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Russian rock legend dies

Former Akvarium member Yevgeny Guberman, once described as Russian rock musics greatest drummer, was equally at home playing garage rock and mainstream jazz.

Published: January 16, 2013 (Issue # 1742)



  • A member of Akvarium and other seminal bands, Guberman later emigrated to the Netherlands.
    Photo: A. VARLAMOV

The Russian rock and jazz scenes are in mourning for Yevgeny Guberman, the local drummer extraordinaire who died in St. Petersburg on December 30 at the age of 57.

Guberman played in styles ranging from garage rock to mainstream jazz and was reputed as the citys or even Russias No. 1 rock drummer.

The St. Petersburg Times sat down with Guberman at the now-defunct Dostoevsky Bar in August 2000, when the musician came back to the city to play a few concerts as a member of the Dutch rock trio Kek 66.

Guberman had moved to Amsterdam in 1987, when Russia was starting to open up under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The drummer performed with a number of outfits there before returning to St. Petersburg in 2004.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Guberman played with a number of bands and styles from the mainstream jazz group David Goloshchyokin Band to Akvarium, which was in its punk stage at the time.

Once described as the greatest drummer in Russian rock, Guberman said: It was what people said it was not my thing. In Holland everything is different theres no concept of whos the best, who isnt the best. Youre a drummer, O.K. Nobody looks at what kind of drums you have, what kind of cymbals, because everything is in the stores. But after a concert people approach you and say: Oh, it was great, and you say: O.K., thanks a lot.

Although Kek 66 was reminiscent of British beat of the 1960s and used Kinks-style riffs, Guberman insisted that the music the band played was American.

We play real American garage punk. It was people who were orientated not to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but to The Kinks, Remains, Searchers, The Hollies, he said.

American kids who were 15 or 16 would buy instruments, get into their fathers garages and blast it out at full force this music stems from that.

Apart from Kek 66, Guberman played with four jazz outfits in Amsterdam at that time.

If I had to play five days a week with one and the same band, I wouldnt be able to stand it, it would become a routine, he said.

I need to play different music, with different people just to stay in balance. And I need to play jazz because I love this music, I feel it and can play it not as the greatest players did, but still in my own way.

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Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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