The musicThere's no common genre in which Kaizers Orchestra's music fits. "Officially" one could characterize the music als "norwegian polka", because there's "ompa" in it, a nordic style of music that would probably be called "polka" here in Germany. But no - the Kaizers music doesn't really have anything to do with that... Kaizers Orchestra themselves call their music "Kaizerrock", I guess they haven't found a proper category either... =;-)
From the traditional part of the instrumentation it is obvious that their music is indeed rock-music. Additionally, the six musicians pound furiously at oil barrels and steel rims, which of course intensifies the rhythm and releases a lot of energy. And that's exactly the special thing about Kaizers: the energy. The musicians give everything on stage, the show is perfect, and the fun and energy spreads to everyone in the audience. But also on CD the music is just spellbinding.
The lyricsKaizers Orchestra sing in Norwegian. In fact in a norwegian dialect that is at the beginning even hard to understand for other Norwegians... =;-) Non-Norwegians don't understand anything at first, of course. But it's worth the effort getting the translations, as - like the music - the lyrics are no run-of-the-mill love-songs, but... different. They tell stories, the first albums are mostly about war, revenge, resistance and death, the songs are in part linked to each other. You can find the whole story about the Violeta trilogy here. After some time one learns to know the characters, one finds out why Sven Korner is a villain and why Marcello cannot get his Viktoria. But even without further study of the lyrics one realizes soon that only Padre Martin knows what is behind a "hallelujah". And maybe Mr. Kaizer himself. And only he can save us... (But to understand that, it is indespensible seeing Kaizers Orchestra live. But that is indespensible anyway!)
The influencesA lot of influences for Kaizers Orchestra's music come from Tom Waits. The first lyrics are strongly influenced by the movie "Underground" by Emir Kusturica. But Kaizers Orchestra make something new and particular out of these elements and thus create their own fascination. And their own universe! By now, there is even a Kaizers musical, and probably it won't take long until they start making a movie...
The originsA nice overview about the origins of Kaizers Orchestra can be found here on the official Webpage - in Norwegian, of course... =;-) A nice summary in German and English was composed by www.kaizers.de. So here is only a brief glimpse:
- The first joint band of Janove and Geir was Blod, Snått & Juling (translated: Blood, snot and punches). There exist three demo-recordings of this band, namely "En glad tunnel" (1994, total number released: 50 tapes *g*), "Sympatiske fisk" (1995, 100 tapes, after all) and another one from 1996. In the recordings for the last two tapes, Terje took part already.
- After a while the name Blod, Snått & Juling wasn't serious enough anymore, so the band "gnom" was founded. The people involved were Janove and Geir again, and additionally Helge and Rune. In 1998, the CD "Mys" was released, but it sold miserably. At the end of 2003, this CD was re-released in Norway.
- By way of the song "Bastard" which contains a barrel solo and a pump-organ, the musicians found their current style. With Jon as new bass player (replaced by Øyvind meanwhile) they called themselves "Kaizers Orchestra" and released the first EP "Bøn fra helvete" in 2000. Later Terje re-joined the band (who had in the meantime played in the bands Zombie Porkchop and Watershed), and Kaizers were complete.
On the pump organ, all the way from Transylvania -
The one and only:
Mr. Two Hundred and Fifty Percent -
Mr. Helge "Omen" Kaizer!
Og på trommer, ting og tang, bøtter og spann, en felg, en lyktestolpe, en tamburin og på et stort, blankt askebeger:
Mr. Rune "Mink" Kaizer!
On the stand-up bass, aus Wunderkammer, Cloroform and the Big G Upstairs:
Mr. Øyvind "Thunder" Kaizer!
On the first guitar, always playing on a Firebird Original!
He used to tour Eastern Europe with Johnny & the Sexual Problems:
Mr. Terje "Pearl" "Killmaster", also known as "The Photographer", also known as "Mr. Long Island Ice Tea" Kaizer!
On the last guitar: One can tell two things about this man:
The devil built his guitar for him. But the Lord made him his suit!
He made him look good in white, He made him look good in blue, He made him look good in red.
The Lord can make you feel good in any color!
And his name is:
Mr. Geir "Peggy" "Hellraizer" "Give me the number there" Kaizer!
His name is "The Jackal" - but some people may call him "Kaizer":
Mr. Janove Kaizer!