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They Fought the Law 

Wednesday, Oct 8 2008

Next time you hear a musician bellyache about the strenuous rock 'n' roll life, recall the Plastic People of the Universe. Formed in 1968 in then-Communist-run Czechoslovakia, the Plastic People were routinely harassed and jailed (without trial) for performing decadent Western rock by the likes of the Fugs and the Velvet Underground and setting lyrics by banned poet Egon Bondy to original music. It wasn't until 1978 that the West heard the band's music via Egon Bondy's Happy Hearts Club Banned, a collection of lo-fi recordings issued without the group's participation. The band's dissonant, sardonic style eventually found an international fan base after the fall of communism. Winners never quit!

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Mark Keresman


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