Siberian California Surf-a-billy: The Red Elvises


This is the season of zany, eyebrow raising Eurotrash pop music.  Eurovision, which has been called the ‘blending of soft pop and soft porn’, is the annual televised competition for ‘best’ pop band across Euro-land.  This year’s winner, announced this weekend,  is from Austria, the bearded diva Conchita Wurst!  Oh, for the days of Do Re Mi and Edelweiss!

Conchita Wurst

Conchita Wurst

With this post the Washerman’s Dog dips its toe into the general hilarity and spirit of this most camp of all weekends on the European cultural calendar.


The Red Elvises, aka Igor and the Red Elvises,is a ‘Siberian Surf Band’ by way of Germany, the old USSR and the Golden State, that is fiercely dedicated to drinking, taking the piss and playing a loud blend-o-matic stream of mainly American influenced music in which one can find chunks of rockabilly, rock ‘n roll, Americana and falsetto (often Russian accented) vocalisations about such things as love being better than cocaine (but more hurtful than back pain), drinking with Old Testament prophets and twisting like Hollywood starlets.


Growing up in the land of Breshnev and Andropov was pretty bleak for Igor Yuzov. Probably was for most young Soviet pioneers who longed to rock’n roll rather than fulfil the industrial quota for washers or plastic bottles.  Folk music, served up with a heavy slather of Slavic seriousness, was what the young boy was weaned on and that strong grounding in melodic, storytelling is easily discernible in the music of The Red Elvises. 


At some point, perhaps in the late 80s, early 90s, (dates are as fungible in this biography as the statistics of a Russian history textbook) young Mr Yuzov makes his way to the land of Milk and Honey and Chevrolets.  His Rusky-folk band, Limpopo, changes name to ‘Crazy Russian Rock n’ Roll Group’ and claim to win the famous ‘Star Search’ talent show. (Though like so many facts associated with Russia, this is not confirmed by the great book of all knowledge, Wikipedia).

Igor and his gang of Red Elvises

Igor and his gang of Red Elvises

About 20 years ago the road to Damascus experience happens.  Elvis appears to Igor in a dream state (could be the hangover) and orders him to become an apostle of rock ‘n roll. Moving to the streets where they are more at home than in the studio, the band, which takes in all sorts of musicians from all points around the globe, gain a fan base in Santa Monica. At last the city fathers have their fill of their raucous busking and order them off the streets!

Over the years though, the band, which refuses to compromise on its vision of telling it like they want to say it, and shuns major labels, develops a cultish following (very appropriate for an ex-Soviet comrade, I guess) and tours the world entertaining the masses.

So here we go folks! Worthy we are not! Let’s give it up for Igor and the Red Elvises.

 Drinking With Jesus

Track Listing:

01 Drinking With Jesus

02 Lara’s Wedding

03 Better Than Cocaine

04 Me & My Baby

05 Tra-la-la

06 Twist Like Uma Thurman

07 Into the Sun

08 Don’t Crucify Me

09 Play Me Your Banjo

10 Wearing Black

11 Stupid Drinking Song

12 Paris Waltz

13 Bourbon Street



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