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Russian rock legend dies

Former Akvarium member Yevgeny Guberman, once described as Russian rock music’s ‘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 city’s —or even Russia’s — 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 — there’s no concept of who’s the best, who isn’t the best. You’re 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 wouldn’t 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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Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekov's book will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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