Rolling Stones may drop 'racist' support

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The Independent Culture

The Rolling Stones may drop a German band who were to support them on their world tour because the group has written racist lyrics.

Boehse Onkelz, translated as Bad Uncle, were due to play with the Stones in Hanover on 8 August as part of the European leg of the tour.

Bernard Doherty, spokesman for the Rolling Stones, said the band had been told about Boehse Onkelz' background and members would meet this week to discuss removing them from the billing. "The Rolling Stones were not aware the band had been booked by a local promoter," said Mr Doherty.

The German group wrote racist lyrics referring to the Turkish community in the 1980s. They are since said to have renounced their links with the far right.

The rock band is the fourth largest in Germany and has had a loyal following since it formed. When the band members were teenagers, they are understood to have recorded a demo tape which included far right-wing lyrics. Their early songs include "Turks Out", which has the line: "Go back to Ankara ... you make me sick."

Since the mid-1980s, they have made public statements against Nazism and racism. The bass player Stephan Weidner said that the songs were not meant to have been heard outside of punk clubs. He told the heavy metal fanzine Metal Hammer: "I have done things in the past that could be interpreted as being fascist. There's nothing that can be prettified about this. But now that I'm 38 years old, do I still have to justify what I did when I was a 16 year old?"

Other bands supporting the Stones include the Stereophonics, the Hives and the Pretenders.

The Stones are currently taking a six-week break from the gruelling tour before resuming tomorrow in Munich, visiting another 15 countries before finishing back in England on their final date at Twickenham on 24 August.