Einstürzende Neubauten logo

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From the cover of the 1985 single "Yü-Gung"

The Einstürzende Neubauten logo can be described as a human symbol with two arms, two legs (one much shorter than another), thin body and big round head with a circle in its middle. It was not created by or for the band, but is a cave drawing of probably Toltec origin.

Origin and meaning[edit]

According to the band leader Blixa Bargeld, it is an ancient Toltec petroglyph, whose meaning is undefined. So, it was taken as a band logo without any special meaning, but to be "filled" with it later.[1] This sign was discovered in a cave in central Mexico and was created between nearly 700 and 1200 A.D. Blixa Bargeld probably found it in 1980 during a search for mythological icons.[2] Some point out the similarity between this symbol and the big eyeball mask used on the stage by members of the avant-garde group the Residents.

There are several possible interpretations of its meaning, but all of them are just hypothetical. The circle in the middle of the head could be a sun or a (cyclopean) eye. The whole symbol could be a sun-faced man, man with a sun in his head or a sun and a human being (see solar symbolism).[2]

According to other sources, the logo is not of Toltec but of Olmec origin and was found in a cave in Chilpancingo.[3][4] Though it is an ancient Native American symbol, nowadays it is strongly associated with Einstürzende Neubauten.

Liars Single Cover.jpg

Usage[edit]

The logo is placed on almost all of the band's products, such as vinyl/CD/DVD covers, posters, artwork, and memorabilia. The logo is copyrighted by the band,[1] but nevertheless it was used in design of the products which are not related to Einstürzende Neubauten. Blixa Bargeld claims to have seen it on a shampoo in France.[1] A very similar symbol is currently being used by Armani for the RED product series. According to the Armani web site, their artwork is created by an African contemporary artist Owusu-Ankomah, who mixes various cultural influences, including early cave drawings.[5] The band Liars parodied it on the cover of their single "There's Always Room On The Broom".

Tattoos[edit]

Some of the band's fans have a tattoo with the logo, probably the most prominent of them are Henry Rollins, Ministry's Al Jourgensen, and Maniac, formerly of the black metal band Mayhem. Once Einstürzende Neubauten asked fans to send photos of their tattoos to use in artwork for the upcoming album. The images were printed in the fold-out that came with Strategies Against Architecture III. Also, a collage of the photos appeared in 2000 on a tour poster for the "Silence is Sexy"/"20th anniversary" Tour.

Writer, producer, and spoken word performer Tommy Cody has the logo tattooed on his outer left forearm.

Writer, producer, and musician Chris DeMarcus from the band Stiff Valentine has the image tattooed on his right forearm.

Although hardly visible in the finished film, the little vampire girl in the film 30 Days of Night (film) has the Neubauten man tattooed on her arm.

The logo can be seen in the manga Eden: It's an Endless World! by Hiroki Endo (man in the background has it tattooed on his arm).[6]

The logo can also be seen painted on a ruin in the episode 11 of anime series Monster (story by Naoki Urasawa) which takes place in Germany.

The logo is also featured as a tattoo in Grant Morrison's comic The Filth.

In the French film Persepolis, the protagonist, Marjane Satrapi goes to Vienna and befriends a punk rock group, in their apartment the logo can briefly be seen on a poster.


A line in American rockabilly band Heavy Trash's song, "The Pill" (off the album Heavy Soul Serenade, 2009), mentions that "Betty had... a tattoo of the Neubauten logo on her right shoulder..." (although this is commonly mis-transcribed on unofficial lyrics websites).

Gareth Liddiard, lead singer/guitarist of Australian band The Drones has the logo tattooed on his inner left forearm.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Austrian interview with Blixa Bargeld (in German)
  2. ^ a b Brand upon the brain: Logo #17: Einstürzende Neubauten
  3. ^ A resource, which claims that the logo is of Olmec origin
  4. ^ Pages from a French collection of signs and symbols identifying the origin as Olmec
  5. ^ Armani's symbol which does look like Neubauten logo
  6. ^ Volume 6, Page 139.