Rockin' in the USSR with Mumiy Troll
Russian rock band Mumiy Troll is on the brink of their first national U.S. tour despite the fact that they have been rockinâ€™ in the USSR for almost twenty years.
The following is not a full transcript; for full story, listen to audio.
If you grew up in Vladivostok, you would probably think that rock and roll was in a coma. In the film "The Gods Must Be Crazy," the character in the Kalahari desert has no knowledge of the world beyond, but a coke bottle falls from the sky, and the African tribe reconstructs an entire civilization based on this one artifact. That is the predicament of a garage band in a place like Vladivostok, who has to rely on Japanese power rock and the occasional Blondie album that is dropped off by the people that pass through.
Their lead singer, Ilya Lagutenko explains how he embarked on a rock and roll lifestyle despite growing up in a small port town that was more or less cut off from all of the East and the West due to Russian security concerns. The isolation extended even to other Soviets.
"We have all of those cargo ships coming from all over the world, unloading their stuff in the port. Those sailors were bringing their choice of music to town."
"I heard everything from AC/DC to Genesis, Blondie and Kiss. Most of the music was judged on the tapes' cover, albums' cover, not really for music, because everything traded on black market only."
This is an interesting story, also, about the internet, and how it has transformed the music business. With the band peering through tunnel vision to get a sense of what rock music is, playing it in their country for twenty years, the internet came along and allows this fresh sound, this very different kind of sound to emerge. The band is on the verge of introducing themselves to the world, but their sound remains unchanged.
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