Gogol Bordello Biography

Gogol Bordello Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Gogol Bordello" is a multi-ethnic Gypsy punk band from the Lower East Side of New York City that formed in 1999 and is known for its theatrical stage shows. Much of the band's sound is inspired by Gypsy music, as its core members are immigrants from Eastern Europe. The band incorporates minor-key accordion and fiddle (and on some albums, saxophone) mixed with cabaret, punk, and dub as well as multiple languages. Phill Jupitus has once described the band as 'a bit like The Clash and The Pogues having a fight... in Eastern Europe,' while Kenneth Partridge of The Hartford Courant described lead singer Eugene Hütz's voice as 'somewhere between that of Borat and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog'.

History and influences

Nikolai Gogol, the band's namesake, was an ideological influence because he 'smuggled' Ukrainian culture into Russian society, which Gogol Bordello intends to do with Gypsy/East-European music in the English-speaking world. 'Bordello' refers to a brothel or a 'gentleman's club'. The band was originally titled Hütz and the Béla Bartóks, but Eugene Hütz says that they decided to change the name because 'nobody knows who the hell Béla Bartók is in the United States'. The band played their first show as the unofficial band at an after-hours club called Pizdetz on Ridge Street, where they became the house band and DJ Hütz became the house DJ.

Gogol Bordello's first single was released in 1999, and since then they have released four full-length albums, and one EP. In 2005 the band signed to punk label SideOneDummy Records. The band has toured tirelessly throughout Europe and America on numerous international festivals and toured with such diverse bands as Primus, Flogging Molly, and Cake. In an interview with NPR, frontman Eugene Hütz cites Jimi Hendrix and Parliament-Funkadelic as among the band's main musical influences.

Singles and collaborations

The recording of 'Start Wearing Purple', on their first album, 'Voi-La Intruder' pioneered their UK success.

Their song, 'Occurrence on the Border', was featured on the 4th Punk Rock Strike compilation put out by Springman Records.

'Start Wearing Purple' was re-recorded and a video was produced for their third LP, "Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike" and became their first North American single. The song and variations thereof can be heard throughout the 2005 movie "Everything Is Illuminated". The song is also the unofficial theme song of the Baltimore Ravens.

'I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again' has a short interlude of an arrangement of Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 (Unfinished) in B minor played on strings.

'Not a Crime' and 'Wonderlust King' were chosen as the second and third North American singles, both accompanied by a music video.

'Through The Roof 'n' Underground' is featured several times in the movie "Wristcutters: A Love Story". (In which one of the main characters is based on Eugene Hütz.)

'Wonderlust King' was featured in the trailer for the Morgan Spurlock documentary "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?".

Several of the band members also take part in a dub and electronic side project with members of Balkan Beat Box entitled J.U.F. (Jewish-Ukrainian Freundschaft).

Eugene Hütz has also collaborted with the Kolpakov Trio and recorded music with them.

Gogol Bordello have also collaborated with Madonna (see below).



The band was featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live (March 22, 2006 and September 5, 2007), on The Late Show with David Letterman ( July 31, 2007), on The Henry Rollins Show (August 10, 2007), and on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (July 30, 2008).

Music festivals

Gogol Bordello has appeared in many festivals worldwide throughout the past decade. However, a significant step towards greater publicity was made when Eugene Hütz and violinist Sergey Ryabtsev joined Madonna on stage. Hütz and Ryabtsev performed 'La Isla Bonita / Lela Pala Tute' with Madonna at the London Live Earth concert on July 7, 2007.

Gogol Bordello made its first appearance at Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 1st, 2008. The band has also played Bonnaroo 2007 and 2008. They also performed with Les Claypool and Kirk Hammett in SuperJam of Bonnaroo 2008 where the songs of Tom Waits were performed. Gogol Bordello also performed on the first day of Virgin Mobile Festival on August 9, 2008. They performed in Austin for ACL 2008 on September 26th.


Gogol Bordello will be featured in Madonna's directorial debut, Filth and Wisdom, in which Eugene Hütz has a starring role. The band's music was also the backbone of the soundtrack for the 2006 film Wristcutters: A Love Story where Eugene was a main character played by Shea Whigham.


Current members

Eugene Hütz (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion, fire bucket) - Ukraine

Sergey Ryabtsev (violin, backing vocals) - Russia

Yuri Lemeshev (accordion, backing vocals) - Russia

Oren Kaplan (guitar, backing vocals) - Israel

Thomas Gobena (bass backing vocals) - Ethiopia

Eliot Ferguson (drums, backing vocals) - Florida, USA

Pamela Jintana Racine (percussion, backing vocals, Dance, general performance) - Thai-American

Elizabeth Sun (percussion, backing vocals, Dance, general performance) - Chinese Scottish

Pedro Erazo (percussion, MC) - Ecuador

Stevhen Iancu (accordion) - Japanese-Romanian, a fill-in for Yuri Lemeshev and also of the gypsy-punk bands Reverend Glasseye, Romashka and (Dolomites)

Former members

Karl Alvarez (bass)

Rea Mochiach (bass, percussion, electronics (on the albums), beat programming (on the albums, backing vocals) - Israel

Sasha Kazatchkoff (accordion)

Vlad Solovar (guitar)

Ori Kaplan - saxophone, (co leads Balkan Beat Box with Tamir Muskat), backing vocals, (no relation to Oren Kaplan) - Israel

Susan Donaldson (percussion, backing vocals, Dance, general performance)

James Ward (fill-in accordionist for some interview, has appeared in some videos) (Scottish)



"Voi-La Intruder"-1999 (Rubric Records)

"Multi Kontra Culti vs. Irony" - September 2002 (Rubric Records), 2XLP - December 2006

"Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike" - August 2005 (SideOneDummy Records), 2XLP - March 2006

"Super Taranta!" - 10 July 2007 (SideOneDummy Records) US #115, UK #67, 2XLP - July 2007


"East Infection" - January 2005 (Rubric Records)


"When The Trickster Starts A-Poking" - 2002. Rubric Records.

"Start Wearing Purple" - February 2006. SideOneDummy Records.

"Not a Crime" - August 2006. SideOneDummy.

"Wonderlust King" - August 2007. SideOneDummy. #11 UK Indie


"Punk Rock Strike Vol. 4" - 2003. Springman Records.

"2005 Warped Tour Compilation" - 2005. SideOneDummy Records.

"2006 Warped Tour Compilation" - 2006. SideOneDummy Records.

"Gypsy Beats and Balkan Bangers" - 2006. Atlantic Jaxx.

"The Rough Guide to Planet Rock" - 2006. World Music Network.

"2007 Warped Tour Compilation" - 2007. SideOneDummy Records.


"Gogol Bordello vs. Tamir Muskat" - August 2004. A collaboration between Gogol Bordello and members of Balkan Beat Box, under the name J.U.F., an acronym for Jewish-Ukrainian Freundschaft. Stinky Records.


2005 - "Everything Is Illuminated" - Eugene Hütz played one of the main characters in the movie and members of the band (Sergei Ryabtsev, Yuri Lemeshev, Pamela Racine) make appearances.

2008 - Filth and Wisdom - The entire band appeared in a short film directed by Madonna.

2006 - Wristcutters: a Love Story - 'Eugene,' played by American actor Shea Whigham,is partly based on Eugene Hütz of the band Gogol Bordello, whose music ('Through the Roof and Underground' and 'Occurrence on the Border') features in the film as that recorded by character Eugene's old band.

External links

(Official Web Site)

(Avenue B (official forum))

(MySpace Profile)

(AllMusic Entry)

(Gogol Bordello in Portugal)

(Interview with Eugene Hutz) by Greg Szeto of Bmore Live

(Interview on BYT)

(Gogol Bordello - Cult(ure) Music)

(Interview with Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz) by musicOMH.com

(Interview with Tommy Gobena from Gogol Bordello)

(Interview at NPR's Studio 4A (2006) with several songs performed)

(An interview with Eugene Hutz in the Hartford Advocate)

(October 2008) L.A. Weekly interview with Eugene Hutz]


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Gogol Bordello.