HOLLYWOOD: The big Orgy concert at Whiskey A Go Go was scheduled for Monday night. I had to fly out Tuesday morning at some ungodly hour. What to do? Go see my boys (AKA and formerly “The Russian Interns”) open up for them and then go home. Tickets were $20 and I’d only get to see the opening act? Well, my friends, that is what friends are for and I wanted to show some love to my buddies from Moscow, Degrees of Freedom.
Before Doors Open On Famous Sunset Strip
But this ain’t about what a great and selfless guy I am (I am of course), it’s about how I, a non fan of “nu-metal” “death metal” or any kind of “metal” other than silver and gold and maybe a little platinum or nickel every now and then, dug the DOF show.. and lest you think I’m playing favorites (shame on you thinking I’d do such a thing), everyone else seemed to enjoy the show even more (which makes sense considering they were there to see some metal). Once the black attired but solidly polite and behaved crowd realized that 3 of the 5 band members were from Moscow, things were like “ohhhhh, ahhhhhh” how “exotic” and became much more enthusiastic.
But when the guys (2 Russian dudes, a Russian girl and 2 Latinos presumably from Los Angeles) played their tribute to recently passed Def Tones former bassist, Chi Cheng, with really good cover of a Def Tones (from, ironically, Sacramento.. the very city I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to fly to) song that even I recognized but still can’t name, well the crowd really erupted and the rest of the night, DOF had these goth and metal heads (and me included) in the palm of their hard working hands.
Moscow Musical Couple
It was my 1st time at Whiskey A Go Go so little did I know I could have brought the good camera gear (but didn’t, so you get the shitty phone pics, sorry), but when I tried a little video, was shut down pretty promptly (but quiet courteously I might add) by the bouncer. But I did get off a few seconds before he shut me down, so you can enjoy the clip below.
I don’t know how the Orgy show was as I elected to get home in an attempt to get some sleep before my trip to Sac town. Yes, I know I’m old, but at least I didn’t complain about how “darned tootin loud these whippersnapper’s concerts are these days”. I’m not there yet. I’m on my way, but not yet.
Disappointed in the treatment 60 Minutes gave this story. It’s obvious Leslie Stahl doesn’t understand a damn thing about the punk philosophy. How could she?
Is Pussy Riot really punk? I mean besides the shitty music they play.
Well despite the fact that they knew they were probably going to labor camp or jail, they still stood up for what they believed in and used whatever platform they could to get the world to notice. Pretty punk to me. Pretty brave too.
I wish I believed in something strongly enough to go to jail or die for. Like the Cubans I interviewed in Havana, Cuba who got carted off to jail for talking to me (Check that HEREor the video below) .
Or the time we were in Moscow at Red Square and some slime ball loser from what used to be the KGB came up to us and asked us what we were filming. That blog post can be accessed HERE if you missed them.
Freedom of speech.. it’s a human right we’re born with whether it’s granted by governments or not.. and it applies to everyone on the planet no matter where they live…and it’s worth fighting for.
Finally! Coming to the Americas (north and south) is the legendary punk band from Moscow Russia, who’ve been rocking their comrades since just before the end of the cold war. That my friends, was Ronald Reagan – Mikhail Gorbachev days.
I have always been fascinated by Reagan’s so called “Evil Empire” so I went over to Moscow & St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) in 201o (if you missed it, just type “Russia” in the search bar upper right hand corner to see the many videos and posts) and found something more akin to Sting’s “The Russians Love Their Children Too” lyrics. Good people trying to make a living. I mean I’m not sure what I expected, but I still have a place in my heart for the Russian people.
On that trip is when I met the guys from Tarakany! and taped them for “Punktology.. The Worldwide Influence of Punk” (AKA the documentary with the ever changing tag line). Not knowing Tarakany! was really that big, I noticed when they guys gave me some CDs it was like toting back an entire section of music from your local CD store (when you had local CD stores). It was a massive collection.
Then in 2012 when I moved to the west coast and hired a couple of Russian interns (Tim & Snik), and their jaws dropped a bit when I told them about my interview with Tarakany!. it was then that I realized just how big these guys are. They compared them to the “Offspring” of Russia.. and as you’ll see by the interview with the guys that we are debuting today, they compare themselves to “Green Day of Russia”.
Well, here is the thing.. I like Offspring and Green Day but I certainly like Tarakany! music better than Green Day. Notice I didn’t say Offspring… so this is not just hyperbole or anything…it’s the truth. After Tim & Snik told me about Tarakany! I began meticulously listening to ALL their material, and it’s a bunch, as I mentioned below. There were a good 20 or so tracks that I would simply listen to over and over and over.. and finally I said, you know what we gotta put their music out in North America & South America. And we are, coming in November an eclectic mix of English songs from Tarakany! featuring incredible guest artists ranging from Frank Turner, members of Anti-Flag and Useless I.D. plus some more talented mofos from Russia.
I’ve heard the rough cuts and let me tell you, November can’t get here soon enough!
We haven’t announced it yet, but we will but you my dear friends, are always the first to know. So here ya go.
Thanks to Tim & Snik for helping put this video together.
(Biography / English)
Tarakany! (Cockroaches!) is one of the most well known and longest running punk-rock bands in Russia, no small feat in the largest country in the world where western influenced music, media and fashion were outlawed up until just 2 years prior to the band’s formation in 1991.
Like Russia, this popular Moscow band has gone through some changes, but Tarakany! has stayed true to their roots, performing energetic punk and rock’n’ roll in the tradition of legendary bands like The Ramones, Social Distortion, Rancid, Motorhead and Bad Religion.
Tarakany’s lyrics run the gamut from political themes such as human rights, discrimination, inequality and corruption to lighter fare such as sex, partying and clueless music critics. No matter the topic, there is almost always a dose of irreverence and clever wordplay.
The band’s frontman Dmitry Spirin, proclaims their unique world view from stages scattered all over the world where Tarakany!’s fans are a mix of the expected and the unexpected. Their shows are popular among all levels of Russian society from the blue collar punk youth, upscale university students, internet geeks and football hooligans to respected authors, journalists and film laureates.
For over the last 20+ years Tarakany! has travelled all over Russia, Eastern and Western Europe and parts of Asia playing venues ranging from tiny hole-in-the- wall clubs to massive sold out stadiums and popular music festivals in front of tens of thousands of fans. They’ve shared the stage with legendary bands such as NOFX, Toy Dolls, Agnostic Front, Anti-Flag, Misfits, MxPx, Skatalites, MC5, Monster Magnet, Offspring, Exploited, Stranglers and many more. Tarakany! also had the honor of opening for the only Sex Pistols show in Moscow and in Europe they toured with legendary drummer Marky Ramone of The Ramones, first performing their own material and then playing a set of The Ramones’ immortal songs with Marky as drummer.
Tarakany! has released almost a dozen full length studio albums, numerous splits, concert albums, compilations and bootlegs and Tarakany! was Russia’s first punk-rock band to feature music videos shot by some of Russia’s top directors. Always careful to nurture up and coming punk & rock bands, Tarakany! works hard to help other bands from all over the world break into the huge Russian market.
With their forthcoming release from U.S. based Punk Outlaw Records, Tarakany is re-recording several songs from their massive catalog specifically for the North & South American markets for the first time. Contributors on the new release includes members of the legendary U.S. bands Anti-Flag, Useless I.D., Frank Turner as well as Russian guest artists as well, making this a truly international, collaborative punk effort.
The label and band are planning a special effort to continue global awareness and outrage over the fate of the unjustly imprisoned members of the female Russian punk band “Pussy Riot”. Their To Be Titled debut release for Punk Outlaw Records is due out November 2013.
2012 saw some kick ass new releases by some of my favorite bands like Pennywise. Their new CD “All or Nothing” is a 20 song strong CD that simply inspires and gives strength. I’ve had several months of listening now and can honestly say I’ve never heard such a solid string of encouraging, “we have the power and we will change things”kick ass songs. This might be my favorite CD of all time for this band. Favorite tunes include “Waste Another Day”, “Let Us Hear Your Voice” and “X-Generation” but to be honest, you’d be hard pressed to find a bad song in the bunch. The whole CD is worth a listen.
If you’re a big Green Day fan and even if like me, you are not, then I’m sure you know they released their three release set, “Uno”, “Dos” & “Tres” in late 2012. I haven’t heard all 3 completely but my favorite single off the sets are so far “Let Yourself Go” from Uno . In my opinion, Uno at least is a better effort than Green Day’s had in a while, (I think the songs are better than “Know Your Enemy”). Looking forward to Dos & Tres in 2013 to see if they can keep it going.
Speaking of punk legends, Bad Religion’s “True North” is coming out later this month on January 22nd and available now by pre-order. Like Pennywise, I’ve seen these guys a few times in concert and I’ll definitely be listening to that and reporting back to you.
THE NEW GUYS:
Now we don’t have a specialty, but if we did, it would be punk music from around the world from bands that may or may not be well known outside of their home country.
MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Samati
Here is a female fronted rock band that reached out to us from Moscow, Russia called Samati. Samati fuses punk with some old fashioned rock n roll and I really dig a couple of their tracks, especially tracks #1 “Louder” (below) and #2 “Who You Are” which have a little more aggressive punk sound to them.
Give Samati’s new CD a free listen HERE and let me know your favorite track.
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – PaniKo, SataniKo
Now if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I know there is a massive punk and hardcore scene down in South America and in particular in Colombia. In all my travels to Colombia, I can’t recall having met the girls and guys from PaniKo, SataniKo but I gave their tunes a listen on Sound Cloud and I have to say I’m indeed impressed. They have a nice little cover from the Misfits’ “Hollywood Babylon” but their originals are really what impressed me with a little psychobilly influence in there somewhere.
Check them out and see what you think about these guys from Bogota.
PITTSBURGH, CALIFORNIA - Malicious Dismemberment
Now for all you hardcore fans, we’re bringing back to the state wherefore I type this little entry from tonight, California, where punk is still alive and well and bands like “Social Distortion” can sell out the House of Blues for weeks at a time. I don’t know much more than you about Malicious Dismemberment, but you gotta love the sound of the name and if you’re into hardcore punk, the sound of the music. They have about as aggressive a sound as I’ve heard in a while in the normally mellow, melodious West Coast. Give a listen and let me know what you think.
Don’t forget to check out our sister site for punk music from around the world. We’re doing a little update to the site but by the end of the month, everything should be up to date and rolling. In 2013, we’ll have new music out from Russia as well as a psychobilly compilation if things go as planned, plus whatever other surprises may come our way.
Well there you have it.. new music to get your 2013 kicked off just right. Thanks for tuning in to us during 2012 as we traveled the globe in search of some fresh punk sounds for you and reporting that from South America to Southeast Asia (getting there soon, I promise) to Eastern Europe to NYC, California, Florida and all points in between, punk is very much alive.
We’ll leave you with a video of Malicous Dismemberment that they have featured on their band page. Pretty cool. Wishing you a very punked out 2013.
It seems like forever, but just 4 months ago I was in Bucharest, Romania. It was middle of their summer (ours too come to think of it) and it was H-O-T and humid…and probably a little deserted as many folks usually head to the Black Sea for summer holiday.
But what the hell did I know, it was my first time in Romania and as far as I could tell the place was bumping. I really liked Romania. It had an edge to it. A Latin feeling of slightly disorganized chaos, but within the confounds of a very organized society. Probably a left over of the old communist days way back before 1989 when long hair and blue jeans were illegal, but the trains probably ran on time.
It truly was a mix of cultures and I would need much more time and travel there to begin to even offer anything other than first impressions of it.
“Just Another Lie”
But as far as the punk scene in Bucharest, the capital city, I did feel I got a decent snapshot of the emerging scene simply by hanging out at the Underworld, pretty much the only punk club around owned by Molotov Cocktail front man and former CBGBs sound man, Gabby.
Oh and congratulation to the Russians, they just got promoted. They are no longer interns. They are really climbing that corporate ladder now and living the American dream. ha, ha. Congrats guys.
Degrees of Freedom
And if you get a chance, check out their metal/hardcore band D.O.F. (Degrees of Freedom), something they know a little about. I’ve seen them play live. Metal is not my thing usually but these guys are pretty damned good.
Our final installment on Girl Punk Power and we thought we’d stretch genres to include rockabilly. I know you may be thinking “what kind of burlesque/pinup queen is Punk Outlaw going to feature now?”
Ah ha! So you think you know us? Well just when you think we’re going to ZIG… we ZAAAG!
Instead of the burlesque or pin up route, we’re giving a little love to the all girl Rockabilly band “Danger*Cakes”from that musical mecca, Austin, Texas.
Danger*Cakes fuses different elements of rockabilly, soul, jazz and blues for a genre of music that they call “Swing-Punk” “Neo-Soul” and “Psycho-Jazz”. Not sure what that means exactly? Me either.
But these ladies are heading out on tour later this year so look for them performing live and see for yourself. For now I’ll just call it some fearless female Rockabilly fuzed with some jazz for a whole lot of fun.
Danger*Cakes – Yes purist, they have play standup bass!
It surprised me to find out that Danger*Cakes has only been around for a year yet already have a release out on local Austin label Deep Eddy Records and their first cd is available HERE. Did I mention that they are also planning their first tour next month, so look for them at a city near you soon. Oh, I did didn’t I? OK, well now you’ve been warned twice so no excuses.
Dangercakes’ CD Cover
So until you get a chance to see them live, you can check them out at their band page HEREand on their FACEBOOK PAGE and enjoy the video from these lovely Texas rockabilly ladies below.
IT’S ALWAYS GIRL POWER TIME AT PUNK OUTLAW
I was inspired to do some kind of tribute to the ladies of punk by Russia’s Pussy Riotwho risked and got serious jail time for standing up to Putin and Malala Yousafzai, the brave 14 year old Pakistani girl brutally shot in the head by the big, brave Taliban (who I sense just really need to get laid, really, really badly). Malala was shot for expressing her desire that girls should have the same right to education as Pakistani boys.
How dare her? I hear she is recovering nicely and for whatever they are worth, our best wishes go out to her, her family and all brave young girls across the world still fighting for what should be the most basic of rights.
For some reason, I’ve seen a rash of domestic violence cases against women in the newspapers lately that has me quiet nauseated. From Hal Quin, a former high ranking NFL Executive & now Dallas Soccer Team Exec who decided a trip to NYC was a good time to allegedly pummel his wife (yet, she neglected to press charges).
To the poor young lady in the Lower East Side of NYC who was literally butchered to death by knives used to actually butcher livestock by her ex-boyfriend Raul Barrera. I guess Raul decided if he couldn’t have her, no one would and she would suffer like an animal in the process. He left her barely clinging to life, hopelessly dying in a pool of blood in one of the most horrific cases of domestic violence I’ve ever heard of.
They say Raul was off his meds, the excuse used by anyone who commits a crime of any magnitude this day. Not to downplay the seriousness of depression and mental illness, but if it’s used as a crutch to brutally slaughter people, I have no sympathy. If he wasn’t so delusional that he picked on an another big hulking guy, NFL Linebacker or MMA fighter.
I always notice so many of the “mentally ill” or bullies on the streets of NYC never f’cked with me or guys in general, they always f’d with girls or old ladies they could easily handle. Maybe some of them (certainly not all) are not so delusional after all?
Raul was not one of these poor on the streets souls anyway. He was a PR Executive. Rot in hell Raul.
Unfortunately domestic violence is typically a 2 way sickness. One person has to say enough. Otherwise, it will continue and someone very well may die.
It pisses me off to no end. There is almost nothing that makes me want to kick someone’s ass than a man beating a women, or an adult abusing a child, or anyone in power abusing someone less in power.
I hate liars, I hate thieves, but I hate cowards the most. And the world is full of cowards, I assure you. But there are different degrees of cowards. Some abuse animals, some children, some spouses, some complete strangers. Some abuse physically, others emotionally and others (bankers, con men, etc.) are just sociopaths. Most are harmless, all are spineless.
They DRAG ME DOWN and I’m sick of it. As Mike Ness/Social Distortionquotes in his song “Winners & Losers” – “We’re good and we’re evil, which one will you be today?”. I like to think I don’t have the capability to hit a woman, child or someone weaker than me. But I know, in my heart of hearts, I’ve done people wrong in other ways on occasion and for that I deeply apologize. We all, male or female, are guilty, I assume and I wonder/doubt if there is any way around that, assuming we live long enough.
I’ve put together just a few of the blogs we’ve posted over the last couple of years featuring some females who, in their own way, I think are pretty damned kick ass, just by doing what they do.
Girl Power… Heard a lot about it. Tried to incorporate it into my documentary “Punktology” with an entire section devoted to women and punk rock. Pussy Riot is maybe not the punkest sounding band on the planet, but you MUST admit they are pretty damned brave to take on Putin and the entire government of Russia.They went to jail for their beliefs. That is punk rock.
“Half the Sky”is a book I read based on the extremely common sense premise that if women just had some modicum of rights and equality in places where poor girls aren’t even allowed to go to school or are routinely sex trafficked, this would indeed be a very different (and better) world. It’s also a documentary on PBS and a movement where you can help out. Check it out HERE.
Pussy Riot – Photo by Igor Mukhin
I’m sure you’ve heard about Malala, the 14 year old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for simply expressing her beliefs that 14 year old girls should also have a right to an education. Last week she had a whole day dedicated to her as she continues her brave fight for survival.
I’d love to get a coward like the shooter one on one alone in a room for just 10 minutes. No weapons. Just he and I. I’m not a tough guy mind you. I abhor violence. But one of us would not come out alive. The world is full of cowards like him, many your next door neighbors who routinely beat their wives or abuse children. Pick on someone your own size, or at least your own gender.
I love my mother, I love my sisters, I have many females that I admire. My Grandmother was my idol. A good lady if there ever was one and luckily, my mother fell close to that tree. Without them and their love I would have been screwed.
Moscow’s “Lazy Bitches”
So over the next few entries I’m going to try and do something and honor girls like Pussy Riot and Malala and the makers of “Half The Sky” and the countless, powerless ladies who toil in obscurity but collectively hold this planet together and could do so much more if allowed much less empowered, by profiling those in punk, rockabilly, etc.
How much more could on this side of the planet if they do if it wasn’t cool to call them “Bitches” and “hos” thanks to people like Jay Z and Russell Simmons (is it fair game to call their little daughters “bitches” or “ho”? I doubt it… but then again Russell is a self described “yogi” who has a gold toilette in his mansion, so the contradiction isn’t surprising is it?).
Ironically, I’m going to kick things off start by showcasing the lead singer of a Russian band called “Lazy Bitches”. You know it sounds so much better when a woman CHOOSES to call herself that term? Especially if it’s a punk band fronted by a woman.
I saw this video and thought this is just a kick ass version of “Call Me” from Blondie. An old school dittie from back in the day when Punk bands like Blondie were morphing into new wave at places like NYC’s CBGBs.
Natalie, “Lazy Bitches” vocalist, belts it out.. she gives it all she has. You don’t have to save the world all the time. You just gotta do what you do and do it well. So agree with me or not.. I dig it. So here goes.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I specialize in sort of “off the beaten path” travels. Places like Central & South America, Eastern Europe, Russia, Cuba, Trinidad, etc. Why? Well, you could say I’m cheap but you’d then be ignoring the fact that Moscow & St. Petersburg Russia are a lot of things, but cheap ain’t one of them.
Covering Rockabilly in Moscow, Russia
Perhaps I like the excitement of hitting up a place that few tourists have hit. Some of my lousiest trips have been where I’ve gone thousands of miles only to be surrounded by Americans from the U.S. (South American and Canadians are “Americans’ too ya’ll.. get it right).
My first trip down to Central America was Costa Rica. I chose CR because I was so stressed out and was trying desperately to forget my problems back home. I rented a car and drove all over the country even over the dreaded montaña de la muerte (mountain of death).
At one remote but popular national park, I ended up picking up a hitchhiking tourist (not uncommon down there) who was not only from New York City, but worked for one of the very people who I not only knew in the media industry but was hoping to forget about for a few days. My nervous twitch returned while she was in the car carrying on about the guy.
Then in Machu Picchu, Peru I was surrounded by English speaking, mostly Americans who were really nice but really not what I had been going for when I booked my quick, week long trip where the idea was to escape the rigors of running my own little “company that could” in the big, bad and too often too ugly media biz.
Interviewing a Peruvian punk in Bogota
But all in all, travel on my worst day was still better than being “home” on an average day. Not that I’m so miserable in the U.S. (“like it or leave it dude” – callate!), but I do love travel that much. Sometimes I’m more comfortable being uncomfortable. Don’t ask me why.
That is why I’ve been working for the past 24 months or so on a project called “Raw Travel”, which incorporates more than a little punk attitude in the way it approaches travel and other cultures and especially the TV biz.
My love of travel is also at least 50% why I do this blog (the other 50% being my love of punk) and the other 50% evenly split between the documentary “Punktology”and “Punk Outlaw Records”.
Hey, I never said math was my strong suite.
And now my friends, it’s time.
I’ve been robbed (Argentina), mugged, well attempted at least (Brazil & Ecuador) and cheated (Rich Vreede/Black Cat)…I’ve been criticized, flamed, harassed, stalked and most damning of all… ignored. And for what, you might ask?
Money? Ha, ha, ha…. What short term memory problems you have. Please see above about being robbed, mugged and cheated. And besides, excuse me, everyone knows there IS a lot of money exchanging hands in punk music…. and all of it flows one way… out.. rarely in.
Recognition? Nahhh…. rarely does anyone give a shit enough for more than a few folks to even say a kind word or two (much appreciated by the way though). I’ve been “recognized” before and I can tell you it’s overrated. Like easy sex (is there such a thing?), it feels good at the moment but afterwards it’s like, did that even actually happen?
Dorados Rockabilly Trio – Both good & gracious… a tough combo to find
Appreciation? ha, ha… double, triple ha. I don’t know if you are aware of this but musicians can be the most narcissistic bunch in the world (second only to actors and professional athletes). Even punk musicians.
Many are like “spend your $ on me, poor musician, with no resources”, make a music video, put the music out, tell the world about them, build em a website… and get….. well on a rare occasion, like my buddy Felipe from Dorados Rockabilly Trio, I’ll get an international phone call just to say “Thank you”. Man.. that means a lot because most of the artists, whether on Punk Outlaw Records or whether we just do a little profile here with a segment, don’t even bother to grunt “thanks” when it’s all said and done and they’ve gotten what they wanted. Short term thinkers get short term rewards.
OK, maybe that’s a little overly pessimistic and exaggerated, but this Southern farm boy was taught to be gracious, to everyone for almost every possible kind thing.. and I’m amazed that at least 50% of the musicians we profile here, rarely if ever say the words “Thank you”. Many having begged me for the exposure and after the post goes up, poof! they disappear without a word. Disheartening.
So why would I do it? you ask… good question and I think the answer lies somewhere in the 50% who do show some gratitude, the 25% to the readers who show appreciation and the other 50% is my love of travel/punk aforementioned. (Once again, not good at math, I said!).
But I’ve digressed. What exactly is it time for?
It’s time, my friends, for me, the 3rd world punk rock traveler to cheap locations to do the unthinkable. To hit, one of the most expensive, oft referenced touristy places on the planet. You may have guessed it by our headline as nothing escapes your attention…. oui, oui (snicker, snicker, I said “wee, wee”).. France.
Yes, France. The city of love, wine, cheese, supposedly anti-American or anti-any non French speaking, French Fry (joking!) loving France.
“Why France? Why now?” you ask.
Do I love being condescended upon for lack of native lingual ability? Do I really want to see if croissants are better there than in Santa Monica? Do I think the U.S. media has probably done such a good job of stereotyping the French so I need to check them out for myself? Well, yes actually.
But also for two other important reasons, one relates to Raw Travel and the other Punk Music.
1) Cannes – There is a big TV Festival there twice a year called MIPCOM, which is the must go to spot for buying and selling international TV. In addition to working on a U.S. outlet for Raw Travel, we’ve had some good interest internationally (evidently there are people who like to travel more than us in the U.S. of A.), so I’m saying to hell with the jet lag, sleep deprivation and expense. I’m going. (plus a good buddy hooked me up with a pass!).
2) Paris – Who could visit France and not visit the famous “city of love”. or based on all the research I (meaning the Russian interns) could gather, where the only punk scene of note in France exist.
The French Riviera…. not very “punk rock” at all
Am I right? Am I wrong? Do you know?
Drop me a note. I only have 2.5 days counting travel to check out Paris and as much as I love Punk music, I still would like to check out the tourist traps of Paris as I’m not sure I’ll ever be back. And just an observation after all my travels, the punk scene is rarely, ever even remotely around the nice parts of any city. Always in the shitty part of town no tourist would be caught dead in, that’s where I specialize I guess.
So I’m thinking I have 1 or maybe 2 interviews or 1 punk show at most to hit (I will be there next weekend). All in all, I prefer a good punk, or psychobilly or rockabilly show. Nothing gives insight more broadly in a short period of time than a good show.
But barring that, interviewing a couple of the bands or key fans is also on the agenda. The Russians did put together some really good research for me and I’ve got a few of the bands listed below. I’ve got to decide who to hit up soon, so I thought I might ask you, loyal reader(s) to help me choose. I’ve posted band names and links below. Got some spare time? take a listen.. tell me who you dig the most. Know someone in France? Send ‘em my way (tell them I’m Canadian if you must).
Paris here we come
But don’t dilly dally… I’ll be in Paris 10/13-10/15 only and need to start reaching out soon.
Oh and lest I forget, “merci” in advance.
Here are the bands. Click on them to go to their respective sites/pages.
Kiev, Ukraine. Site of the big Ukrabilly rockabilly festival. Home to EXCELLENT Ukrainian rockabilly band the Wise Guyz. So we traveled thousands of kilometers (and miles) just to visit Kiev and get a little glimpse of their punk, psychobilly & rockabilly subcultures.
Despite our best efforts to interview the organizers of Ukrabillyrockabilly festival in Ukraine, it was a big NYET! (well, that is not true. Actually, it was just bad timing as they were on vacation too so we didn’t get to hook up with those guys), so I can’t tell you much more about the rockabilly scene in Ukraine beyond what the Wise Guyz shared with us back in 2010 when we were both visiting Moscow Russia (below).
But what about punk, ska or psychobilly? Not much popped to the surface either other than our aforebloggedMadheadwhich plays some pretty cool ska influenced Ukrainian rock n roll.
Tent City in Kiev to “Free Julia (Yulia)”, whom many contend is a political prisoner
I know, it’s there. It has to be. There is just too much $, too many changes since “independence”, too much political strife still going on, the imprisonment of one of their former prime ministers (some say for petty offenses that amount to political retribution), too much corruption (money rules the day and the people who rule the people), too many Babushkas(old ladies or grandmas), begging for spare change (imagine your dear old grandmother having to do that) for there not to be a burgeoning punk scene to protest these injustices and gross inequality.
When I checked into my apartment, I was literally feet away from the Kiev Ferraridealership. I don’t think I’ve seen such a concentration of expensive vehicles in one place than in Kiev’s City Center.
Now I haven’t been to Monte Carlo or other money havens, but I have been to over 25 countries and Kiev’s City Center has more Porsches, Ferraris, Audis, Jaquars, Mercedes and BMWs parked along it’s wide pedestrian sidewalks than than anywhere else in the world that I’ve traveled.
There was money and luxury galore and according to my contact there, a local resident whom we’ll call Alex, it would be rare if that kind of car was purchased by $ gathered from any means other than what could be deemed as dishonest. According to Alex, graft and corruption are so ingrained in Ukrainian life now, that it is almost impossible to achieve wealth in Ukraine without being dishonest. Alex describes it as “unsustainable” and thinks the system will “collapse in on itself” eventually.
Justice? Well, it appears injustice is as common as the cheap, little blueberries sold on the street that are “allegedly” grown at Chernobyl (I found out after I had ingested a good 2 or 3 cups of these potentially radioactive delights.. gulp!).
While graciously showing me around the sites of Kiev, Alex relayed to me a story that had been in the local papers where a pedestrian had been mowed down by an SUV. The victim died and when his family took the driver (who happened to be quiet wealthy and connected) to court, the judge, a close friend of the driver, rather than recuse himself, judged the dead pedestrian’s family to be liable for the damages to the SUV! The judge ruled that the victim must have thrown himself under the vehicle in order to purposely damage the man’s SUV. Incredible.
There are too many stories of the current Presidenttearing down historic buildings (Kiev is one of Europe’s oldest city) to build heliports for him and his rich buddies.
But is this anything new…government corruption, cover ups and dishonesty?
This kind of stuff goes on all the time from Havana to Guatemala City to Moscow to Washington DC. There are just different degrees and as Alex expressed, the difference in Ukraine is perhaps the blatant nature the public officials get away with it. At least in the U.S. they have to sneak around and work a little… I suppose.
Yet, Kiev is a lovely city. It felt extremely safe and by and large, the protest and tent city to free the jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko notwithstanding, people seemed pretty happy with the current system. Parents snapped photos of kids in front of the Ferrari dealership and almost every time I walked by, some one had their nose pressed against the window, daydreaming about the day they might be driving one of those $100,000+ machines.
But I know from my travels, looks are deceiving. Rockabilly music is big in Ukraine, that we know. And we know Rockabilly started off as rebel music but those days are gone.
In such an otherwise beautiful country where unfortunately corruption and inequality is rubbed in people’s faces so blatantly, what are punks doing? Are they trying to expose the corruption and injustice in Ukraine? Or are they just so happy that things have gotten “better” that they are satisfied with the status quo?
I know you are out there. What do you say punks? Are you there? Give me a sign, give me a “Da! We are here!” Let me and the world know you are alive and fighting the good fight.
Below is a video segment we produced on the popular punk band Tarakany! (Cockroach) from neighboring Moscow who tour Ukraine quiet often. Enjoy!
Some of you “old timers” may remember that way back in October 2010 we traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg Russia to report on the punk and rockabilly scene there. One of the bands we profiled was Tarakany! (Cockroach!), one of the biggest punk bands in all of Russia.
After an 11AM rehearsal (which was like 3AM for my jet lagged body), we interviewed the guys and asked them what it was like to be a punk band in a country like Russia. I’ve reposted the interview for you in case any of you “newbies” missed it.
I’ve also posted a new video from these guys when they played a big festival in Russia called “Kubana”, which as you can tell, features a pretty damn rowdy crowd of several thousand Ruskies enjoying Tarakany’s music. Notice at about 1:21 the guitarist is proudly wearing our Punk Outlaw Black tank.
Yeah, the rumors are true. We get around.
Next up: Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia, Ukraine and Belarus.
Punks in Eastern Europe, we know you are there lurking, so hit us up and we’ll reserve a shirt for you.
See you soon!