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The Freedom To Spread DDT

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Since forming in 1981, the Russian rock group DDT has survived the Soviet regime, hard times in the '90s, and the demise of independent media. Now, one of Russia's most popular rock acts is visiting New York on a five-city tour of the U.S. Writer Lara Pellegrinelli shares the band's story. And we talk about Russian rock -- then and now -- with Richard Tempest, director of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Lara Pellegrinelli

Comments [1]

AmZ from Chicago

The original intent to showcase DDT gets completely lost in the chorus of self-congratulatory wank. This may be why Russian bands, even the best ones, never get anywhere in the States: people who could ostensibly connect them with a new audience instead waste valuable airtime talking about these bands as a phenomenon. The band's actual songs, meanwhile, are deemed irrelevant to the discussion.

All you played of DDT, beyond using them as occasional background noise, was a snippet of "Ne strelyaj", and even that song was chosen because it supported your thesis on Russian rock as an oppositional political movement. The vast majority of popular DDT songs are known and loved for their exquisitely poetic lyrics and catchy riffs, and not at all for their political subversion. And, - insult to injury, - you have actually played more uninterrupted "VIAgra" on this show (1m 20s) than DDT (1m 15s).

An American tuning in to hear about one of the best Russian rock bands would tune out totally confused. They'd heard exactly one half of a relatively unpopular and extremely topical DDT song from a quarter of a century ago. They'd still have no idea who Shevchyuk is, what motivates him to write the lyrics he writes, what albums they've released, or what styles they'd adopted over the years. The only thing they could sort of claim to have learned is that DDT are anti-government and anti-pop, although they'd only have the host's word for it.

Well done, Soundcheck. Bravi.

Mar. 05 2008 04:30 PM

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