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  INTERVIEW WITH ALEXEI BELOV OF GORKY PARK

Johnny Main

johnny main



gorky park

In the fifth of our series of exclusive MetalTalk interviews with bands from the Russian Federation, we were delighted to talk to Alexei Belov from one of the country's most famous rock bands - Gorky Park.

I spoke to Alexei about being in a band during Glasnost and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, what happened to them in the 1990s and what their plans for the future are.

Gorky Park formed in 1987 and rose to prominence in the West in 1989. It was, as Belov explained to me, that for as long as he remembers he has been making music. "From a very early age, I learned to play the violin, the Bayan (a Russian instrument very similar to an accordion) and then I learned to play the guitar by myself and then finally started to work as a musician".

Article continues below...



Early on, he preferred listening to Jazz-Rock like Chic Corea and Jean-Luc Ponty before moving onto British rock legends like Deep Purple, Queen and Led Zeppelin. Listening to rock bands was a turning point in his life and after hearing tracks from The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Belov decided that his passion for music outweighed anything else and he vowed to make a career playing music.

Russian in the late 1980s was, of course, a time of huge cultural upheaval and I asked Belov what it was like living there before Glasnost (a policy of increased openness and transparency throughout the Soviet Union which was introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev) to which he explains "it was very, very hard. We all continued to play in bands and listen to music despite the fact that we and the other bands were forbidden to do so, and some bands were even arrested - just for playing the music they loved!"

gorky park

With the new openness in the country, a rock concert called the Moscow Peace Festival was organised by Bon Jovi's then-manager, Doc McGhee and featured a number of established acts such as Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row, Motley Crue, The Scorpions, Cinderella and, of course, Bon Jovi themselves. As Jon Bon Jovi and Ritchie Sambora had helped Gorky Park get a record deal in the US, it seemed sensible to ask them to perform at the festival alongside other local bands like Nuance and Brigada-S.

I asked Belov about his recollections of the day itself of which he remembers it being "a really friendly day - terrific, in fact! Everything was on the rise and everyone was inspired. I remember that interviews were given in couples taking different members from each band and mixing them up. I was lucky enough to be chosen to be the interview partner of Ozzy, for hours!

gorky park

"Sometimes he thought the questions addressed to me were actually for him and he answered them, which was very funny. Yeah, there were some great times that day."

The band went through a number of changes since then, and the original line up of the band (minus vocalist Nikolay Noskov) has recently reformed to play a number of gigs together, and I asked Belov how this reformation came about: "It was our 25th Anniversary and everything just came together very naturally" he explains.

gorky park

"One of the most famous concert promoters (in the Russian Federation) contacted us and offered to organise a gig for us in the Crocus City Hall situated in Moscow, and we called each other up and made every effort to make sure that it all happened - and it did happen! To make it extra special, just this once, Nikolay even agreed to join the band on stage for the first time in more than 20 years to sing the song 'Bang'."

Asked why Nikolay only appeared as a special guest capacity at the gig and not as a full-time member, I press Belov to explain why he's not participating in the band in a bigger capacity, and as Belov explains, "Nikolay left the band early in 1990, and he has his own attitude towards all this. At the beginning of 2000, we started talking about a reunion with him, but he said that everything big that happened to the band happened after the 'Moscow Calling' album (released in 1992), and as he wasn't part of the band anymore at that time, he doesn't feel that connected with the material. I suggested that he come on stage with us at the jubilee gig in the Crocus City Hall, and it was his decision to do so - not a band decision."

gorky park

I ask Belov to give me an insight into the songwriting process and where the song ideas come from. "Who ever writes the lyrics and composes the music is in a creative flight" he muses "and you never know where the music will come from - inspiration can come from anywhere!

"It used to visit me when I was on the Metro, in a bus or a car or in a bar - anywhere, really. Sometimes you're working on something else and God gives you a bit of creative inspiration and sometimes you actually can hear it (the song) in your head. When you're working on a song in the studio, some arrangement ideas appear or during a rehearsal you suddenly hear bits of an arrangement too. It's just translating these ideas into songs or arrangements that can be difficult."

gorky park

Moving onto what the band have planned for the future, I ask Belov if the band have any upcoming releases planned: "well," he says, "we have a DVD from the jubilee gig at Crocus City Hall ready pretty soon. The hardest part of this is the editing of the footage but we have a work-in-progress version almost ready. I haven't seen it myself yet, but I am going to go and see it soon. As for new material, we were working on a new song and had even recorded it, however, we had another idea for it which turned into something a bit more complicated than we first thought. I think that once we get the DVD released, though, that will trigger the next step of the bands evolution."

I venture to ask Belov on his opinion of the record business which has changed so much since the bands first album: "I think, some kind of formula will be found" he explains "because it just cannot be that intellectual property like music remains such an orphan like it now seems to have become. There must be a perfect mechanism (for the distribution of music) and these are very important words I'm saying to you now - if a perfect mechanism can't be found, not only record companies will disappear, but also the recording studios! These studios are full of very expensive up-to-date equipment because you need good microphones, good amps and good mixing consoles. If there is no money to keep these studios in business, where will musicians record? At home, in the kitchen?

gorky park

"Right now, everybody downloads music and movies for free - if an album comes out yesterday, by today it's available for free on various torrent site ready for downloading, and it's just killing music, but I sincerely hope that the music industry, as big as it is, will find a solution."

Asked if the band has any upcoming concerts planned, Belov tells me that they have quite a few "big offers" for gigs in the Autumn of 2013 including arena shows in Kiev and Moscow, but as they are still in discussions with promoters, nothing has been confirmed yet.

gorky park

"Ideally", he continues, "we'd like to do a real tour and not just play in one city from time to time. It's not very interesting to play isolated gigs because every band performs better on a tour where they are playing regular gigs, so if we could get a tour of maybe, 15-20 gigs then that would suits us better."

Bearing in mind that the band have just celebrated 25 years together, I ask him about the band's career expectations from this point on, to which he tells me that "this is a very complicated era for the band. Everybody was so inspired by the jubilee gig (both the audience and the band) and after that, everything returned to the normal routine. People returned to their normal lives, solo tours and so on."

"I would", he continues, "like to record a new album that would be musically good if not better than our previous albums like 'Stare' and 'Moscow Calling' - especially 'Stare', because it was so experimental for us. Musically, we just let ourselves go, creatively, and I would like to do something like that again."

"I don't know what was happening at the time, but we had to create that material as if our lives depended on it, but our life now doesn't really depend on it anymore. It must happen again but I don't know how."

gorky park

"We don't just want to press some new singles to show the industry we're still there" he continues, "I would like something bigger. I feel this music alive in me and everything is possible, and if I was a solo artist, it would be easier because I could just lock myself in the studio and work until everything is perfect, as happened recently with my wife, Olga Kormuhina, when we were working on one of her albums. We were obsessed with producing the best work possible and we worked very hard, but to force everybody to work this hard is an almost impossible task, so I hope that all who truly love Gorky Park and our songs, pray for it to be a real, without anything false about it."

Finally, I ask Belov to describe the band in one word: "Plasma", is his answer, which he follows up by saying: "The band is like an active volcano because you can wait for a long time with nothing happening and then there's a big eruption of activity."

You can watch the official video for 'Bang' here:



Gorky Park are:
Alexei Belov – Guitar/Vocals/Keyboards/Balalaika
Jan Janenkov – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Alexander "Big Sasha" Minkov-Marshal – Lead Vocals/Bass
Alexander "Sasha" Lvov – Drums/Percussion

Online:
http://vk.com/gorky_park_official
www.myspace.com/gorkyparkmusic

Thanks to Alexei Belov for taking time out to participate in this interview and to Mike Breeze for Translation and co-ordination, Jenya McSinger Zaycev for interviewing Alexei and also Maria Jirnova for her help with the transcription.

All photos courtesy of Ivan Kobyakov (http://ivankobyakov.ru)


4.6.2013









 

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heavy metal HEAVY METAL HELPS PEOPLE DEAL WITH MORTALITY ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL STUDY
"Metal music can be seen as cultural good for fans and thereby can form part of their social identity."

motorhead MOTÖRHEAD STILL RUNNING DOWN THE HIGHWAY: PHIL, MIKKEY AND EDDIE ALL GEARED UP FOR FORTHCOMING DATES
"Every snare hit I do from now on until the end of my career will be a small tribute to Lemmy..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN'S STEVE HARRIS DROPS THE PRICE OF HIS ESSEX MANSION BY £1MILLION
The eight-bedroom mansion was on the market for £6.75million in 2012 but it's "guide price" is now a mere £3.95million...

hrh aor ALL GUNS BLAZING FOR NEW HRH AOR 5 ANNOUNCEMENT
Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns unite under the L.A. Guns banner once again for next year's HRH AOR 5 being held next March at Camp HRH in North Wales...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE 'LIVE AT THE NEC' DVD ON THE WAY: FAREWELL JON, WELCOME DON
The two share keyboard duties during the night in a very fitting "passing-of-the-torch" moment...

status quo ROCK 'TIL YOU DROP WITH STATUS QUO 1981-1986 VINYL BOX SET
In addition to the studio albums the box set will include an extra disc of b-sides and extended mixes...

zz top ZZ TOP TO RELEASE THEIR VERY FIRST OFFICIAL LIVE ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER
"In an abstract surrealism style, this collection is a definitive chronicle of the band hangin' together for four plus deluxe decades..."

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG "SPECIAL TIME" HAS COME WITH NEW RELEASE
"The new Tygers album is finished, done and dusted and ready to unleash on our 'Tygertastic' audience. You're gonna love this one, it's a MONSTER..."

andy fraser ANDY FRASER OF FREE'S LAST RECORDING WITH SAIICHI SUGIYAMA ONLINE HERE
"'Melting Away' became one of Andy's last recordings. He still had so much to offer and I was really looking forward to continuing to work with him."

ritchie blackmore RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW TO PLAY AGAIN BUT WITH LESS DEEP PURPLE SONGS
"I would do probably ninety-five percent Rainbow songs; that's what they seem to want to hear. And it didn't occur to me. I just naturally assumed they wanted to hear everything."

saxon EXCLUSIVE: THIS IS WHAT OUR FAVOURITE ROCKERS THINK OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Comment from Saxon, Slash, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Uli Jon Roth, Hawkwind, Cher, Johnny Rotten, Machine Head And More...

beyond the black UK EXCLUSIVE: BEYOND THE BLACK SINGER JENNIFER HABEN IS LOST IN FOREVER AS FIVE MEMBERS DEPART THE BAND
"I have enjoyed the time together with the guys very much and am grateful for everything we have achieved together in Germany. I am currently looking for new colleagues..."

cats in space CATS IN SPACE SET TO RELEASE SLADE CLASSIC WITH DANNY BOWES OF THUNDER ON GUEST VOCALS
"It's is one of my favourite Slade songs, so when they asked me to sing on their version it took me a good second and a half to say yes..."

guns n roses WAS BREAKING NEWS: GUNS N' ROSES ADD MORE TOUR DATES FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
The Gunners' newly announced dates are for South America with ten dates in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia with more to be announced soon...

keith moon YOU WON'T GET FOOLED WITH OFFICIAL KEITH MOON COMMEMORATIVE DRUM HEAD
Manufactured as a special, custom product by Remo, these 14" high-gloss drum heads are a perfect collector's item for true fans of the legendary drummer and The Who...

the answer WAS BREAKING NEWS: THE ANSWER AND THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER UK TOUR
"The fact that we get to debut this new material with our mates The Dead Daisies just adds to the rush we're currently experiencing. You really don't want to miss this one!"

ian gillan IAN GILLAN SAYS: "IT'S A WONDERFUL THING, VINYL..." WITH NEW COLLECTION ABOUT TO BE RELEASED
"You just bought something significant, not easily disposable. And look at the sleeves - aren't they cool..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY: "THE LYRICS ON THE TITLE TRACK ARE SOME OF SPIKE'S BEST EVER!"
"I approached the songwriting from a different angle and it felt good. There's a lot of passion there."

48 hours 48 HOURS TO ROCK THE UK TO A CITY OF ASHES
"We're hitting the road in September for a co-headline tour with our broseph's City Of Ashes! This will be one of the unsigned tours of the year!"

hammerfall WAS BREAKING NEWS: LIVE LIFE LOUD WITH HAMMERFALL ON 2017 EUROPEAN TOUR: NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
"We can't wait to get back on stage again to have a gigantic Heavy Metal party every night with all our Templar friends!"

joe perry AEROSMITH GUITARIST JOE PERRY REPORTEDLY SUFFERS HEART ATTACK DURING HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES GIG
"Thanks to everyone asking about our brother Joe Perry," Alice Cooper wrote. "He is stable right now, with family and is under the best care."

onslaught ONSLAUGHT, BEHOLDER AND ANIHILATED TOUR PROMISES TO BE A TOUR DE FORCE
"By the time we hit the road in November it will be well over two-and-a-half years since we did the last run and we feel the time is now right..."

arw ARW (JON ANDERSON, TREVOR RABIN AND RICK WAKEMAN) ANNOUNCE BAND FOR UPCOMING WORLD TOUR
"I have played with arguably the three greatest bass players ever and I can't wait to play with one of them again!"

marillion MARILLION UNVEIL 'THE NEW KINGS' FROM FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM 'FEAR'
'The New Kings' can also be heard on Marillion's current tour which starts on Monday 11th July in Barcelona...

michael des barres AN AMERICAN WRITER ASKS WHY IT TAKES A BRITISH EX-PAT TO ASK, "WHAT'S GOING ON?" MICHAEL DES BARRES HAS THE ANSWER
This incendiary cover of Marvin Gaye's classic confronts America's issues in an incredibly timely and head-on manner...

freedom call FREEDOM CALL RELEASE A NEW METAL HYMN 'HAMMER OF THE GODS', AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD NOW
The trademark bold vocal harmonies remain. The track is taken from forthcoming opus 'Master Of Light'...

guns n roses STEVEN ADLER JOINS GUNS N' ROSES ON STAGE IN OHIO: FOUR FIFTHS OF 'APPETITE' LINE-UP PLAY TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
"On the drums, you might know this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Steven Adler..."

ac dc AC/DC BASSIST CLIFF WILLIAMS TO RETIRE AFTER ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR: "IT'S BEEN SURREAL"
"AC/DC has been... you know, just... I don't know what else I would wanna do. I love the music and I love playing in the band, and I'm all filled up..."

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES USE THEIR ILLUSION TO SILENCE THE DOUBTERS WITH US TOUR GOING SO FINE
Axl is clearly in his element on this tour, running across the stage to jump on the monitors mid-song and displaying all the panache of a man completely on top of his game...

stray del bromham STRAY TO ROAM AROUND THE UK ON TOUR INCLUDING A RARE REUNION OF THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP
No need to move a mountain as both Stray and Del Bromham's Blues Devils are on their way to a venue near you...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOY THE NEIGHBOURS WITH RAUCOUS NEW SINGLE
'Let The Neighbours Call The Cops' was co- written by vocalist Gill Montgomery and Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick...

eagles of death metal WAS BREAKING NEWS: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL WANT YOU SO BAD ON TWO UK DATES IN AUGUST
This is EODM's first visit to the UK since the band were caught up in the terrible events at The Bataclan Theatre in Paris back in November 2015...

soil SOiL 'SHINE ON' THE UK WITH COMPREHENSIVE TOUR
"We are looking forward to seeing some new places and making some new friends this time around..."

acid reign ACID REIGN GET IN FESTIVE MOOD EARLY WITH SPECIAL GIG ANNOUNCEMENT
'Tis the season to Thrash as Acid Reign team up with Shrapnel with far from obnoxious results...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN: LEGACY OF THE BEAST MOBILE RPG GAME IS OUT NOW
"We've always wanted to make a quality Maiden mobile game as we think the combination of Eddie and the music is so well suited..."

rick parfitt status quo EXCLUSIVE: STATUS QUO'S RICK PARFITT SEEMS TO BE 'FINE FINE FINE' AS HE IS SPOTTED OUT AND ABOUT
Following the recent health scare a picture has emerged online of him taking a walk in Kingston over the weekend...

bullet for my valentine BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE TO PLAY 'THE POISON' IN FULL FOR THE FIRST EVER TIME
"We promised you something special right? See 'The Poison' played in full for the first time in Manchester! Tickets on sale now here..."

alter bridge WAS BREAKING NEWS: ALTER BRIDGE TO HEADLINE ARENAS ACROSS EUROPE THIS WINTER WITH GOJIRA AND VOLBEAT
This will be their biggest headline tour yet with twenty-four dates across fifteen countries, kicking off on November 4th 2016

the mission WAS BREAKING NEWS: BAUHAUS FRONTMAN PETER MURPHY TO GUEST WITH THE MISSION ON THEIR 30th ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR
"Peter's appearance will help make these shows the special events that we always wanted and hoped they'd be..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN ILLUSTRATOR DESIGNS SHIRT FOR ONE DIRECTION'S ZAYN MALIK, MAIDEN LAUNCH THIRD TROOPER BEER AND HI-ON-MAIDEN TO HEADLINE PICCSTOCK
A full-bodied beer using a blend of chocolate and crystal malts to give "a roasted malt and caramel backbone with hints of liquorice and honey"...

bruce dickinson BRUCE DICKINSON TO TAKE PART IN TOP GEAR STYLE CHARITY ROAD TRIP
"The enthusiasm from the group is amazing which will lend itself to making it an unforgettable trip..."

anvil WAS BREAKING NEWS: ANVIL ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Anvil will not only be playing dates in Scotland and Wales but also English towns which rarely see major international artists, such as Huddersfield, Doncaster and Grimsby.

status quo IT'S TIME TO GET 'DOWN DOWN' TO BUTLINS AS SECOND STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION IS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will feature live music from ex-Quo drummer John Coghlan and his band with long time friend of the band, Jackie Lynton also scheduled to appear...

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