The Plastic People of the Universe are a czech underground rock band, experimental and strongly influenced by The Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa. The band was formed in 1968 in Prague by Milan Hlavsa less than a month after the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet forces. Along with artistic advisor Ivan Martin Jirous, Josef Janíček and Jiří Kabeš they began staging concerts while the USSR was trying to “normalize” the Czech rock scene. Their non-conformity lead to their license to perform being revoked by communist authorities in 1970. Adding Canadian Paul Wilson as singer, they continued as a band, performing music by the Mothers of Invention and the Velvet Undergorund. In 1972 they were banned from playing in Prague and moved to the countryside, losing Wilson and adding Vratislav Brabenec on saxophone, who insisted that they only perform original music in Czech. During this time, the band went underground, locations of concerts spread by word of mouth a tight-knit group of fans who would gather to remote places to see the Plastic People perform. The band was arrested and put on trial for “organized disturbance of the peace” in 1976. Protests of these arrests led to the formation of the dissident group Charter 77 that eventually formed the backbone of the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
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