Things to do: Igor and the Red Elvis return to the continental club
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Sometimes a dream is nothing more than a fuzzy memory that can be shaken up at the start of the day and other times it can look like a flash loaded with a message to the subconscious.
For Igor Yuzov of Igor and the Red Elvis many years ago, it was the latter. Yuzov, born in Germany and raised in Ukraine, was considering changing direction and founding a new band when Elvis appeared to him in a dream and suggested he call his project The Red Elvises.
“If Elvis tells me to do this, who am I to argue with the king?” he asks from the road. Igor And The Red Elvises are back on stage and have no plans to slow down anytime soon. The group stops in Houston on Monday July 19 at the Continental Club.
âIt’s pretty crazy, six months, almost every night there is a show. We are so excited to be shooting again after a year at home, watching TV and getting lost. It’s just great to play for people and see them dance and enjoy life. When you stop traveling you don’t realize how much it means for people to get together and enjoy life together instead of hiding in their own apartments.
Bringing people together and having a party has long been the main side effect of seeing Yuzov and his band start in the ’90s with his folk group, Limpopo, performing on the sidewalks of Venice Beach where they gathered a large audience. This, in turn, led to playing on Star search with Ed McMahon and recording of an album.
Before drawing crowds to the streets, Limpopo performed to large crowds in Russia, where when the Soviet Union dissolved and rock and roll was no longer illegal, they used folk as a means of stand out from other groups.
âIt was our kind of rebellion,â Yuzov describes. “We started playing folk because everyone was playing rock because it was allowed, so it wasn’t that exciting anymore.”
In his youth, Yuzov and his peers had gone to great lengths to get their hands on the rock and roll music of the time. “It was like selling drugs these days,” he says of the Sunday morning record trade going on in the parks between the trees so the cops couldn’t drive to arrest anyone. . âIn the Soviet Union, you might get into trouble playing rock and roll. ”
âYou couldn’t buy good records in stores or anything like that at all. It was impossible, they didn’t even sell them, âhe says, describing how he mostly encountered European rock bands like the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and the Beatles, but that he occasionally has American groups like Grand Funk Railroad and Crosby. Stills and Nash.
Although Yuzov and his band moved away from the once-forbidden rock and roll sounds they enjoyed, Yuzov knew he was drawn again.
âI liked playing folk but it wasn’t my passion. I’ve always loved rock and roll. When I started listening to it, I couldn’t understand English at all. It was like blah, blah, blah but I think instinct or whatever in the way you react to the beat. It still drives me crazy and I’ve been touring for 40 years and I still love it.
The phenomenon of how music can cross languages, borders and cultures to touch listeners to the heart and make them tremble is evident in Igor and his band, all from different countries ranging from Brazil, to Israel, the United States and Russia.
âIt’s not your choice, it’s something you can’t resist,â he says of the music bug.
His love for rock and roll isn’t the only thing that has remained the same. Yuzov and his band’s penchant for mixing humor into their performances, including wardrobes as loud as their instruments and comedic lyrics with serious riffs, has remained constant.
Yuzov also saved space on the tour van for the huge show stopper, the balalaika. âAt one point, I just didn’t want to carry it because it took up so much space in the van, but people bothered us so much that I even ordered a new version that we started carrying.â
Describing his new formation in the band and the removal of their brass section, Yuzov lightly quotes Dire Straits as saying, “Now we’re a guitar band. No trumpets, that’s not what they call du rock and roll. “
When asked if all of his years in California took the surf rock sounds they were so associated with one step further, Yuzov replied, âSure. I have always loved to jog, swim or hang out on the beach and the surf music is such a reflection of that lifestyle. Surf music definitely reflects the movement of the ocean. ”
Their explosive stage presence continued to push them to theaters across the United States and Russia as well as television and film appearances. In 2014, a book was even written about Yuzov and his life.
âWe’re definitely not mainstream, but our fans are really, really supporting us, so it’s great to see so many familiar faces coming in and helping the band. It’s a good moment of celebration at the show. It’s a bit like when I was in college, I liked to party and it’s like I made my job out of it.
Igor And The Red Elvises will perform on Monday, July 19 at the Continental Club 700 Main, 8 p.m., $ 20
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