The dazzling life of Nikel Pallat
From Ton Steine Schern to Adele
With the ax up to Adele
A career as a rock manager was certainly not born to Nikel Pallat. His father was an architect, his mother a chicken farmer – and young Nikel ended up in the late 1960s at the very embodiment of penny-pinching and state power, the tax office. But by then he had already caught the rock'n'roll bug, and the '68ers began to turn the good old Federal Republic of Germany upside down. Nikel moved to Berlin and a little later he made friends with the political rockers Ton Steine Scherben. The band was already known for their critical, impassioned lyrics and charismatic singer Rio Reiser. What they lacked was a man with financial acumen and organizational skills, and a tax inspector came in handy.
As manager of the Scherben, Pallat made himself immortal when he pulled out an ax on a live talk show on WDR and began smashing the studio table in protest against the commercial structures of the music industry. The Shards "Scherben" wanted to work without capitalist mechanisms, but they also had to get their records into the shops somehow: Pallat helped them to organize that. With the knowledge he acquired, he later built up the independent music distributor EfA and the company Indigo, which still exists today, and which became invaluably important for German music culture. Pallat tells the story of his life with a fine sense of humor and a relaxed tongue – and that is largely also that of the German independent scene. As a creative artist, he fought for a society beyond capitalist and authoritarian structures, standing alongside illustrious companions such as Rio Reiser, Einsturzenden Neubauten, Claudia Roth and the rappers Fettes Brot. Today he takes stock: "Unfortunately, the circumstances have not changed so much that our songs would have become outdated." But as his gripping autobiography shows, he has lost neither his humor nor his fighting spirit.
Text: Hannibal Verlag