Posts Tagged ‘russia’

BONDZINSKIY – the almost forgotten hardcore pioneers.

February 2, 2010


BONDZINSKIY, named after some mate of theirs, were among my most favourite local hardcore bands as I was just getting into the whole scene. Their music (self-described as ‘mournful gnash’) displayed a rather bizarre mix of influences, with some jazz and reggae leanings, and song had seriously intelligent, pissed off lyrics. Between 1993 and 2003 they have had a whole lot of lineup changes, with only the drummer Igor Mosin and bassist Dima Petrov being the regular participants in their musical bacchanals – their Sly & Robbie act has formed back in the mid-1980s in DURNOYE VLIYANIYE and even featured a stint with the local punk legends BRIGADNIY PORDYAD.

I’ve found an interview with Dima (who also played with Sergey Kuryokhin’s POP-MEKHANIKA, Nick Sudnik’s ZGA and in SPITFIRE for a bit) from cca. 2006 which had rather silly questions, so I chucked them out and translated what he had to say:

The band history is incredibly complicated and complex, by lineup as well as by creative progression. The story of all this disgrace has to be started, after all, from DURNOYE VLIYANIYE, where I met the drummer Igor Mosin, with whom as a constant rhythm section we have gradually morphed from one musical hypostasis into another.
DURNOYE VLIYANIYE formed sometime cca. 1988-1989 and played gothic new wave, successfully gigging in St. Petersburg and at all sorts of regional festivals in the ex-USSR. The band got played on the popular John Peel show on BBC and supported the famous SONIC YOUTH in Moscow.
In 1990 DURNOYE VLIYANIYE were invited to tour West Germany – the Berlin Wall, by the way, was still safe and sound. The tour involved playing with German punk and hardcore bands in 10 West German cities. This was when we got introduced to the grandiose music school known as hardcore – from the inside and fully. It can be said that this trip made a fundamental influence on our musical outlook. After encountering new sound, new approach, the energy of this music, we were swept away, shocked, charmed. These were the new unfamiliar ways, new horizons, new possibilities.
We were particularly inspired by FUGAZI, BAD BRAINS, NO MEANS NO, VICTIMS FAMILY. After we got home, we necessarily got an urge to enflesh these new ideas but as it is known, new ideas do not blossom in old soil. So Igor and I started to play new material and also seek new musicians who could organically co-exist with us in this musical space. As a result, the collective called BONDZINSKIY came into being. Over the years we played music with the likes of Andy Kordyukov (ex-MLADSHIYE BRATYA, 17 PILOTOV V OGNE), Gennadiy Larichkin (now the leader of BER-LINN), Sergei Sokolov (now in PRAVDA), Andrei Mashnin (MASHNINBAND), Andrei Gradovich (JUGENDSTIL, now 2VA SAMALIOTA), Roman Boiko, Ilya Orlov, Dan Gutsenko (and about half a dozen more – translator’s note).
The 1990s will remain for me probably the brightest stage of St. Peterburg’s music life. Many musicians outgrew the boundaries of the Leningrad Rock Club which by then degenerated to all-sufficient, closed caste structure which stank of officialdom with elitism and conspiracy of silence inherent in such a system.
The Rock Club somehow faded away – the new epoch started. On the basis of the just opened TaMtAm club an entire scene of great bands appeared: BIROTSEFALY, KHIMERA, ZVONKI, SPITFIRE, THE PAUKI, DOLPHINS, TEQUILAJAZZZ, 5 UGLOV etc. (sorry if I forgot someone).
As it seemed to me, no one thought about making money, commercial success, we played for ourselves, for our friends, because there was internal need for that. It was an atmosphere in which experimenting and NOT looking like a snob was natural. Those who played hardcore in the early nineties were very close-knit – not so much musically, rather it was the shared attitude to life.
Music, especially rock music, cannot live in isolation, without exchanging creative ideas. Any movement gradually chokes up on its own foam. What can be more disgusting than mass producing your own past? For me making headway was always crucial. Henry Rollins once said that the past doesn’t exist and you have to prove to yourself that you are still alive every day.
I haven’t got the slightest desire to analyse the music of BONDZINSKIY. Because depending on the mood I could fall either into self-glorification or self-condemnation. One thing that could be noted was that the riff structure of songs played a bad joke on the band. We could have easily turned each piece into 5 or 6 separate songs but we were just throwing ideas away. And also, we have made a conscious decision not to limit ourselves with any concepts, for us it was natural to combine styles that were practically incompatible. Sometimes it looked forced, sometimes it was fun but it was never banal.
Like every positive passionate phenomenon, hardcore will not die in the foreseeable future. As long as there is social tension in the world, the hardcore will be refilled with fresh blood of radical and not indifferent young people.
The old generation goes – the new generation comes, the process continues – everything is logical. Not everyone manages to keep the active attitude. However I am saddened by the fact that the social pathos is reduced. When I see a bloke who works as a bank manager and plays in his hardcore band in the evenings (instead of blowing up said bank), I feel sad.
Also, it seems to me that rivalry in the so-called alternative music has to stop. Unite, and unite some more, no matter what the style is. It’s such a pity that the concept of “people of goodwill” has vanished. I long for positive counteraction and confrontation with all the glossy, glamourous scene.
Lately everyone has been literally going nuts over the external attributes, often forgetting the inner world. A desire to look trendy turns into a sort of general hysteria. Unfortunately these sentiments are projected on the musical material, the music gets castrated, completely glossed over, everything is so clean and smooth that it makes me sick. The inner nerve disappears, the admissible filth which makes rock music what it is.
To be honest, I do not know [who our listener is]. While BONDZINSKIY was around, I knew about ten people who really liked it, and all of them were musicians. That’s why I was so surprised to be asked about ‘the legendary BONDZINSKIY.’
After existing for about 6 years (more like 10 – translator’s note), playing a number of gigs in Russia and abroad, releasing two albums (the 2nd one was recorded but not released – translator’s note), the band ceased to exist. We have probably exhausted our inner potential, and we got pretty much sick of each other. Now I’m working on a new project called GRANDSHUTTLEBANDA.
Naturally, it has nothing to do with hardcore. For me it’s a totally different style but I was always interested in doing something new. At the moment we have recorded an album but we are still looking for someone to put it out.

The aforementioned first album, “Lobovoi Mainstream,” can be downloaded here.

The second one, which DJ DNA from URBAN DANCE SQUAD mixed ended up never coming out but you can hear some stuff on BONDZINSKIY’s RealMusic page.

Some more links:
St. Petersburg Times interview (in English)
Post-Bondzinsky interview in SPT (in English)
Knives & Forks interview, in Russian
Muzykalnaja Gazeta interview, in Russian

Bio in Russian

A bit of self-promotion…

January 27, 2010

Can’t be bothered with a proper update, so just a self-congratulating quickie.

Cover by Sean Fitzpatrick.

Yes, there's a Medvedev somehwere.


One, yours truly has been interviewed by Danny O’Rawe in his zine Back2Front #5 which can be ordered at back2fron (a//e) riseup.net. I mostly mumble about politics and punk rock. It’s a great read although I haven’t yet finished reading it (gives you an idea of how bloody huge it is).

Also, a song by SVINOKOP (“Nikakogo Pozitiva,” a.k.a. “Only Hatred,” if you care to know) was used in a fairly random YouTube video documenting a protest in East Jerusalem.

If you google hard enough and will be able to stand some atrocious playing and immense amounts of blabbering about fascism in Russian you can see a live video of the same song which we played at the first gig with our new drummer. It’s quite raw but we intend to jam some more and put it out as a single. I kid you not.

Been a while…

January 11, 2010

Hello blog.
Quite a bit of time has passed since the last update. I think the chief reason I wasn’t motivated is because my ability to listen to music in digital format has been hindered somewhat. It’s still hindered, I’m not making any grand promises, no nothing, if I can’t be bothered I simply have bigger and better things to do with my life. Hopefully I’ll get around to doing a proper music zine, and not one of those little anarchist papers, or this blog.

Drunk Nach Osten #2 cover

Drunk Nach Osten #2 cover


Paaya in Brno, Czech Republic, has been stealing my bread – he has finished 2nd issue of his English-language East European punk rock fanzine which can be downloaded as PDF / MP3 archive here. “Contains interviews with HUMAN ERROR (Hungary), Sanych from DEFECT IN INDUSTRY zine and ME4TEC (Belarus), GRAZHDANSKAYA OBORONA (Russia), CRITICA RADICALA (Germany/Romania); scene report from Ukraine, articles about HC/underground in Latvia and History of Czech punk (KECUP, A64), lots of reviews, lyrics and photos.” They are making print version with a proper CDR attached in the spring.
Profane Existence
Those with interest in MP3s and East European punk rock will find gratification in listening to Scairt Radio #09, January 11, 2010 which features Russian diy crust/d-beat punk scene & boozing with Jan from Kismet HC. The full list of songs that were played, as well as a download link, can be found here.
The soy milk of human kindness that runs through my veins directs me to provide you with something as cheerful as the English translation of the lyrics to DISTRESS song “Last Day of the Human Race” which you will have the pleasure to hear on the radio:

Days are numbered, the earth dies
As a living organism it closes the circle of life

Last day of the human race

For our sins, nature suffers
The earth doesn’t forgive such a mistake

Last day of the human race

I have quite some catching up to do.

Grigoriy Sologub died.

February 27, 2009

sologub
The legendary St. Petersburg musician Grigoriy Grigoriyevich (Grikha) Sologub died in a local clinic on February 27, 2009 from heart failure. Born on July 19, 1961 in Leningrad, he was one of the pioneers of the new wave / punk movement in the city. He started out playing guitar, accordion and singing in ska / new wave band STRANNIYE IGRY (“Strange Games”) in which he joined his older brother Viktor in 1981 after a stint in hard rock band TEKH. POMOSHCH. They mostly used translations of French modernist poetry and chansons for lyrics (Brel, Brassens, Tzara, etc.) and combined them with inventive music that was devoid of cliches, innovative (for the Soviet scene of the era anyway) and alternately funny and sad, or bittersweet. They recorded two underground tape albums; “Metamorfozy” was issued on cassette in 1996 by Manchester Files, while their second, “Smotri V Oba” from 1986, was released on LP by Melodiya in 1988, one of the first Leningrad rock releases. Songs from both were also featured on “Red Wave” compilation 2LP. The band split up by 1986. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s STRANNIYE IGRY occasionally played reunion gigs – the most recent ones I can think of were in the Autumn of 2008. Local label Bomba-Piter works on a 3 CD set featuring STRANNIYE IGRY both studio albums and a live set from 1984. In early 1986 the Sologub brothers formed IGRY (“Games”). They were more guitar-orientated and heavier-sounding, more post-punk in approach. They toured internationally, recorded two albums in 1989 (one of which, “Krik V Zhizni,” was given a CD release in 1994 by Kontras) and mostly ceased activity in the 1990s. Both Viktor and Grigoriy Sologub played together in DOLPHINS which was one of the first hardcore bands in the city and existed between 1993 and 1995 (they released a self-titled tape on Kontras in 1996). Grigoriy also played in bands on his own. In 1992 he joined Alexandr “Alex Ogolteliy” Strogachov in ISRAIL who recorded an album which was issued on CD in 1998 – under the name NARODNOYE OPOLCHENIYE, because after a bit Strogachov gave the project the name of his most famous punk band. In 1994 Sologub joined MASHNINBAND, punk / alternative rock band with whom he recorded “Trezviye-Zliye” in 1995 (CD release in 2006 on Manchester Files) and then quit. He played in jazzcore band BONDZINSKIY for a short while – they had one song with ska bits and Sologub played it brilliantly, telling his bandmates that “no one plays ska in this city better than I do.” The alliance didn’t work out, and Sologub went to Canada to try and sober up through Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1997 he returned to musical activity becoming the new frontman of ska / pop band 2VA SAMALIOTA. That was probably one of the few projects that he was involved with which did release anything while he was actively involved (“Don Pedro, Gomez & Mamochka” CD on Zvezda Records). He was punk as fuck, a total nihilist, academically trained musician, and a true backbone of the local scene. It’s a pity that he lacked recognition in his lifetime. He always played in some of the best and most intense local outfits, and his music has been important for me throughout my life.

WE BLEED CHARISMA – Minimum Rock ‘N’ Roll demo.

January 17, 2009

St. Petersburg’s WE BLEED CHARISMA had an extremely short career cca. 2005. To my knowledge, they only ever played one gig, at Deep Sound Club at that, with GOODOK and KYSHTYM-23, a KING-KONGS side project. That was for a reason, only one of the members is a native of this fine city – singer Pavel Sasin (‘TIL I DIE, DOTTIE DANGER) aka DJ Pablo Diablo. Kostya Severniy the drummer was originally from Severodvinsk where he fronted pop punk band VYSHKA. He later drummed in CUT’N’RUN and is now in WIDOWLAND, as well as playing as a solo act which I personally find rather distasteful. French guitarist Seb is a member of SLEEP TALKER and CALL ME LORETTA. I dunno where the seppo sheila (the term used ironically) Naomi who was a keyboardist played before or after WBC, can anyone clue me in? They recorded nine songs, of which only a couple were properly mixed (and consequently released on a bunch of compilations in Russia and France). No cover, no nothing, can’t even find a band photo. It is still good. The degree to which English was mastered by this lot (who didn’t sing in Russian) is obvious from the name. Uploaded by Kostya.

http://ifolder.ru/10069457

MESSER CHUPS don’t fail to amaze…

December 14, 2008

MESSER CHUPS

MESSER CHUPS


I went to a MESSER CHUPS gig last night, and was much amuzed. They’re one of my favourite local bands as far as recordings go but I wasn’t sure what the live version would be like. The tour videos that one of their CDs included were kind of, whatever, two blokes and a Bettie Page lookalike playing surf music with a video screen behind them projecting horror B-movie excerpts. But, well, the lookalike in question is named Zombie Girl. The playing – that of guitarist / bandleader Oleg Gitarkin (also in NOZH DLYA FRAU MUELLER), anyway – was extraordinary, huge sound, amazing technique. Their new drummer is Alexander Belkov of CHIKISS. Finally, there was one extra bloke on stage that night – Alexander Skvortsov (DURNOYE VLIYANIYE) did a few songs now and then. They were all in rather scary-sounding English. I take it he’s gonna be on the band’s next album but I dunno when that would materialise. They’ve got the whole greaser aesthetic down.
Oh, and speaking of Bettie Page, MESSER CHUPS’ cover of “The Model” by KRAFTWERK was dedicated to her memory.

Official website
MySpace

Eduard Nesterenko died.

November 17, 2008

Eduard Nesterenko, 2002, photo by Sveta Belikova
The world seems to have an unlimited supply of bad news sometimes.
Eduard Nesterenko had died after a long illness on October 31st, 2008, at Mariinskaya Hospital in St. Petersburg. He started out as a singer / guitarist in new wave band Kofe in 1984. In December 1987 three of its ex-members formed a new post punk band, PETLYA NESTEROVA, which was Nesterenko’s best-known project. Their debut album, “Kto Zdes?”, featuring members of IGRY and KINO, is recommended most highly. He also played in Durnoye Vliyaniye for a year or so. While he wasn’t as active musically in the nineties and noughties, he kept a version of PETLYA NESTEROVA going and sometimes moonlighted with other bands, e.g. dub band SAMOSAD BEND features him on 2007’s Digun 2CD.
Nesterenko was buried on November 3 in St. Petersburg.

DURNOYE VLIYANIYE – “24 Chasa” video.

October 13, 2008


Video for the DURNOYE VLIYANIYE song “24 Chasa” (“24 Hours”) by Andrius Ventslova, cca. 1988. The band was one of the leading lights of Leningrad post punk scene of its time; the members went on to play in BONDZINSKY, SPITFIRE, BRIGADNIY PODRYAD, JUGENDSTIL and GRANDSHUTTLEBAND. In 2003 SzSS and Karma Mira reissued their debut album, “Nepodvizhnost,” on tape. I still have copies available. English translation of the lyrics follows.

DURNOYE VLIYANIYE
24 hours

if there is a door i have to walk in
in dark rooms in ancient houses
for a long time i couldn’t pass by
nightmare dreams and horrible fear

i’d seen naked nerves more than once
but maybe i’ll do what ian curtis did
i pity your crying fading eyes
can i put them out before dying

24 hours of senseless scenes
24 hours of senseless words
walls with no windows apartments with no walls
it seems to me i’m long dead already

it seems to me that some stranger’s hand
the noose i have to put my neck through
i hear you tenderly whisper goodbye
24 hours to die

My five cents…

October 11, 2008

Lunatic Fridge

Lunatic Fridge


An interview with yours truly can be found here:
http://www.kobayashi-disko.org/eng/Info_StPetersburgDIY.htm
It seems that the comrades have translated their own translation of the original English-language interview back from German, alas. As is mentioned, it’s printed in the October issue of Trust zine in Germany. Another interview, conducted over email and translated into French should be in Ratcharge #14 but I haven’t seen it yet.
Ratcharge 14 cover

Ratcharge 14 cover

RIVUSCHIYE STRUNY – Live in St. Petersburg.

March 30, 2008

One of Russia’s top bands for me, RIVUSCHIYE STRUNY, have made a trip down to St. Petersburg this weekend. Unfortunately, I missed their gig at GEZ altogether and only caught the last couple of songs they played at Zoccolo, but it was enough to send me to crawl and convulse on the floor. I borrowed money, bought a t-shirt, borrowed a marker and had the shirt signed by guitarist Alexei Bortnichuk. Alex Volkov filmed both shows, and posted clips online.

“San Frantsysko” live from Zoccolo:

And some stuff from GEZ, with a random audience member swapping his beer for a chance to play Bortnichuk’s guitar:

And here’s what I had to say about the band’s second CD when asked to do so by Pulse magazine for its November 2007 issue:

RIVUSCHIYE STRUNY

“Maskovskaya Riznya Elektra Gitarami – Chyast #1 (1970)”

(Otdeleniye Vykhod)

I would say that this band is the closest that Moscow got to the genius that is the Stooges since “Moskovskiye Kanikuly” album by Nick Rock’n’Roll & Lolita. Some seventeen years have passed since then, garage rock is now trendy, and Iggy Pop himself has blessed Russia’s capital city with his appearances twice. Iggy and the Stooges have actually played there about three weeks before this CD was released. Anyway, the Rivuschiye Struny (Houling Strings) member with the most impressive CV would be one of their guitar players, Alexei Bortnichuk, formerly a member of Zvuki Mu and Mamonov I Alexei. His stardom, however, doesn’t overshadow the other band members. Although, like almost every record with at least a distant smell of real rock and roll, this is primarily a guitar album (the title means something like “The Moscow Electric Guitar Massacre,” albeit with a whole bunch of misspellings). But the energy, drive and imagination of the other members are impossible to miss in the raw, “simple” recording, and Vova Terekh’s poetry is rather brilliant as it is, despite the similarity of subject matter – the life of 1970s hippies / criminals – to that of Zvuki Mu’s Pyotr Mamonov and DK’s Sergei Zharikov. Well, I wouldn’t say that an attempt to imagine what “Fun House” would’ve sounded like in the Soviet Union sounds like a trendy kinda thing, but it’s defo TRUUUUUUE!

It was a five-star review, needless to say.

http://www.unitedsoundart.ru/projects/rs