The German Shepherds, formed by Sandy Stark and Stephen Scheatzle in Nov. 1981, released a three song ep in early "82 with "Booty Jones" -- to child molester and kidnapper Kenneth Parnell; "I Adore You" -- an offering of prayer and submission and "Message from JJ" -- a rousing sermon by Peoples Temple chief Rev. Jim Jones. Later that year a dub version of "I Adore You" and "The Earthquake Has Come" appeared on the "You'll Hate This Record, Record" compilation lp. In 1983 the Shepherds began work on their first lp and in early '84 released "THC" and "Quit It" -- a promotional single from those sessions. Sandy Stark was arrested in June of '84 on trumped up child molestation charges and committed suicide while awaiting trial. Shattered by Stark's death, Scheatzle enlisted German Shepherd producer M. Huthinson to replace Stark and work began anew on the lp project. "Music For Sick Queers" was the long awaited result.
Despite the title, this is a rather enthralling album, full of interesting sounds, structures and compositions.
Side one begins with “Communist Control” which begins like conversation between extra-terrestrial flying insects, lots of fly-like buzzing through which discernable lyrics are heard. It may not be music as such, but it’s effective. All sounds are echoed backwards and forwards in a confused melee of sonic confusion. “Armageddon Man” has a strong electric guitar pattern across which grating synths scratch, wobble and shriek. It’s a cynical song about the “God-is-on-our-side-and-hates-the-Ruskies” attitude of certain lunatic factions who hold positions of power. "Love Me” is a slow thing based around gradually moving keyboards which have a strange, ‘B’ movie sound to them, distorting reality with a certain element of dread. “Preacher” comes next, the vocalist orating over a sustaining sweep of deep vocals - it’s an invocation if ever there was one, a dark ceremony over which is shouted so absurd words. “Hitler’s Child” again has a certain ‘B’ movie sound to it - the synths just a little too grating, a little too distorted - while the vocalist sings his dark words in a deliberately flat voice over the top.
“I Adore You” begins the ‘B‘ side with a pulsing rhythm under which huge grim mass of synth noise dwells. Over the top of this the vocalist talks his way through a short poem, putting a lot into it - riding the warm black waves of electronics. "Mr. Tupper” follows this with a mass of confused vocals over which electronic flies swarm and madmen laugh uncontrollably. “THC” comes next - a mess mass of electronic noise which almost — but not quite - forms a rhythm. Over the top of this the vocalist tells us how Psychedelic music can let Satan enter your soul and how he murdered his parents. “Quit It” follows a similar anti-rhythm with a druggy, soporific, dragging sound which seems to run icy fingers of depression over your soul, gouging out your will to live and casting it upon the black dead ground. "Complacent American" finishes off the album on a drifting mass of sound which hangs like a half-uttered threat in the air. It’s a sustained bank of mid-pitched feedback while the vocalist talks of Armageddon and his lack of preparation for The End. It’s the most effective track on the entire album, with the feel of impending doom as the wall of screaming sound slowly rises in pitch to it’s climax.
An interesting debut album which shows a willingness to experiment and a decent attitude to noise composition. Subtle they are not, choosing instead to lay their cards face-up on the table, saying ‘there you are, We are the GERMAN SHEPHERDS, like it or not, we're cynical and have axes to grind. Watch out, we’re coming at you!’