Avtograf is back again, but just for a few songs at festival

Press Release / "After the highly successful reunion shows back in Summer 2005 the name of the first and the best Russian progressive rock band Avtograf (Autograph) became the symbol of true professional rock music in Russia again. And now this cult band - in every positive sense of this world - is back. Avtograf will take part in concert festival Legends Of Russian Rock on September 1st at the Green Theater of Gorky Park, Moscow. The classic line-up of Avtograf of 1982-1988 will take stage: bandleader and mastermind, guitarist Alexander Sitkovetsky; bass player Leonid Goutkin, keyboard virtuoso Leonid Makarevich, drummer Victor Mikhalin and lead vocalist Arthur Berkut, who exactly one year ago was ousted from the ranks of classic heavy metal merchants Aria.
The event will be organized by the First Channel of Russian National TV, so there is a possibility of making a live-concert film of this Festival.

Avtograf will start rehearsals of their short live festival program on August 26th. As bassist Leonid Goutkin said, the band hopes for a four-song set, which may be transformed to three songs only. At the moment musicians of Avtograf plan the following classics for their live set: The World Inside (1986 - also known as half-Russian, half-English title track of their sole US album Tear Down The Border, 1991), Oh My Boy (1989 - dynamic hit from Stone Land album), outstanding instrumental track S.O.S. (1985) and simply one of the best songs the band ever wrote, The Ship (1980).
Avtograf is known as the greatest and first of its kind "ambassador of the Soviet Rock", who took part in the historical Live Aid event (live via satellite from Moscow TV studio) back in 1985, being the only band from Eastern Europe.

Avtograf was formed back in May 1979 by Alexander Sitkovetsky (classically trained as violin player), also a founder of hard/art-rock band Visokosnoe Leto (Leap-Year Summer). After winning Spring Rhythms - Tbilisi-80 national rock festival (March 1980), Avtograf turned professional in January 1981 and became, from the point of view of serious Russian rock fans, "the only band in the history of Russian rock music that matters". Due to political pressures behind the Iron Curtain, Avtograf couldn't release full-length records officially until 1986, but their live performance magnitude was second to none: up to 190 concerts per year all over then-USSR. With the rise of Perestroika the doors opened wide for Avtograf: since spring 1987 band did tours in Canada (with Chicago, Glass Tiger and David Foster), France, then-West Germany and USA. Avtograf became one of only two Russian bands that performed at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon in London ever: the event was Capitol Radio Festival, and on July 10th, 1987 Avtograf played there together with Russian fellow prog-rockers Dialog. Finally, in August 1991 Avtografs CD called Tear Down The Border (Bizarre/Straight Records) was released in the US.
Althrough Avtograf has released only 3 EPs and 2 LPs during their active years in Russia (1979-1990), the popularity was overwhelming: no less than 17 000 000 vinyl copies in total were sold in 1981-1990. The last Avtografs studio masterpiece, classic AOR LP/CD Stone Land (1989) was claimed as the absolutely best Russian rock album ever by the national music magazine PLAY in 2004. Back in 2002 Stone Land was re-released by the French art rock label, Musea Records, and in 2005 it became an integral part of the band reunion: it was remastered and re-released by Moscow label ICA Music, together with The Ship CD Single, 25 Years Later - Jubilee Concert live double CD and DVD and both of Alexander Sitkovetsky's solo CDs.
Due to worsening cultural and political climate, Avtograf disbanded in February 1990, after 1333 live shows. But in Summer 2005 they were back with vengeance: six live shows with full video, lighting, laser and pyro production - which Avtograf was famous for - all over Russia, including truly over-the-top show at Olympiyski Stadium (Moscow), which was recorded and filmed for aforementioned live CO and DVD.
The story of Avtograf will be continued before our very eyes..."

Avtografs reunion, 2005. Left to right: Arthur Berkut (vocals, 1982-1990), Sergei Brutyan (vocals, 1979-1982), Leonid Makarevich (keyboards, 1979-1988), Alexander Sitkovetsky (guitar), Leonid Goutkin (bass), Victor Mikhalm (drums, 1981-1989). Videos: The Ship (2005 Version) - official clip mixing 2005 studio footage with band’s video chronicles from 80's: www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0f2cYayPOY / S.O.S. - archive TV footage, 1985: www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2k-8_x3tXM / www.avtograf.com.ru - official Website (in Russian only).

Aug. 14th, 2012