satan panonski

a) „Satan Panonski, from Ceric close to Vinkovci. Was killed somewhere between 12-20.1.1992, I do not remember the exact date, although I was there. I do not remember more, but it was on one of the lines around Vinkovci“.
b) „A few weeks later he died, just after some interviews he had given on radio. He accused the military leaders of bad organisation and politics, which made him and his fighting force withdraw on moments that it was, in his opinion, absolute not neccessary. Soon afterwards he left, totally pissed a bar in Vinkovci and slipped over the ice in front of it, his riffle went of and hit him fatally in the head.“

Satan Panonski was one of the most difficult legends of yugoslavian punk.  He wrote poetry and fiction, painted and played in punk bands. In 1978 he visited a cousin in Germany and there stumbled into punk.Two years later he starts to play in the local punk band „Pogreb X“. In 1981 he kills a man in a fight with the local Mafia in self-defense . Because of this, he was sentenced to twelve years in prison, but soon, instead of prison, comes to a mental hospital near Zagreb. There he starts to write.

„Guarding cows of the Sava River … in May 1977. my father didn‘t have an eye on me and I didn‘t attend high school for one month. Carry with me one notebook, some money, so come on pinball machines and beer, some kisses with Vesna, what generally in the point of view of my present perversity was wrong, because then in the „Luna-park“ she did not want to give me her drink. In my unrest: revolt, in me the truth …

… that year was only one thing for sure, my father hit with his mighty hand, that heroic hand. I had three times in orbit around its axis and axle shaft. Axis in this mental state transforms you to a mite, like schizophrenia, it revolves around you like flies with no head, and then the stitches. I can not tell from that whether it is spinning in its head? Whether the insects can go crazy when they do not have a brain? Insect and instinct, these letters, see! see!, to my great astonishment are similar complex (Oh Lord, not all of them!).

How much of my father‘s right-wingers made my mind rotate, it is enough to say that we are in the mind that in a moment found the whole time, all you see and know and do not need to ask grandma how it once was, nor read Jack (the ripper) London, of whom I do not know if he‘s just from London or Kuala Lumpur? Daddy shakes me, because I found the „Kent“ in his jackets. Well it was. To oppose to his dictatorship I now do not have any magic formula.“

Then in 1980 Punk started in Vinkovci. Vinkovci was at that time a town of some 40 000 inhabitants. Dominated by industrial estates, named by some the „Chicago of Yugoslavia“.

„Speaking out the truth, out of myself (not about myself) in form of music I started in autumn of 1980. When I put out a thought, I have to accomplish it, do it, it has to happen. The band „Pogreb X“ (Funeral X) out of Vinkovci, formed a man named Vlado Soldo, a bass player. Seeing me jumping on Sex Pistols, Sham 69, Clash, Ramones, U.K. Subs…asked me if I know how to sing, and I replied: “I don‘t sing and I don‘t know if I can sing, but if you need it, and if I want to know it, I‘ll sing in your band“.

The same autumn of 1980., came my appearance with them in the „Youth Hall“ as a part of a „Youth Conference“ where they were discussing the problems of youth (drinking, Hong Kong films) of all negative tendencies for the development of socialistic consciousness, progress. The bosses of the town fled away with the threat that it wont happen again, when I broke a bottle of beer on my head and said: „You came here to cheat and deceit them, not to help“. But there was no sense and no way of forbiding me to perform, and if they did that in the town itself I would do a concert in my village Ceric, in the forest, anywhere.“

„it was not because I hated the system, or those, who with their megalomanic tendencies run it, because I started despising my own being, and to make me more suffer I accepted in 1978, the „host“ of Punk in Germany, and in that form, form of a self destructor, penetrate into the spirit itself of the town Vinkovci. I like that town. I like the river Bosut though it stinks, and stinks because in its waters my beloved friends, the faithfull Pavo Pap and Goran Matocevic drowned, and even Mario Pokrovac with whom I was not so close, because he had and he needed a different kind of peace beside ours…
…They could have accepted me better if I was a homosexual or a „nationalist-terrorist“, but they did not because I was a heretic, pagan, by my national belonging a punk, by my profession a friend. Satan Panonski is not only music, performing concerts, it is theater, poetry, prose, art of painting, artistic decoration of clothes, if you want I‘ll artistically dig up potato, there is no grass blade that my eye will miss…. With the band „Pogreb“ I made my last appearance in 1985. in Zagreb, then came a pause, until 1988, when with the blessing of Z.F. I held a recital of lyrics in „Kulucic“, then on „Teat-rock“ (three days of recital), and in March in Zagreb and Beograd.“

Oči u magli (1989, Satan Panonski)

That state of a legend, can still be noticed in blogs, which are dedicated to the memory of Satan Panonski on the internet. A lot of blood is running through his poetry, there are all kinds of „Sexual disorientation/ Total perversion / Mental diversion“ and of course, his mother. As often as the pictures of pain, are the insights into the kind of spirits that make you singalong with a well-known song by „Black Flag“: „Self-de-struct…“ (Life of pain, but perhaps he actually bears more resemblance to Darby Crash from the Germs than to Henry Rollins). But the interesting thing about Satan Panonski is perhaps the contradictions and the sheer powers, that are at work, which pressurize and urge a life into a shape….and how art, punk or whatever can function as an energy release for those powers.


God watch, theirs toes slipped out through socks
God watch, they landed in prison, young
God watch, they didn‘t carry out the sabotage
God watch, they ate green apricots of a feud
They all loved each other, and they weren‘t allowed
Some shooting in the distance was heard
Tramp of hoofs, bloody, hollow
The Lord has no strength for the flood
Some punkers formed a tunnel
They all loved each other, but they weren‘t allowed

When the war started in Bosnia in 1990 he started to take position for the croatian side, and then he wears the uniform of the Croatian National Guard (predecessor of the croatian army). „He explained his decision in December, 1991, during one of the rare performances in the last months of his life, on stage as a normal thing to do. He was not fighting for the „holy fatherland“, he actual didn‘t give a shit for it. But his mother was under attack in his birth village (which is now in the „occupied“ zone). He loved his mother and felt the strong need to defend her…“ He even released a tape called „Kako je panker branio Hrvatsku“ („How A Punk Defended Croatia“), that contains nationalist songs.  What happened to him later is again shroud in mystery, some say he was shot by his own croatian comrades, but it is obviously a way to continue with mystery and legend. How could an anti-nationalist, heretic and punk become a soldier? It will never be clear, However, there is a similarity in his fate, to a fictional personality, that appears in the novel „cloaca maxima“ of Vladimir Arsenijevic:. The younger brother of one of the protagonists, who lives in Belgrade, is into Hare Krishna, vegan food and peace, changes his mind when war breaks out, joins the army and instantly dies.

I remember that play in a dew
A dazzling frost in hair
A moan carry us all over
He young, me a punk
They saw that he was kissing me

His poetry was also called „the first gay-hardcore poetry on our soil.“. After his death, there was an obituary notice In Slovene gay magazine Revolver, together with some of his poems.

There was some materials published in 1986. then he appeared on the first compilation album „bombing New York (1988-89), followed by a solo LP “Nuclear Olympic Games“. „During his life he held concerts, performances, theatrical performances and exhibitions of drawings, all over the alternative scenes of former Yugoslavia (Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, …) Upon release from the hospital in 1990  a collection of his songs „Mental casualty.“ is published. Some of his concerts can be found on youtube.

Thanks to…
Wam Kat: Zagreb diary, 1993
Slusaj najglasnije! (Listen loudest!)

1 Comment

  1. Satan Panonski II said,

    First of all, war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, started in 1992., and not in 1990. Second of all, Satan Panonski was Croat by birth, punker by nationality. He lived in Croatia for all his life, and went to school to Vinkovci. He doesn’t have anything to do with Bosnia or whatever you wanted to say. There were legends of him, saying that when he caught chetnicks, he told them, “if I cut myself so much this way, what do you think I’m going to do to you?”.
    And yes, I know his brothers and his friends, so there is no need to doubt in my words.

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