Saturday, 08. March 2014
25. 09. 09. - 15:00
By Thomas Hochwarter
A controversial ‘singer’ whose band held mass orgies on stage covered in blood is to perform a "Michael Jackson Anti-Tribute" tomorrow night (Sat).
Gerhard "Helmi" Eichberger – former member of Austrian "scandal rock group" Drahdiwaberl – told Austrian Times it was "pure coincidence" the anti-tribute had come about.
Eichberger, who recently formed his own band "Helmi’s Nightmare" for the gig at the Wohlfahrtshalle E-Werk in Vienna-Leopoldstadt (8pm), said: "We planned our concert months ago and then this other big event was suddenly announced. Someone told me no one will come to see us play if it happens on the same day, so we quickly added ‘Michael Jackson Anti-Tribute’ on the posters we put up all over the city.
"One part of the performance will have to do with him. I cannot reveal what this will be about – people will have to come and see it – but it will comic since I belong to a group of people who should not sing but do so nevertheless."
He added the concert just happened to be scheduled for the day on which Georg Kindel planned to hold a Michael Jackson tribute with international artists in front of 80,000 at Schönbrunn Palace.
Kindel – who cooperated with Michael Jackson’s brother Jermaine –backed out of the gig and said the tribute would be staged at London’s Wembley Stadium instead. The former journalist controversially accused domestic media of "running a campaign against my person, my team and our stars".
Asked whether he wasn’t afraid of a backlash from the late "King of Pop’s" fans, Eichberger said: "No, definitely not. We do something different to Michael Jackson, and I’m not interested in him."
Eichberger revealed he had been taking singing classes in order not to disappoint on the big night. "I will play mostly cover versions but also a few of my own songs," Eichberger – who works as public servant in his day job in Tulln, Lower Austria – said.
He added he had invested 9,000 Euros of savings to make the gig possible – while Vienna’s ruling Social Democrats (SPÖ) were blasted by opposition parties over plans to subsidise the Jackson tribute with 600,000 Euros of taxpayers’ money.
"I don’t expect to see a lot of the money I put into this ever again as I hired professional musicians to support me. I think it is my duty to ensure people get to see a good show, and I hope the band will compensate for my inability to sing with their skills," he told Austrian Times.
Eichberger was a member of infamous rockers Drahdiwaberl in the 1990s who, since their founding in 1969, have caused public outrage at their gigs with orgies on stage and by pouring blood over each during their performances.
But it has been announced that another event linked with the cancelled Vienna Jackson tribute is to go ahead as Austrian pop greats will gather at Vienna’s U4 discotheque tomorrow night to celebrate a "tribute to the tribute" party honouring the cancelled event.
Acts like pop-rock band Zweitfrau will perform at the U4, and organisers said: "Only ten hours after the idea was born, several Austrian top stars agreed to take part.
"We are proud of organising this event that will feature a representative cross section of the Austrian music scene in such a short time. But it will be more like a party rather than a substitute for the cancelled Michael Jackson tribute."
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