Jürgen Teipel

Waste Your Youth

Docu-Novel about German punk and new wave
(German title: Verschwende Deine Jugend)
ca. 454 pages
Jürgen Teipel
Foto: Jürgen Teipel
© Jakob Feigl

Jürgen Teipel, born in 1961, began his writing career as the publisher of the punk-zine marionett. He has organised concerts for bands like Die Toten Hosen, has worked as a DJ, put on exhibitions and written for Die Frankfurter Rundschau, Die Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Der Spiegel, and Die Zeit.  He lives in Munich.

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When Waste Your Youth came out in 2001, no one could have predicted the effect this docu-novel about German punk and new wave would have.

Not only was the surprise bestseller quickly followed by an eponymous double album and a now-legendary exhibition at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, it also sparked a punk revival in Germany. Small wonder then that the prominent German pop magazine Musikexpress named the book its pop event of the year.

In this completely revised and expanded new edition of Waste Your Youth, all the most important figures from the scene talk about how the English punk explosion of 1977 finally made it possible for a German-language pop culture to emerge, how the music and the attitudes of the New Wave influenced literature and the visual arts, and how this thriving subculture ultimately came to an end with the rise of the mainstream ‘fun’ culture of the Neue Deutsche Welle.

In preparation for this book, author Jürgen Teipel interviewed more than a hundred people over the course of three and a half years, weaving their responses together into a single, unified text that reads like the novel of an entire generation – polyphonic, multi-perspectival, and with a seemingly endless number of stories. We hear not only from bands such as Einstürzende Neubauten, DAF, Palais Schaumburg, Malaria, and Die Krupps, as well as musicians such as Campino (Die Toten Hosen) and Nina Hagen, as well as artists from other genres who cut their teeth in the punk scene.


»Breathtaking. A magnificent achievement.« Süddeutsche Zeitung

»This book is such an exciting, hairraising, funny, inspiring, sometimes frightening read, you won’t want to put it down.« Musikexpress

»A gripping oral history of the years 1976 to 1983.« Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»Buy it! Read it! Right away! You won’t regret it. This book is a detective novel, a lecture on contemporary history, a study of violence, a satire, and a sociology seminar all rolled into one.« Das Magazin

»If only pop memoirs could always be like this.« Die Weltwoche

Other publications

Unsere unbekannte Familie/Our Unknown Family (2018)

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