The band was created by a young Soviet musician and poet, Egor Letov, in December of 1984. GrOb were the ones to fill this vacant niche of punk bands, and now maintains a huge army of fans, admirers, and followers. It inspired hundreds of subsequent Soviet and then Russian punk bands.
Up to the collapse of the USSR, GrOb was often viewed as an anti-Soviet band. In his deeply symbolic lyrics, Letov often spoke against militarism, dictatorship, the Soviet system, and the war in Afghanistan. That was the reason the band was censored and prohibited. Letov and his bandmates spent years in hiding, recording songs in the kitchens and cellars of their friends’ flats. Despite heavy censorship, the band played on several rock festivals (notably its premiere in Novosibirsk in 1987, where it was considered a sensation).
Contrary to popular image of an anti-communist, Letov himself claimed to be a “true communist” and has not abolished this claim until the most recent switch in his beliefs. Being the most prominent figure of the Siberian rock, Letov has always been a source of many contradictions. At times he expressed opinions exactly opposite to his earlier sayings - thus, he appeared aligned with the nationalistic leftist movement called NBP (National Bolshevik Party, rus. НБП, Национал Большевистская Партия) despite his formerly strong opposition to despotism and nationalism. Later, though, he dissapointed in politics and left the movement. Letov’s contemporary alignment is that of a “World Christian”.
GrOb’s sound mainly consists of either distorted and lo-fi electric or acoustic guitars, simple bass lines, primitive but memorable tunes, rudimentry percussion and Letov’s deeply impassioned voice. During the late 80’s they also started occasionally implementing harsh industrial sounds in the background of the music. In the mid-90’s in the albums “Солнцеворот” and “Невыносимая Лёгкость Бытия” sound became less noisy and lo-fi but more monolithic, comprising many overlapping guitars and voices, which create the “wall of sound”, long guitar and electronic organ solos and improvisations, and some shoegazing and art rock elements, although the basis of sound still was post-punk and psychedelic rock.
There are also several side-projects, most famous are Коммунизм and Егор И Опизденевшие.
In its last years the band was still very active with full-length albums released in 2004 (A Long and Happy Life, rus. Долгая Счастливая Жизнь), 2005 (ER, rus. Реанимация) and 2007 (What Are Dreams For, rus. Зачем Снятся Сны).
The story of this contradictory but great band ended on 19th of February 2008 with Egor Letov’s death.
Edited by The_Ambience_Ed on 30 May 2013, 17:59
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