One of Poland's most important and influential polish new-wave rock bands. Described by critics as 'punkadelic', it gave society an outlet for expression during the Martial Law period instated in 1981
The band was founded in 1981 in Warsaw by guitarists and vocalists Tomasz Lipiński (b. August 21, 1955 in Warsaw) and Robert Brylewski (b. May 25, 1961 in Warsaw). Both were leading representatives of the nascent Polish punk-rock scene; previously Lipiński led the band called Tilt while Brylewski had his group called Kryzys. The duo created Brygada Kryzys (Crisis Brigade) in which Lipiński wrote most of the lyrics, while Brylewski composed most of the music.
The band also consisted of bassist Ireneusz Wereński, drummers Sławek Słociński and Jarek Ptasiński and saxophonist Tomasz 'Men' Świtalski. Their first concert, scheduled to take place at the Olivia Hall in Gdańsk during the Solidarity convention, was cancelled because the organisers feared the artistic program was too bold and too political. Brygada's first public performance was held in Warsaw's Riviera Club. The recordings were then sent to England and illegally released on an album Brygada Kryzys. The record with the cover of the Palace of Culture and Science falling over is a true rarity today.
In November of 1981 Brygada Kryzys went on tour with British band TV 21 and a month later flew to Yugoslavia where the group signed a contract with Jugoton, the country's biggest record label. The planned concerts around Yugoslavia and tour in Holland however didn't take place, as did not the implementation of the contract. The whole thing was thwarted by the imposition of martial law in Poland.
On February 13, 1982 Brygada Kryzys refused to perform at a festival held in Warsaw's Gwardia Hall after the organizers presented posters referring to the band as Brygada K. The concert itself was meant to divert young people away from street demonstrations. This resulted in a shortage of concerts over the next few months. But the group managed to record an album in a newly opened studio in Warsaw's Wawrzyszew. "Brygada Krzys" (also called the "Black Brigade" because of the dearth of the cover) is one of the most important records in the history of Polish rock, the first real manifesto of the generation brought up on punk rock and new wave; a manifest both musical and lyrical. None of the Polish records previously released carried such an unambiguous message - the lyrics confronted the late communist times ("Centrala"/"Headquarters", "Radioaktywny blok"/"Radioactive Bloc", "Fallen, Fallen Is Babylon") and rebelled against them ("Nie ma nic"/"There is nothing"). The first part contained of Lipiński's songs in Polish, the second, in English. Producer Kuba Nowakowski had a significant influence on the album's sound with characteristic reverbs that created a mystical aura.
While recording the album, Słociński was replaced by Jan Rołt. It also featured former Tilt bassist Tomek 'Rastaman' Szczeciński. During the summer of 1982 the group participated in filming Michał Tarkowski's "Concert" (released in 1985 in which Brygada Kryzys performed their song "Wojna"/"War", previously censored), but Lipiński along with Brylewski dissolved the band in September after a series of four farewell concerts at Warsaw's Riviera (supported by musical groups: Kult, TZN Xenna and Deuter). During these performances, Brygada demonstrated an inclination towards reggae music.
After the band broke-up, Lipiński, Brylewski and Paweł 'Kelner' Rozwadowski started a band called Aurora, Lipiński soon left to reactivate Tilt and they renamed the band Israel. Afterwards, Brylewski also created Army", a hardcore punk music band.
Brygada Kryzys was reactivated in October, 1989 when Tilt and Army travelled to West Berlin to perform. However, the first appearance of the new Brigade didn't take place until August, 1991 where they were enthusiastically acclaimed at the Jarocin Festival. Three months later the band also performed at the Odjazdy Festival in Katowice.
After 1989 Brygada was made up of Lipiński, Brylewski, Ireneusz Wereński who concurrently was a band- member of Kult, drummer Piotr 'Stopa' Żyżelewicz who was also member of Army and Moskwa, saxophonists Włodzimierz Kiniorski and Aleksander Korecki and Brylewski's wife, singer Vivian Quarcoo. The group recorded "Cosmopolis" consisting of both old songs, previously rejected by the censorship in 1982 ("Wojna"/"War", "To co czujesz"/"What You Feel" or "Too Much", inspired by the tragedy in the Wujek coal mine in December, 1981) and new material (the anticlerical "Żondzi Xionc"). The album turned out to be the happening of the first half of the '90s. Worth mentioning is certainly the great cover of Bob Dylan's "All Long The Watchtower" (here titled "Naokoło wieży"/"Around the Tower") with lyrics written by Lipiński, as well as "Subway Train" and "Ty i tylko ty"/"You And Only You").
After the concerts at the Silmarile Festival in Warsaw, BK performed less frequently. In years 1992-94 it organized concerts under the name Stanik, commemorating the imposition of martial law. They took place in Warsaw's Remont club, one of them later released as "Live at Remont December 13th, '93". The group again resolved in 1994.
Brygada Kryzys got back together again in 2003. Along with Lipiński and Brylewski, the band included bassist Tomek Szymborski, drummer Filip Gałązka, saxophonist and keyboarder Sergiusz Kisiecki (replaced in 2005 by Kiniorski). They began working on the "Black Album" project, featuring remixes of the self-titled first album, songs by Jozef B. Nowakowski and some early unreleased recordings. Through the following four years they participated in among others: TVP3’s program Music Connects Generations with rap duo Vienio I Pele, the Castle Party, Punk Rock Later ("Nie daj się ogłupić"/"Don't Be Fooled" and "Legalize it" appeared on a additional CD to Mikołaj Lizut's book "Punk Rock Later"), the Malta Festival in Poznań (TVP showed a retransmission of this performance), Grzegorz Ciechowski’s Festival in Toruń, at the Garage Club in London; their music was also used as a soundtrack to the silent film "Orlacs’ Hands" from 1925.
In June, 2011 Brygada Kryzys reactivated (Tomek Lipiński, Robert Brylewski, bassist Piotr Leniewicz, drummer Karol Ludew – both members of Tilt) specially for two concerts commemorating the late Piotr 'Stopa' Żyżelewicz.
• "Brygada Kryzys" (LP), 1982, Fresk,1999, Pop Noise;
• "Brygada Kryzys" (LP), 1982, Tonpress, 1991, Tonpress;
• "Cosmopolis" (CD), 1992, Kamiling Co;
• "Live In Remont 13 grudnia 93" (MC), 1996, Gold Rock.
Author: Leszek Gnoiński, August 2011. Translated by: Sylwia Wojda, December 2011.
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