Billy's Band

Billy’s Band is a Russian band from St. Petersburg who plays across the genres of blues, swing, jazz, and rock’n’roll. Started in 2001 by Billy Novik (real name Vadim Valeryevich Novik, Вадим Валерьевич Новик) and Andrey Reznikov (Андрей Резников), Billy’s Band has gone on to produce five studio albums, along with three singles and a slew of concerts across Russia, the United States, and Canada. The bandmembers characterize their own music as “romantic alco-jazz” (“романтический алкоджаз”), and are one of Russia’s most popular DIY bands.

Near the beginning of 2001, the group, at the time known as Billy Dilly’s Band, started playing shows in clubs around St. Petersburg. At one of them, they made the acquaintance of the German band Boom Brothers, and were invited to play in Berlin and Munich later that year. In Germany, they performed at clubs as well as on the street. That same year Billy’s Band released their first album, Being Tom Waits (Быть Томом Уэйтсом).

In 2002 the group went on a second tour in Germany, followed by a larger European tour the next year. Their singles “I Should Be in His Place” (“На его месте должен быть я”) and “Winter Sun” (“Зимний сон”) found consistent rotation on Nashe Radio, and the band was invited a number of times to perform live on such television stations as NTV, Rossiya, CTC, and others. By 2006 the group had developed a decent following, and decided to shorten their name to its current iteration, Billy’s Band.

2004 saw the release of Billy’s Band’s third full-length album, A Little Death, A Little Love (Немного смерти, немного любви), from which the single “Grooving Peter-Style” (“Оторвёмся по-питерски”) became quite popular. In 2005 they released the instrumental single “Cemetery of Girls’ Hearts” (“Кладбище девичьих сердец”). That same year Billy’s Band wrote the soundtrack for the film Nighttime Seller (Ночной продавец), and their music was featured in a number of theatrical performances, including Blues in the Head (Блюз в голове) and a version of Being Tom Waits, which included music from Billy’s Band and Tom Waits himself.

In the fall of 2007 Billy’s Band came out with their next studio album, Others (Чужие), which featured covers of Vladimir Vysotsky and other seminal Russian musicians. Three years later the group released an additional two underground DIY albums with a more experimental sound, followed by a compilation called The Best of Billy’s Band.

Most recently, Billy’s Band lost their bass player, Anton Matezius (Антон Матезиус), and became a trio. They continue to actively perform today.

 

Here is Billy’s Band with “Foggy Weather” (“Туманная погода”):

 

Lyrics for “Туманная погода”:

Туманная погода, утренний дубак,
А здесь полно народу – feiertag.
Бритва и кассеты, трофейный портсигар,
Фуражка и электросамовар

Сервиз и ржавый спиннинг, бюстик Ильича,
Котелок и гимнастерка с солдатского плеча,
Китайский битый термос, погоны и очки,
Дрель, значки и вилки, я сама вяжу носки.

“Медали по десятке! Ордена за четвертак!
Сегодня все равно темнеет рано так…”
“Купи, сынок, на счастье! Или возьми “за так”+
Может, пригодится такой пустяк+”

А она идет, качаясь+ Она так молода+
“Пирожки, горячий кофе, чай, вода!”
В ватнике принцесса, теплая щека,
Ноябрьский подснежник, золушка…

 

Here is a live performance of “Grooving Peter-Style” (“Оторвёмся по-питерски”):

 

Lyrics for “Оторвёмся по-питерски”:

Я вернулся в город поздно вечером,
На перроне голуби вокзальные.
Мне сегодня делать вовсе нечего,
Вот иду и просто отдыхаю я.

Эта ночь — не ночь, а только сумерки,
За деревьями — дома многоэтажные.
По аллеям я шагаю, и не думаю,
Ведь сегодня просто отдыхаю я.

Ведь летом можно гулять круглосуточно,
И завтра ты свободна практически.
Посидим, кернём на скамеечке,
Давай сегодня оторвёмся по-питерски.

Может, позвонить друзьям, да смысла в этом нет –
Все они на дачах, да и поздний час.
Я пойду один пешком встречать рассвет,
Может, завтра снова позвоню опять.

Ведь летом можно гулять круглосуточно,
И завтра ты свободна практически.
Посидим, кернём на скамеечке,
Давай сегодня оторвёмся по-питерски.

Ты меня встречаешь, я не ждал тебя,
Перед домом сидя на скамеечке.
Вероятно, даже где-то благодарен я.
Вот приехал, здравствуй, моя девочка!

Ведь летом можно гулять круглосуточно,
И завтра ты свободна практически.
Посидим, кернём на скамеечке,
Давай сегодня оторвёмся по-питерски.

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.