......When we were invited to go to the Ukraine to play some shows, I was excited! Ok, I didn't know much about the country.What I did know was one of the best psychobilly bands in the world, The Mad Heads were from Kiev so I knew there must be great fans there.I also knew that it would be a challenge to play up to the standard that they had created there.
Our gigs were advertised as The Quakes( kind of) but it was The Paul Roman 3, a project that I do when I'm living in Finland. We play mostly all Quakes songs with a few new ones and a few different selections than at a Quakes gig.
On this trip I had two new musicians in the band. On drums was Tommi Hänninen from the band 9 Lives. I had played one gig with Tommi last summer in Finland and I knew he was good. On slap bass was Aki Savolainen, a guy I met in Helsinki.I had never played a gig with Aki before this trip.
UKRAINE SET LIST
1. -Puttin out the flame
3. -Paint it black
4. -Thrills and sensations
6. -Strike out king
7. -Beer & Cigarettes
8. -Growing up Evil
9. -What would they say
11.-Ice cold baby
12.-Revenge is mine
14.-Cool to be a punk
15.-Now I wanna
16.-All messed up
17.-Pack our bags and go
18.-Stick to your guns
MONDAY Jan.24- We left Helsinki and arrived in Kiev.We had a short tour of the city center and then we took the night train to Donetsk(about 12 hours).
TUESDAY Jan.25-We arrived in Donetsk and we were very tired. Its hard to sleep on the train! Just like in St. Petersburg, we had our own apartment to stay in as opposed to a hotel, which is very cool. We went to the club which was called Gang ‘u’ Bazz-it was a combination club/restaurant/coffee house all in one.The club was a local hipster hang out for people who are into underground music and ideas.
There was a press conference for us at 3pm.Many people from newspapers, magazines,TV and radio were there. (special thanks to Natasha for being our interpreter!). When the press conference was over, we went to a rehearsal place to practice. We had only one rehearsal in Helsinki as a band prior to coming.Aki and I practiced together in Helsinki and Tommi relied on tapes and notes from the previous summers gig.
WEDNESDAY Jan.26- Went to the Gang ‘u’ Bazz for a sound check and one more rehearsal. Later, we spent some time walking around the city and shopping(the prices were very cheap!)
From the time we arrived in Donetsk until the time we left, we were being filmed by cameras for a possible documentary about our visit. They literally followed us everywhere- it was a little strange...
Time for the show! Opening the show was a band called the Hardbilly Buddies from Donetsk- cool guys with some original ideas.The club was very bright inside and I hate that when playing.I tried to get them to turn the lights down but they needed the lights for the cameras. Its very difficult for me to look at the audience when I can see them all so clearly :-) anyway, lights aside we played...and although there were not many rockabillies or psychos in the crowd, the people got into it. One guy was climbing around hanging from the lights and going nuts! I kept waiting for security to remove him but I guess he is fixture at the club and that is “normal” ha! ha!
There were many interesting people to talk with after the show.
We ate most of our meals at the Gang ‘u’Bazz while we were in Donetsk and we want to personally thank the whole staff there-they are great! THANKS!
THURSDAY Jan.25- A guy named Sascha took us on a tour of Donetsk and showed us a lot of historical things.It was freezing cold that day and although the Finnish guys were used to it,I froze my ass off! Even though I'm from Buffalo, all those years in Arizona made a wimp out of me ha, ha)Thanks Sascha!
Thursday night and back on the night train to Kiev (13-14 hrs.).
THANK YOU DONETSK!!!
-Ilya and Paul
-The Hardbilly Buddies
FRIDAY Jan.26- Arrived in Kiev and went to our apartment in the city center- again just great! I cant remember what we did all day Friday...
I knew that the gig in Kiev would be good. Vadim of the Mad Heads told me there would be lots of fans there and he was right.
The club was called Store 205- it reminded me of an American bar/restaurant.The food there was excellent (Im always hungry!).
Before the show,we were interviewed by 3 different TV programs.
The Hardbilly Buddies opened the show again and we could hear from the reaction that the crowd was rockin.
When we finished the first song, the crowd was real loud! I cant even remember a reaction like that! It stayed that way for the rest of the set even though I had to keep stopping to tune up.It was the best show for me in a long time-not musically but the energy from the audience.
When the show was over we hung out and talked to people for about an hour or so- then the club was starting to play disco music at 12 so everyone left.
On the way home we stopped at a Ukrainian supermarket (open 24hrs., just like home!) Lots of cool stuff in there and cheap!The party continued at the apartment...;-)
SATURDAY Jan.27- We had a nice excursion around the town with Alevtina who was like our mom in kiev ;-)
Its true what they say about Ukrainian girls,I could have been a scout for Elite modeling agency!
Saturday night we went to see “Mr. Och” who is the drummer from the Mad Heads- he has a side project playing rockabilly and old country as a duo. (two guitars) Tonight they were joined on bass by Kirill from the Hardbilly Buddies.Vadim from the Mad Heads suggested that we do a song. I said “only if I can play slap bass.” We jammed on “Rockabiily Guy” and Aki took over for me on bass after a while.Lots of people from the gig were there and it was a cool night.
Left to right:
SUNDAY Jan.28 - Started off as a bad day...Too many beers -too many cigarettes (I don't usually smoke)I woke up with a headache and found that someone drank my water :-)...so I was miserable for most of the day. We went out and saw more sites then met some people who run the UKRABILLY web site for a drink.
Back to the apartment after another trip to the supermarket to buy cheap vodka to take back to Finland.
When we got back to the apartment, we turned on the TV and just flipping through I saw myself and yelled to the guys to come see- it was an interview and clips from the Concert in Kiev- Cool! Vadim stopped over to see us and the crew from ElvisPelvis, the guys who organized our tour.
When everyone left we had about 5 hours to sleep then we had to go to the airport. It was a sad ride to the airport knowing we were leaving- We cant wait to come back!
Special thanks to; Ilya-great organization! -Elvis Pelvis group -Alevtina - Maxim in Donetsk - Natasha for interpreting - The Hardbilly Buddies -Mad Heads - Sascha in Donetsk - Everyone at the Gang ‘u’ Bazz- The press in Donetsk- Everyone at Ukrabilly.com - Store 205 - Kiev press-and Everyone that came out to see us!!!