Ever feel like being a devoted fan should earn you special privileges with the band you love? Do you sometimes wish you could hang out with other superfans, even following your beloved band from show to show in your own superfan tour bus? Is the only thing missing from your wardrobe a jacket with your fave band's logo emblazoned on the back?
If you answered "Yes," to those questions, then chances are you're in desperate need of fan club membership. And if you're a Portlander who loves Norwegian deathpunk band Turbonegro, then you're in luck: The Rose City has its very own chapter of "Turbojugend," the worldwide Turbonegro fan club.
Teen Machine Dean (real name: Dean Miles), El Presidente of Turbojugend Portland, knows first hand that Turbonegro fans are some of the most devoted and dedicated out there, staying loyal to the band through numerous break-ups, a heroin-addicted lead singer, and countless shticks—including long periods where the band dressed only in denim or wore blackface make-up.
Miles, who now plays in Legend of Dutch Savage and runs a screen-printing company, has been a fan since 1990, when he first heard Turbo play at Portland's now-defunct Blue Gallery. Back then, he says the band was "more grungy, and sounded like Mudhoney." While the band's sound has changed (mostly remaining within the punk rock-metal continuum), Miles' dedication has not: "I'm more of an old school fan, a friend of the band, so to speak," he says. He was even a member of the Denim Demons, a Turbonegro cover band, in order to "fill the gap" during Turbo's hiatus from 1999 to 2002. While seeing the band play in Cologne, Germany, in 2003, Miles met both the president of Turbojugend Worldwide and all the dudes from Turbonegro and promptly formed the Portland chapter of Turbojugend after returning home.
Based on Miles' advice and anecdotes, below is everything you wanted to know about being a member of Turbojugend, including how to get one of these jackets:
Advantages of being in Turbojugend:
1. International fame and glory:
After the show in Cologne, Miles made his way to the stage, hoping to snag a set list. Standing next to the stage was a guy in a Turbojugend jacket, and Miles asked how he could get one. "We saw a lot of Turbojugend there," says Miles about the show. "We were like, ‘Holy Moses,' this thing is big time." The guy in the jacket was named Jurgend, and he was both El Presidente of Turbojugend Worldwide and owner of Bitzcore Records, a European label that released a few Turbo albums. Thanks to this fortuitous meeting (and because Miles mentioned that knew the guys in Portland punk legends Poison Idea), Miles got to party with all the members of the band.
2. A super sweet tour bus:
When Miles left the venue in Cologne with Jurgend, he was led to a huge tour bus waiting at the curb, surrounded by guys in Turbojugend jackets. "We're thinking this is Turbonegro's bus," says Miles, "but it's Turbojugend's
bus!" Apparently, Turbojugend members were following the band's tour around Europe in their own custom ride.
3. Knowledge of secret Turbonegro after-parties:
After meeting the band in Cologne, Miles was approached by Happy-Tom, the band's sailor uniform- and makeup-wearing bassist, who looks like this:
He hands Miles a slip of paper, containing the address of an invitation-only after-party. Despite the secrecy, Happy-Tom was super approachable, even doling out marriage advice to Miles and his wife. "I was so blown out by the generosity, the niceness of Turbo," says Miles.
How to join Turbojugend:
1. Own a computer:
When Miles asked Pete Porno, who runs the Turbojugend Worldwide website, what it would take to start a chapter in Portland, Porno replied, "You go and you get on the internet, man." While there's no initiation (all you really need is to invest the money it takes to order a custom jacket), Miles admits, "They do have to accept you, kind of." All of the Portland's chapter membership is managed through their MySpace page, and Miles communicates with the Worldwide group.
2. Get the jacket:
Apparently, you can't just pick one of these up anywhere. You've got to order one from Turbojugend Worldwide, which you can only do once you become a member.
3. Attend the meetings and shows:
There's no real meeting schedule for the Portland Turbojugend, but they do meet at Hobo's before Turbojugend shows. What happens if you miss a show? Well, there's just no reason to explore that possibility, because a true Turbo fan wouldn't let that happen.
Still don't understand why Turbonegro fans are so devoted? Maybe this video from the band's MySpace page will help. Or see the band play Friday at Roseland.
Turbonegro plays with Nick Olivieri & the Mondo Generator and Year Long Disaster Friday, Oct. 12 at Roseland. 9 pm. $18.
Portland Turbojugend's MySpace
Turbonegro at MySpace
Turbonegro Official Website