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A Short Story of Greek DIY Punk Passion A Short Story of Greek DIY Punk Passion
by Zorba the Freak/Sakaflias
2008-03-01 08:24:47
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Once upon a time there were two guys. One (Zorbas) lived in the capital of Greece while the other one (Sakaflias) came from a little corner of the Greek countryside called Trikala. For many years they had been unaware of each other’s existence until one day they started working together for the same company, in Finland of all places.

ovi_grrock01In the beginning they were reluctant to speak to each other. Being away from their home country was no coincidence for either Zorbas or Sakaflias, and by default for them every other Greek represented the stereotypical expatriate they were trying to avoid in all their years abroad.

This all changed when they discovered they had something of a very specific nature in common. Both of them were into tape trading. Tapes containing music that was often hardly listenable due to poor production work (not surprising given the fact that some of them contained music that was recorded live in squats around Greece). Tapes created at a time when “cover art” was a labor of love, a painstaking undertaking by hand that was more of an exercise in art than a way to just document the contents of the medium.

ovi_grrock02Actually, a song list on the back of such a tape’s plastic cover was often considered a luxury. Sometimes even the band names remained a mystery. In cases like that the contents of the tapes were imprinted in memory by association. There was the tape, in which the first song started off with a specific guitar riff, another one where a specific favorite (unnamed) song was followed by that other (yet unknown) one, a third one containing band X on side A and band Y on side B. However, the tapes belonging to the two friends of our story had another common thread linking them. A definition of what Greek alternative music is.

Enter Greek punk music… or not. According to some people Greece never produced real punk, or hardcore for that matter. Greece was never swept away by the original punk sound. Bands from that little corner of anti-Europe decided to produce noticeable music only after dark wave music hit the stereos. The result was a unique sound of meta-punk/hardcore music that became the defining way of expression for a long existing underground culture of riots. DIY was their motto.

ovi_grrock04DIY punk became not only an alternative to mainstream music culture but also a way of expressing disobedience to authority and a rejection of the conformities of Greek society that purveyed an air of utopia. Greek punk/hardcore music is political; very political. As a matter of fact, for years there was no other type of punk music in Greece.

ovi_grrock06 Back to the two friends of our story, several beers and lengthy discussions about music, sports, politics and riot-nostalgia later, they started doing what they knew best… share music. As a matter of fact they went slightly overboard, discovering numerous independent sources on the internet that vastly expanded their music collection. These online repositories stimulated memories and for the first time all the obscure bands that inhabited the tape realm of their youth started acquiring a name, and often even a face. At this point, Zorbas and Sakaflias decided that what they had come across during their DIY music investigations was well worth a listen by other people. At least people who might think that being musically sane is not such an interesting quality after all. So they decided to do something about their passion.

Naturally, the next step was to contact yet another crazy Greek who happened to co-host a radio show in Finland. Beer flowed again… and finally alea jacta est. On Sunday the 2nd, March 2008, Ovi Bad Boys are going to sample some of this great music for all of you. If you are even slightly interested in music defined by badly recorded guitars, drums that sound like kitchenware and vocals that defy the laws of esthetics, all done in the name of a sociopolitical revolution, you might want to check the show out. For one, the dudes with the funny names will be having a blast!

ovi_grrock05

* * * * * * * * * *

Here is some information regarding the bands you will be treated to, courtesy of the Ovi Bad Boys radio show tomorrow:

Click here to listen to the show (apologies for the sound quality)

ANTIDRASI (ΑΝΤΙΔΡΑΣΗ) – XOIRINO KREAS (ΧΟΙΡΙΝΟ ΚΡΕΑΣ) / 1990

A “love” song dedicated to the police from one of the most famous Greek DIY bands.

BOOTSTROKE – ALITES (ΑΛΗΤΕΣ) / 2005

To whom exactly does the term “punk” apply?

GENIA TOU XAOUS (ΓΕΝΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΧΑΟΥΣ) – MPASTARDOKRATIA (ΜΠΑΣΤΑΡΔΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ) / 1984

“Love” song dedicated to politicians; a big hit of the Greek DIY punk scene.

ORA MIDEN (ΟΡΑ ΜΗΔΕΝ) – THANATOS STOUS POIITES (ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ ΣΤΟΥΣ ΠΟΙΗΤΕΣ) / 1988

A friend of Zorbas settles a score against those who think that Greece is all about the sun.

HARDCO(U)RADES (ΧΑΡΝΤΚΟ(Υ)ΡΑΔΕΣ) – SAKAFLIAS UNDERGROUND / 1990

A hardcore band from Trikala puts the stories about the infamous Sakaflias in perspective.

ANIA (ΑΝΙΑ) – ARNISI STRATEFSIS (ΑΡΝΗΣΗ ΣΤΡΑΤΕΥΣΗΣ) / 2000

Yet another “love” song, this one’s about the army.

Trivia: What do Zorbas and Sakaflias have in common?

STRESS – ATHENS BURNING / 1985

This one’s in English.

Stress was the first Greek DIY punk band to incorporate anti-authoritarian Greek lyrics.

Links:

www.punk.gr/english

www.diymusic.org

www.anexartisi.gr


    
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Comments(8)
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Alan2008-03-01 11:01:15
R&R Athens! :)


AP2008-03-01 13:38:49
Cool :)
I can't think of anything more revolutionary than Anarchy in Athens!
ps - But punk with shaved heads instead of punk crests?


Joe2008-03-01 14:08:46
It's hot -lol-

Good article


Zorbas2008-03-01 14:31:18
It's a long story AP. Just trust me on this one, the guys in the picture (BootStroke) are far from what you imply. ;)


AP2008-03-01 15:44:09
Oh, then I'm relieved and I find it even cooler ;D


Antonis from ORA MIDEN2008-04-09 22:43:22
Thank you so much for the airplay and the memories.
A big Hello to all Finish People up there.


g@mpros2008-04-10 00:17:54
hello koumpare.


Zorbas2009-03-10 16:58:05
oi! καλώς τα παιδιά.
=)

Athens Burning ΡΕ!


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