Legendary underground band- Prague Selection- celebrates 25th anniversary

Prazsky Vyber

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of legendary underground band- Prazsky Vyber. During the mid 1980s the band was blacklisted by the communist regime and became a symbol of resistance. Following the Velvet Revolution front man Michael Kocab acted as one of Vaclav Havel's main advisors and oversaw the withdrawal of Soviet troops. To celebrate the anniversary, Czech television has just released a documentary film which tracks the bands history and makes use a of a wide range archive material.

Generally, the members of the Prazsky Vyber (Prague Selection) felt that the film was a good reflection of their history. One of the most fascinating parts of the film was watching Michael Kocab's development from musician to politician to businessman and then back to musician again. I asked him if these different roles could be compatible:

"The world of politics and the world of art seem quite compatible to me. It both cases, you are working for others, as a musician you compose for them and as a politician you try to improve people's lives. In both cases you can take advantage of it but you don't have to if you don't want to. You can stay clean. Havel was a good example."

"However, the world of business is not compatible with music or politics. It disrupts the system of altruism. I mean, I know in politics people are often not altruistic but at least that is the original intent."

A few times in the film, band members complained that the communist regime stopped them from performing just when they were reaching their creative peak. Drummer Klaudius Kryspin recently re-emigrated from Australia to play with the band again.

"There are no limits in arts. It really depends on the people who are creating the art. Of course, then they were very young and it was a long time ago. But there are so many good things about being older and more experienced."

So, can we expect any new material? It seems that right now it is old material and old favourites that are being played..

"As far as I know the guitar player has six new songs and I have two. The problem right now has been the movie, it has actually stopped us from rehearsing."

Lead guitar player, Michal Pavlicek is looking forward to composing new music for the band and speaks about his approach to the contemporary music scene:

"The main problem that I would like to react to is show business as such, there is no progress, experimentation in pop and rock, and Prazsky Vyber will be at the forefront of the movement to not conform."