M.U.Z.I.K. / MÉLYPINCE / Nemzetközi sajtó
magyar zenekarokról, angolul, németül
(Ami külföldi magyar sajtót illeti: az 1956 után
Párizsban szerkesztett Irodalmi Ujság 1989/1. számában
közölt beszámolót az emigrációban
élők számára az otthoni underground színterén
történtekről, a Budapesten élő Snée
Péter tollából, aki a Kextől kezdte, nagy szünet,
majd a Spionson át a Sziámiig jutott.)
The New Musical Express on the Budapest scene (1981)
Spex Musik zur Zeit über der/die/das Budapester Scene
The New Musical Express on the Budapest scene (1982)
The New Musical Express on Kampec Dolores (1988)
The New York Times on Vágtázó Halottkémek (1990)
The New Musical Express on Vágtázó Halottkémek (1992)
Budapest Week on Európa Kiadó (1993)
Budapest Week on the Budapest scene (1994)
Budapest Week on Sexepil (1993)
Budapest Week on Fuchia's Fall (1993)
Budapest Week on Andersen (1993)
(17th January, 1981)
This is Beatrice's first concert in the city for three months.
Finally allowed in, we're confronted by the strange sight of a raggedy fourpiece all pushing 30; curly, rattish hair falling to their shoulders, balding heads and gringo moustaches seem defiantly at odds with their status as most popular punk band in Hungary.
But it's their music and not their looks that has won them their reputation. For some, their unlikely alloy of pogo, boogie and homespun folk melodies is akin to voting punk by proxy, but to most of this audience they're loved in their own right. Then, they do work hard at getting a healthy response with a series of clappalongtunes that are closer to Slade's community chants than Sham's earthier terrace rants.
They also know the value of a gimmick and theirs is the red polka dot neckerchiefs tied to their wrists or around their throats, and most everyone in the predominantly pre-20s crowd has at least one. The kids are really enjoying themselves, responding eagerly to Beatrice's all-join-in invitations. In between numbers, some yell for Sex Pistol songs, but the most consistent chant goes, "RA-MONES, RA-MONES!"
The band tease them for a while by ignoring the requests before finally appeasing their appetite for blitzkrieg bopping.
Beatrice would hardly rattle the walls here with their luke-warm brand of "real" socialist realism, but their hard work earned them a large following and it's this that worries the authorities. Indeed their reputation goes beyond Hungary's borders into Poland and East Germany.
But as singer Nagy [Feró] points out, "Hungary is possibly the only conceivable country in Eastern Europe where a band like us could play overground - even if they won't publish our words. We wouldn't have survived anywhere else making social criticisms of certain parts of society."
(That's not strictly true. Reports from Poland are promising. I've heard about countless new wave bands, themselves a development from garage punk bands from Gdansk and Warsaw.)
Their popularity tied with their survival has aroused suspicions of compromise reached with the authorities, but one associate of the group refutes the allegation with the astute observation that they simply sidestepped the need to go underground.
"Some of the bands want to be underground", he says. "But Beatrice just continued to play in public places for kids and now they are maybe too popular to ban, as the authorities don't want any martyrs around. If they had the chance, they wouldn't have let them play to begin with."
The band calmly refute any allegations of compromise.
"We once refused the chance to record an album, even though there's great demand for one", says Nagy. "But they pinpointed six of our songs as unaccaptable, so we took a step backwards and refused to make it."
Though they've been playing for ten years, they only realy took off three years ago, when their music became more punk orientated.
At best Beatrice's music is great fun, but the music gets better the deeper you dig. And the more underground groups you talk to, the more often the name of Spions crops up. Their leader Gergely Molnár fled to Paris just ahead of the authorities in April '78, where I find him on my way home. His post-Hungarian period history is fascinating enough in itself, but for the present we'll confine ourselves to his influence on Budapest's underground of today.
A composed and self-assured individual, he speaks English with an engaging Jacques Cousteau accent as he expresses a reluctance to discuss his past.
"Hungary is over for me", he says, dismissing my discussion of his flight. "It's better that you talk to the people who are still there."
I did. They all bring up your name. Why? Well, simply because before he threw himself into the shortlived venture of Spions, he lectured students on the likes of Bowie and - later - punk. A keen follower of McLarens's situationist comedies, he decided to stage a few himself in Budapest, choosing the swastika as the most potent symbol to upset established moral standards. It was a considerably more reckless step in Hungary than here, bearing in mind their past (fighting on Hitler's side) and present (under Soviet influence) positions. The concerts were challenging experiences, incorporating dance and music, using as themes subjects like Anne Frank's relationship to her killer.
He chose punk as a violent form of address, he says, "Because there was no way out of the closed intellectual circle I was in at the time. I used to lecture on music because I thought people really needed it, but I don't know now - I just look back on that whole period as some kind of madness."
He continues: "I wanted to make my concerts impossibly difficult to follow so I brought together themes like Nazism, Baader-Meinhof and the Russians, making them an emblem to represent them all - it was some kind of espionage."
Amoral, to say the least, his dangerous juggling of fascism and bolshevism might seem ill-advised, but he contends it had nothing to do with political convictions. It was all part of a mind cleansing process to rid himself of a "baseless Russian education."
He continued the cleansing process for a while in Paris, from where he sensibly decided not to return three years ago. However the impact of his daring performances - not his politics - is still felt today.
One night at a party a group called Balaton (named after Europe's second largest lake) turn off the sound system, commandeer the kingsize double bed and begin an impromptu performance. Well, not so impromptu, as they've brought their slide projectionist with them. Normally electric, this night their two guitarists play acoustically, though most of the attention is centred on vocalist Mihály [Vig].
A compulsive performer as capable of commanding attention as Jimmy Pursey, he can similarly exasperate. He talks and talks and... seemingly oblivious to the growing impatience of most people in the room, but he scores some laughs and a few scowls by throwing out half-jibes and 'thank yous' to the predominantly intellectual audience for paying him attention.
Some people credit him with plenty of potential, others say he hides a lack of it with his quick wits. One fan explains they've so far played five concerts under the most adverse of conditions. The first two were awful, the third great and the last two didn't live up to the middle one.
His overlong party piece does have some good moments, where Mihály's doleful voice, his guitarist Károly [Hunyadi]'s vigorous but careful chordings and the slides combine to create chilling moods that hint at what Balaton's capable of under better circumstances. And even during longeurs, Mihály's animated, enaciated face, accentuated by tufts of beard, is spellbounding to look at.
A melancholic, pessimistic person, he's none too happy with his lot. He tells me later about the difficulties of working in Budapest.
"We inherited such a difficult, unsafe situation (from the likes of Spions and other pioneering performance artists) in which many ideas are futile from the beginning, because those who think are not understood by the public or the authorities. But on the other hang we didn't start making music to make a fortune..."
The best moment of the set comes when they're joined by URH guitarist Jenő [Menyhárt], whose one song performance is perhaps the most astonishing thing I've ever seen. Seated, legs crossed, on a low wooden stool, supported by the acapella mouthings of the Balaton pair, his voice barks into a terse rant, which apparently runs along the lines of "Too many police, too few whores" and back to "Too many whores, too few policemen". (The song's words and emotions are far more complex, but not so easy to translate to paper.)
By the end he is bent almost double spitting out the words and most everyone in the room is supporting him, either clapping along or providing the bass parts.
After hearing URH's tapes he turns out an equally compelling guitarist. URH music is the best I heard anywhere during my stay in Central Europe. They make wild, swinging music driven by some wonderfully furious guitar. It's all shaped by the ironically maudlin but masculine noise of the choral singing.
Led by student film director Péter Müller, they come from mixed working class and intellectual backgrounds. Their lively music cuts dead the lumbering rock of officially supported bands in the same way punk cleared the air here a few years ago.
The authorities have already betrayed signs of interest in URH's activities. Just before I arrived they were due to play at Budapest's law school, promoted by the young communist organisation. However their secretary cancelled the gig, apparentlly under pressure from collage professors. They tried to discredit the band by claiming the initials stood for Ultra Radical Bureau or Ultra Reactionary Frequency, although it's commonly known their name means Ultra Rock Agency. It is also the code for the police emergency short wave frequency, someone tells me.
The band's raison d'etre is partly to encounter the reams of misinformation disseminated about rock and roll, hence the name, says Jenő.
" There has never been any precedent for new wave here in Hungary. And we have no proper rock tradition - well, maybe in form but not in content. People here have a very distorted view of it. Thus we try to bring through our lyrics and music and also the kind of life we live the idea of what rock and roll existance really is."
Chris Bohn cikkéről az Ifjúsági Magazin 1981. márciusi számában Tardos Péter rocklexikon-szerző adott nyúlfarknyi hírt, amiben a nyomda ördöge VRH-vá változtatta az együttes nevét. Áprilisban a Világ Ifjúságában Wilpert Imre tallózta a cikket, megróva Bohnt, hogy az itthoni menőket (LGT, Omega, V'Moto-Rock, Piramis, Edda, Skorpió, East, Korál) kihagyva ismeretleneket favorizált.
Glück für uns, jemanden vom Magyar-Film zu kennen: denn in einem kleinen Studio werden Videos gezeigt von den wichtigen inoffiziellen Gruppen: unter dem Deckmantel einer Maskenbildner-Schau. Erst Videos mit Arbeiten von konventionellen TV-Maskenbildnern. Dann experimentelle Arbeiten: darunter ein exzessiver Neonfilm mit Musik von Suicide ("Frankie Teardrops"). Dann die Gruppen: Neurotic sehen nicht nur so aus wie die alten Damned, sondern machen auch noch richtigen deftigen Pogo. Die Kontroll Csoport haben eine Saaaaangerin und einen Saaaaanger: Sie sind schon über den Pogo hinaus, machen differenziertere Neue-Wellen-Rockmusik. Interessanter und extrem verschieden aber die beiden folgenden Gruppen: die Vágtázó Halottkémek und URH. Bei den ersten (VHK = Galloping Coroners = Herumflitzende Leichebeschauern) regiert das Chaos. Aggressive Aktionen auf der Bühne, keine Pausen, die Körper immer in Bewegung. Free-Music, impulsiv, nur Spontaneitaaat, Body Action - und keine Rücksicht auf Verluste. Bewegung ist alles: im Hintergrund baumelt ein Seil wie von einem Galgen. Manchmal schlagen sich die VHK mit den Neurotics um die Bühne. Einmal musste Saaaaanger Attila Grandpierre mit enormem Blutverlust in Krankenhaus: er hatte nach Iggy-Pop-Art mit einer Flasche zu intensiv gespielt. Intensiv, aber auf andere Weise, sind die URH = Ultra Rock Hirügynökség = Ultra Rock Agentur. URH ist gleichzeiteig auch ein Zweig der ungarischen Polizei. Der Hinweis auf die Staatsmacht wird auch gleich optisch vorgeführt: Saaaaanger Péter Müller traaaaaaagt eine alte Armeeuniform, auf seinem Keyboard liegt eine Kalashnikoff - provokativ das Auftreten, dezenter die Musik: lange Percussionpassagen leiten den grossraaaaaaaaumigen, langgezogenen dramatishen Sound der URH ein. Vergleiche? Vielleicht Joy Division, noch getragener oder Bauhaus, aber ruhiger. Aber wirklich vergleichen kann man sie nicht. Die URH machen wirklich eigenstaaaaaandige Musik: kein westorientierter Rock mit ungarischer Folklore vermischt, wie das meisten Gruppen in Ungarn machen. Bei den URH sind keine westlichen Vorbilder herauszuhören, wie etwa noch den Neurotic. Die Texte der vier Gruppen beschaaaaaaftigen sich meist kritisch mit Staat und dem Überleben in einer bürokratisierten Gesellschaft.
Nachtrag: Die Post bringt einen Brief von Gisela Schüssler aus Aachen:
Budapest, April 81
Für uns, d.h. die westdeutsche Bass-Synthesizer-Gruppe Biotron war es ein besonderes Erlebnis jenseits des "Eisernen Vorhangs" ungarischen Punk zu erleben. Wir hatten es vor unserer Reise kaum für möglich gehalten, dass es in einem der Osblockstaaten eine so starke Punk-Bewegung gibt. Doch liess sich sehr bald feststellen, dass es Staat und Polizei nicht gleichgültig war, was sich da in ihrer Hauptstadt unabhaaaaangig vom gewohnten Kulturbetrieb (Jazz und Show-Rock sind ja erlaubt und gefördert) in Form von "New Wave" breitmacht. Tatsaaaaaachlich war es so, dass bei jedem unserer Konzerte Spitzel aufhielten, deren Aufmerksamkeit besonders den Texten der Bizottság galt, die einerseits aus Parodien und Persiflagen bestehen, anderseits dadaistisch und indirekt wohl auch politisch sind. So erklaaaaaarte der Saxophonist der Gruppe, dass vor jedem der Konzerte ein Gespraaaaach mit einem Kulturbeauftragten geführt werden muss, in dem die Spielregeln festgelegt werden, an die sich dann in etwa gehalten werden musste.
Probleme gab es auch für die ungarische Top-Gruppe Beatrice, die zu dieser Zeit ihr erstes Konzert seit zwei Jahren in Budapest hatten. Davor war es ihnen einfach nicht möglich in der Hauptstadt aufzutreten. Kein Kulturhaus zeigt sich bereit ein Konzert für sie zu organisieren. Erst aufgrund der Initiative eines engagierten Mannes von der Uni kam das Konzert zustande. Von informierten Leuten hörten wir, dass Kultur-Funkzionaaaaare dem Boss der Gruppe folgendes Angebot machten: wenn du deine Texte zugunsten von mehr Partei-Konformitaaaaaaat aaaaaaanderst, bedeutet das für dich einiges an Privilegien, z.B. die Möglichkeit Platten zu produzieren und zu verkaufen. Du bekommst an Equipment alles was du brauchst, du darfst mit der Gruppe in den Westen, etc.
Dieser Mann - er heisst Feró [Nagy] - ging auf diese Angebot aber nicht ein, sondern traf sich mit seinen Fans in den Vororten Budapests und machte dort seine Musik.
(10th July, 1982)
ETA - named for the Basque terrorists, terrorism not being a popular cause in complacent, comfortable, communist Hungary - snarl around the stage, wearing black on white, rockabilly-tinged punk. Sex Pistols throwback, but with a certain style, if not the most original of sounds. The singer rages, fails, leaps, spits and shouts - usually about anarchy, stuff America, stuff Russia and stuff everybody. But tonight they stick to "Jó, Jó, Jó" over and again - "Good good good, OK, OK, OK". Beacause the police are out in force to listen is, and careless talk costs lives - or at least, places to play.
This concert took place thanks to Control Group [Kontroll Csoport - Sz.T.], reincarnation of URH, once given gold star rating in this very paper. Control - more explanatory New Wave than ETA - took to convulsive reincarnation to wangle places to play.
But luck struck: they have since been adopted as "amateur rock orchestra" by the Ikarus Bus Factory of suburban Budapest! This gives them no money, but rehearsal space five days a week and the opportunity to organise concerts like this. How did they swing it? "We were looking for a second saxophonist and the guy we found was in a theatre group that used to practise here," says singer and songwrite Péter Müller. How do they get away with it? "This place is far away - no one knows about it but the guys who follow the music." And about 50 policemen...
They're treated to Agressor - shorts spitting spasms of angry punk, indeed it's Oi! - Mohicans, leather, green hair, and an Oi Oi Oi chant from centre front. Even badges boasting Oi! Sex Pistols! Dead Kennedys! Exploited! The sudden flourishing of very spikey punks is a new addition to a scenethat's tended tobe older, more art-school intellectual.
Then there's Lemon [Citrom - Sz.T.] - flared jeans, synthesiser, pretentious text and toy gun - who get boed off once they start insulting the punks: "We're normal, you're abnormal." Now that is offensive to a crowd that, if not all Mohican, all identify as New Wave.
Balaton follow, with edgy love songs, irony and existencial angst, restless rhythms, playing over past and present, the meaning of memory, paranoia. "Who's that hiding under the big Persian carpet? We don't know, we don't know, it's censorship." Slides show Paris, cameras, trees, tape recorders, Budapest lit to look like New York - how to see the world when you're not allowed a passport. "Hungarian summer, Russian winter, Prague spring, No one remembers." A grey slab of flats is shot into the sun so a neon star bursts from an upper window; the little blonde singer leaps for joy across the screen. Balaton are the most arty and subtle of the bands of show. The Oi! fans listen with respect, if not enthusiasm.
After ETA, all the young punks troop off to take buses back to town, missing out on Neurotic, clowning and drooling, the 19-year-old singer, in green harem trousers, gold cummerbund, cream shirt and a fur stole of which he slinkily strips. Night club melodies mingle with rock.
Neurotic, Balaton and Control are mentioned approvingly in an
officially published ROck Book of the Year, out this month. They're surprised,
but their heads aren't turned. If it were a state recording contract they
might be impressed. Though then they'd have to decide whether to come on
in under the state's umbrella. For the moment they stay out in the rain,
and the sun.
(2nd April, 1988)
Hungaro Carrot Festival, Budapest, Hungary
Back into the Petőfi Csarnok for Kampec Dolores, who strike a chord of utter despondency on some songs, a mere art school tantrum on others. The plaintive chanteuse, chip on one shoulder, violin on the other, is the best part of this mood music. When the depression becomes a career move, we're forced to look at everything from a sub Nico perspective, until we realise there's no such thing as sub Nico.
Kampec Dolores shoot off in so many
directions - bluesy, funky, Velvety, dopey, mysterious - they defy categorization.
But we all like 'em.
(25th February, 1990)
My visitor was a Hungarian rock musician, in Manhattan for a short time, who had dropped by to tell me about his band. Soft-spoken, amiable and fairly fluent in English, he was Attila Grandpierre, the main "howler" of a group called Vágtázó Halottkémek, the Galloping Coroners.
On the tape he left of the group's album, a "A Halál Móresre Tanítása" ("Teach Death A Lesson"), the Coroners' music is basic and elemental and filled with obsessive, galvanizing passion. there were pounding drums, drones and two-chord guitar workouts topped by feedback, ethnic whistles and shouted lyrics. It didn't hurt that the drum sound was as good as anything from a Western Studio.
With the tape, Mr. Grandpierre brought a band biography (the Galloping Coroners were founded in 1975 and were officially banned in Hungary for 11 years, but managed to tour Western Europe in the 1980's). He also had a manifesto: "Punk as a Rebirth of Shamanist Folk Music: The Magic Forces of Art at Work." He showed photographs from concerts, with dancers in neo primitive costumes of leather and feathers, performing before a backdrop of what looked like Inuit designs. A band member had copied them from Siberian Art, he said.
What he liked most about New York, he said, were the bookstores, where he had been buying new-age philosophy tomes. And like most Eastern European rock musicians, Mr. Grandpierre has a day job. He's an astrphysicist.
(Alternative Tentacles) (22 August, 1992)
All hail this Hungarian band who were "forced" underground by the authorities
and now have surfaced on Alternative Tentacles with a record that involves
primal drum pounding, much chanting in their native tongue and the steady
beat of horses hooves. It's hard to guess what VHK are going on about here
as their music, image and meassage are all steeped in tradition and alien
folklore. What does come across, however, is that their rock vision is
ice clear and their creative brew is highly potent and possibly dangerous.
Let's hope so anyway.
The slight glimmer of succes (6-14th January, 1994)
1993 was the year in which most major Western record companies moved into Hungary.
It was also the year when at last the alternative music network started not only putting its house in order, but also putting out a whole catalogue of CDs and casettes from more than 20 band.
Far ahead of a depleted field was Bahia, the chain of ethnic clothes shops whose deceison this time last year to host a record label for musicians who otherwise wouldn't have stood a hope in hell of getting their product distributed.
It is the success story of 1993.
"At last there's a label whose aim is cultural and not economic", said Kampec Dolores frontman Csaba Hajnóczy, whose dedication organizing mail order, press, cover art and distribution made Bahia one of the leading alternative music labels in Eastern Europe.
Hajnóczy was speaking at a reception for Bahia at the Egyetemi Színpad, the year celebrated in typical style, with champagne, disturbing videos and a performance of classic works of Hungarian literature sung in the style of the medieval Welsh bards, the latest release from Szkárosi and Konnektor.
It was ironic that it should be Hajnóczy hosting the party. As a founding member of Kontroll Csoport, he was at the head of the thriving underground scene of the 1980s. It is a scene which has since been divided by commerce, boredom and growing older, and which rarely found any kind of outlet for its noisy voice.
From starting with retrospective compilations of the best bands of that time, knowing there was a ready audience, Hajnóczy was able to persuade Bahia to go one step further and delve into whatever was coming out of Budapest today.
For Bahia, the deal is simple, if not profit-making. A new cassette retails at something between Ft 360 to Ft 450, half as much as the latest major releases from Western bands on major labels. After costs, 70% of the profit goes to the band themselves, and 30% to whoever put in the work to get the product from studio to shop. There are nearly 30 Bahia stores in Budapest and around Hungary.
"As well as bringing far more peopole into their shops, it gives Bahia the highest music profile in the city", Hajnóczy explained.
"Bahia has the right of veto on everything, but it hasn't exercised it yet."
The other distribution outlets are mail order, and Csaba's van buzzing around the major music stores of the city. (...)
Look out for the latest releases by Kinopuskin, Tudósok, Kampec Dolores, and for the best of the retrospective compilations, 27.4.85 by Balaton.
HMK set up in Budapest on April Fool's Day last year, a continuation of VM Nesic's ETT Music, based in Belgrade until the war two years ago. Despite intense competition from bootleggers, Nesic was able to put out the best that the Mute, 4AD and One Little Indian labels could provide from England.
In the mainstream, bands singing in English (Andersen, Sexepil, Fuchsia's Fall) all did well (...). Whether they can crack it in Germany or Holland remains to be seen.
Revivals were in order. Európa Kiadó and Bizottság
were two of many to play nostalgia gigs. Péter Müller's laudable
but misplaced week-long Diáksziget Festival was the biggest single
music event of the year, but only served to illustrate the gap between
'80s idealism and '90s economics. (...)
(November 4-10, 1993)
Blessedly inane, occasionally annoying, and purely dedicated to restless, driving newer wave rock, Sexepil are the great white hope of Magyar rock music in the 90's. (...)
Hungarian critics close to Budapest's more alternative side, whatever that means, have raved about the band's 1992 release, Against Nature, and especially about their live performances.
"Listening to Against Nature, I was shaken from my negative faith that in Hungary no one can make rock music that can be sold in the west... the band is the number one representative of the Hungarian neo-progressive trend", wrote entertainment magazine Hello.
VOLT magazine pulled no punches, calling them "the best Hungarian band. Fascinating and perverted, brutal and fashionable."
Behind the well received recordings and performances, Sexepil may also have the best little rock'n'roll promotion engine in town, basically a one man show called Péter György. (...)
Eurogrind with a danceable beat, metal with a spastic groove, but of course, Sexepil cannot be categorized, and I promised not to try.
In 1984, nine years before Sexepil made it to the altar of MTV (that's M for Music) four Hungarian lads who liked the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd, decided to merge those band names and merge "punk and wave" sounds, all with Hungarian lyrics.
They set off to immediate popularity in Budapest's underground music scene, eventually winning a recording contract in the "Starbirth" competition in 1987. The resulting record was the 1988 release Egyesült Álmok (United Slates), which György described as "depressive but groovy".
A key step occured later that year when the band jettisoned their lead singer. "He was more of a philosopher and poet", [drummer Tibor] Vangel explained. "With him we just couldn't develop musically."
Scheduled to perform at an international festival in Austria, tha band scrambled for a new lead singer. Through a friend, they came across [Mick] Ness, an "alternative independent artist" from Amsterdam who had recorded two solo albums. With one day's rehearsal, they hit the stage, playing Ness' music. Satisfied with the chemistry, they later began writing new songs together, with Ness writing English lyrics. And the new Sexepil, with a more European flavour, was born.
To György, the swich came just in time as political changes in the East Bloc soon shook up even the rock music scene.
"In the 80's, there were still things you couldn't say in the newspapers. Some bands were still banned", he said, explaining how popular music had definite political overtones to it. "It was enough just to have strong lyrics. You didn't need to have good music. With the changes, we lost this background. You could say anything in the newspapers, and suddenly, people could feel there was something missing."
While György beleives the band was always musically sound, they really threw their energy into the music once Ness came on board.(...) The sometimes frenetic, highly charged songs remain tight and powerful, full of energy, a good wall-bouncing listen. Strong, repeated guitar riffs blend in and out without devolving into silly metal solos over pulsing drums and bass. No, it's no metal, no, it's not alternative. A bit of Chili Peppers, bit of Jane's Addiction. Ness' voice, meanwhile, is a dead ringer for Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie's androgynous alter ego of the early 70's. (...)
The [Against Nature] album sufficiantly impressed a few influential folks so that Sexepil found themselves on tour in western Europe as the front band for Iceland's Sugarcubes, a band with a loyal following in the urban alternative and university club scenes of the US and Great Britain.
The album eventually sold a few thousand CDs in western Europe and several thousand LPs in the former USSR.
And then came the videos. Slickly produced, Eroding Europe and
Nobody is an Island were aired on MTV Europe's 120 Minutes.(...)
If you happen to stumble on a band dressed in King Charles II wigs bashing
out extreme guitar noise and wailing in American English, you haven't taken
the wrong tram to Seattle. As concerns their material itself, Matthew Braghini
and Grant Anderton tried out a few improvisations on guitar before settling
on a sound that plays around with a radio dial tuned between two stations
permanently blasting Sonic Youth and Ride songs. The songs are cranked
out as fast as six moth's practice will allow, and only Braghini seems
sure about stage movement. The bass plazer will stand rigid for 45 minutes,
as if that tram he was waiting for is awfully late, while Anderton hasn't
quite been classically trained in the art of having the time of his life
The whole thing started when Budapest combo Boann appeared on the same
bill as American outfit Gasoline at the Művelődási Ház
on Almássy tér. Singer guitarist David Bronstein had come
over from Los Angeles with some college mates to play in Europe, particularly
in his parents' homeland of HUngery. "The others left, I staed", said David.
On stage, it looks as though László Kollár enjoys
himself. "I just love the feel of it, that rock feeling that we communicate
to the audience", he said. He has the rare ability to move and play guitar
with that all-dressed-in-black skinny-legged intensity older readers might
recognize from memories of Rowland S. Howard of the Brithday party. He
also croutches over as if hit in the groin by a cricket ball, something
painfully difficult for the Hungarian TV cameraman to follow.