Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Uz Jsme Doma spent the first years of its existence in underground Czechoslovakia. After the Velvet Revolution it was one of the first groups to storm out and establish an alternative rock sound for the new republic. Along with Plastic People of the Universe they became ambassadors of Central European rock, frequently touring the U.S. and establishing a cult following in America. If the PPU embody the Communist repression of the 1970s and 1980s in their gloomy, despair-driven music, then Uz Jsme Doma represents the exuberance of liberation. Punk in spirit, activists at heart, and strongly avant-garde in their dissonances, complex songs, and humor, they are the Czech Republic's best group of the 1990s.
Jindra Dolansky (saxophone, vocals) started Uz Jsme Doma in 1985 in the border town of Teplice. The group's name comes from a Czech expression that loosely translates into "now we're at home" (meaning "now I get it"). Stamped "antisocial" by the Communist government, the group spent its first years playing illegal concerts, going through numerous changes in their lineup, and writing an impressive repertoire of avant-punk songs influenced by Pere Ubu, the Residents, the Sex Pistols, and the Rock-in-Opposition movement. In the wake of the student protest of November 17, 1989, and the precipitated events that ensued, Uz Jsme Doma rose as a symbol of new times. They performed in front of 15,000 people on December 3 and soon co-leader, lyricist, and lead singer Miroslav Wanek was drafted by the interim government of the group's hometown.
The end of the Communist era meant the group was now able to record. Uprostred Slov (1990) and Nemilovany Svet (1991) were quickly committed to tape. These years saw the group's lineup stabilize around Wanek, Dolansky, saxophonist Alice Kalousková, guitarist Romek Hanzlík, bassist Pavel Kerka, and drummer Pavel Pavlicek. Even though painter Martin Velisek never played a note with the band, he has always been considered a full-time member. His artwork has been instrumental in establishing the group's identity.
As early as 1991, Uz Jsme Doma embarked on a never-ending touring schedule that quickly took them to America, building a following in New York and on the West Coast, and earning them a reputation as "touring monsters." In 1992 an English version of Nemilovany Svet (Unloved World) was released in the U.S., which in turn led to a contract with BMG for the recording and release of Hollywood. Disenchanted with the major label's lack of support, the group signed with Czech label Indies and released Pohádky ze Zapotrebí (1996). This album introduced a new rhythm section in bassist Jan Cerha and drummer Milan Novy. The group made many visits to America during this period, appearing in the Residents' tour/album/CD-ROM Freak Show in which they played the circus band, and recorded a live album, Vancouver 1997. Hanzlik quit shortly after. For the 1999 CD Usi, Wanek and Dolansky revamped the band by hiring Radek Podvesky (guitar) and Petr Böhm (drums).