Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of spending New Year's Day with Ken Schaffer, his wife Alla Kliouka (who has won Russia's Oscar for "Best Actress" two years in a row) and some friends. There, I met Dimitri Strizhov, editor-in-chief of Profile Magazine and a prolific painter, who most recently financed and remastered the first western recording of Boris Grebenshikov's album since his debut album for Columbia Records in 1989. You may recall reading about Grebenshikov in the January 1998 issue of Wired magazine. While he is not very well known yet in the U.S., Wired writes his status in Russia is that of an icon, with the popularity of Elvis and the political influence of Jesse Helms. Schaffer was the executive producer of Grebenshikov's first album in the states which was produced by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, and featured Annie Lennox and Chrissie Hynde on Backup Vocals. The album has a No. 5 single, "Radio Silence."
The new album was produced at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock. Unlike "Radio Silence," which Boris wrote in extraordinary English (which he learned in Leningrad by listening to The Beatles on a covert Short-wave receiver) this album is all in Russian, with members of The Band. After listening to this exquisite album we all watched the Christmas episode of South Park and laughed till it hurt. In fact, one of our group laughed so hard he had to be carted away by 911, but that's another story . . .
(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)