Mad Heads XL

Mad Heads XL (previously known as Mad Heads) is a Ukrainian rockabilly and ska group from Kyiv. The band has reached near-legendary status after four studio albums, constant touring, and frequent television appearances. Mad Heads is known internationally, as well, as the most prominent rockabilly band hailing from Eastern Europe.

Mad Heads’ debut album, Psycholula, came out in 1996 on Germany’s Crazy Love Records. The group was already well-known in Ukraine at this time, and the album found quick success with a lot of exposure on television and radio, as well as a music video that found its way onto mainstream networks. Shortly thereafter, Mad Heads went on an international tour to Finland, Spain, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland, and Italy.

The group followed Psycholula with Mad in Ukraine (1998) and Naked Flame (2002), both on Crazy Love, which solidified Mad Heads’ place as a central figure in European rockabilly in Ukraine and beyond. In 2003 the group released their first album in Ukrainian, Contact (Контакт), through EMI.

In 2004 Mad Heads’ music was moving toward a ska sound, incorporating a horn section with some Ukrainian folk influences. The group decided to change their name to Mad Heads XL to reflect the change. This project became became a quick success in Ukraine, first in the Kyiv club scene and later on national television. That May, Mad Heads XL performed for 75,000 people at the Tavria Games music festiva,l and the performance was also broadcast on channel M1, Ukraine’s major television network.

During the 2004–5 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, Mad Heads XL came out as one of the first bands in support of the protests. They canceled a number of commercial gigs and performed for protestors at Kyiv’s central square. They also put together a compilation, Orange Songs of Ukrainian Revolution, featuring prominent Ukrainian bands, the profits of which went to support the protests. This also brought more international exposure to Mad Heads XL, as their performance in Kyiv’s main square was broadcast on CNN and other international news networks.

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Here is Mad Heads with “Hour” (“Час”):

 

Lyrics for “Час”:

День, якби лишивсь один
Дві дюжини годин
Прожив би я тобою

Знов в очах не бачу дна
Веди мого човна
Вогнями над водою

Ми не бачимо кінця
Поєднує серця
Лише тоненька нитка

Приспів:
Час працує проти нас
Працує проти нас
І час минає швидко
Час працує проти нас
Працує проти нас
І час минає швидко

Я в каледоскопі днів
Тепер би не зумів
Лишитися без тебе

Крізь майбутнього туман
Ти мій аєроплан
Мани вогнями в небо

Ми не бачимо кінця
Поєднує серця
Лише тоненька нитка

Приспів:
Час працує проти нас
Працує проти нас
І час минає швидко
Час працує проти нас
Працує проти нас
І час минає швидко

Ми не бачимо кінця
Поєднує серця
Лише тоненька нитка

Приспів:
Час працує проти нас
Працує проти нас
І час минає швидко
Час працує проти нас
Працує проти нас
І час минає швидко

 

Here is Mad Heads XL with “OK” (“Добре”):

 

Lyrics for “Добре”:

Подивися як сонце встає,
Знову новий день настає,
Час забути старі невдачі,
Втрачену любов.
Це ідея не є нова,
Зрозуміла вона як двічі два.
То чому ти, серце моє,сумуєш знов?

Приспів:
Добре, добре,
Все буде добре.
Добре, добре,
Тому я бачу вірний знак.
Добре, добре
І все буде так.

Що було, то вже загуло,
Що буде, того не зна ніхто,
Де дорога пряма, де в’ється,
Де в гору піде, де вниз?
Ця ідея не є нова
Та надійна вона як двічі два.
Світ довкола тобі всміхнеться,
Лиш ти посміхнись.

 

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Zach Hicks is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He is currently participating in SRAS's Home and Abroad scholarship program. His main areas of interest are twentieth-century Russian and Soviet literature, socialist modernism, and critical theory. Outside of academics his major interests are martial arts, the outdoors, and music. In Russia, he plans to continue to increase his language proficiency, to learn as much as possible about the Russian underground music scene, its tattoo culture, and to become a student of Russia’s native martial art, SAMBO.