While trolling youtube, it's amazing to see what one can find now that people are starting to post cinematic rarities (old underground films, comedy shorts...), television presentations believed lost for all time and beyond-belief rock & roll clips from the obscurest of groups imaginable. And, as far as the surviving documentation of the seventies Czech Underground goes, I find it unbelievable that all of those Secret Police survailance films and recordings have not only survived but have been incorporated into a number of Czech television programs documenting that portion of Twentieth Century history that most Eastern Europeans would prefer to forget, but some might want to linger on considering the rock & roll magic that came out of those depressing times. Watching films of DG 307 in performance creating a clank that I would have thought only a Cleveland sheet metal worker would appreciate is pretty astounding, especially since after reading the gigantic booklet accompanying the beyond reproach Plastic People of the Universe EGON BONDY album I would have thought the local gendarmes to have destroyed any shred of evidence than an underground even EXISTED in Czechoslovakia with typical self-righteous zeal!
Here's a portion of a Czech-language documentary that I thought most BLACK/BLOG TO COMM readers who have been in for the ride ever since I started documenting this unique scene (on an Ameriga-based fanzine basis) would want to see, especially for the inclusion of an lengthy interview with former Umela Hmota/Umela Hmota 3/Dom leader Josef Vondruska who is a notable post-beat writer as well as all-out rock kinda guy. Part of the original UH aggregation, Vondruska's the one who was pretty much tossed out of the original group by the other co-leaders Alfred and Dino for wanting to include his odes to heroin usage amongst other things which eventually led to the group splitting into Umela Hmota 2 (basically the original band without Vondruska) and Vondruska leading his own Umela Hmota 3 who were a bit heavier on the Detroit Rock attitude. Note the great photos of Umela Hmota 3 with Vondruska doing his best Ron Asheton impression (strangely enough Umela Hmota 2's music is used here, although it's a nice way to listen up in case you're thinking about buying their 2-CD set!) as well as the current shots of Vondruska's apartment which really puts my own bedroom (even with the Barney Bean drawing!) to shame.
I might try posting some of the documentary footage with classic b&w DG 307 performances (including the show where the entire group wore medieval gowns and Alfred from UH 2 sat in on feedback guitar and vocals), but for now, study up on your Berlitz and enjoy this rare slice of communist-period Czech proto-punk.
Sunday, November 09, 2008