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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 June, 2003, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Stones support band deny racism
Left to right: Kevin Russell (singer), Stephan Weidner (bass), Peter 'Pe' Schorowsky (drums) and Matthias 'Gonzo' Roehr (guitars). Picture by  Alwyn Coates
Boehse Onkelz say they have no right-wing connections

A German rock band booked to support the Rolling Stones on their world tour have denied being racist or having links to the far right.

Boehse Onkelz - which translates as Evil Uncles - said they had severed any connections with possible fascist elements almost 20 years ago.

The band's bassist, Stephan Weidner, told BBC News Online they had since written anti-fascist songs and arranged concerts against neo-Nazism.

We never played for fascist parties and were never members of a fascist or right-wing party
Stephan Weidner
The band was responding to UK newspaper reports branding them far right.

They were booked by a German promoter to support the Rolling Stones at their show in Hanover on 8 August - unbeknown to the Stones or their management.

Stephan Weidner
Weidner said the band's followers were mainstream rock fans
The Stones - who condemn racism - are considering dropping them from the concert after their reputation was revealed.

Weidner admitted they had written a racist song more than 20 years ago, but said they had long distanced themselves from any right-wing followers.

He told BBC News Online: "We never were racists.

"We never played for fascist parties and were never members of a fascist or right-wing party."

He acknowledged that the band had written a song with racist lyrics - called Turks Out - in 1980 when they were aged about 16.

This had been performed live only once in front of an audience of about 25 punk rock fans.

"It was never released on vinyl or CD. It was only recorded on a tape that was never meant to have been heard outside the band's inner circle of friends from the punk scene.

"It was a reaction to fights with Turkish neighbours. No excuse, but maybe an explanation."

Mick Jagger
The Stones are undertaking a sell-out world tour
Weidner said during the early 1980s Boehse Onkelz had been darlings of the German skinhead scene, which had started out as an apolitical movement.

When the scene became linked with the right, the band disowned it and moved "underground", altering their image by growing their hair and adding tattoos.

Weidner said the band's following was now overwhelmingly mainstream hard rock fans.

They have hundreds of thousands of followers and are said to be Germany's fourth best-selling rock band.

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