Saturday, February 02, 2013

Difficult to imagine rock 'on the bones'

One of the striking episodes of Soviet life related by DAVID REMNICK in his book, "LENIN'S TOMB: THE LAST DAYS OF THE SOVIET EMPIRE," involves the furtive ways Russians were introduced to Western ROCK 'N' ROLL.
It was a challenge in the days when records were unavailable behind the IRON CURTAIN and audio cassettes were difficult to obtain.

Underground rock fan Kolya Vasyn explained to Remnick his introduction to the sounds of rock's pioneers:
"We had friends who worked in medical clinics and they would steal used X-rays. Someone would have a primitive record-making machine and you would copy the music by cutting the grooves in the material of the X-rays. So you'd be listening to a Fats Domino tune that was coming right off of the X-rays of someone's long-forgotten broken hip. They called that 'on the bones.'"
It's difficult to imagine -- in this digital age of iPods and endless playlists (and freedoms in Russia) -- the lengths to which some people had to go just to hear music.


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