ⓘ Aquarium (band)

Aquarium (band)

ⓘ Aquarium (band)

Aquarium or Akvarium is a Russian rock group formed in Leningrad in 1972. The band had many member changes over its 40-year history, and at the end the only remaining original member was lead singer and founder Boris Grebenshchikov. Former band members have included Anatoly Gunitsky, Mikhail Feinstein, Dyusha Romanov, Vsevolod Gackel, and Sergey Kuryokhin.


1. Formation, first lineup 1972–1991

Aquarium was formed in 1972 by two friends: Boris Grebenshchikov, then a student of Applied Mathematics at Leningrad State University, and Anatoly George Gunitsky, a playwright and absurdist poet. The founding members were Grebenshchikov, George drums, Alexander Tsatsanidi bass, Vadim Vasilyev keyboards, Valery Obogrelov sound.

The popular story behind the name "Aquarium" is that it was inspired by the Budapest street Leningrad pub "The Aquarium" and suggested by one of the band members. However, Grebenshchikov has given differing stories in interviews, suggesting alternately that it came through band word association sessions or was inspired by a glass aquarium-like building.

In late 1973, guitarist Edmund Shkliarsky later the leader of "Picnic" band was briefly a member of the band. Bass player Michael Feinstein-Vasiliev Fan, the first professional musician in "Aquarium", joined in 1973. The next year keyboardist Andrew "Dyusha" Romanov also joined the band, and, inspired by rock-flautists Richard Meier and Ian Anderson, retrained as a flautist.


1.1. Formation, first lineup 1972–1991 Early concerts

Their first performance took place in March 1973 at their rehearsal base, a small country venue while others place it at the Leningrad restaurant "Hold" at Central Park of Culture and Recreation, for which they were paid 50 rubles in cash.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, rock and roll was strictly regulated in the Soviet Union, and only a few artists managed to be approved and signed by the government record label Melodiya. Aquariums usual concert venues were private apartments and they faced many years of fierce competition to land a spot on the label. These "apartment concerts" квартирники were a unique Soviet phenomenon created by underground musicians. They were usually acoustic, as noise could cause the neighbors to call the Militsiya, but the limited space fostered an atmosphere of intimacy between the group and its audience, who listened with bated breath, perhaps with someone recording the concert on a simple tape recorder. This was similar to the concept of the Russian bards.

In 1973, "Aquarium" performed their first live concert, but did not follow this up with regular concerts.


1.2. Formation, first lineup 1972–1991 Home recording albums

While on vacation in January – February 1974, Grebenshchikov and George recorded their debut album "The Temptation of St. Aquarium"/ Iskushenie Svyatogo Akvariuma Russian: Искушение святого Аквариума. The band recorded the album with home recording equipment, with variable sound quality results. "The Temptation of St. Aquarium" was long thought lost, but in 1997 the record was found and released in 2001 on CD in the book "Prehistoric Aquarium". All masters of this record appear to have been lost. Their second album was called "Parables of Count Diffusor" and was written by Grebenshchikov, George Fan and Dyusha Romanov, probably in the spring of 1975. They followed this up in 1976 with their third album, S Toy Storony Zerkalnogo Stekla, or From the Other Side of a Mirror Glass Russian: С той стороны зеркального стекла, named using a line from an Arseny Tarkovsky poem.


1.3. Formation, first lineup 1972–1991 Theatre and regular performances

In 1974 the group became heavily involved in amateur theatre, playing pieces of absurdity on the steps of the Engineers Castle. However, when the theater was headed by professional director Eric Goroshevsky, Grebenshchikov became disillusioned with the idea of a fusion of rock, poetry and theatre, and shifted Aquariums focus to concentrate on musical activities though they only made a complete break from the theatre group in 1977. George left the band, but kept in touch with its members. The following year, cellist Vsevolod Seva Gakkel joined the band.

Aquarium began to regularly perform live in 1976. Their first concert was on February 25, 1976 jointly with Grebenshchikov, Gakkel and Dyusha Romanov. On March 10 Aquarium was a surprise guest at the Tallinn Festival of Popular Music, where they played a set of four acoustic songs and won the prize for the most interesting and varied program.

In 1977 Romanov and bassoon player Alexander "Fagot" Alexandrov "fagot" meaning bassoon in Russian were drafted in the military for two years. With the loss of these members, Grebenshchikov recorded a highly successful solo album All Brothers are Sisters Vse bratya - sestry. Aquarium also became popular to the point that Grebenshchikov was recognised in the street. In 1979 the band met with two important figures of Soviet rock, critic Artemy Troitsky and next year start to work with Andrey Tropillo as a manager in whose studio Aquarium recorded its first historic albums.


1.4. Formation, first lineup 1972–1991 Tbilisi Rock Festival

Aquarium burst into the consciousness of the Soviet rock scene by competing at the 1980 Tbilisi Rock Festival. The band caused a scandal with their performance, which was considered bizarre and shocking. During the set, Grebenshchikov lay down on the stage and made provocative movements while playing the guitar, causing all the jury members to demonstratively leave the hall. "Aquarium" was accused of promoting homosexuality the guitar actions, incest Grebenshchikov changed words while singing the song "Marina", though this may have been through poor technique and indecency, and banned from the festival. The incident became known in Leningrad, and as a result Grebenshchikov lost his job and was expelled from the Komsomol Young Communists League, expected of working Russians. However, while they did not receive any prizes, the bands performance made them become a symbol of the Soviet alternative culture.

Until 1987, Aquarium recorded all of their albums in live concerts and in a self-assembled underground studio several members had engineering education disguised as a "Young Technicians Club". A notable exception was the album Radio Africa 1983, which was secretly recorded using a government-owned mobile studio, after bribing a technician.


1.5. Formation, first lineup 1972–1991 Mainstream success

The advent of Glasnost in the second half of the 1980s brought many underground Russian rock musicians to public recognition and Aquarium became one of the most popular acts. They were allowed to play in large concert halls, appeared on state-owned television and recorded soundtracks for several films, most notably Assa. In 1987 they recorded their first album for the state-owned Melodiya record label. With official backing and legalized distribution the album was a huge hit in the Soviet Union, selling well over a million copies within a few months. Grebenshchikov subsequently recorded two albums in English and toured with several different backing bands. In 1992 after the break-up of the Soviet Union he released music under the name "the BG-Band", "The Russian Album", a collection of melancholic folk songs influenced by his travels all over Russia and demonstrating a return to his Russian roots.


2. Second lineup 1992- present

Grebenshchikov kept touring and shortly returned to calling his band "Aquarium", although the lineup bore little resemblance to the original band. In 1996, Aquarium co-headlined along with DDT band) the VladiROCKstok music festival in Vladivostok; at one memorable point, Grebenshchikov famously invited thousands of fans to stream out of their grandstand seats and into the area near the performance stage.

The band continued to release more albums and tour extensively over the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and places with Russian-speaking immigrant communities in Germany, Israel and the United States. In 2007, Aquarium performed for the first time at the Royal Albert Hall in London. In 2008 the "Aquarium International" project with participation of over 20 musicians worldwide was created.

Their 2008 album Loshad Belaya White Horse was released in a similar fashion to Radioheads 2007 In Rainbows: it was offered for free download in mp3 format with the downloader opting to pay the amount they saw fit.

Although often criticized for departure from their original style and constant line-up changes, which made the later incarnations of Aquarium essentially a Grebenshchikov solo project, the group still enjoyed considerable success in Russia with regular radio airplay of their old and new songs, popular albums, and frequent tours.

Aquariums lineup in 2017 consisted of Boris Grebenshchikov, Andrey Surotdinov violin, Alexey Zubarev guitars, Alexander Titov bass, Liam Bradley drums and Brian Finnegan flutes.


3. Musical influences

Aquarium were strongly influenced by Western rock music, particularly by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, T. Rex, and progressive rock acts like Jethro Tull, King Crimson and Roxy Music as well as by new wave and reggae artists. This was reflected in the bands often complex compositions and wide-ranging lyric themes, even including references to Celtic and Indian cultures.


4. Filmography

Documentary films about "Akvarium" and Grebenshchikov

  • Rok Rock, 1987, dir. Alexei Uchitel, Soviet Union
  • The Long Way Home 1989, dir. Michael Apted, United States

Soundtracks by "Akvarium"

  • Zolotoy Son Golden Dream, 1989, dir. Sergey Debizhev
  • Assa 1987, dir. Sergei Solovyov
  • Dva kapitana 2 Two captains II, 1992, dir. S. Debizhev
  • Chernaya roza – emblema pechali, krasnaya roza – emblema lyubvi The Black rose., 1989, dir. Sergei Solovyov
  • Ivanov 1981, dir. A. Nekhoroshev, A. Ilkhovsky
  • public viewing Aquarium band a Russian rock group The Aquarium band an American indie rock band The Aquarium album 2006 Aquarium Aqua album
  • The Aquarium is an indie rock band from Washington, D.C., United States. The band is a duo, consisting of Jason Hutto, formerly of Motor - Cycle Wars electric
  • Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit is a jazz fusion group founded by Col. Bruce Hampton. The band gained popularity in the Atlanta club scene
  • contribution as to the undisputed and lasting success of his main effort, the band Aquarium active since 1972 until today he is a household name in Russia and
  • The following list of marine aquarium fish species commonly available in the aquarium trade is not a completely comprehensive list certain rare specimens
  • live in the freshwater aquarium This list gives some examples of the most common species found in home aquariums List of aquarium fish by scientific name
  • The National Aquarium Washington, D.C., was an aquarium in Washington D.C. It was located in the Herbert C. Hoover Building owned by the General Services
  • Aquarium Band to serenade the best singers who could be found in Brisbane. The Aquarium boosted the popularity of the area land near the Aquarium was
  • Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium is a Southern Ocean and Antarctic aquarium in central Melbourne, Australia. It is located on the banks of the Yarra River
  • Newport Aquarium is an aquarium located in Newport, Kentucky, United States at Newport on the Levee, across the river from Cincinnati. The aquarium has 70
  • The Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium Jerusalem is a public aquarium in Israel inaugurated on 19.6.2017. The aquarium focuses on Israel s marine environment