A Master of Russian Rock ‘n’ Roll

Borish Grebenshchikov chats with Newsweek.

He made his American TV debut in 1989 on Late Night with David Letterman. Earlier this month, he played Webster Hall in Greenwich Village. And last week, there was a great interview with Borish Grebenshchikov in Newsweek.

It’s no wonder Newsweek is in the black and solidly co-branding its name back into international markets. Every time we happen lately upon a feature in the magazine, we are treated to content that is entertaining, informative and original.

Grebenshchikov, now 61, has been described in English-language publications over the years as the “Russian Bob Dylan” and in a number of other analogous ways. He’s not a big fan of those labels, but goes on to tell reporter Aleksander Gorbachev how instrumental Dylan’s music was:

”When I started writing songs for real, in the late 1970s, there was this one thing that was bothering me. When I listened to Dylan, or the Beatles, or the Rolling Stones, I felt like they knew how I felt and could express it. When I listened to music that was popular in Russia at the time, I couldn’t find anything to identify with.”

“I was going around, asking people, “What’s wrong? Maybe I’m missing something.” And they would tell me, “You aren’t, but rock ‘n’ roll can’t be written in Russian, because the language just isn’t suited for it.” I thought, well, that’s bullshit; let’s see what can be done. So I started writing my own songs. And the results were quite good from the very beginning.”

Read the rest of the interview here.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Bob Dylan Gifts AARP with 50,000 Free CDs