Myslovitz USA

The Myslovitz Chronology


1992
1993
1994
1995
  1996
1997
1998
1999
  2000
2001
2002
2003
  2004
2005


1992
In 1992, a fresh-faced new band emerged from the Mysłowice Youth Center called The Freshmen (named after the movie The Freshman, starring Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick). The act was founded by two university students: Artur Rojek (on vocals and guitars) and Wojtek Powaga (on guitars). The original line-up also included Marcin "Bongo" Porczek on drums and Rafał "Prince" Cieślik (who earned his nickname for being a big Prince fan) on bass.

Unfortunately for the latter two, The Freshmen didn't play any gigs with that lineup. By the time they did start performing, Porczek and Cieślik were replaced by Wojtek and Jacek Kuderski (formerly the rhythm section for Der Kinder Trager). The group played its first concert as the opening act for General Stillwell (another group from Mysłowice), at the "Olimp" Club of the University of Physical Education in Katowice.

1993
During a live performance in Jaworzno, the band met amateur photographer Jacek Kowalczyk, who was a big fan of music like The Velvet Underground and David Bowie. He took a liking to The Freshmen, as well, and asked to do a photoshoot with them. It was the group's first-ever photoshoot, and it actually led to their very first recording session in the Estrada śląska Entertainment storehouse. The recordings were produced and engineered by a fellow called Żaba ["Frog" in English], the leader of a new beat act called Nowy Horyzont.
    The following songs were born from this:
  • "Letter to Love" which later became "Krótka piosenka o miłości" ["A short song about love"]
  • "Beautiful Day"
  • "Ultra Fiolet" ["Ultraviolet"]
  • "Mówisz, że" ["And you say..." or "You said that..."]
  • "Funny Hill"
  • "Maj" (but a different version than the one we all know!)

1994
The Freshmen's first demo was sent to the Youth Band Festival Garaż '94 [Garage '94], held in Częstochowa between April and May. They finished in second place at the festival. The prize? A recording session at the studios of Radio Łódź! The boys weren't meant to have this prize, actually. Maciek Pilarczyk, then-music manager of Radio Łódź explains: "They were so magical and psychedelic that their music literally made my flesh creep! They were absolutely meant to be awarded first place and given a guitar amp as their prize. Second place, however, meant rewarding the band with a recording session at the studios of my Radio Łódź, so as a jury member I did force second place for them in order to have that session recorded there. The guys were very disappointed at that because they really wanted to win their first prize, but now - I think - they are no longer angry at me for such a nasty trick."

The session began in June, and Robert Ochnio (well known for having produced the bands such as Reds and Tubylcy Betonu) became their producer. They recorded "Funny Hill", "Mówisz, że", "Słowa" [words] and "Ultra Fiolet" during this session.

In December, The Freshman was qualified to enter the prestigious festival "Mokotów Music Autumn" in Warsaw, and they won again, defeating groups such as Atmosphere and Happy Pills. The band changed its name to Myslovitz (after their hometown) at this time, but weren't known by it for some time after winning the "Mokotów" festival. They eventually signed a contract with MJM Music Poland. The contract obligated them to record and release three albums on MJM.

1995
In the summer, the group finished recording its debut album Myslovitz at Radio Łódź studios, with Manchester-born Ian Harris as producer. In his own words, Harris was a psychologist by profession who had never worked as a shrink. Instead, he had made a name for himself as the man responsible for the live sounds of Joy Division, UK Subs, New Order and The Exploited. He had been living in France for a dozen years or so, cooperating with an experimental band named Sysigambis.

Myslovitz was released on October the 10th, being promoted by its title song "Myslovitz" - according to the band's "M x3" theory. The album was soon appreciated by critics as the most interesting album of 1995, and the leading rock magazines in Poland described Myslovitz as the most promising Polish band of the year (the Brum magazine granted them the "Best Debut of the Year" award, Tylko Rock magazine recognized them as "The Best Hope of the Year", they were nominated at the Dance Music Awards for the "Pop and Rock Debuts" category, and the country-wide RMF FM Radio awarded them the special award "The Unappreciated '95").

1996
In June, the band's second album Sun Machine was released by Sony Music Poland/Columbia. Many of the album's tracks were unreleased selections from the past, but the new tracks -- "Peggy Brown", "Blue Velvet", Z twarzą Marilyn Monroe" [with the face of Marilyn Monroe], and "Funny Hill" -- were a big hit on the radio. The album also included a cover of Czerwone Gitary's "Historia jednej znajomości" [The story of a certain acquaintance], which was the theme for the film Matka swojej matki [A mother for her own mother], starring Krystyna Jada.

Sun Machine's atmospherics set it apart from the previous album... and there was also the addition of new guitarist Przemesław Myszor! His influence was definitely heard with the release of the new album. Previously, Przemo had been playing in other Mysłowice-based groups, October's Children most notably.

1996 bought one more surprise to the band -- a nomination for "Best Debut of the Year" for the Frederyk Awards! The release of Sun Machine placed Myslovitz among the best music-makers on the Polish music market.

A little tidbit of information is that, years later, Artur Rojek said that "Sun Machine" was his least favorite album. The reason being that many of the tracks were just leftovers from their Freshmen days, and that it did not reflect their talent at the time.

1997
This year, the band's third album, Z rozmyślań przy śniadaniu ["Of breakfast meditations"...but I think of it as "Thinking while eating breakfast"!] was released. This album sounded very different from the previous two; no longer rough and unsophisticated, Z rozmyślań przy śniadaniu was smoother and more mature -- and fans and critics alike responded quite positively to this! The group started to work with Tomasz Bonarowski, a very creative and inventive sound engineer, producer and musician who was very influential in terms of Myslovitz' new sound. The lyrics were no longer just an accessory to the music; they became more of the focus. In addition, the titles of the songs on the new album revealed the band members' fascination with cinema.
    For example:
  • "Do utraty tchu" [Until I'm out of breath]
  • "Myszy i ludzie" [Of Mice and Men]
  • "Wielki błękit" [Great Blue/Big Blue Horizon]
The tracks on the third album were very carefully arranged and all those hard and heavy sounds of the band's music were replaced by more reflective and meaningful arrangements. The album was very warmly received by broadcasters and listeners. It had four nominations for Fryderyk Awards. The album promotional tour took place in most of Poland's big cities and was sponsored by Big Star.

In October, Monika Biss (friend of the group) launched the band's first authorized fan club: Moving Revolution!

At the end of the year, Myslovitz won a lot of distinctions for their latest album; in the Tylko Rock magazine they finished in third place as "Band of the Year", Artur Rojek won ninth place as "The Best Vocalist of the Year", and Z rozmyślań przy śniadaniu was granted fifth place as "The Best Album of the Year". Radio For You awarded this album as "The Best Album of the Year".

1998
January saw the release of the long-awaited original soundtrack to the movie entitled Młode wilki 1/2 [The Young Wolves 1/2] which included one new song by Myslovitz: "To nie był film" [It wasn't a film]. The song (whose lyrics, written by Przemo Myszor, either contained or wsa inspired by some testimony from a serial killer) and accompanying music video ended up being very controversial, and the track was eventually banned from being broadcast! (At the end of the year, the group was to win a Fryderyk Award for this music video, in the "Best Music Video of the Year" category, ironically.)

Says the band: "It was some disastrous misunderstanding. We only wanted to show people how wrong it could be if they misinterpreted the real meaning and message expressed in certain sorts of films, like Natural Born Killers, etc."

In March, Z rozmyślań przy śniadaniu was re-issued, with "To nie był film" as the bonus track. Throughout the whole year, the band did gigs and went on tours very intensively, not only within the territory of Poland, but also abroad. They participated in the Fan-Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, they played concerts in the USA (New York City) and in Sweden (Stockholm). Despite of being so busy, the boys found time to prepare a few new tracks for their next album. The demo versions had been recorded in the mountain resort of Ujsoły within two weeks.

1999
The band began slowing down with their touring at the beginning of the year because they had to polish up a set of new tracks, meant to be released on their upcoming album. They began work in May, in the Red Studio in Gdańsk. The album was to be called Miłość w czasach popkultury [Love in the Time of Pop Culture/Love in the Pop Culture Era] and was again produced by Tomasz Bonarowski. Production ended in June.

Just before the release of Miłość w czasach popkultury, the group celebrated their fifth anniversary by playing an outdoor concert in Mysłowice, along with Robert Gawliński, Anthony Neal, Negatyw, Skankan and T-Love. The long-awaited fourth album Miłość w czasach popkultury was finally released at the end of October. Its promotional single "Długość dźwięku samotności" [later translated into "The Length of the Solitude Sound" and still later, "Sound of Solitude"], which had been released two weeks before the album premiere, became a smash hit. The band had this to say: "We didn't want to stop at just earning royalties that we were getting on the sales of our former albums; we wanted to do something totally different. We think we've managed to achieve that goal, and we're really very satisfied at this album."

Indeed, it was apparent that Myslovitz was less interested in emulating the popular Britpop sound, but that didn't stop them from achieving success yet again with the new album. Miłość w czasach popkultury sold over 150,000 copies (average sales in May 2002), earning them a platinum record. The same time that year, the group Lotyń (friends of Myslovitz) released their album Grzmiąca, Barcin, Lipiany we wszystkich miejscach jestem zakochany featuring Artur Rojek as a guest vocalist.
    Myslovitz was granted the following awards in 1999:
  • Tylko Rock Magazine: Vocalist of the Year - ninth place; Band of the Year - seventh place; Ssmash Hit of the Year for "Długość dźwięku samotności" - third place.
  • A special passport of the Polityka Magazine in the "Rock, Pop, Traditional Song" category.
  • Playboy 2000 Award in two categories: Band of the Year, Song of the Year for "Długość dźwięku samotności".
  • Popcorn Magazine Microphone in the "Personality of the Year" category.
  • Three Fryderyk Awards in the categories Band of the Year, Rock Album of the Year, and Song of the Year for "Długość dźwięku samotności".
  • A nomination for MTV European Awards 2000.
  • Trybuna śląska Magazine - Leaders' Lodge

2000

The year 2000 began for Myslovitz quite the same way 1999 had ended, with them being on tour to promote Miłość w czasach popkultury. There was a new single out, "My" [Us], which began its career on the radio as a foretaste of the feature film To My [It's Us]. The soundtrack to the film became available in February and included two new Myslovitz tracks: "Książka z drogą w tytule" [The Book with a Road in its Title... but for ages, I thought it was "the book with a dear title"!] and "Sekrety i kłamstwa" [Secrets and Lies]. The third single "Chłopcy" [Boys], released in May, featured Muniek Staszczyk of T-LOVE as a guest vocalist, singing his own version.

The band spent entire summer in touring Poland, sponsored by the Kopernik Confectionery Factory. During that leg of touring, the band played over 30 gigs in many seaside and mountain resorts. Meanwhile, in July, another single of theirs was released, "Polowanie na wielbłąda" [Hunting a Camel] to help promote Jerzy Stuhr's film Duże zwierzę [The Big Animal]. The music video for the song was shot by Krzysztof Pawłowski, who had formerly done two other videos for Myslovitz -- "Scenariusz dla moich sąsiadów" [Screenplay for my neighbors] and "Margaret".

November was the crowning moment for the success of the album Miłość w czasach popkultury as it was then that the group was awarded for having the record go Platinum. At the same time, they released another single, "Dla Ciebie" [For you]. Myslovitz seemed to be riding high, until several members were involved in a car accident in Poznań later that month, which left guitarist Wojtek Powaga with a serious contusion on his shoulder. The band had to continue without him as he began a long two months of rehabilitation, but as Artur Rojek says, "Without Powaga, there is no Myslovitz".

At the end of the year, Myslovitz entered the S-1 Studio at Radio Łódź to record their cover version of Ścianka's song "The Iris Sleeps under the Snow",' which was included on the single ...Only Your Bus Doesn't Stop Here. This EP was released in January 2001, and another cover version of the same song by Ścianka was arranged and recorded by Smolik in collaboration with Kasia Nosowska.

    The act was granted the following awards in 2000:
  • Nominations for Fryderyk Awards in two categories:
    Band of the Year and Vocalist of the Year (Artur Rojek). 
  • Fryderyk Awards in two categories: the Song of the Year ("Chłopcy") and Music Video of the Year ("Dla Ciebie") 
  • Tylko Rock Magazine: Vocalist of the Year - 3rd place; Band of the year - 1st place; Album of the Year - 9th place; Smash Hit of the Year for "Chłopcy" - 6th place.

2001
At the beginning of the year, Artur Rojek began working on a new project with his other group Lenny Valentino, which he and friend Mietal Waluś, bassist of Negatyw, originally formed in 1998. They added three more people to the line-up: Ścianka members Jacek Lachowicz (keyboards), Arkady Kowalczyk (drums) and Maciej Cieślak (keyboards). Lenny Valentino have one album to date, Uwaga! Jedzie tramwaj! [Warning! The train is coming!], which was released later that year, in November, following the release of the single "Dom nauki wrażeń" [House of Learning the Impressions]. Just a bit of commentary here: The album was not like anything I'd previously heard. I want to say "childlike", as though the songs were sort of written in that perspective. The songs themselves were a huge departure from typical popular music, as well. Having said that, the album created a stir in the Polish music market and was valued as the most unique production in the phonographic history of Poland to date. Uwaga! Jedzie tramwaj! took home Tylko Rock Magazine's "Debut album of the year" award and a Frederyk award for "Alternative Music Album of the Year".

Now, back to Myslovitz! The first few months of the year proved to be rather busy. On February 14, Myslovitz got together again and played a concert in Poznań. The next month, they were invited to perform the Trójka Polish Radio Jubilee Concert, in honor of the 1000th broadcasting of "Hit Parade". In April, Myslovitz went on their second mini-tour of the USA, which Artur wrote about. A month later, Andrzej Smolik, the keyboard player of Wilki (and also well-known for his collaboration with Kasia Nosowska, Robert Gawliński and, of course, Myslovitz) released his album, Smolik. Its promotional single "50 tysięcy 881" featured Artur Rojek, who contributed his vocals, guitar-playing, and song lyrics.

Artur Rojek wasn't the only one working beyond Myslovitz; Jacek Kuderski began to work on outside projects, as well. Jacek collaborated with a group called Lotyń for their album Nowa Warszawa [New Warsaw], which ended up being released in 2004. Recording lasted from the beginning of May until the end of June. Jacek helped arrange the strings and choirs on the tracks and even lent his vocals to one song on the album, "Skowronki wiedzą że nigdy się nie dowiedzą" [The Larks Know That They'll Never Get The Chance To Know].

Whenever they had free time, Myslovitz's members met together, preparing plenty of stuff for their upcoming fifth album. Sometimes during performances, Myslovitz gave fans a treat by playing some of these yet-unreleased tracks. Additionally, they took their performances a step further by addeing multi-active slide animations projected on a big screen behind the band, which worked in synch with the lights and stage-design. The animations were all created by the Cinemanual Company, a one-man team owned and run by Krzysztof Owczarek (who previously worked with artist Kasia Nosowska).

In autumn 2001, Myslovitz performed in London twice and, on the way back to Poland, stopped in Frankfurt to receive the MTV award for "Best Polish Act".

2002
From Feb 25 - March 30, Myslovitz spent their time in the Radio Katowice studios, recording the material for their fifth album, Korova Milky Bar (the title was inspired by Stanley Kubric's Clockwork Orange). The first two weeks were spent working with Tomasz Bonarowski, the producer, but the rest of the time was devoted to recording psychedelic improvisations which were meant to be released on the special album called Cyprinodontidae, Cychlids, and Neons [later to be called Skalary, Mieczyki i Neonki].

In March, before heading off on tour, they released a set of music videos on DVD/VHS entitled O sobie 1995-2001 [About ourselves] with a couple of interviews and bits of live performances.

In May, Korova Milky Bar was released. The tracks were filled with a great deal of sound effects, thanks to Przemo and his new keyboard and Wojtek Powaga's guitar. The lyrics on the album were darker than in the past, often dealing with social problems. The first single, "Acidland" was a big hit and, together with the group's "Korova Milky Bar Club Tour", became the album's most successful promotion. One of the stops on the Club Tour was at London's "Borderline", where Myslovitz recorded the English version of "Acidland."

For the next few months, the act was on tour in Europe, accompanying Simple Minds and Iggy Pop! In the summer, they performed at various festivals in Scotland, Belgium and Germany. Meanwhile, their new single "Sprzedawcy marzeń" hit the airwaves. Once the tour was over, the boys hardly took any time off before doing a tour of Poland, thus causing major overcrowding of the country's major clubs. People just couldn't get enough, it seemed.

On September 8, while the National Polish Radio was open to the public, Myslovitz was handed their gold album on site. A few days later, on September 13th, when the "Hit Parade" of the Trójka Polish Radio was broadcast, Myslovitz auctioned the same gold album on the air. It was sold to the Meat Factory in Mysłowice which offered 22,000 zł (about $7,400) for it. The money was donated to the children of the miners who had died in the Wesoła coal mine accident.

In the eleventh edition of the "Yach" Polish Videoclip [Music video] Festival, Myslovitz won a statuette, and their video "Acidland", produced by Anna Maliszewska and Łukasz Janowski, was granted the award for the Best Videoclip Script of the Year. On October 7, the band members won another award - it was the "Elle" magazine trophy for the "Most Stylish Music Star".

In November, Myslovitz signed a contract with their new record company, Pomaton EMI. And, for the third time in a row, they were nominated for the MTV European Music Awards as the Best Polish Act 2002, and they won! The statuettes were granted during the gala that was held on the 14th of November in Barcelona, Spain.

2003
January
The group released its third single from Korova Milky Bar, "Chciałbym umrzeć z miłośći" [I would like to die from love] early this year. It contained the regular version, as well as remixes by Blimp vs. Silver Rocket, Adamus and Matt Kovalsky. Like the two singles before it, "Chciałbym umrzeć z miłośći" was not for sale and was only given to radio stations. It hit the airwaves on the 27th. The music video for this song (produced by Anna Maliszewska) was based on an idea from Artur and Przemek.


March
On 12 - 13 March, Myslovitz began working on the music video for "Sound of Solitude" (the English version of "Długość dźwięku samotności"), shot in the old factory hall of Polska Hala. The video was directed and co-produced by Janusz Kamiński, one of the world's leading cameramen and winner of two Oscar awards. Kamiński collaborated with Bogumił Godfrejow, who himself had been nominated for an Oscar for his work in the film "Only for Men" (directed by Sławomir Fabicki). Later, they and the group participated in a press conference held at the Marriott Hotel about the event.


April
Once again, Myslovitz was nominated for the Frederyk Awards. They had various nominations this time!
- "Band of the Year"
- "Album of the Year"
- Przemek was nominated for "Composer of the Year"
- Artur was nominated for "Vocalist of the Year"
The prizes were handed over on April 1st at the Traffic Club in Warsaw, but the ceremony was not televised. The band shares one statuette for "Album of the year, 2002" for Korova Milky Bar.

On April 17th, Myslovitz participated in recording "The European Concert" for the National Polish Television Channel 1. The concert took place in honor of the pro-European campaign, before the referendum on Poland's joining the European Union. At the concert, Myslovitz performed Joe Dassin's song "Et Si Tu N'existis Pas" ["And if you didn't exist"] which was later on included on the B-side of their next European single "Acidland", along with their cover version of Black's "Wonderful Life". The previous/original edition of "Acidland" was released in April 2001.

The video for "Sound of Solitude" was released on April 28th, and the single was given to radio stations around Poland.

May - June
The band reached another landmark when Korova Milky Bar went platinum on May 14th, having sold over 70,000 copies!
On May 17th, the European Concert aired on television.
On May 26th, the 16-track album Trójkowy Ekspres: Polska-Europa prepared by Paweł Kostrzewa, a journalist of Trójka Polish Radio and the show host of "Trójkowy Ekspres", was released. Myslovitz earned a place as track 15 with "Szklany człowiek".
Sometime this month, the band began touring Poland, and in the latter part of June they also did two gigs abroad - one in Germany, the other in Denmark - both as Iggy Pop's support. ("Opening act" as we Americans like to say!)

On June 9th, the group released their Best Of... album and a little prior to that, the "Kraków" single. ( Look for the lady holding a sign! I'm on top of the label, in the album cover, and somewhere towards the bottom of the single!)


July
The English version of Korova Milky Bar (which I will refer to as Korova Milky Bar - ENG to avoid confusion) was released in 27 countries (including Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, France, Spain, Russia, Turkey, South Africa) from 7 - 18 July. Everyone else (including Poland) must wait until December to buy it. The USA didn't get the album, either, I don't think, but in the countries that it was released in, the album was generally received warmly.

The album is a mix of some songs from Korova Milky Bar and Miłóść w Czasach Popkultury, just with the songs translated into English. The lyrics weren't the only changes to the tracks. There are a few subtle differences (production nuances, they called them) thanks to Tomasz Bonarowski, to polish up the tracks. The booklet includes new artwork from Sławek Jurek, the band's official artist.


September-October
On September 29, Myslovitz and Skin opened for Travis during their free concert in London as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the MTV Europe Music Awards. The concert, which was one of the few acts in the "Road to Edinburgh" (a set of concerts that took place all over the UK in October, ending in Edinburgh, Scotland), was set to air all over Europe on October 9-16. About 113 million people tuned in to watch!

To add to this wonderful event, Myslovitz was voted "Best Polish Act" during the MTV EMA! The group was extremely thrilled by this honor, which was the direct result of the fans.


December
On the 9th, Korova Milky Bar ENG was finally released in Poland. As mentioned before, the album had been released in 27 other countries in July.

2004
Myslovitz have been nominated for the Frederyk awards in two categories: Band of the Year, and Singer of the year. The ceremony was held on 9 March, but I don't know if they won anything.

Later, Artur and Przemek gave an accoustic performance of two Myslovitz songs for WDR Radio at the "Europe Mon Amour" festival in Cologne, Germany.


May
During 41st Opole National Polish Song Contest on the 29th, Myslovitz was presented with the Rock Album Award for Korova Milky Bar ENG during a special "Superjedynki" (National Television Stars) concert. They performed "Dreamsellers" and "Acidland". The group wishes to thank everyone who contributed to their growing success!


October-November
To stylishly sum up three great years of international touring, Myslovitz joined The Corrs' European Tour to play for the total of 200,000 people at 19 venues. It gave the band a great opportunity to promote their music to a demanding UK audience.


December
The album Skalary, Mieczyki i Neonki ["Angelfish, swordtails, and neon tetras", three types of common aquarium fish, btw] was released on the 4th. Recording for this concept album began in 2002, at the same time as recording for Korova Milky Bar. In the end, there were 9 hours of material, of which 74 minutes were singled out for the album. They were inspired after director Edward Porembny saw them perform at a London concert and suggested that they write music for his film "Polish Kiss".

(The film, by the way, was written by Andy Hislop and Delphine Dewulf, and stars Tomas Norstrom and Anna Powierza, among others. Supposedly based on real-life events, the plot revolves around an expatriate who returns to Poland after 25 years and is surprised at how much had changed in the ex-communist country. He finds a new girlfriend, but to his horror, he finds that she's not only a porn star, but also his daughter!)


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