Uz Jsme Doma is one of the most original Czech rock bands. Their concerts, bursting with energy, have been a success in some 500 gigs in the Czech Republic, 200 throughout Europe, and 100 in U. S. A, Mexico and Canada…
In 1995 the band participated in the live theatre performance of The Residents ‘Freak Show’ in the Archa theatre, Prague. They performed in the style of The Residents as the Freak Show Live Orchestra.?A speciality of Uz Jsme Doma is the sixth group member, who plays the brushes. His name is Martin Velisek and he’s in charge of all their fine art work. His paintings and sculptures can be seen in the legendary pub U Vystrelenyho oka (At the Shot Out Eye) U Bozich bojovnike 3, Praha 3) where he was given space to express the beauty of absurd world of reality.
The following interview took place in Jama just before their performance in Lucerna Music Bar and it’s just a beer talk, so relax and enjoy. Honza – bass, Radek – guitar, Petr – drums.
THINK: Let’s try to say something interesting.
Honzo: Well, we’ve been to America.
Think: In Hollywood?
Honzo: Yeah, all over
Think: How was it?
Honzo: Compared to this country, it’s terribly boring there.
Think: Why is that?
Honzo: Little stuff in a great space
Think: the people liked your music?
Petr: Some places they liked it a lot, you know! Like in Vancouver, Minneapolis, San Francisco
Think: Where in San Francisco did you play?
Honzo: Paradise Lounge.
Think: How big audience was there?
Radek: 200. We sold out the show.
Think: I heard something about a new record to be released in The States?. . Radek: Nope, it’ll happen here… but (looking at the others)… can I?
Petr: All our records so far have been released in The States… how do you call that?
Radek: Licensed. We’re thinking that the new record will come out as a co-operation of Czech and American firms.
Think: And Velisek, is he gonna go to America with you?
Petr: Probably not.
Radek: The last tour there we had a gig in this one town, it was a part of a ‘Days of Czech Culture’ and Velisek had an exhibition there…
Think: How did Velisek become a member of Uz Jsme Doma?
Radek: That comes from the old times, unknown to us, he met the others at Art school in Novy Bor. Think: Peter, you don’t remember these old times?
Radek: We are the young ones, we are the junior team of Uz Jsme Doma?
Think: What was the music like in the early years? Was it the same as now?
Petr: The same!
Think: What’s it gonna be like next year?
Radek: Even better!
Think: Thanks to the three of you?
Radek: Of course!
Petr: I cannot tell…
Think: How would you explain the style of Uz Jsme Doma music?
Radek: Wait… how was it in the newspapers in America?
Petr: All they write there is nonsense. Radek: The most closely matching descriptions were ‘trash-jazz’ and ‘Japanese Noise’.
Think: What’s behind the name “Uz Jsme Doma”?
Honzo: Full stop!
Think: Ok, what else?
Radek: Apparently the name came into existence in a pub where the band was found by a friend of theirs after a rehearsal and as soon as this guy saw them he said, “Oh yes, Uz Jsme Doma! “
Honzo: (questioning me) You are from The Jesus Land?
Think: Nope, from Koprivnice… how did you like the gig there?
Honzo: Quite excellent.
Think: What did you like about it the most?
Honzo: Everything was superb, sound, people, just everything!
Think: Why did you leave so early after the gig?
Honzo: We went home to Prague to watch the hockey game. We surely missed a lot! (laughing)
Think: Where’s Mira Wanek?
Petr: On the phone…
Think: Calling the States?
Honzo: Yep, he got married there a month ago.
Think: What’s his plan then?
Radek: To buy more carpets…
Think: What’s the carpet story again?
Petr: In Frydek Mistek he bought five carpets… sent it all air-cargo to New York!
Think: How long was the last tour in America?
Petr: Five weeks… it’s usually twice a year for two months or so.
Think: How was the Lubljana gig?
Think: Any particular reason?
Radek: Little cakes…
Honzo: Wanek found a heap of little cakes in the kitchen, the afternoon before the gig, he brought them to us and we all ate them… and I asked everybody if they realize there’s dope in it?
Think: Petr, you don’t smoke, were the cakes tasty?
Radek: (laughing) He ate two of them!
Petr: Didn’t like it much but I wanted to show these two fellas that it’s all only a psychological stonement.
Radek: I had only a half and was out of it, Petr ate two and apparently nothing happened to him.
Honzo: (to Petr) You might be right, but in the middle of the gig when I looked at Radek I understood what was going on.
Honzo: (to me) How come you haven’t got ‘The Koprivnice accent’?
Think: None of your business! (Radek and Petr bursting into laughter) Anyway, I’m questioning you! What was your best gig lately?
Petr: The Koprivnice gig
Radek: There were loads of good gigs in Northern Moravia… Industrial parts of the country. Petr: There really is the connection… people really listen to music in these industrial zones.
Think: What’s the band’s favorite sport thing?
Radek: We play the beatles.
Think: How do you do that?
Honzo: We lay down and sleep!
At this point we are leaving Jama and the conversation continues when entering Lucerna Music Bar. The ‘Scene’ with the doorman:
Doorman: First go and buy tickets!
Think: I’m turning on the dictaphone.
Doorman: I no longer understand this… you tape me?!
Radek: We are a band… can we come in?
Doorman: A band you say?… I’d let you in only if you were some very well-known band.
Suddenly Mira Wanek is in the door and he gives us all the ‘I don’t understand this’ look… and walks down the stairs without saying a word.
Petr: How come he can go in and we don’t?
Doorman: Allright then… go, go!
The atmosphere in Lucerna Music Bar is thick and feels like a highly flammable material. What I hear is surprising changes in the powerful rhythm of the drums, heavy funky baselines, loud guitars and screaming saxophone.
At the top of all this I hear four voices shouting:
“I’ll take away – all I can!
I’ll lock away – all that remains!
I’ll cover what will pour through!
And what will sleep through – I’ll deny! Deny!
And what will flow away – I’ll shout down!
What I shout down – I needn’t face.
I needn’t face.”
People are dancing all round the stage as fast as they can, trying to sing along with Mira Wanek, it’s all gotten really crazy. At some point the band pretends they are the golden ice-hockey team, playing with a pack of strings while the energy is bursting out every direction!
At the bar after the show, I’m talking to Radek when Velisek turns up saying, “Radek, who’s this new chick of yours?
Think: (turning on the dictaphone) What chick you have got in mind?
Velisek: Hmm, I’m only watching you with my one eye, I’m not talking to you, I said that to Radek
Think: What are you trying to say?
Velisek: Yes, yes, as an old fashioned gentleman I agree you see yourself as a chick but only partly…
Think: You nutter!
Velisek: (his hands are flying round in the air and his eyes rolling up and down) First you are only a little chick, baby chicken, then you grow, become bigger and bigger… till you are this big chick… and then… you become small again, smaller and smaller.
Now he jumps off to another conversation and when I take a close look at him he reminds me of his own art work… freaky fukin’ weird!?
This interview originally appeared in Think Magazine