Rock and pop (new wave or post-punk related) music in Osijek (SR Croatia) in the 1980s (incomplete overview)
*subject to change*
Svinjokolja u Slavonskoj Požegi (zadnji vikend u studenom), pa kirvaj Advent u multi-kulti Osijeku (Esseg / Eszék)…
(korekcije krnje faktografije, dopune, lijepe fotke glamuroznih darkerica, mp3 320 kbps fajle, … su dobrodošle, također skidam uvršteni materijal ako mu ovdje nipošto nije mjesto)
Next short stop is Osijek, a sleepy city on river Drava and capitol of Slavonia region. It had relatively quiet New Wave / punk-rock front for the biggest city on the route between Zagreb and Beograd. Even if post punk happenings came around with a delay, they accelerated in the mid ’80s and at the end of decade Kunst Stadt Osijek was just about to fully blossom. However, I am not well versed in the city’s music history. Of all writers, poets and media people involved (Rem, Rešicki, Rizvanović) at the time, one rock critic was especially important to our little teen “gang” smitten by “noise”– Darko Jerković. We also appreciated “tamni zvuk” articles from literary magazine Quorum (impenetrably arty publication, mainly compiled or written in dense postmodernist style) although didn’t quite agree always. I guess that teenage me thought that contemporary American bands should have been included more. Less Euro noise or pop-noise, more post-hardcore (or earlier post-punk) noise-rock with shit-hot rhythm section. Then I grew up a bit and saw things in a different light. And heard pop music in a different way.
I have little time for Slavonian humor (“dumb-dumber” variety) in general, but I do enjoy (half-imagined) aura of city’s art striving, pretentious or not. Osijek was impressive at it.
For a framework I’ll stick to VA tape „Osijek poslije bombe 81-91“ issued by already mentioned independent publisher „Plavi pilot“ (they released “Bez tišine!” second LP by Vještice). As always the beginning belongs to the most important early band that inspired or motivated others – Diskretni šarm buržoazije, barely known outside Osijek and eastern part of Croatia.
DISKRETNI ŠARM BURŽOAZIJE [1979 – 1984]
Diskretni šarm buržoazije started as a (junior) high-school punk-rock band (or just a cheeky provocation) and gradually became the synonym for the city’s practically non-existent new wave scene. By the time they finally recorded themselves on tape for the first and the last time in the winter 1982/83, Diskretni šarm buržoazije matured into awesome young post-punk band. They amazed me in retrospect. I like a lot what little I’ve heard.
Original line-up: Robert Higi – guitar, Goran Lišnjić – voice, Siniša Vučković – bass / voice, with revolving door of drummers: Zoran Konrad Potz, Zoran Galić, Roman Marinković (played on the Demo 1982/83), Miroslav Šimić.
Diskretni šarm buržoazije played together with many major ex YU new wave groups (Prljavo kazalište, Film, Haustor, Boye, Paraf, Električni orgazam, Katarina II, etc.) as well as with less-known but important groups from neighboring Slavonian towns (Rukopotezno povlačilo, Spitz 66, etc.), or with like-minded avant punks Profili profili from Belgrade. Being under-aged they couldn’t play out of Osijek just like that, without logistical problems, so they stayed home and remained city’s cult memory. After the break-up, experimentally minded vocalist Goran Lišnjić founded industrial art project Metropolie Trans [1985- 1990] which morphed into Nowy Lef [1990-1992]. He remained active on ex YU fanzine scene and among other things published esoteric various artists tape “The Cassette Played Poptones” which brought together obscure cut-up/industrial electronic acts: Autopsia, NEP (Zagreb), Padot na Vizantija (Skopje) & Metropolie Trans (Osijek). Although, looking back one would expect Aporea (Skopje) instead of Padot na Vizantija in this company.
NEHAJNI JAHAČI [1980-83]
RODERICK [1983 – 1991]
Ksenija Gottwald – vocals
Branko Kostelnik – founder, band leader, vocals
Danko Burić – viola
Ivan Fekete – bass
Dražen Zelenika – drummer
Darko Žeželj – guitar
When young woman was a moth.
Roderick were main or most significant band from Osijek. Their art-rock foundation was upgraded with melange of elements (avant-garde, neo-psychedelia, cabaret, vintage industrial, white funk etc.) combined into hermetic whole. Roderick were so good it’s hard to pinpoint specific bands as influences in their music – imagine Central European coordinates Osijek – Brussels (Crammed Discs) – Berlin that can loosely outline them as a band. They played concerts out of town and even opened for Swans in Ljubljana, during “Children of God” tour in 1987.
“Roderick” is uneven album, sadly I have to state. There are too many cover versions of late ’60 rock classics for a vinyl debut. Too bad. “Roderick” was recorded with Boris Kovač in studio “Barbarius” in Bukovac (SAP Vojvodina, SR Srbija) in 1988. If earlier recordings were too murky/low-tech (but aesthetically pleasing!) this one is too crystal-clean for a dirty taste like mine. Belatedly issued in 1990 on independent label Essek Records connected to city’s student center – STUC. Guess who played trumpet and trombone as a guest musician on this album!? Dr. Bela Tudósok Marjaš!!
METROPOLIE TRANS [1985-1990]
Goran Lišnjić (ex Diskretni šarm buržoazije) as industrial/electronic artist:
PRIVATNICI [1984 – 1987] (ex Nehajni skakači)
Pop rock comedians.
NO PASSARAN [1985 – 1987]
Punk poet Senio with something to say (loudly) and his art-punk band with denuded sound (dry guitar tone).
Farewell concert recorded in front of STUC on 04.07.1987.
And series of garage punk bands/songs, with garage-rock gem of a song for goodbye:
VIBRA YUNKERS [1986 – 1988]
ROAD RUNNERS [1987 – 1991]
GALEBOVI [1987 – 1991]
The promising garage punk band from Osijek, often mentioned in the press at the tail end of decade.
Osijek bonus fat (metalhead punker Lale made a tape for you):
Bitch Magnet – Live in Osijek ’90
Bitch Magnet missed concert scheduled for Zagreb but managed to reach Osijek in time the following day.