Run Run Vanguard
ZILLO 9/1993 - Frank Keil

Singer Alexander Veljanov (Deine Lakaien) is a very busy musician who, when he is not dedicated to the Lakaien, comes up with such interesting side projects as the band Run Run Vanguard. On the occasion of the release of their debut “Suck Success” (with cover reminiscences of Velvet Underground) a look behind the scenes of the Berlin quartet seemed more than worthwhile.

Run Run Vanguard are clearly guitar rock, but according to their singer they don’t see themselves as a gothic rock band. Founded in 1988 and since December 1990 with the line-up of Tim Arndt (bass), Doc P. Bohge (guitar), Werner Engel (drums) and Alexander Veljanov (voice), the group has, on the contrary, also made inroads into other contemporary musical areas of guitar music (e.g. grunge) and lives above all from the contrast between Alexander’s haunting voice and the music that accompanies it.

Run Run Vanguard’s first album features aggressive rhythms and themes about Aids and incest as well as romantic-melancholic stories and melodies about love and redemption. “Suck Success” can definitely be regarded as a representative cross-section of the band repertoire of the last few years, tested live again and again for its audience appeal and constantly improved.

What I like best is “Taga Sa Jug” sung in Macedonian, a story about a writer in Russian exile, with which Alexander pays tribute to his mother tongue in a most remarkable way. But also the other texts, all of them written by Veljanov, are hardly inferior to my favourite. Even though there are only eight tracks on the album, which was recorded partly on his own and partly with the help of the English success producer Dave Young, the playing time of a conventional full-length release is reached, which is mainly due to the fact that Run Run Vanguard “don’t follow the stopwatch”, as Alexander cautiously expresses himself.

The quartet explains the long wait for the release of a debut of this quality in their own words with their “inability to make friends with certain remarkable rules of the music business”. However, I wouldn’t regard this as a mistake, because “Suck Success” has become a perfectly successful work by a democratically oriented band, even if it does not represent a concept album Marke Deine Lakaien.

Personal experiences and adventures are presented here in a contrasting and at the same time versatile and independent way, under a completely different musical perspective than e.g. Qntal or Deine Lakaien, who, however, also come up with a new release already in October. But also beyond this time it seems to me to be reasonable to follow the further development of Run Run Vanguard with excitement.