©
The Ratinger Straße, © Markus Luigs

Stone im Rat­inger Hof


Mi­cro­cosm of the mu­sic scene

?Al­though the Rat­inger Hof really was a tiny ven­ue, you knew that when you per­formed there, played a con­cert in the Hof, that you?d some­how made it. It might sound ab­surd. But that?s of­ten how it was?, ex­plains Gabi Del­gado, sing­er and text writer from the elec­tron­ic mu­sic band DAF, who today per­forms as a solo elec­tro/techno artist. Few clubs are so shrouded in le­gend and are so con­nec­ted to the emer­gence of an en­tire pop scene as the Rat­inger Hof. This small club with its bright neon lights be­came the centre of the Düs­sel­dorf mu­sic and art scene from the end of the 1970s. Here, per­form­ances by early punk bands Male and Char­ley?s Girls in­spired oth­ers to take up play­ing them­selves. Here, elec­tron­ic pi­on­eers such as Li­ais­ons Dangereuses or DAF de­veloped their raw aes­thet­ic. Here, Der Plan and the Fehl­farben, for ex­ample, in­ven­ted Ger­man-lan­guage pop texts us­ing a mix­ture of po­etry, Da­da­ism and double mean­ing. With­in the Rat­inger Hof en­vir­on­ment, an in­de­pend­ent la­bel that defined a genre, Ata Tak, was cre­ated, and sud­denly, in the early 1980s, hits such as the ska song ?Ein Jahr (Es ge­ht vor­an)? by Fehl­farben emerged from the Rat­inger Hof scene. Artists from the Kunstakademie were reg­u­lar guests, and they were in­flu­enced by the punks, as the punks were by them. The book by Rüdi­ger Esch, ?Elec­tri_City?, de­scribes many of these most im­port­ant mo­ments. It is in­cred­ible to find out how small this highly in­flu­en­tial scene ac­tu­ally was, and how of­ten the bands who played on one night re­turned as mem­bers of the audi­ence. And even today, there are big dif­fer­ences in the way this scene is per­ceived. For some, the Rat­inger Hof is the real birth­place of in­nov­at­ive, in­de­pend­ent Ger­man-lan­guage rock and punk mu­sic. For oth­ers, the memory of the con­flict-prone at­mo­sphere with­in the scene is stronger. As Jür­gen En­gler, who at that time was a mem­ber of Male, ex­plains: ?With the Rat­inger Hof, we had the CBGB of Düs­sel­dorf. In the old city, everything was con­cen­trated in­to a mi­cro­cosm in which the whole world met and forged plans. At first, it was like hav­ing a home out­side. But there was also an ex­treme level of com­pet­it­ive­ness in the scene. I don?t know where that came from. There was a lot of sneer­ing and there wasn?t much col­lab­or­a­tion. I think it?s be­cause the scene over­all was pretty Ger­man: this com­pet­it­ive­ness, this snide at­ti­tude, this want­ing to be part of an elite, and cri­ti­cising oth­ers. It also des­troyed quite a lot.? Per­haps it was these ten­sions in the Rat­inger Hof that triggered so much cre­ativ­ity, but which also meant that by the mid-1980s, the great years of the Rat­inger Hof had already come to an end. Today, the build­ing has changed. At the his­tor­ic site, you?ll now find an al­tern­at­ive club with oc­ca­sion­al punk con­certs.

Fur­ther In­form­a­tion:
Stone im Rat­inger Hof
Rat­inger Str. 10, 40213 Düs­sel­dorf

www.face­book.com/stone­im­rat­inger­hof

©
Campino, © Paul Ripke

Campino on the Rat­inger Hof