Interview with the singer of the Goldene Zitronen Schorsch Kamerun
Question: Schorsch Kamerun, in what way were the Goldene Zitronen aware of the concept of the film before shooting began?
Schorsch Kamerun: We discussed the project with Jörg Siepmann, the director, and thought about how the film might turn out. But he didn't have a finished concept at the time. It wasn't until after the journey was over that the basic tenet of the film became clear, namely whether it would concentrate on the journey – i.e. things that happened along the way – or the band itself. I watched one of his early films beforehand too, and liked it.
Question: The band has been together for 18 years. It would have been conceivable to make a completely different film about the Goldene Zitronen to mark your "coming-of-age".
S.K.: It's definitely not "our" film, but rather an autonomous view of a concert tour. Jörg was free to form his own impression of the tour.
Question: Why is the film called GOLDEN LEMONS? Is the title the American version of the band's name?
S.K.: The film primarily focuses on something formal, its higher aesthetic objectives. In terms of its content, it merely follows the route the Goldene Zitronen take. We were the first point of reference. We slightly regret it didn't include stronger statements by the band, some the many very dynamic situations or the conversations we had with the people en route; in other words, all the situations in which we experienced the tour differently than it appeared in the film. The film is therefore basically about us, but at the same time it develops its own, detached view. Of course, you could call it the film's strength.
Question: The film particularly focuses on one of Wesley Willis' songs, 'Osama Bin Laden', in which Willis backs US foreign policy. That clearly set him apart from you.
S.K.: It's not that simple. You have to take a close look at Wesley Willis. I can't say with any certainty what motivates him. I think it's mainly based on one feeling he expresses. He's not a person with clear-cut theories about such political issues. If you ask him what he's trying to say with his Osama Bin Laden song, you won't get a plausible answer. The audience may applaud, but you can't consider that a political statement. It's more a kind of reduced provocation.
Question: During the concerts, you briefly introduced each of your songs. Did you get the impression you could get your message across?
S.K.: Yes, I think so. We can also get our message across through the band's overall aesthetics and our appearance as an anti-hierarchical band. The audience notices the difference between us and normal rock bands, as many people have confirmed.
Question: The film shows you in a situation in which you were cooped up in a bus almost 24 hours a days. Did you find the situation oppressive?
S.K.: There was no sense of dreary waiting. Of course the film conveys a certain atmosphere, but we also experienced very different moods and situations. Sure, we had to take Wesley Willis and his ailments into consideration, but that wasn't really a problem. We got on very well with the members of the third band, Grand Buffet. That's something the film hardly shows.
Question: The film repeatedly shows the Goldene Zitronen as individuals and less so as a group. What's your explanation for this individualisation?
S.K.: I see the Goldene Zitronen as a kind of collective that works together and yet is open to the outside. Our group ethic is very important to us. We produce active, political art and change instruments on stage, for example, to prevent certain hierarchies from developing. The film focuses more on individual interviews than interviews with the band. Jörg had a different point of view, and presumably didn't intend to put these impressions in the forefront, which would of course also have been acceptable.
(The interview was conducted by Tina Balzer and Ansgar Vogt on January 10th, 2003 in Berlin.)