Originally to be named Nazipenis, this band has so many listed influences, it’s hard to place them in any single genre category. If I had to, I guess I would categorize Turbonegro as punk, but that would not do their style justice. Hailing from the heavy rock scene in Oslo Norway, these 5 metal slayers are the Vikings of Norwegian punk!
Turbonegro has a definite anti-racist and anti-nationalist, yet their name implies the opposite. Why did they select the name Turbonegro? According to guitarist Euroboy, fellow band mate Pal saw the term graffitied on a subway wall and explains: “It’s actually two Latin words, it means fast and black and we thought that was a cool name for a band. Because our music is very fast and very dark. And also, it’s a name for a color. In the car-industry, it’s the name for the paint, for the darkest paint. If you want to paint your car black, the most black color of all is Turbonegro.”
But if you were to ask Turbenegro founder Tom Seltzer (aka Happy-Tom), the name takes on a whole different persona. He states that “A turbonegro is a large, well-equipped, armed black male in a fast car, out for vengeance. We are his prophets.” Still, it is an interesting moniker that isn’t soon forgotten.
The band has successfully blended the genres of glam rock, hard core punk and heavy metal into a signature sound. To craft that sound, they have influences as diverse as KISS, New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, AC/DC and the Stooges, among many others. Add a couple of Norwegian bands such as the Dumdum Boys and Jokke and Valentinerne and you arrive at…TURBONEGRO!
Tom Seltzer formed the original lineup in 1989 enlisting the talents of Vegard Heskestad, Pal Bottger Kjaerne, Rune Gronn, Pal Erik Carlin and Tor-Kristian Jensen aka “TK.” Later that first year in March 1989, the band played their first live show in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Ungdomshuset club. Then a live show in their hometown of Oslo in April.
Amid that local Norwegian tour, Turbonegro managed to record a debut album (route Zero) and an EP (Turboloid). After the release of these recordings, Turbonegro underwent a staff change, losing drummer Carlos Carrasco to the Anal Babes.
That September, Route Zero was re-issued with two tracks from Turboloid as singles. This kicked off a US tour starting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Immediately on arrival, Rune Gronn was beaten badly in a fight and was hospitalized for three weeks- the duration of the tour. As a result, that tour was disastrous.
Through the years, the band has undergone numerous member changes and released nine albums, two EPs, three compilations and MANY singles. They remain a success story today and are active in the industry. Their self described styling is “deathpunk” and they often attack political stereotypes.
The music is fast, harmonic at times and immensely, immeasurably dark. Turbonegro has fought to be categorized in their own genre and refuses to be stuffed into a box that contains their message(s). They do their own thing, play their own music and refuse to be silenced.
All hail Turbonegro!!