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No matter what we get out of this, I know, I know we'll never forget
March 29, 2011 11:03 AM   Subscribe

"Smoke on the Water", as performed by Germany's military brass band and Berlins guard battalion, part of the farewell to German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

Guttenberg resigned from his position after it was found that he had plagiarized parts of his doctoral dissertation (covered previously).

As part of his Großer Zapfenstreich ("Grand Tattoo"), Guttenberg requested a song by AC/DC be included, but the head conductor of the military band said that request “just totally breaks the mold of our music styles,” and substituted Deep Purple instead. Guttenberg is not the first person to request a specific song in this formal farewell -- in 2005 former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said his goodbye with Frank Sinatra’s "My Way," while former President Horst Köhler took leave of his duties to the tune of William Hardy’s “St. Louis Blues.”

It appears that much of this recent ceremony is on YouTube (part 1, part 2, part 3), but it seems to be from a German TV station, without English translation or text.
posted by filthy light thief (56 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by iviken at 11:04 AM on March 29, 2011


Hat tip to St. Alia of the Bunnies for the initial performance (sorry, I couldn't leave it as a SLYT post), and jedicus New York Times quote on AC/DC vs Deep Purple.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:06 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can hear the marching band / doing the best they can...
posted by Bwithh at 11:08 AM on March 29, 2011


Between the flaming torches and the extremely precise glockenspiel at 1:12... bitchinnnnnnn!
posted by Madamina at 11:14 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


His calmness while being ritually disemboweled was impressive.
posted by rabbitsnake at 11:19 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is pretty much the worst possible kind of marching band music.
posted by rhizome at 11:20 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, Germans are some scary mofos.
posted by orthogonality at 11:22 AM on March 29, 2011


All because of some stupid with a flare gun.
posted by punkfloyd at 11:23 AM on March 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


You would have thought after everything that happened in the 40's, someone would have told the german military to ditch the torches and the stahlhelme.
posted by crunchland at 11:28 AM on March 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


punkfloyd, that was also something I learned today.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:28 AM on March 29, 2011


More unusual cover versions of classic hits are Crazy by Don Ross (original by Gnarls Barkely) or these cover versions of Smooth Criminal. And I love this schoolbands version of Killing in the Name (original by Rage against the Machine) and Flight of the Bumblebee on 101 Bottles.
posted by Waslijn at 11:30 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hat tip to St. Alia of the Bunnies for the initial performance (sorry, I couldn't leave it as a SLYT post), and jedicus New York Times quote on AC/DC vs Deep Purple.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:06 AM


eponysterical!

(Sorry, couldn't resist! Glad you posted this. This link has been cracking me up for days...)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:40 AM on March 29, 2011


It seems that nobody in the previous thread mentioned this picture from the earlier stages of Guttenberg's career (click to enlarge, did not want to hotlink).
posted by erdferkel at 11:41 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now I want to become a German state official so I can be sent off by a marching band playing Seven Nation Army.
posted by drezdn at 11:51 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


They play it so square. They're crisp and almost always right on the beat. SQUARE.
posted by introp at 11:54 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


filthy light thief: and jedicus New York Times quote on AC/DC vs Deep Purple.

Er, let's try that again - "and jedicus for the New York Times quote..."


St. Alia of the Bunnies: Glad you posted this. This link has been cracking me up for days...

Thanks again! I liked the original video, but I had to know more. And here we are.


erdferkel: It seems that nobody in the previous thread mentioned this picture

I don't quite understand what it means, as the auto-translation spits out English words that don't quite work in my brain at the moment. But I did get one thing: whoo hohoo hoo hooo hooo hooooo hoho - Barbra Streisand.


drezdn: Now I want to become a German state official so I can be sent off by a marching band playing Seven Nation Army.

If you're unlucky, they might decline your request and play Love is a Battlefield (note: song selected at random from this compilation).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:55 AM on March 29, 2011


This would have been a meme crossover legend if the would have went with BOC's "Don't Fear the Reaper."
posted by drezdn at 11:56 AM on March 29, 2011


one of my very first marching band songs in the 8th grade was smoke on the water.
posted by nadawi at 11:57 AM on March 29, 2011


It's arousingly scary.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:59 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


They're crisp and almost always right on the beat.

Ritchie Blackmore is always right on the beat, too. The beat wouldn't dare be where Ritchie Blackmore isn't.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:00 PM on March 29, 2011


At 6th grade music class learned 'SOTW' on the Marimba.
posted by clavdivs at 12:01 PM on March 29, 2011


filthy light thief, back in 2009, Guttenberg posed for that picture, but about a year later, he tried to get it out of the media again. (Considering the affair with his thesis, I don't think he killed that dino himself.)
posted by erdferkel at 12:08 PM on March 29, 2011


Crunchland: You would have thought after everything that happened in the 40's, someone would have told the german military to ditch the torches...

Yeah that's what I thought as well, cigarette lighters would've worked much better.
posted by Skygazer at 12:10 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beautiful and terrifying.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:26 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Smoke in the Water also happens to be quite symbolic of what's now left of zu Guttenberg's political career. And all because some stupid with a Ctrl+V thumb...
posted by Skeptic at 12:36 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Smoke on the Water", as performed by Germany's military brass band and Berlins guard battalion

Well, Germany DOES have an historical link with Dadaism...
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:44 PM on March 29, 2011


Presumably future Defence Ministers will be into dance music.
posted by Grangousier at 12:51 PM on March 29, 2011


(and again, amongst the giant Louise Bourgeois sculptures at the opening of Tate Modern)
posted by Grangousier at 12:56 PM on March 29, 2011


I quite dig what the Stabsmusikkorps is doing here but holy smokes am I peeved they gave guttenberg full military honors. mofo lied and he tried to cover it up and insulted us by claiming his deceit was no big deal when anyone else doing so would lose their jobs and much worse over similar offenses. I am complete okay with weizsäcker and even schroeder, who is a douchebag, getting sent off with this kind of treatment but von guttenberg deserved rotten tomatoes.

seems to be from a German TV station
the youtube videos with that tiny 1 in the upper right hand corner are courtesy of the ARD. the german military flag-video seems to be from a dvd.
posted by krautland at 1:34 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the info, krautland.

As for the honors, perhaps it is that because, despite the plagiarized work, was lauded and supported by so many people, public and government, local and international? I'm not cheering for the guy, but there seem to be plenty who do, and maybe this was a show of thanks for going out in a civil way, leaving what could have been a long government career? Just some wild speculation on my part.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:52 PM on March 29, 2011


That was awesome. The torches were also really cool! They looked like they were just sticks dipped in some type of fluid, but does anyone know if it was something more complex then that?
posted by Deflagro at 1:53 PM on March 29, 2011


Waslijn: "And I love this schoolbands version of Killing in the Name"

That would be Bulls on Parade.
posted by brokkr at 2:22 PM on March 29, 2011


maybe this was a show of thanks for going out in a civil way, leaving what could have been a long government career?

A civil way? He fought with tooth and claw to remain in place, leaving only when it was established that he'd plagiarized 3/4 of his thesis, when it was clear that the university which had granted his PhD was going to withdraw it, and after thousands of postgraduate students and researchers had signed a petition asking him to leave. He ultimately resigned, but then, so did Richard Nixon...
posted by Skeptic at 3:06 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Impressive and a little frightening. I fear that if they played Highway Star it might encourage a tank battalion to invade Poland.
posted by Ber at 3:22 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had hoped he would be made to fight an unfeasibly large snake.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:39 PM on March 29, 2011


They looked like they were just sticks dipped in some type of fluid, but does anyone know if it was something more complex then that?

Traditionally, dipped in oil and the blood of a Slav.
posted by orthogonality at 4:10 PM on March 29, 2011


Hitler is cumming in his grave.
posted by briank at 4:21 PM on March 29, 2011


e-a-b, e-a-b-a, e-a-b, b-a! Very crafty, Karl-Theodor!
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:35 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is anyone else bothered that they keep jumping the gun on the second syllable of "water"?

That would be Bulls on Parade.

No it wouldn't.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:39 PM on March 29, 2011


I love how square this is. I love how they have such a nice warm sound. I love the old-school one-handed glockenspiel and the torches(!). And I love how completely inappropriate those things are for this song.

I love things like this: music appropriated from one genre into another. Sometimes the results are pretty awesome—I have this album and a few others by the same people, and they're a terrific melding of styles.

I think I like things like this more, though, because it could work, and it *should* work, but it just doesn't quite. I have a recording of the US Marine Band (one of the best wind bands in the world) playing Entry March of the Gladiators/Thunder and Blazes, and everything sounds beautiful and perfect. It's TOO perfect—every note is in place and in tune, they have beautiful tone, and the tempo is properly fast. But it doesn't feel fast because the players can hit all those runs without stretching. The end result is a pretty typical-sounding march, warm and a little stuffy (metafilter: warm and a little stuffy), without the shrill freneticism that is typically a hallmark of such a famous circus march.

Also, as someone who has taught high school band, I think all American pep bands should be surrounded by a ring of torches while they butcher classic rock songs.
posted by sleepinglion at 5:23 PM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Considering the situation I was expecting to see some pitchforks wielded by the appropriately robed academics. But yeah, it was the torches, the camera angles and just the sheer precision of it all that caused me the reverent giggles.
posted by jadepearl at 5:43 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's with those helmets?

Has no one ever explained to the military that perhaps a different design is in order?

I kept expecting the band to start goose-stepping at any moment.
posted by bwg at 6:14 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Want to have your mind blown? Listen to the note-for-note inspiration for Smoke on the Water, six years earlier, and in convenient samba form.
posted by svenx at 6:26 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ummm ... this fucking rocks! It's like a Mancini version of classic rock. I am ripping this to MP3. I would buy this.
posted by adipocere at 6:36 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kept expecting the band to start goose-stepping at any moment.

Yeah, I think many of us didn't expect the Twenty-First Century Bundeswehr to look so... medieval. And Teutonic.

The torches, the darkness, the helmets and the epaulets, the poker faces, it just seemed too reminiscent of Junkers, the Wehrmacht and Das Dritte, all the associations Germany doesn't want. I kept expecting a segue into a pogrom.
posted by orthogonality at 7:17 PM on March 29, 2011


I love Guttenberg's smile at all this. I had to smile too, this was so cool.
posted by Xoebe at 8:09 PM on March 29, 2011


The Google ad I got on the first video was pretty amusing for Canadians (self-link to my Flickr account for the screenshot), who are facing another federal election. Also, our current leader is more militaristic than we're used to.
posted by showmethecalvino at 9:31 PM on March 29, 2011


On a related note, here's a little clip (SLYT) from the incoming defense minister's inauguration ceremony. Just about a minute into the ceremony, he personally defends a fraulein's honor against a foreign invader.
posted by webhund at 9:44 PM on March 29, 2011


What's with those helmets?

I know nothing.

NOTHING.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:33 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm still partial to this Chinese version
posted by hypersloth at 2:12 AM on March 30, 2011


What's with those helmets?

Schuberth B826 combat helmet, current Bundeswehr standard issue (and not steel, composite).

Has no one ever explained to the military that perhaps a different design is in order?

Hey, when a design is good, it is good. The purpose of a combat helmet is to prevent your brains being splashed out by an incoming bullet or shrapnel, not to avoid inconvenient political associations.

Of course, a different question is why a marching band needs combat helmets. Either they lack confidence in their musical skills (unlikely, given their musical skills), or ze Germans have a new weapon they haven't told anybody about.
posted by Skeptic at 7:18 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's with those Helmuts?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:40 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Geez...where is this guy's national pride? I would have gone with some Scorpions myself.
posted by medeine at 12:54 PM on March 30, 2011


What's with those helmets?

Ahem. The Germans just don't normally cover theirs in desert camouflage because guess who hasn't started any wars recently.
posted by moonbiter at 12:57 PM on March 30, 2011


guess who hasn't started any wars recently

So why dress like they're in the middle of a battlefield? What are they protecting their heads from, exactly? Inadvertent trombone slide trauma? Spit valve shrapnel?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:53 PM on March 30, 2011


They are not protecting their heads from anything, of course. It is just one form of the parade dress, a variation of the funny hats and costumes that militaries the world over dress their young people up in.
posted by moonbiter at 4:40 AM on March 31, 2011


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