A tale of music and the cold war: Teddy Boys head for Russia!

Russian rock'n'roll fans are in for a real treat on 30th May, when British 'Ted' band, Furious head out for Moscow. There's been a rock'n'roll scene in Russia for some years and the scene has ebbed and flowed over the years. So why is rock'n'roll popular in Russia?

Way back in the days of the Cold War, Western propaganda was beamed to Eastern Europe via broadcasters like Radio Free Europe ('Radio Svoboda'). To appeal to the 'teenage audience' as a way of undermining communism, 15 minutes of propaganda would be followed by 15 minutes of 'pop music'. Here's the twist. The person who chose this music was a BIG fan of Bill Haley & The Comets, and a lot of the more obscure recordings by them could be heard on this station. The writer used to sit for hours listening to this station trying to get good tape recordings of numbers like 'Don't mess around' that were unavailable on record in Britain. Radio Free Europe was heavily jammed, but sometimes it would be pretty clear. Some of their shows were also relayed by RIAS-Berlin (Radio In American Sector), which had the world’s only one megawatt transmitter on long wave, and this use to ‘squash’ the jamming stations. The upshot of this was that a lot of Russian youth were convinced that Bill Haley & The Comets were hugely popular in the West in the 60's and 70's! This led to 'copy bands' playing in ‘unauthorised’ venues, often being chased by the secret police...

The wall came down, communism collapsed and now we find British Teddy boy Richard Hume whose ambition is to get the Teddy Boy movement going in Russia. To this end, he's decided to 'import' Furious, a gang of young Teds from Liverpool who are gonna play in Moscow. The Russian rockers are in for a real treat when Furious take the stage topping the bill after three of Moscow's top bands. This is probably the wildest music the Russians have ever heard.

Hopefully, it will not cause a major diplomatic incident and Furious will be able to return to Britain to begin recording their album for Nervous Records in June.

Excerpted from Furious website:
"Rumbling outta the hell holes of Liverpool came the Halligan brothers kickin' and screamin' with the message... Rock 'n' Roll is alive and well so sit up and listen! With such a passion for this music, they became insulted, in fact infuriated, after going to see these so-called rock 'n' roll bands doing the rounds today.

Luckily, this inspired them to start a band themselves in 2003 with the sole intention of playing the music they love in the way they think it should be played! By 2004, Furious were tearin' up every club in town, playing to every audience you can think of… It was the heavy metal clubs in particular that saw the sight of Furious at their wildest, with the clubs packed with skinheads, neo-nazis, scallies, goths and maybe the odd psychobilly, with no choice but to have 1950's rock n roll rammed down their throats… these were great nights even if they ended up a little dangerous!

These early days were an amazing sight but were short lived because Mark and Andy were too young to drive and their drum and bass players at the time weren't as madly into the music as they were..."

Furious are (left 2 right):
Mark Halligan - Bass/Vocals
Yann Gourmelon - Drums
Andy Halligan - Guitar


Roy Williams
Nervous Records


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Used with permission, 2009