Die Toten Hosen – a National Treasure of Germany
In Finland, we all know the name Die Toten Hosen – but I doubt many of us understand how uniquely extraordinary band Die Toten Hosen actually is! I, for one, admit that I had no idea.
I had heard their music, and was aware that they’re hugely popular in Germany – but only after getting to know Kuddel I got to learn more about the significance of the band – not only for their music and popularity, but also as a fierce fighter against racism and antisemitism for decades. Hats off!
I am very happy and honored to add Andreas von Holst a.k.a. Kuddel to the family of Ruokangas players!
The left-handed one
Kuddel, whose real name is Andreas von Holst, is one of two guitarists of the Düsseldorf-based rock band Die Toten Hosen. More precisely, he is the left-handed guitarist in the band. And he is generally taken to be their musical mastermind.
At the young age of sixteen, he already joined the band ZK, one of the very early German punk bands. This was in 1980, and two years later the Toten Hosen emerged from the band ZK. At the time, Kuddel was still attending school, but he soon turned his back on this.
A chaotic punk rock gang…
The Toten Hosen might have begun as a chaotic punk rock gang, with no-one apart from Kuddel actually able to play any instrument at all, but they grew to eventually become Germany’s most successful rock band.
Death threats by Neonazis
Within their career, which spans several decades, they have experienced the most extraordinary moments: They recorded a John Peel Session; travelled to the GDR to play illegal concerts; engaged in street riots against the police; performed in a stage play; appeared onstage as openers for The Rolling Stones and U2; were invited by The Ramones to join them for their farewell concert; received death threats by Neonazis; founded their own record label; played unplugged in the renowned Burgtheater in Vienna; saved the football club Fortuna Düsseldorf from bankruptcy; and were made honorary citizens of Buenos Aires.
More than 14 million records
In Germany, every child has heard of the Toten Hosen, but they also visit regularly in Argentina, where they have a remarkably large fan base.
Live shows are the band’s DNA; in a way, they have travelled and played all over the globe. Up until today, the Toten Hosen have released seventeen studio albums and sold more than fourteen million records.
From stadiums to prisons…
In 2022, they celebrated their forty-year band jubilee with an opulent stadium tour. But alongside such gigantic stage shows, the band also enjoys playing their Magical Mystery Gigs, which take them to hospitals, mountain lodges, living rooms, prisons – wherever they are invited to.
Against racism and antisemitism
On top of this, the Toten Hosen are renowned for their political commitment against racism and antisemitism – a commitment which has been ongoing for decades. They advocate for various NGOs, they do not shy away from addressing painful issues, they have always championed a clear and straight-forward attitude.
Nothing to add
Charlie Harper of the UK Subs, one of those British punk bands that were the reason why Kuddel even became interested in playing the guitar as a kid in the first place, once described Die Toten Hosen as “probably the best unknown band in the world”. There is nothing to add to this.
Photographs by Bastian Bochinski