Gdynia-based rock group, active on and off since 1983.
Created and led by Jędrzej "Kodym" Kodymowski, Apteka (English translation: Pharamcy or Drug Store) is regarded as one of the most important bands of Polish alternative rock. Almost impossible to pigeonhole, it incorporates elements of many different genres into sound backed by often controversial lyrics.
Under the initial name Brzemienna Apteka, the band came to life in 1983 as an initiative of guitarist, vocalist and lyricist Jędrzej "Kodym" Kodymowski (formerly of Pancerne Rowery) and bassist Maciej Błasiak. May 1983 saw the first live performance, commonly regarded as a one-off parody of the then-blooming punk rock scene. The band continued to play live, mostly at the legendary "Burdel" club in Gdańsk. After a show in Warsaw's "Poza Kontrolą" / "Out Of Control" festival in 1996, the band became one of the key players in the so-called "Gdańsk Alternative Scene".
After the first few years of constant changes in its lineup, in 1987 Apteka was joined by drummer Maciej Wanat (formerly of Bóm Wakacje w Rzymie). In 1987, the band recorded their first studio material and Kodym, Wanat and Błasiak were joined by Ewa Golianek (keyboards, vocals) and Małgorata Bachora (vocals). Songs Synteza" / "Synthesis and AAA appeared a year later on Gdynia - a compilation showcasing emerging bands from Gdańsk/Gdynia/Sopot region. Also in 1987 Apteka performed enthusiastically received concerts at major festivals - Jarocin and Warsaw's "Róbrege". At the end of 1988, now reduced to the duo of Kodym and Wanat, the band recorded its debut album titled Big Noise. The album confused both critics and fans - fairly experimental, based on drum machines and samples, balancing on the verge of a parody or even a joke, officially released in 1990.
1988 saw the arrival of new members: bassist Marcin Ciempiel (at that time quite a prolific artist, previously with Maanam, Oddział Zamknięty, Fotoness czy Czad Komando Tilt), and guitarist Janusz Sokołowski, clearly and openly inspired by the late Jimi Hendrix. This lineup recorded two albums, which to this day sound fresh and original - surprising sound and lyrics, blending humor and surrealism with sometimes painful, down-to-earth, first-hand experiences. Narkotyki" / "Drugs, released in 1992, was a solid statement of both independence and originality, however it was Urojonecalemiasto" / "Wholeimaginarycity in 1993 that revealed Apteka as a band fully conscious, consequent, extremely talented musically without losing its "no compromise" attitude. Supported by keyboard player Maciej Łyszkiewicz (formerly of No Limits), Apteka appeared as a fully grown and original band - despite moving between punk, hard rock, funk and electronic trance rhythms. One of the album's key songs was the hypnotic, epic cover of Marek Grechuta's Korowód (1973) which still remains one of the greatest and most successful attempts of re-inventing the past Polish rock by a generation two decades younger. Sadly, Urojonecalemiasto was released as an MC (casette) only, which led to years of conflicts with the label and eventually legal issues. Finally, settled in 2001, Kodym and the band received the sole rights to recorded material.
Apteka suffered a tragic loss on the night of May 15, 1993, drummer Maciej Wanat died tragically in a car crash. The band played several concerts and few festivals with guest musicians but the decision was made to disband in Autumn 1993.
One year later, in 1994, Kodym decides to reform the band. Apteka returned with a new lineup - consisting of Kodym, bassist Olaf Derigassoff (formerly of Dzieci Kapitana Klossa), drummer Jacek Stromski and guitarist Piotr Nalepa (who, after a brief tour, left Apteka for his father's new band, Tadeusz). Menda appeared in 1995, an album at first glance full of contradictions was met with great critical acclaim. From noisy post-punk and weird psychedelia to gentle instrumentals, at the end it appeared to be a carefully crafted record with virtually no match from the current Polish rock scene. The next year's Spirala, in great part based on Kodym's earliest songs, followed this route, with a stronger addition of contemporary, club-like, electronic rhythms.
In the summer of 1996 Sławomir Czarnota (formerly of Golden Life and No Limits) replaced Deriglassoff on bass guitar. After following two years of quite rare and uneven live shows, Apteka was put on hold once again, and its leader Kodym travels to South America for the first of his many few-month journeys. When back in Poland, Kodym struggles to revive Apteka, all of the musicians he calls into this project fail to stay in the band for more than just a few months.
In 2003 Sonic Records released aptly titled Psychedelic Underground CD, consisting of Urojonecalemiasto CD and songs from Narkotyki" / "Drugs. Unfortunately, the record, such as Live 92 released earlier, was not authorised by the band and is still the matter of several legal issues.
Apteka came to life again in March 2003 - with bassist Jacek Żołądek and drummer Grzegorz Puzio. However, after recording two studio tracks (Zagłada robactwa and another version of Grechuta's Korowód) and a brief tour, the project was put on hold one more time.
The self-titled album Apteka was recorded with bassist Marcin Ciempiel and drummer Arur Hajdasz and released (with a great delay) in Spring 2007. Tension within band members finally resulted in the cancelation of many gigs and another disband. New rhythm section was built by Janek Witaszek (bass) and Marcin Słomiński (drums), and this incarnation of Apteka gave a ferocious live show at Open'er Festival in Gdynia in Summer 2007. With Seweryn Narożny as the new drummer, the band recorded Tylko dla..." / "Only For... album; released in June 2010, it's yet another proof that Apteka is still alive, full of life, still provocative - and still impossible to pigeonhole.
- Big Noise; (Arston 1990)
- Narkotyki" / "Drugs; (SPV Poland 1992)
- Live '92; (Youmi 1993)
- Urojonecałemiasta; (SPV Poland 1993, Sonic Records 2003)
- Menda; (SP Records 1995)
- Spirala; (Koch International 1996)
- Apteka; (Universal 2007)
- Tylko dla..." / "Only For...; (2010)
Autor: Maciej Sienkiewicz, October 2010.