Interview With Uli Sailor of Terrorgruppe / Punk Rock Piano
I met Uli through vinyl. In fact, i bought an LP that had been on my want-list for fucking ever off of him. I'd like to think i've helped him out by ticking a couple albums off of his list as well! He was also in Terrorgruppe and now does his own thing called Punk Rock Piano, which is most excellent.
First and foremost, who or what got you into a) music and b) punk rock?
My mom always supported my musical education since very early on. I started to have piano lessons when I was 6, later she would let me choose another instrument which was the saxophone and I joined the school big band. This gave me my whole musical fundament that I am profiting from today. My parents also had a small vinyl collection that I listened to a lot, especially Beatles and oldies from the 60s. Before punk-rock I was into rock music. I still remember how a guy in my hometown played Appetite For Destruction from Guns N Roses and Live After Death of Iron Maiden for me. I was so impressed! Another guy from my class borrowed me Never Mind The Bollocks from Sex Pistols and Lick from Lemonheads. Actually I didn't like the Sex Pistols but I loved the Lemonheads. Later when I got in a band our drummer brought all the Fat Wreck and Epitaph bands in my life. He´d know all the new releases from bands like Propagandhi, Lagwagon, Randy, Good Riddance and we´d swap the CDs and taped them to listen to it in my car.
If you were to introduce extraterrestrials to music using 5 albums, what do you choose?
The Beatles - 1967-1970
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu Tang Clan (36 chambers)
Propagandhi - Supporting Caste
How did you come to be in Terrorgruppe?
I knew the guys for a long time (since the end of the nineties) because I was supporting them with my band D-Sailors. Terrorgruppe split up for the first time in 2005. When they were planning a comeback in 2014 they were looking for an additional member to play the organ. Since the keys are my favourite instruments, plus I am a singer, plus I have a strong punk-ock background I was the perfect fit for the job. Adding saxophone and theremin to other songs made me a real multi-instrumentalist!
Terrorgruppe recently called it a day. I know you are still keeping busy with music though. What are you currently working on?
In 2021 I started a solo project playing the piano. I recorded two cover EPs with 5 songs each for a start. First one is the "California Punk" EP featuring songs of NOFX, Bad Religion, Lagwagon, Propagandhi and Millencolin, the second one is featuring the german punk songs in my life (Terrorgruppe, WIZO etc.) which will be released over the next couple of weeks and months. In the background I am already working on my own songs. I´d love to release an own album in the future...
What is one song you didn't write but wish you did?
I wish I´d have written Anti Manifesto by Propagandhi. Wow, what an opening song on a debut album. Propagandhi is in my opionion one of the bands that aged the best compared to some other bands of that genre.
I do know you have a top shelf record collection - that's how we "met". Is there a holy grail that you are having trouble finding?
Wait, I have to check my want-list, ha ha ;-) Here is a couple:
Hot Water Music - No Division, Goldfinger - Hang Ups, Adhesive - Sideburner, Gallows - Orchestra of wolves & Grey britain, Die Kassierer - Männer, Bomben, Satelliten, Randy - You Can´t Keep A Good Band Down, Weakerthans - Left & Leaving. So in case anyone has got any of those to sell. Hit me up. But I am also confident, there will be rereleases over the years. I am not willing to pay hundreds of bucks. I´d like to have a record collection where I can listen to all the records and dont want to be afraid to take them out of the shelve because they are so fucking expensive....
What is your prized possession in your collection?
The top ones I guess are:
Coheed & Cambria - Second Stage Turbine Blade (Defiance Records)
Pantera The Complete Studio Albums 1990-2000
Mars Volta - De-Loused in the comatorium & Frances The Mute (First Press)
Zip - Terrorgruppe's bassist (and - obviously your close friend) tragically passed away while you were gearing up for your farewell shows. You decided to do them in his honour rather than cancel them which takes massive guts. What was the thinking behind that? In a sense, i assume it was in part to give him a proper farewell but i can't imagine how emotional the whole scenario must have been.
It was a very challenging situation for the band. We were completely paralyzed by the situation but except from knowing that Zip would have wanted these shows to happen also his wife asked us to play if it would be possible under the circumstances. In the end it was only possible because a good friend of ours who also used to be our roadie had the time and the guts to learn the whole setlist. We couldn't have done this with some profi-mucker guy filling in for Zip. We were very lucky in finding Ace to fill in for Zip and he did an amazing job. Through the tour we had the chance to be together, remember Zip and give him the proper farewell he deserved. You are right we were afraid in the beginning if we can stay this through. And there were some hard situations, but I am glad we did it, cause it was also some kind of therapy for us.
Anything you'd like to add?
Go to see small shows, buy stuff directly from the band, support your local music scene!