The coolest Soviet Zoo - remembering Mike Naumenko's band

Today we are going to talk about the legendary Russian rock band, Zoo Park. Who was the creator of the collective and why was it so popular? Read on!

All about the band "Zoo Park": the history of creation, success and breakup

Soviet rock music gradually evolved, giving contemporary musicians the opportunity to continue their journey in a more advanced world. Like many artists whose music was considered to be unacceptable for young people according to the authorities, Mike Naumenko spent almost his entire creative life in the shadows, creating his own compositions at flat parties and rock-club concerts, in the circle of his "underground" colleagues. The article will talk about how the musician came to the idea of creating his own group, what kind of difficulties and problems cautioned Naumenko throughout his career and why the team, after one decade, more couldn't to be reborn and start a new life.

Creation and inspiration

Mike Naumenko. 1982
Mike Naumenko. 1982

Like many young people from the USSR, tired of domestic ensembles and censorship-approved songs, Mikhail Naumenko fell in love with the Soviet Union as a teenager. western The first time he tried his hand at songwriting was around the same time: studying English at school allowed the future musician to write songs. The first time the boy tried his hand at songwriting was around the same time: studying at school with a bias towards English allowed the future musician to write at once in the language of his idols. Misha Naumenko also acquired his pseudonym in his school years, and since then his fans and friends have called him no other than Mike.

Mike and his rock colleagues.
Mike and his rock colleagues.

Before the history of "Zoo Park" began, the musician managed not only to work with already formed and successful St. Petersburg rock bands, but also to record a few solo albums, compositions from which would later be performed by his team. In 1981, Mike managed to find people close to his heart and create the legendary "Zoo."which, despite the popularity of Grebenshchikov's Aquarium, Makarevich's Mashina Vremeni and Sitkovetsky's Avtograf, stood out from the then-emerging Soviet rock scene.

It's no coincidence that the musician chose not only a more Western-orientated musical direction, but also a title According to Mike's mother, he always felt a sense of unfreedom, expressed in prohibitions on certain genres of music, books by many authors, and even in the rules of his home. What emerges from all this is an image zoothe strict confinement that Mike was trying to impose. collapse with his music, unknown to Soviet citizens at the time.

The main stages of creativity: difficulties and successes


One of the main pages in the life of the "Zoo" and its founder was a long and fruitful co-operation with the Victor Tsoi and the band Kino. The first half of the 80s was marked for both bands by frequent joint concerts and learning from each other.

The really big one was the work on first The band's record "County Town N", which included all the best tracks of Zoo Park. The song of the same name was a real salvation for the musicians and helped the album to come out: all the material played before this song was barely enough for 30 minutes, and "County Town N", lasting almost 15 minutes, made it quite long. This one unique The record, which features old, slightly reworked tracks from Mike's solo past in addition to new songs, is a legendary for all of Russian rock.

Although things were going well for the band, and by 1984 Mike and crew were planning to release a second The band still had to stop openly performing for a short while due to the persecutions on rock musicians. Despite the difficulties, Zoo still released an album "White Stripes."which meant imminent release and a return to long-awaited freedom.

This situation helped finally The underground creativity became a time of trials and experiments for the leader of the band. Going into the shadows did not prevent them from taking part in the second festival of the Leningrad Rock Club and co-operating with musicians from the cults of the St. Petersburg teams. By 1987. extended the composition of the collective, which after only a short time almost disintegrated.

Mike's death and the breakup

Mike Naumenko and his colleagues
Mike Naumenko and his colleagues

1987 was the time dense of the Zoo tour. The musicians worked hard at the concerts, but the frontman's condition on the background of alcohol addiction only worsenedIn this connection, Mike did not write any new songs. The musician's illness also affected the relations in the band, which Mike tried to improve Andrei TropilloHe tried to gather the band in his studio and record a new album. The efforts of the sound engineer were in vain, and the band never started working on a new record.

In 1988, the band's popularity was significantly declinedThe lack of new material and Naumenko's lack of interest had an impact. The musician was able to compose a few unrecorded songs only close to the final break-up of the band. The last one Mike's first appearance on stage was the concert of the band "Aquarium" at the seventh festival of rock club in 1991, where together with the members of Boris Grebenshchikov's group Naumenko performed "Suburban Blues.". Immediately after this event, the musician held his last flat party, and a few months afterwards the passed away. That was the end of the story of the legendary "Zoo" as well.

"New Zoo Park."

The Zoo Group
The Zoo Group

A posthumous album, Music for Film, was released just after Mike's death and the making of a film about the band called "Boogie-woogie every day.". The loss of the frontman and ideological inspirer did not stop fans of Mike's work and colleagues, so numerous albums appeared coversas well as the sheer number of attempts revive collective.

Zoo's latest line-up
Zoo's latest line-up

The most successful was Andrei Tropillo, who more than once helped the musicians in recording albums by providing his studio. In 2015, he created the project "New Zoo."The musicians and the sound engineer managed to record the record with the help of the Zoo Park's permanent guitarist Alexander Khrabunov and bassist Nail Kadyrov. The musicians and the sound engineer managed to record the record with best the band's compositions for the sixtieth anniversary of Mike Naumenko.


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