Leningrad Rock Club
Leningrad Rock Club.
The Leningrad Rock Club was a historic music venue of the 1980s in Leningrad, situated on Rubinstein Street in the city center. Opened in 1981 and overseen by the KGB, it became the first legal rock music venue in Leningrad. Overall, it was the largest rock scene in the Soviet Union, which featured such bands as Televizor, Kino, Alisa, Aquarium, Zoopark, Piknik, Automatic Satisfiers, DDT, NEP, Grazhdanskaya Oborona, and became an important influence on the Russian rock.
Leningrad had long been a center of rock music in the Soviet Union, perhaps due to its geographical proximity with Finland, which made it easier to access Western music. Attempts to create rock clubs began as early as 1973, but they were largely unsuccessful.
The Leningrad Rock Club formed in 1981 under Leonid Brezhnev. It was intended to be organized similarly to the Union of Soviet Composers and censored lyrics and issued permits to perform in an effort to prevent the bands from making much that was too controversial. However, by providing musicians with a place to meet, perform, and discuss their music, the club provided for an unprecedented amount of creative freedom and helped lead to the Russian rock revolution. The club effectively closed in 1991.
There were restrictions on which bands could perform at the club for most of its history, and groups had to audition before a commission. Additionally, the club was monitored by the KGB, the Communist Party, and the Komsomol Communist Youth Organization. More radical bands, such as the highly political Televizor and punk singer Svinya, were banned from the club. However, these restrictions lessened in 1987 under Mikhail Gorbachev.