The History of Dezerter:
Dezerter was formed in Warsaw in May 1981. The original line-up comprised
Robert "Robal" Matera (vocals, guitar & music), Krzysztof Grabowski (drums & lyrics) and Darek "Stepa" Stepnowski
(bass). Soon after, Darek "Skandal" Hajn joined the band and became its frontman. The group was called SS-20 at that time,
and the name was deeply provocative, as it referred to Soviet nuclear warhead missiles. There were two designs of the missile,
it was able to fly up to 6000 km, and was in use between 1975 to 1991, when the intoduction of international anti-nuclear
war pacts made it illegal. Hence, the name itself was considered an incredible provocation for many. Articles ran thru both
the Polish and Russian press regarding the "punk" group's name. Soon enough, the group experiened censors examining their
lyrics before concerts telling them which songs they could not perform due to their subject matter. "We would comply, and
as soon as the censors left, we would go ahead and play them anyway..." -Robal. Eventually the group came to a point that
they were unable to even list their name on concert posters, and with more and more difficulty to perform under this controvercial
name, the group had to abandon the title of "SS20". These early days were documented in a small film made about the group
titled "Byc Czlowiekiem" (J. Pakula) filmed July 1982.
The band’s first concert took place at the Mokotowska Jesień
Muzyczna in November 1981. During the period of martial law in Poland (1981-1983), the band was forced to change its name
to DEZERTER. In 1982, the group toured under the new name with bands such as TZN Xenna and Deuter, taking part in Rock Galicja
(a famous musical event that was a watershed in the history of Polish punk rock; it took place in 1982).
Towards the end
of 1983, Dezerter recorded a single for the Tonpress label. The single was called "Ku przyszłości" and it comprised
4 tracks ("Ku przyszłości", "Spytaj milicjanta", "Szara rzeczywistość", "Wojna głupców"). Released
in 1984, this became the first punk single with blatant political text against the system to be issued within Poland; ironically
enough issued by the hypocritical system which they rejected. The 7", packaged in a generic coloured Tonpress sleeve, sold
a phenominal 50,000 copies. Members of the group actually made an alternate xerox-collage cover, which was thinly distributed
mostly around the Warszawa region. After this initial pressing sold out, the commission at Tonpress over-ruled it being re-issued,
and hundreds or thousands of copies were destroyed.
As the band had problems releasing albums, they decided to establish
their own small record label, the Tank Records. The company released two audio cassettes: "Jeszcze żywy człowiek"
(Dezerter concert recording from Jarocin 1984) and "Izolacja" (Dezerter concert recording from the Hybrydy club, with the
addition of a few tracks by new wave Soviet bands). In 1984, Stepa left Dezerter, and soon after he was replaced by Paweł
Piotrowski. A year later, Skandal decided to give up singing in the band (Skandal died in 1995). Despite difficulties, the
band decided to continue to play, with Robal on lead vocals again. In 1985, a compilation album "Fala" was released. It combined
tracks by Polish bands such as Siekiera, Kryzys, Izrael, and it also included 2 releases by Dezerter ("Nie ma zagrożenia"
In 1987, two important events in the history of the band took place. Firstly, Dezerter played a gig at Jarocin
Festival. Secondly, their first album in the United States, "Underground Out Of Poland", was released on the Maximum Rock'n'Roll
label. Additionally, thanks to the then manager, Maciej Chmiel, Dezerter could relase their first LP album, entitled "Kolaboracja".
Obviously, the album was censored.
In 1989, the band recorded the album "Kolaboracja II". In 1990, the album "Wszyscy
przeciwko wszystkim" was released both in Poland and France. After Dezerter had performed a series of concerts to foreign
countries (Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany, France, Holland, Japan, and others), QQryQ Productions label released a vinyl
album, "Blasfemia". The album "Jak powstrzymałem III wojnę światową" followed in 1994. Being a collection
of archival recordings, the release included ex. the concert given by Dezerter at Jarocin Festival in 1984. In 1993, Dezerter
bass player Paweł left the band, and he was replaced by Mariusz "Zyziek" Zych for a short while. In the summer of 1994,
Dezerter recorded their next album "Ile procent duszy?", the group then comprising Robert Matera and Krzysztof Grabowski.
1994, a film about the group, „Dezerter – nie ma zagrożenia" was made by Paweł Konnak. At that time,
the band took also part in a Polish TV programme "Alternativi", the co-producer of which was the Brulion Foundation. The next
Dezerter album, "Deuter" was released in 1995. This album was a compilation of re-recorded Deuter tracks. Together with Robert
Matera and Krzysztof Grabowski, it also featured Paweł "Kelner" Rozwadowski, Deuter frontman, on vocals, and Tony von
Kinsky on bass guitar. Tony left Dezerter in 1999, and he was replaced by Jacek Chrzanowski in 2000. In the years to come,
Dezerter recorded the following albums: "Mam kły mam pazury" (1996; the title referred to the zine published by the Animal
Liberation Front Poland), "Ziemia jest płaska" (1997) and "Decydujące starcie" (recorded in 2000 by Matera &
Grabowski, with a guest cello performance of Bolek Błaszczyk).
In 2002, the band did plenty of interesting gigs.
Of these, the most important were the concerts played with the French band La Fraction during the tour of Belgium, Holland
and England. Definitely the most memorable event of the year was the gig in the London Astoria, performed with the bands Conflict
and Subhumans to a few thousand people. Worth mentioning is also a concert in Cracow, where Dezerter played with Dead Kennedys
and Chumbawamba. Guest vocals at most of the concerts in 2002 were performed by Katarzyna Nosowska from the band Hey.
2003 for a few months, the band was meeting in a rehearsal room in Szmulki, the old part of Warsaw's Praga district. The group
entered the recording studio towards the end of May 2004, and released the album "Nielegalny zabójca czasu" just before summer.
It was the first album recorded with Jacek Chrzanowski, who is also a member of Hey, on bass guitar. Produced and arranged
by the band themselves, the album comprises 14 tracks and a video clip.
In April 2005, the first DVD in the history of
Dezerter was released. The DVD contains the concert given at the tenth Przystanek Woodstock in Kostrzyn by the Odra River.
It also includes an interview with the band, illustrated with interesting archival materials.
In the spring of 2006, Dezerter
played a few concerts in Poland and Germany (Berlin, Brema, Hamburg). On April 24, the 2-CD collection album "Punk’s
Not Jazz" was released, which was connected with the band’s 25th birthday falling in May 2006. In July, Dezerter gave
a gig at Rock For People festival in The Czech Republic. In the autumn of 2006, the band toured Poland again, as well as gave
a few concerts in London.
In May 2008 the band performed at the "Save Tibet" concert in Warsaw, and in July it did its
first gig at the Eko Union of Rock festival in Wegorzewo. At the end of the year Dezerter took part in a concert celebrating
the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which took place on December 12 in the Centralny Dom Qultury
In 2009 Dezerter played over a dosen of concerts in Poland, Europe (Berlin, London, Edinborough) and the USA
(New York, Chicago). In New York Dezerter performed at a festival „Rebel Waltz: Underground Music From Behind the Iron
Curtain", organized by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York. The event was designed to show the cultural and social life
of East Europe before 1989.
In October 2010, the new album, "Prawo do bycia idiotą" was released. After that Dezerter
has successfully played the tour in Poland.
To promote their new album Prawo do bycia idiotą legendary Polish punk
rock band Dezerter will perform at the Underworld.
"Prawo do bycia idiotą" is the thirteenth official album from Dezerter,
a band that has been together for a total of 29 years.
Explaining the band's history I am sure you would agree take a long
time, however anyone who is interested in quality Polish independent music certainly knows Dezerter.
Many Journalists writing
about the band use the term punk rock, which is correct. Dezerter defines the term intelligent punk rock.
Their new album
"Prawo do bycia idiotą" is their first studio album for six years and their third in the XXI century. The album is lyrically
very strong as always with Dezerter’s work, they have a knack of relating their thoughts on society, humanity and the
crisis of modern life. Their views are as fresh now as they have always been.
2006 the label Jimmy Jazz Records issued a double tribute album "Nie ma zagrożenia jest Dezerter".