Rudolf Dethu is renowned as the former manager of the Bali punk rock band Superman is Dead. He is an activist who has been the inspiration for many other bands. “I was born and bred in Denpasar’ says Dethu proudly where both his parents worked in the Tourism – Hotel and Airline – Industry. From an early age Dethu was always passionate about music and with a razor sharp ability to find talented non mainstream musicians he has since 1998 been a huge influence in the Bali music scene.
In the late 80s and 90s Bali bands had to play cover versions to survive. It wasn’t until 2003 that Superman is Dead was able to play one of their own compositions in a club in Bali. “Superman is Dead is now the biggest punk rock band in Indonesia. I stopped managing them three years ago as I had to choose between managing the band or focusing on my fashion label, Suicide Glam. But we are still very good friends.”
In his early 20s Dethu worked on cruise ships and it was during this time that he started making compilation albums of all the “hip” bands he was hearing. He shared his musical knowledge by sending the music compilations back to his friends. Without the internet these compilations became a sharing place for music history discussion. The albums were handed from friend to friend and on his return to Bali he was invited by a radio presenter to be a producer with Radio Casanova. Dethu has been the producer of music programs since 1998.
Dethu is still very much involved with the music scene in Bali, The Block Rockin’ Beats on The Beat Radio Plus on Wednesdays at 8pm and as Editor-at-Large with The Beat magazine. He is the chairman of One Dollar for Music, the foundation that was established to give young musicians a better opportunity to have their music heard. He is also coordinator of Bali Creative Community, personal manager to Ngurah Harta, the founder of Sandhi Murti martial art institution, as well as being on the board of the Chamber of Commerce/Kadin of Bali. However, he’s not a very active member, Dethu says.
For the future Dethu would like to be more involved in government – anything to do with social issues, education and the youth movement so he can really make a difference.
note: this article is first published in Ubud Community June 2011 issue.