Oi you! I have been asked by a friend in Mexico to write something about the Punk scene in Romania. First of all I want to start with a disclaimer, maybe I am not the right person 100% to write it, but I will give it a try and a honest thought. Also before comment, critic me, read all the article and please I encourage you if you have more info share it. To write about Punk scene in Romania, please bare in mind that you cannot go on Google and do a research, (you will find some articles in English on Vice regarding the Craiova punk scene, DIY Conspiracy blog and some other personal blogs) everything that I am writing here is from my personal knowledge, I will share some info about all types of bands, from anarcho punk, pop-punk or ska-punk so please do not try to play smart and start again the old plays like “they are not punk” bla bla. I will not post links (most of the bands are not alive anymore-or the old myspace, blogspot links are not working), on some of my old hard drives I have some old photos with some of the bands, cd covers scanned and flyers so if you want them please drop me a line. I do apologize for my English writing and also for the grammar mistakes that may occur. Ok, grab a coffee and enjoy it!
After the collapse of Communism in 1989, many from our neighbor countries started to develop the DIY attitude and to start an underground movement. Countries like: Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia or Hungary had already few bands and fanzines, not Romania. And here I will not even speak about western Europe where the scene was really strong. For us the movement started with small steps. It is something “magical” happening here in Romania 😊
The first city that started to develop more was Timisoara (in the western part of Romania), here started the first Romanian punk band: Haos and in another city Craiova, was TerrorArt (postpunk). After TerrorArt broke up another band came in Craiova called: Critica Radicala (was a political band that had gypsy folk elements in their sound).
Other bands that were in the same time in both cities Timisoara and Craiova were: Guranii, Anti Pro, Radical din Val (Timisoara post punk) No Man’s Band.
In Bacau (on the East side of Romania) started in bands like Scandal (formed in 1997), Sictir and Manifest (with Oi! Influences). Also in cities like Brasov, Iasi,Sibiu and Cluj appeared bands like: Rabla, Pansament, Ura De Dupa Usa, Los Pogos, Praf n Ochi, Protex.
Started the first concerts and step by step the scene started to grow a bit.
I will mention here other bands from Bucharest (the capital city), where was ZOB, Los Embecilos, EMIL, Recycle Bin, Cobe, Pistol Cu Capse, Sport Sangeros 3 that they had various influences and a more modern sound. Also in Bucharest probably a Mecca of the clubs for the punks was Underworld Club that was opened by Gabi Molotov, after his return in Romania from NY (who is a member of Molotov Cocktail and The Dead Ceausescus bands) and they did a lot of good concerts with local bands and with bands from outside Romania. Also another support in Romania was Hefe and his Bring The Noise, that did some nice concerts with bands like: NOFX, La Plebe, Strike Anywhere etc etc. In my personal opinion the scene grew up significantly with the bands from Bucharest and Underworld Club. I remember that in those years were a lot of good concerts in Underworld and I was coming from my city, to listen some good music and to share a coffee with some good people. Also in the same years more or less 2004-2006 where a lot of small groups from different cities that we were “fighting” online that Bucharest bands are commercial or that “I am more punk than you”, at the end , in Romania we missed one thing: UNITY! But this is another story.
Let’s move on…so there were a lot of concerts and good people, I want to mention that in this time in Cluj and Bistrita appeared small collectives DIY like: BHCB, TBC and others that started to bring a lot of cool bands from punk, hardcore, crust to their cities and again the movement grew up. In Timisoara it was another great collective: Gluga Neagra aka Black Hood Society with Pavilionul 32, Tavi that was making some great shows (more into anarcho/punk) but they were a solid ground when it comes to DIY in Romania. Also in Timisoara were the clubs like INCA, Atelier DIY. Miscarea Underground (Underground Movement Timisoara-UGTM) was one of the oldest DIY collectives in Romania with members from Haos, Umbre Zidite or Arc Gotic. This festival was the first one in Romania and for more than 14 years was the center in DIY movement. In Brasov started Play Or Die booking that was promoting and bringing local acts like: Stared Into Forest or Coins As Portraits. Other bands from those years were: Nihilistic (Craiova), Tarabostes (Brasov), The Mohawks (Bacau), POV (Tg Mures), Stuck In A Rut (Cluj), The Barricade (Tg Mures,Cluj), Headphone Kicks, Ska Fara Trompete (Iasi), Mediocracy (Bucharest) among many many others (really sorry guys if I am missing some of you)…
There was the time for the fanzines as well. It started in the same cities Timisoara and Craiova with zines such as : Love Kills, Ura, Slogan, Revolta, Buletin DIY (all of them anarcho/punk). In Cluj it was another DIY anarcho zine: Leave Me Alone. There was Skinhead Times a OiZine from Brasov edited by Sorin, in Bucharest, Cezar started another OiZine, called No Bollox Just Oi!, and as well he did some nice concerts around that time.
Other support for the west side, in Timisoara was Casian and his booking 3 Ceasuri Rele (more into psychobilly, rockabilly and punk) he did some nice concerts and as well for a short period of time was a shop as well called Kool Cat.
Few words about my city Constanta, I am not aware what was happening in 1994-1995 but I do have some friends that they were around in that time…I know the first real hc and punk concert was around 2003 in Pheonix club with bands from Bulgaria. In 2005 I started to write few stuff about punk bands in the first zine from Constanta (extreme metal zine called Raport Extrem), along with Florian from Protest Urban (Metalcore band) and Cosmin. Later in 2005 I wanted to make something just more into punk, so was born MPTY ZINE (More Punk Than You Zine) so I started in the end of 2005 along with Alex (from the 1st punk band in Constanta called Coercion). The zine was not anarcho, was not political and for many people in that time was not even a zine, so even now after all these years still isn’t😊 it is just something that I like to do in my free time, is about sharing and promo bands that I like, simple as that, no politics, no religion, no bla bla , just PUNK ROCK! Get it? Aaa and around 2007-2008 I did had another small project called Behind The Scene-I was trying to promote some labels and people that were involved in the punk scene-there were 3 numbers out (I still have them if you want them, drop me a line).
Ok, we were gathering in few places in the city and we “formed” something like a nice crew called CST (CTHC) with people that were listening to punk, hardcore, hiphop, ska and a lot of other things that they were kind of new for a city like Constanta. Anyway regarding how it all started I have other friends that if they have time they can write more, hahaha. I was trying as well in 2009 to do something like a small label and booking called ECK (East Coast Kids) and we did manage to do bring some bands outside Romania, and that was something huge for Constanta. Bands like: Manifestation, Determination, La Ghenga Del Fil Di Ferro and local acts Coercion.
Clubs? Uhhh I think everything started around 1995 with Popular (where was the Rockoteca), after that changed the location many times but the most known were during the summer at Casa Ialomita and during winter in Brotacei and Nord. Here we did some punk nights as well. The club changed later to AK47 and later on Nord changed to Heaven’s Hell. There were other small clubs like: Subculture, Hang Out, Friends (we did the first Ska night there in 2010), Pulse (where we did 2 concerts), Club 13. Now after many years I don’t know if there are other clubs that promote punk. Anyway we grew up and we move on, with a lot of respect for the people that were involved along the years.
Present (at the time of writing this stuff)
I left Constanta so I do not know what is the situation now, however there are new acts all over the country like: Anexa Unu, Fuck You! Dracu, Cold Brats, Las Poftas, Magazinu 51, Bastos, Ropeburn, TBA and uhh could be more but I do not know all of them😊. All these bands have something punk in their style, I am not saying are 100% punk rock but hey this is better than nothing, in a country that like I said in the start is happening something “magical”. Ok…I am tired, I don’t know what else to say, just listen to music and enjoy it, at the end of the day everything is coming to this…be simple, be nice, always be yourself and work hard. Cha Cha!
MirceONE – mptyzine – March 2020.