If I had to pick out only 1 single band for a blog post on to the entire area of Norwegian punk, I would most definitely go for KJØTT, a five piece unit existing from 1979-81. What they were able to achieve during those 3 years, is outstanding, whether you talk music, lyrics, artwork or creative progress.
KJØTT formed in Oslo,1979. Originally under the name DÅRLIG KARMA (“Bad Karma”)*, but soon changed it to KJØTT. The first suggestion was in fact RØDT KJØTT (“Red Meat”), a line that appears in the early song ”Flue”(“Fly”) on the debut EP of 1980, but to avoid any association with leftist choir “Rødt Kor”(“Red Choir”), they simply went for “Kjøtt”.   

Helge Gaarder (RIP) and guitarist Erik Asheim got together late 1978 and made plans for a band. They seemed  to agree on a project influenced by the latest trend within rock n roll; a revival of the simplest formula of the genre, a tradition that barely had survived the years of psychedelia and prog. The few artist who didn't t indulge in 10 minute long songs, with endless tempo shifts, guitar solos and technical show offs, were to become the Godfathers of a new trend, which had its final breakthrough in 1977: VELVET UNDERGROUND, THE STOOGES, MC 5 and the NEW YORK DOLLS. Frankly, most of these pioneers were not technically adept at the grandiose excesses of neither psychedelia or prog, so there was no other way but to go back in time. To an area when rock still was simple and formulaic, in form and appearance: elementary straightforward beats, three chord songs, sparse in overall sound and featuring vocalists who could not sing, or at least not like ROBERT PLANT.

ICONIC: Iggy Pop on the cover of  Raw Power.

IGGY POP of THE STOOGES once confessed, in the documentary Punk Generation (2001), he used to compensate for his lack of a classically trained voice by acting like a total maniac on stage, wearing bizarre outfits or no outfits at all, cutting himself up with a knife and diving into the audience.
To get a general idea of what THE STOOGES was all about, their Raw Power so to say, it was more than sufficient just to feel the punch of their music for a brief second, bursting out of the speakers in your home or concert place. IGGY is the white Motor City drug fueled swagger doing MICK JAGGER parodies, emotionally equalized to point zero, maybe even going beyond that, like arguably ZEPPELIN does in the lyrics of “Stairway To Heaven” or which also is to be sensed in the entire written legacy(and life) of JIM MORRISON.The raw and primitive beats, power chord riffs hammered out in a nihilistic swing of an arm, the in your face vocals, mainly dropping off  key words of the direction of movement to come: “Search & Destroy”, “Gimme Danger”, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “No Fun”. If someone should have a fair chance of becoming the official authors of slogans to be used on the common parole of punk, it has to be THE STOOGES.

 BLACK VELVET: Velvet Underground, 1966.

LOU REED and his VELVET UNDERGROUND seemed to be pondering similar expressive strategies, devoting themselves to concepts of image (black clothing, sunglasses) stage appearance and strange notes. The definite drug fueled Walk On the Wild Side as VU indeed stood out as, was lending just as much to chemical substances, sado masochism, electroshock treatment and street hookers as beat poetry, French fin de sicle and Bob Dylan. The results turned out as kinky obscene prose poems, fused with a backline that sounded like some electrified archaic legion from hell.

The core in the experience of  the strange music of VU, is an eroticised and angst ridden electricity, engineered by a Daemonic sideshow of the white urban hipster circus troop, Exploding Plastic Inevitable, held together by the razor sharp visions of the pop cultural genius(Andy Warhol). Like Warhols own art production, like for instance the electric chair of his Death Series, your invited  into the realms of the twilight of the idols. The  stuff that scare or apparently disgust you , even compromise your interest, health or existence, can nonetheless  attract your eye or intellect, until it possess  all of your mind, like with the great Marquise de Sade or Aleister Crowley.  This is the divine moment of a wholeheartedly  embrace and celebration of the entire life cycle. Life as death. Dark as Light. Good as evil.

LIAISON DANGEREUSE:  Spot on, Beranek! 

VELVET UNDERGROUND is the sinister post-apocalyptic aftermath ensemble, scuffled together around a fallen idol altar in the shadows of a Black polluted sun*. They could attest as some bizarre soundtrack Ingmar Bergman might considered to use if he was to remake his The Seventh Seal 10 years after. Needless to say, even writing the first official Satanic year of 1966, according to Anton La Vey, this change in his sound script would even draw huge benefits from the ever progressing(“till death do us apart”) nihilistic decay and moral corruption passed on to the hipster/artist resentment during those extra 10 years. VU sounds like an electrified pagan procession, though with an unstable conscience and a shattering faith, foretelling the ultimate end  of this world. At display, this wolf pack of popular culture exemplifies the embodiment of the modern disciples of the one with wings, who might appear as an angel or fly, it all depends.  You can clearly sense the neurotic nature of uppers and their possessive imperatives of lust invades the air that was to become the atmosphere of the new rock trend KJØTT emerged from, Sound of Danger, like Espen Beranek Holm(member of Gaarders shortlived Spastisk Ekstase) entitled his 1981 album.

What seemed to be the present in the days  of KJØTT getting together, was a strange dissident sensation of the cruel beauty underlying most aspects of our society of today, an eroticized violence of modern civilization.  A ravishingly grim outlook , that corresponds both with Les Fleurs du Mal ** and the more recent Ballardian *** state of mind: Bleak dystopian projections of man. Sexualized technology, flesh and binary codes melt together during an intercourse between man and his creation, the machine. This is a trans modern psyche of apotheosis, an elevation of the human status to the divine, which also goes well along with the Nietzschean concept of “overcoming man”. The trans modern is also the trans human.  A metamorphosis , like the one that s depictured in Kurt Neumanns The Fly(1958), later remade by Ballardist David Cronenberg(1986).        

“Over your window you think I'm confused
I'm waiting for the divergent wasp
To complete my current ruse
You use a plate-glass screen
To protect my chosen target
But there's an air-pellet hole
I can crawl through to you”

“I Am The Fly”

The KJØTT song which the band name was taken from,“Flue”, never go as far in the process of metamorphosis as the Cronenberg  film or  WIRE song. This completed transformation, the making of a hydride man/fly, is only hinted at, without ever crossing the threshold of material form. The words are merely contemplating a sensation of his human body as mind, where the fly only has the function of describing the essence of it, the claustrophobia and the intense itch of his skin. The perception of “5000 flies warmed up at once”, is a vision that mainly would underline the feeling of panic and desperation in such an envisioned physical/psychic condition, being trapped inside a room with so many flies, although the metaphor has another side to it.

The idea of 5000 flies coming to life at once, also hints at the feeling of energy, electrification, sensed in such an amount of energy released at once: This is probably why he makes sure to also describe this vision, 5000 flies coming to life in one big buzzbomb,  as “an electric gift”. If you compare the “Flue” lyrics with the other Gaarder penned song on the same release, “Blålys”(“Blue Light”), they both points vaguely in direction of crossing that biophysical bridge, between the identity of a human being and the Fly. In both of the songs, a hunch comes on strong towards the end of the lyrics, suggesting his body is invaded by these flies, penetrating his skin, his eyes, mouth and ears. They seem to inject into his human conscience some of their everyday experience  with life:  escaping a presence of danger, something that might crush or kill us, which evokes a feeling of distress that mobilizes the so called flight/fight mechanism in our brain, accelerating all body functions to the maximum.  

BAND ON THE RUN: Kjøtt makes a run for it, seeking new danger, 1981. Photo:PetterBerg.

One year prior to the KJØTT debut EP, Et Nytt Og Bedre Liv (FS,1979), Gaarder features on the slightly embarrassing hippie release by a project named GEITOST(“Goat Cheese”), which probably rose from idea to realization within a couple of hours(or maximum the time span of a LSD trip), judging from the poor sound of it. Parklåta(“Park Tune”), not surprisingly on their own label, Brød(“Bread”) Rec,1978) was your typical hippie homage to the “happening” or “sit down” of long haired, bare feet people in the park, unfortunately 10 years too late and in such a bad recording and sound that the world would not have known it to any price.

I doubt any of the participants in this obscure affair had touched any instrument before the recording buttons were hit. The same goes for the possibility of a skilled producer present. The center point of this production of a childlike experimentation with brand new toys, was Jan Bojer Vindheims declamation of some lesser complex notions on the obvious presence of authority, disliking the harassment he and his hippy friends have been receiving lately by the local police force, for smoking pot and other acts of disobedience. Poetry read out with the pretentiousness of a gutter snipe, by the probably just as drunk on red wine as tripping Vindheim. This grassroots green politician to come, later removed his credit from this release and will not acknowledge it to this day. I understand him to a certain point, but compared to much of his other works, some books and extensive contributions for the freak magazine Gateavisa, Parklåta will at least fit the spirit, for better or worse. Gaarder also wrote in Gateavisa and this might also be the link that brought him into this project. Unlike Vindheim, Gaarder confessed his part of the single in the infamous Det Nye interview of 1981. On question on about previous experience with music before founding KJØTT: 

“…It was something entirely different. Not straight rock. Hash music...”

Helge Gaarder on previous band GEITOST.

One year after the GEITOST release, Gaarder had now converted  to the other side of the line, to the camp(almost in double meaning) of the heterogeneous milieu of the new generation, which Malcolm McLaren was the first to gather under the same name,give form and a minimum of content  and then callously explore of marketing and commercial potential. Just to rob it all together with his wife and “Sex” boutique partner, Vivienne Westwood, the brilliant UK artist and friend of McLaren, Jamie Reid, who did all of the classic artwork of SEX PISTOLS. There is another and more esoteric side to the latter but I am already in deep shit in regards to the amount of text vs space.

In the prelude of another generation shift in zeitgeist, McLaren was determined to create something new, something obliged to rebel against the previous template of counter culture. Even though very fascinated by the radical ideas of the revolutionary 60s, he made sure to insert a distance to both  to Hippy and Prog music from an early time on.  On the first official event of Punk as articulated genre, “100 club Punk Special” in London ,1976, McLaren avoided the term “festival”, like a castle in possession of the enemy. Later on he penned the slogan  “Never Trust A Hippy”, just to give the impression of a hostility to all previous modes of counter culture, much like the classic Italian futurists positioned themselves towards the traditions of the past.

Helge Gaarders  radical turnover from hippy to punk should only be considered as perfectly healthy for a young and restless soul, in those or any given days. A turnover that goes well along with the sensibility of a flâneur, which I personally find much easier to comprehend than the stubborn and steadfast refusal to move as much as an inch. It was probably with the greatest eager he now went into the simple rock formula brought along by punk. The first two releases by KJØTT qualifies the punk tag, without doubt; the music is fast and rough, typically the kind of rock music that indeed has an physical effect on the audience or listener, talking directly to the body, without any required understanding or interpretation. Your feet start to tap ad you might even join the violent pit of pogo and slam dancing.ever called himself a “punk” or even identified himself with the growing scene in Oslo or elsewhere, but this was as close he could get. As we shall see, the name would prove to be a suitable one, not at least after taking a closer look at the lyrical legacy of the band.

BOOTMEAT: Kjøtt live 1981 bootleg.

If you want to determine the musical influences of a band, it is often fruitful to see what kind of covers they used to do.. The IGGY & THE STOOGES link is probably the easiest to catch. A bootleg of KJØTT live from a small town called Harstad recorded in 1981, features both "TV Eye" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog".

In one of the first interviews that the band ever did (Nye Takter April,1980), we are told that KJØTT played both the RAMONES hit "Blitzkrieg Bop", THE WHOs "My Generation" and ROLLING STONE´S "The Last Time", a typical trio of classics to encompass the many young bands trying to learn how to play rock n roll. THE WHO is also name checked by Krohn in Det Nye interview, together with SEX PISTOLS,RAMONES, IGGY POP and DEEP PURPLE, while Gaarder mentioned THE CLASH, A CERTAIN RATIO, NEW ORDER and TALKING HEADS, all names that should sit fine with at least the musical direction of the latter incarnation of KJØTT.

To be continued....

* Kjøtt: "Hue Uten Sanser", 7", Mai,1980.
** Charles Baudelaire: Les Fleurs du Mal (“The Flowers of Evil”),collected poems,1857.                                         
*** J.G Ballard (1930-2009) was an English science fiction novelist,

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