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Text: Maxim Masal'tsev
Photo: Sergei Bermenev

Alisa may be the only Russian group comparable with the Rolling Stones by its sound and impact. For years the Rollings would teach lessons of self-destruction, but they outlived many of their fans, having become millionaires and superstars. Konstantin Kinchev and band have not become millionaires, while the longevity of the frontman is irritating for some of his contemporaries. Some people would brag that that by creating the fan army and then turning to Orthodoxy, Kinchev abandoned those souls he had disturbed with his old paganism. It is an eternal topic of the crowd: to hang on their idol their own unwillingness to change and the inability to make independent choice. However, Kinchev argues that all changes in him are there to improve the old design, faith only helps him be a slave: saves him from the temptation to control the destiny and to master the exclusive right to creativity.


DE I: What do you think is desperation?

  This is the loss of God.

DE I: But many young people have not yet found him.

  That's why they are faced with despair so often. And sometimes despair leads to suicide. But despair does not kill the youth alone: all those who probably never sought God or did not respond to him. After all, he is literally knocking on every door. Just open it. Open your heart and think. You just need to give him room. The Lord made people free, he respects our choice. And the devil tramples on the freedom and strongly blows in your ear: "Do so, and for it I will give you..." He seduces and takes you captive. Turns a person into a slave. Servants of God, on the contrary, are absolutely free. As the Apostle Paul said: "We are brothers of Christ, not slaves." But for myself, I think for me it is proper to be a slave. In order not to submit to pride. And God forbid, to find myself equal.

DE I: But what about your foreword about slavish existence?

  Attachment to vanity ? this is real slavery. Dust and ambitions accumulated enough for thousand centuries limit your freedom further. And the way the fun hooks you up. Here, I tried to quit smoking. Oh, how hard! Felt like it has a grip on me.


Read the full version in # -1 issue of DE I / DESILLISIONIST

LETTER TO THE EDITOR.  Essay on Konstantin Kinchev.

In summer 1991 I was finishing my school and all schoolchildren of the last Soviet year were to write a graduation essay. School headmaster pointedly opened the envelope and wrote five subjects on the board. "Free" was not there, contrary to all hopes, the last topic was "Soviet Poetry of the 20th Century." At that time, my youthful heart was given to the group "Alice" and Kostya Kinchev. His songs had given me so much strength, so much energy that I had nothing and no one to be afraid of, and from 14 to 17 years had never lied to anyone in any single detail! Therefore, without thinking twice, I wrote an essay ?Soviet Poetry of the 20th Century: Konstantin Kinchev?.
A few days later the evaluation was announced, I got 3 / 5 (satisfactory content vs excellent literacy). I was to face the teachers' council, and within half an hour was mockingly derided, driven to tears: "You write you turned out five meters from Kinchev, and started sweating from his power? You should have grabbed a deodorant?. Then they summoned my parents, told them their claim in the style of ?a gap in upbringing?, and I was rather severely punished.
All this did not convince me. The parents stopped giving me money for concert tickets, and I went to work as a postman, and continued to go to all concerts. The show, unity, energy, "sign of the horns" ... Until now, no other group has ever had drive like this. I remember at one concert cops penetrated to the ground, breaking audience into two parts. Kinchev stopped the concert, saying he would not continue as long as "we are not all together." The entire group left the stage. Twenty minutes later, reassured cops left, and the concert continued. Who is capable of this today? Perhaps no-one. And certainly not Kinchev.
I've been to those concerts where Chuma (Plague) played, he was really one of the most promising guitarists in our country. Russian red shirt, black spacious pants, no posing, no copying of western stars... Then there came the news: complete suicide, Alisa guitarist flew out of the window. Next came another news: Konstantin Kinchev changed from drugs to religion. As I know now that I am a psychiatrist, Kinchev?s ego was inflated by hard drugs to self-deification! Cool for a rock star! Although, of course, if you choose to survive, it seems that Orthodoxy is better than a beautiful death of a honest rock star as Morrison, Cobain, Bashlachev. Perhaps ... Nobody has the right to talk about another person: "He should have died then."
I did not immediately realize what had happened: the lack of experience made me became a father at age 19, my son I, of course, named after Konstantin. There were new albums out, I was waiting for that same Alisa, but in vain. In interviews his phrase ?I will not be a slave to anyone, even to God? changed to ?I'm just a slave of God?, music and lyrics ceased to resonate in my heart. When I was around 21 I was too ashamed to speak seriously or warmly with my friends about Alisa as a musical and social phenomenon.
Most journalists to this day treat Kinchev nicely, but not all of them. For many it is clear that while preaching the ideals of this second part of his rock fate Kinchev continues to be gnawed by doubts whether he chose the right path. But no brisky interviews occur, and neither do brisky songs. Could be that he fearfully escapes them, or proofreads and throws out ?controversial pieces? before the publication, or maybe everybody just came to ignore this discourse, deeming it permanently useless.
My mates, ardent Alisa fans at school and the first years after it, have already forgotten about it all, lost in adulthood. But that boy of sixteen, who wrote that essay, still can not accept the metamorphosis that happened to his "pilot". And the fact that with rock music, from the album "Jazz", if not even earlier, Alisa simply started to make money by selling to naive students some absurd mix titled Orthodoxy+Rock, and the fact that Kinchev just acted out of fear, cynically spitting on the emerging junior ideals that would go marching arm in arm with his work.

Alexei Samokhin


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