BERLIN - They have been rocking arenas nearly as long as the Rolling Stones but unlike Mick and Keith, they’re from a country that no longer exists.  Meet the Puhdys, East Germany’s most successful band, who are still performing to capacity crowds 25 years after the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.

With their headbanger hair, black leather jackets and motorcycle boots, the look of the kings of “Ostrock” hasn’t changed much although the core members are 70 and over.

And with more than 20 million records sold over their 45-year-long career, neither has their sound, which taps a rich vein of “Ostalgie”, nostalgia for East Germany, a country which only managed to see its 41st birthday. “We were constantly on tour and on television and so we were always in people’s sitting rooms - we probably seem like family,” lead guitarist Dieter Hertrampf told AFP. But their act is now drawing younger fans, many of whom have hardly any memory of the Wall. “They’re icons,” said Christian Conrad, a 34-year-old ambulance driver from the town of Neubrandenburg. “What Route 66 is to America, that’s what the Puhdys are to us east Germans.” In an interview ahead of a sold-out show at Berlin’s O2 arena, a 17,000-capacity venue big enough to host superstars like Beyonce and Lady Gaga, the band said this was their last hurrah before retirement next year.