on Anti-Schelski Records. The second pressing was already pressed under the new name Crucial Response Records.

It was clear from the beginning that the main focus for Crucial Response Records is releasing bands from Europe. It happened though that Crucial Response put out also bands from North America on occasion: Impact Unit, Far Cry, Brotherhood, Youth Korps, Get The Most, Over The Line. The DIY ethic was another important factor starting the label. The postage was cheap, so I sold the records at a really low price. Crucial Response Records was inspired by Touch & Go, X-Claim and Dischord Records but also Schism and Revelation Records. Two friends of mine, Georg Opora and Andreas Grüter, pulled me into straight edge. Through Andreas and Georg I became friend with Marc. I just can’t remember exactly when we all first met but it must be around 1987. I’ve met Marc a bit later, probably around 1988. Andreas and Georg would help me out a lot with the label, Marc was designing some sleeves for the label: Small Big Sound compilation, Think Twice, Spirit Of Youth and Onward 7”.

At the time we put the Profound ”Integrity” 7” together there had been a lot of actitivity in Europe esp. when Youth Of Today were touring in the beginning of 1989. Betray, a young band from Amsterdam, decided to put out a 7” on Crucial Response Records. Marc Hanou, their bass player, was doing Revelation Records Europe at the time. I was eager to put out a record by ManLfitingBanner after Profound transformed into ManLiftingBanner. They added Roland Roller aka Big (x-Changing System) as second guitar player to the line-up. The music became more powerful and intense. The message became outspoken on communism which reflects in their songs ”Commitment To Communism”, ”New October” etc. Before the ”Myth Of Freedom” 7” the guys decided to record the ”Christmas Sucks” 7” under the name Colt Turkey. It was the european answer to Project X 7” and the warm up for the upcoming 7”.

The Betray ”s/t” 7”, the Colt Turkey ”Christmas Sucks” 7” came out all in 1990. The ”Myth Of Freedom” 7” was released in 1991. With the money coming from those records I was able to put out the Onward ”s/t” 7”. I knew Peter Amdam, their guitar player since 1989 when we were writing letters. Onward debuted with the 7” on Crucial Response Records. I was saving up extra money for the upcoming ”Share Common Ground” LP compilation which came out in 1992 which featured six bands from Europe. The compilation was a benefit for war-disabled children. Bart Griffioen from ManLiftingBanner was helping with the design of the sleeve and Marc Zeyen designed the booklet. Bart was also doing the design for the Profound 7”, Colt Turkey 7”, all DeadStoolPigeon and all ManLiftingBanner records. Money was tight but somehow I‘ve managed to put out the ManLiftingBanner ”Ten Inches That Shook The World” 10”. In the summer '92 of Michael Mueller from Counter Clockwise fanzine and I were setting up a tour for Onward and Blindfold. I’m still amazed about the tour. Everything was set up by us, total D.I.Y. The shows were fun as hell. A couple of weeks later we set up a tour by ManLiftingBanner and Feeding The Fire.

By 1992 new people came into the scene. Spawn started the same year and became popular quickly. The band helped to establish a new and energetic scene in the Ruhrpott area. They toured with Feeding The Fire in Europe twice and put out several records. They also toured North America once before breaking up in 1997. By then most of the first wave of hardcore bands had already split up: Think Twice, ManLiftingBanner, Feeding The Fire, Backdraft. Onward who had broken up in 1993, reformed in 1995 with Trond Saettem, their new singer. In Norway and Netherlands a new breed of bands were forming. After ManLiftingBanner broke up, Big formed a new band named Mainstrike. The band was more focused on straight edge and spiritual things. Onward and Mainstrike went on tour together in October 1995. This was the first time Onward supported the ”In A Different Place” album which they put out on Crucial Response Records in 1993. Mainstrike‘s ”Times Still Here” 7” came out a few days before the tour. When both bands returned from the tour the hardcore scene exploded in Norway and the Netherlands.

”Times Still Here” was recorded at Bunt Studio, in Utrecht, Netherlands. Menno, the second half, of Bunt studio, helped the bands to get the right recording. He was always patient and in the end the band would get home with a decent recording. Bunt Studio became quite famous and a lot of hardcore/ punk bands recorded at his place. ManLiftingBanner, Colt Turkey, DeadStoolPigeon, Mainstrike, Birds Of A Feather, No Denail, Feeding The Fire, Backdraft, Spawn, True Blue, Eyeball, Black Friday ’29 and Death Or Glory all recorded there.

1997 became the crucial year for the label. The ”Big Four” Eyeball, Onward, Sportswear and Mainstrike helped to increase the popularity of the label. Onward played shows till late fall of 1998 before the band faded away. The never split up to my knowledge. Sportswear, the other band of Peter Amdam and Arne Haabeth, got more into focus. Sportswear was meant to be a project band playing classic hardcore covers. Within the shortest time they transformed into a ”real band” when they started writing their own songs. They toured Scandinavia, Europe and beyond but broke up in in February 1999. Mainstrike would last a bit longer than Sportwear. They played shows through Europe and toured USA before playing a last thriumphant show October 30, 1999 at the Goudvishal, Arnhem. When Spawn was falling apart Daniel Frankowski decided to start a new band named ”Eyeball”. They took the scene by storm when they recorded two tracks for the ”For The Sake Of Dedication” LP compilation. Eyeball toured through Europe and Scandinavia, mostly small weekend trips. They split up in January 1999 when Daniel moved from Germany to Norway. Eyeball, Mainstrike, Onward and Sportswear were all on the ”For The Sake Of Dedication”. This LP compilation were launched to document the international straight edge hardcore scene during this time.

The late nineties and early 2000 saw the formation of many more bands, including Know Your Enemy, No Denial, Black Friday ’29, Death or Glory, Enforcer, True Blue, Afterlife, Damage Control, Subject To Change. René Natzel of True Blue was also responsible for several record sleeves during the nineties: Onward, Sportswear, Rectify, Tiebreak, Another Reason, Spawn, Over The Line. Crucial Response Records put out another LP compilation named ”One Track Mind” in 2003. It featured european hardcore bands who were around at this preriod. Most bands from this era broke up pretty quickly. Another Reason, Know Your Enemy and Death Or Glory broke up by the time the record came out or shortly after. This caused financial problems for the label. However True Blue were on their mission they played with all different kind of bands and toured the USA but broke up by 2002. No Denial continued to play shows till the end of 2004. Afterlife played shows till the summer of 2004 and then broke up. Some members continued under a new name ”The Defense”. Unfortunately the band played only a few gigs outside Spain, so they are relatively unknown. Enforcer made a short trip to Europe in the summer of 2006 before splitting up. New bands appeared Abusive Action, Downslide, Strike First and Birds Of A Feather and the crop made follow-up records.

In March 2008 I moved with Crucial Response into a new building in Duisburg-Meiderich. There are simply too many records stored after I began with the online mailorder in 2006. Crucial Response Records was operating from my parents house from the beginnng till 2008. Carsten Grob a friend of mine helped me to create a new website for the label based on a content management system. This made things way easier to handle the website, he also re-designed the mailorder online store which I set up in 2006.

By 2007 new bands came out on Crucial Response Records: One Voice, Commitment Crew. Get The Most. In 2009 I released the Insurance Risk ”How Much More” 7" with the second 7” ”No Pity” on one LP named ”Violence In Our Minds”. The One Voice ”Break Free” reissue came on LP with the demo and an additional compilation track. 2011 was a really meager year, no release came out. However I was working on a compilation LP named ”Starting From Zero” which took a lot of time. 2012 was sort of a comeback year: Shipwrecked ”The Last Pagans” and ManLitingBanner ”The Revolution Conrinues” records came out. By the end of 2013 the Starting From Zero LP compilation came out finally. I had been working on this comp for a little more than four years. It has 34 songs by 24 bands. Marc Zeyen designed the record sleeve and booklet.

What brings the future? More records hopefully. ManLiftingBanner are recording a new LP and Sex Drive from Netherlands will record a 12”EP, so stay tuned!

Peter Hoeren, February 2014