Kultur Shock is a Seattle-based gypsy punk band which specializes in mixing modern music like rock, metal and punk with traditional Balkan music.
Weird combination of punk, Balkan’s ethno music, gypsy folk and dirty rock’n’roll named KULTUR SHOCK are solid institution of Seattle’s underground scene for years now. The band’s members hail from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Japan, and the United States, but the complexity only begins there. Their hometown of Seattle seems to be one of the only things each of them holds in common with one another, yet somehow they continue to inspire as a unit. Defined, by American music journalists, as balkan punk rock gypsy metal wedding-meets-riot music, after many tours and sharing the stage with Gogol Bordello, Iggy Pop, Yerba Buena, The Wailers, Joan Baez, Gutbucket, Sky Cries Mary and many others, they are coming for yet another European tour.
When not directing Shakespeare for prisoners, or babysitting developmentally disabled sex offenders, Sarajevo native Gino Yevdjevich sings for the strange phenomenon known as Kultur Shock. With a resume like this, it seems only fitting that he should describe the history of the band in his own words:
KULTUR SHOCK BIO by Srdjan “Gino” Yevdjevich
Kultur Shock was formed in 1996. It was at first an acoustic band. It started as a joke, on the party, during the jam session where the future members (in somewhat rather over-excited, party mood) made fun of their own tradition and culture (folk music from the Balkans). People liked it (!!). In summer 1997, Kultur Shock joined a long time friend, Joan Baez, on Lodo Music festival in Denver CO, as well as on some other shows on her tour.
After the tour, Kultur Shock started playing in typical acoustic venues with typical acoustic values. The personality match was less than perfect. The audience did not appreciate Kultur Shock singer’s comments (and the attitude problem), Kultur Shock’s singer did not appreciate the audience’s eating in the middle of his performance (so his comments got more and more explicit), the waiters and stuff did not appreciate loud non-English speaking clientele (who didn’t tip well) and finally police and Christian society did not appreciate girls jumping on the tables and taking their bras off, wildly screaming from the top of their lungs. Somewhat less excited (pissed off) venues kicked Kultur Shock out, not just of their venue, but the “World Music” world in general. This might be the best thing ever happened to the band. Life is never going to be the same, for both Kultur Shock and the “World Music” as we know it.
Kultur Shock plugged in and started playing punk rock clubs in Seattle. The music changed a bit. Band’s attitude problem wasn’t a problem any more. New in the area, Kultur Shock did it the old fashion way (at first Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and finally weekends). Kultur Shock self-released the first album Live In Amerika. Album is recorded live at The Crocodile in 1999.
Old friend (from the old country), Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) came in one night with his old friend (of his new country) Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), who liked Kultur Shock. Jello then called his other old friend (still from the same country) Billy Gould (Faith No More), who signed the band for his record label (Koolarrow Records) and produced the new album Fucc The I.N.S. This album (with the name like that) came out in September 2001 (talking about coincidence!!!!) and got trashed by newly aware US patriots. Some went as far as breaking the disks in half and sending it back to the label. The others actually liked it. Kultur Shock’s music on this album really changed. Whatever was in their sick minds they actually did it. This album gave Kultur Shock international recognition. Kultur Shock got invited, first to Spain then Germany and then the rest of Europe.
In 2004 Kultur Shock released Kultura Dictatura This album was also produced by Billy Gould and released on Koolarrow Records. The unique music style is at the same time a reason for numerous of reviews and media recognition as well as an obstacle when in stores. Compared by many with the Pogues and Frank Zappa to the System Of A Down, this album is once again moved from the shelve to the shelve and at the same time excepted and rejected from both “Rock” and “World” sections.
In the last 5 years Kultur Shock made 7 European and 3 US tours. So far they have played in Spain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, UK, France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Canada and USA.
The new album We Came To Take Your Jobs Away with the same producer is out. This recording is, so far, the closest to Kultur Shock’s live sound. What you see is what you get.
After ten years Kultur Shock have had two major revelations that are somehow captured on this record. First is about the artistic integrity; somehow succeeding to be more truthful and honest now to themselves then ever in the past, including the very beginning. This is something Kultur Shock is proud of. Things usually do not go this way. The second revelation, the thing that bleeds through out the whole album, is that we are a live band of blue-collar immigrants. It’s not that sexy (doesn’t get you laid), but it was important for Kultur Shock to realize that and start enjoying being themselves, belonging nowhere, got ripped from their old worlds and never became a part of the new one.
And loving every second of it.
Srđan Gino Jevđević (Bosnia) - vocals, trumpet, tarabuka
Paris Hurley (Arizona, USA) - violin, vocal
Guy Davis (Jakarta, Indonesia) - bass
Val Kiossovski (Sofia, Bulgaria) - guitar, vocal
Chris Stromquist (New York, USA) - drums
Matty Noble (Seattle, USA) - violin
Amy Denio (Detroit, Michigan) - clarinet, saxophone, vocal
Integration (2009), Kultur Shock Records
Live In Europe (2007), Kultur Shock Records
We Came To Take Your Jobs Away (2006), Koolarrow Records
Kultura-Diktatura (2004), Koolarrow Records
FUCC The INS (2001), Koolarrow Records
Live In Amerika (1999), Pacific Records