Ulrich Larsgroth ? Charnal House and the Dean Campaign

I have a friend, he?s a Goth. His name is Pomaratin.

He is a very cool guy, very magnetic and he is one of the band?s biggest fans. He asked me to write something about me and the band and our almost tour of the United States.

My name is Ulrich Larsgroth and I was born in the city of Hameln, Germany. I am twenty-five years old and I?m the lead vocalist in a band called Charnal House.

Charnal House has been controversial ever since I helped form it about 5 years ago, sometimes I don?t even know why I try, but it seems I have no real alternative.

My band has three CDs, none of which have ever been released because of all the capitalist bullshit things that record companies do. Our label, which I can?t even mention by order of another bullshit court order in Munich, had a cool distribution deal with the major indie distributor in Europe. If you know Euro music you know who I?m talking about but that got stomped on when the lawyers hit us.

I?m HIV positive, and I don?t give a shit.

I?m not one of those homosexueller types, though I couldn?t care less about sexual orientation as you say in the States, but I?m not gay.

I got AIDS from shooting up, we all used to do that in the band, shared needles, shared girlfriends, it sounded cool at the time. We were brothers ? needle boys. We thought it was heroic, now I?m not so sure.

As far as I know we are the only band in Europe where all the members have AIDS. Thankfully there are very good medications available these days and you wouldn?t really know any of us were seriously threatened by this horrible disease.

Joseph, our drummer Joseph Hetbach, died last spring, not of AIDS but because he started doing crazy, dangerous stuff after his diagnosis, he drank heavily and crashed his car one evening on the way home from another shitty gig. I was lucky as I was supposed to drive home with him but my girlfriend showed up at the last moment and drove me to her place instead.

I loved Joseph; he was beautiful inside and out, a very gentle person.

We attended university for a few years together, were roommates and the like.

I majored in philosophy and English literature, Joseph never really found his way though he was brilliant, he took classes in mathematics, esoteric stuff I couldn?t even grasp.

As soon as he got his diagnosis, he just changed.

I don?t want to talk about it.

Pomaratin, said some of you might want to find out about my band so I?ll stick to that.

Our most recent CD, which is still tied up in the German court system is called ?Nazi Truth Injection? and features a single of the same name, it was our first, and probably last single.

We aren?t Nazis, the song is existential and mostly about seeking meaning.

I guess it?s meant to shock more than anything else. There is a Nazi underground scene in Europe, especially Germany, which we hate and the songs on the CD are also about that. The German government is very repressive culturally though you wouldn?t know it unless you were involved, as an artist, in my country.

At the beginning of 2004 our label ?X? was contacted by the Howard Dean campaign in the states. They were looking for bands to tour in support of him.

Our label put us in contact with the Dean people and we agreed to do a US tour.

We aren?t really political at all, we don?t care about politics especially American politics.

We still don?t really know who or what Howard Dean was, but we found his candidacy amusing at least. He is very typical of German politicians, very earnest and serious, who could take him seriously, especially young people. That I still can?t really understand.

We all thought that touring to support him would be one long joke so we liked that angle and we thought we could use the publicity to maybe get a US record deal, since we know that the music industry in the states supports people like him pretty strongly.

Things were set in motion and we were scheduled to travel to the US to tour with some other bands starting in late summer 2003. We were supposed to start on the West Coast of the US, if I remember correctly, 15 cities starting with Seattle and ending in Los Angeles.

We were really excited about the LA gig especially. Playing the Whiskey on Sunset Blvd would be so cool and all the labels were going to be there including Road Runner Records, they had heard of us and liked our CDs, although they did object to the name of our most recent one.

It never really got going though for us, the tour which was organized by the Dean people not tour promoters, was a mess.

I am still not sure who fucked up the passport deal, they said it was the US government, but since the Dean people had screwed up everything they did with regards to us, they might have just been blaming the immigration people in the government.

Who knows.

Sure we are all HIV positive but we know other bands that have gotten passports regardless and AIDS activists don?t seem to have problems attending US conferences so I think that excuse was bullshit.

I?m not sure what else you might like to know about us, we are spending as much time as possible in our studio and rehearsing. Our label?s lawyers think we might be able to get out CDs out there soon and as soon as that happens we will make one of our songs available as an MP3 to whoever wants to listen to it.

One of the Dean people was one of the contacts we developed and she seemed to really like us for some reason. She passed our names along to some people at the John Kerry organization and we probably would tour for him if our passports can be taken care of.

We know less about Kerry than we did about Dean, he seems like just another old rich American politician but we need to get to the states to start over again, if that doesn?t work out I probably will take some time off and continue my education, I am getting tired of the pointless bullshit.

I love my music, and my band mates but the music bizz is worse than you can possibly imagine, besides at 25 I am getting old for this game believe it or not. The people who market music have very specific tastes and one of them is that musicians look like they are young and we are all growing out of that stage and even more, that mentality.

Hope this wasn?t too dreary, but it?s what my life is about and this was a favor to Pomaratin who has been one of our biggest supporters.

Thanks Pom, for all you have done for us.


© Ulrich Larsgroth, all rights reserved.