Interview with Westbam

Published in Vandalism News #29
Performed by Jazzcat

Welcome back to the interview section, recently Legend - The Will of God have returned to the scene. People claim this as a rebuild when in fact Legend has never been officially declared dead on C64.

Being a former member of Legend, I, Jazzcat was pleased to see their return and look forward to their promised comeback, release wise, this September.

This very interesting interview with one of the most known profiles of Legend, Westbam (formerly known as Narc) reveals some interesting and informal words about the comeback and it's past.

Happy reading!

Hello and welcome to the media. You are quite known already in the scene, but some may still be unfamiliar with you, please introduce yourself to the readers...

My name is Westbam. I am a member of Legend - The Will of God, the well known #64 group in the 64 scene... For years I was one of their main original suppliers besides XXX and Baal. Besides the 64, I was a member of Paradox and Quartex (Amiga) as well as Razor 1911 and Legend/Pc (PC).

What would you regard as your best personal achievement on the C64 scene?

Besides of other peoples' thoughts, Legend didn't really consider the scene as a full time job. It was more likely a hobby. True, our group was better organised than any other 64 group, still it was just a hobby. In this way, the highest personal achievement was, leading Legend (together with Powerplant) into the right direction so it became the quality cracking group it is (or was?)...

Could you please give the audience a history on when you joined the scene, what groups you've been in and any highlights in your C64 career…

Pooh! Kinda hard. I joined the scene around 1986. I was a member of several groups including Paramount (very early), Rough Trade Inc. and Doughnut Cracking Service. After a period of group jumping, I joined Legend - The Will of God and stayed there.

Highlights, well Legend was a highlight in itself I would say. We survived all our competing groups, including highlights such as Censor Design, Illusion, Ikari+Talent, Genesis Project, Dominators etc. All these groups had a good time for a while. But sooner or later they couldn't compete with Legend anymore...

In your time with Legend on 64, you were involved in several group wars on the boards. Which one is the most memorable and for what reasons?

The most memorable wars were the ones with Gene for sure. Including Goldfish and myself, Gene was the best ragger in the scene. All other considered in this category (e.g., Thor, Radar and some more) didn't have the brain to keep it to the BBS's. They had to prank call, turn people in and other activities to be proud of themselves. Kinda sad considering these people were considered adults by the laws of our community.

What's your opinion about the quality of a group's ware, ragging on the boards/internet and what's your definition of lame and elite?

This is a hard question actually. I think you have to find the right compromise between speed and quality.

The game must be working, decently, packed, logical trainers should be added (no wanna see end sequence now?) and it should be released first. You can add more trainers and make it 2 bytes smaller, true. But who care if you weren't first?

Ragging on the boards was pure fun. The cycling sub boards made the 64 scene what it was, not the wares at all. Just watch the PC/Amiga/Console scene. Releases left and right and the scene itself still sucks. So in my eyes rags made it fun.

Lame and elite. Well, elite groups didn't have to mention their superiority in every release (Germany's #1 e.g.). To differ good from bad groups release count of course. That should explain my opinion about lame or elite.

Do you have any scene/commercial related activities on any other computer/console formats? What is your venture on the internet these days? is it really the future?

Well, I totally stopped my activities about 1.5 years ago. Nowadays we work on the Legend/64 project and some PC groups try to get me to join them. Who knows what’s gunna happen?!?

The magazine industry on C64 has certainly become an important factor in the scene. You were a co-editor for the legendary SHOCK magazine. What's your opinion on the board based magazines of the C64 scene? What was good about them and what did they lack?

When will Skater bring out the much delayed Shock-Unplugged and how did Bild Zeitung end up being banned from Second to none?

Welp, disk magazines were a quite nice idea. Bad thing about it was that most editors used to make their own group look better than it actually was (Hi OMG/Antichrist and whatever handle else!). Shock was different in most people's eyes. After Skater joined Legend I told him he wouldn't be allowed to release Shock under the Legend label. We didn't want to have this mag look biased. I think we used the right way with editors like Excell/I+T and Gene/Illusion for example. It was always fair I think. I cannot really judge the mags nowadays. Haven't seen any to be exact... Shock Unplugged? Welp, I'd say never. Or can you find Skater somewhere?

Bild Zeitung? Welp, usually we wouldn't ban anything from our HQ. This mag was different. Everyone can criticize Legend on a fair basis. Parson as co-editor going Legend is lame because they are lame is the most stupid. I don't want to deal with stupidity neither would anyone I guess...

What is your opinion on Spitfire and what do you think of the actions by THOR, such as disconnecting the phone line of Second to none and sending S.W.A.T. teams around to scener's houses?

Spitfire was addicted to the C64. It was his life basically. Action has never been a decent competition to the big ones such as Illusion, Censor, I+T or Legend…

Thor is the biggest loser ever stepping into the 64, all his groups failed. He was laughed at by everyone that had his mind together. However, he never managed to disconnect Second to none. He took pride of a 1 day technical reparation of the local  phone company. He was a true loser...

Your handle, Westbam, did you get this nickname from the famous DJ? or something else? Why change from your original handle Narc to Westbam and have you had other names?

I didn't get the handle from the DJ. Westbam released it's first single in 1988. None knew him back then. Neither did I. I changed my original handle because of the meaning of the word. That should explain it..

Please make some comments on the following groups:

Illusion - Kewl group. A real competitor. Great debates with Gene.
Ikari - "THE" C64 cracking group...
RSI - Some promising members ruined by dorks like Psychobilly.
Talent - XXX & Bod were kewl dudes. Promising start and amazing co-op with Ikari.
Dominators - Lame kids that couldn't crack (The Spy Who Killed Me 300%)
Alpha Flight - The ugliest female person I ever saw on this planet.
F4CG - Greets to F4CG Italy... (Hi Solar!)
Chromance - The first real eastern group in my eyes.
Censor Design - "THE" C64 party animals compilation. Kewl guys 100%
Hotline - Nothing without Bod & XXX.
Genesis Project - OMG/Antichrist doubtless ran the biggest ego in C64 history.
NEI - "THE" fucking best NTSC fixing group E-V-E-R.
Armageddon - Kewl friends. I had loadsa fun on the phone with them...
TSM - Okay import group. Helped us a lot after NEI died.
Avantgarde - They were much too late to feel the heat from I+T and Legend power...

Could you tell us what you have in store from Legend/64 what will Legend be doing in the wares, board and internet scenes?

Well, we still have some sources we want to use to provide the scene with some nice games. Besides, we want to give the old C64 scene a place to hang out on Second to none and have some nice chats with old friends... or foes...

What's your all-time favourite of the following:

Cracking group - IKARI, Ikari+Talent coop, SCG, LEGEND
Cracker - DOC, Powerplant, Antitrack
Crack/Fix - Toki   Ocean. Very impressive crack by Doc
Demo group - Horizon
Demo - dunno any particular right now to be honest
Graphician - The Hobbit & Gotcha
Musician - Maniacs of Noise & Vibrants
Programmer - No special one...
NTSC fixing group - North East Importers & Excalibur
Fixer - Horizon, Grim Reaper, X-Factor
Disk magazine - Sh0ck
BBS - Second to none and Wild Wares
Music group - everything from Harthouse records
Woman - My girlfriend Kerstin
Food - I like lots of things
Drink - Warsteiner
Film - Star Wars Trilogy
Political group - that's all crap

What sceners do you respect and why?

Well, I respect every scener that enters the scene, gives his best and doesn't yell about he's #1 in this or that category. Other people have to judge this...

Legend had a strict policy with it's releases. For example no previews or low budget games. Could you explain why Legend decided mainly to release full price games and tell the story of where the Turbo Charge Preview original was obtained from...

We followed a strict policy of quality over quantity. Releasing everything we obtained, we could have got 50% more first releases for sure. But we intended to get a reputation as a group you can trust. Legend games work and are not half ass previews you can get from the paper shop. Of course we released some wares that weren't of best quality, still they were full price from famous companies though...

The Turbo Charge Preview was "provided" by Excell from the ECTS show in London. Somehow that disk in the drive kept on screaming: "Excell, take me and release me it's the will of god", and so he did...

What's your current occupation and what are your goals in life? Do you have any ambitions?

I run a big hardware/software/network company with some employees in Germany. We are quite successful. My ambitions? stay healthy and keep on enjoying life, rising my company and getting married with my girlfriend...

Here's your chance to tell anything you wish to talk about. Advertising your group, your opinion on something or if you just want to rag on someone! Go for it!

Thanks for this space but I don't think LEGEND needs to be advertised at all. However, I don't rag on people that can't reply. So I keep the rags to the boards or IRC unlike certain other people (Hi Mr. Wax and the Chromance bunch)...

I'm sure you have a few greetings to your friends to give from the past and present. Here's your opportunity to send some hellos...

Hellos to Horizon, Grim Reaper, TDO, Murdock, Butcher, Gene, X-Factor, The Ozz, Mr. Brownstone, Overmind, Wares King, Excell, Bod, Psycho, Carcass, Powerplant, Goldfish and all other Ex- and Now-Legenders and all I forgot…

Thanks for your time Mike, do you have any last words to leave a final impression on the audience?

Well, there’s not much to add but.. THE DRAGON HAUNTS... AGAIN!!!

Thanks and enjoy the magazine!