Sergey 'Chizh' Chigrakov (band front-man and also an author of almost every song) was born on 2nd February, 1961 in Dzerzhinsk. Started to play in local bands with his elder brother at the age of 14, substituting some of their members. Then he graduates from music school and college. His work in group named "GPD" ("Gruppa Prodlennogo Dnya" - "Afterschool Group") became a real "amateur" experience. Musicians played hard-rock that was very popular at that time. Chigrakov moves from Dzerzhinsk to Harkov is summer, 1989 - he was invited to work as guest guitarist in the same-name band ("GPD"). Soon "GPD" of Harkov falls in two parts, and Chizh joins party named "Raznie Lyudi" ("Different People"). They record some albums with that label, among them there was "Bugi-Harkov" ("Boogie-Harkov"), completely consisted of Chizh's songs. Album became wide-spread only some years later, but future hits were already created by the time of its publication: "Hochu Chayu" ("Want some tea"), "Dorogusha" ("Deary"), "Assol". Because of his work with "Raznie Lyudi" Chizh was noticed by the whole rock community.
In 1993 Chizh gets invite from Igor Berezcov and Andrey Burlaka to record his own disc. With some moral support of Boris Grebenschikov (guru of russian rock) he comes to St. Petersburg. Here he records his solo album, named simply "Chizh" ("Siskin") - it was published in vynil under label of "OsoAviaHim" ("Obschestvo Sodeistvia Oborone, Aviacionnomu i Himicheskomu stroitelstvu" - "Defence, Avia and Chemical Construction Supporting Society"). Since Chizh doesn't have his own band he gets help with record from some famous musicians: Boris Grebenschikov ("Akvarium"), Nikolai Korzinin ("Sankt-Peterburg"), Alexander Brovko ("DDT"), Mihail Chernov ("DDT") and others. Yuri Morozov, legendary musician of Petersburg assited with sound engineering of that record. Later on he became constant studio soundman of "Chizh & Co" band (and from 1995 he also manages sound during the concerts - before it was Oleg Goncharov who did this job).
By 1993-1994 Chizh in company with some musicians performed concerts in Petersburg's clubs. Those musicians (Alexei Romanuk and Alexander Kondrashkin - currently deceased) later became members of "Chizh & Co". Inspired with reaction of audience Chizh decided to move to Petersburg and that successfully happened on 1st of May, 1994. Month later he already gathered complete band "Chizh & Co": Alexei Romanuk (bass guitarist, was born on 15th March, 1973, previously performed with "Petlya Nesterova" ["Nesterov's Loop"]), Mihail Vladimirov (guitarist, was born on 26th of January, 1967, performed with "Myfi" ["Myths"]), Vladimir Hatunin (drummer, was born on 19th of November, 1973, played with "Uzhoslonasnie Barbulyatori i Gasturbali" [it's untranslatable]). Band started with lots of concerts and their first album named "Perekrestok" ("Cross-road") comes out in summer of 1994. Almost at the same time goes out "Live" - concert record. Moscow company "Solyd Records" publishes those and every next album. Album "Perekrestok" gave great fame to the group, their songs are played constantly in every radio stations of ex-USSR.
Next album "O Lubvi" ("About Love", recorded in 1995) had interesting feature: most of the songs were cover-versions of less known authors (Selunin, Tarasov, Demidov, 'Polkovnik' Hrinov, Gankevich, Varva, Kocherga). There was also a folk semi-anarchic song "Vot pulya prosvistela" ("There whistled a bullet"). But there were also other songs, that became doubtless hits in all charts: "Ok" (Chizh) and "O Lubvi" (Tarasov). It's common practice for the famous group to publish an album of its best songs. By 1995 "Chizh & Co" achieved the top of popularity, so it was the right moment to record "Greatest Hits". And it was recorded: live, during concert in DK "Yubileiniy", Petersburg ("Jubilee" Cultural Centre) in september 1995. The program indeed consisted of the best songs by that time. Audience enthusiastically accepted every song, and when Chizh forgot some lyrics, all of the people started to sing instead of him. That year there was also a solo album of Mihail Vladimirov named "Malinovie Berega" ("Crimson Banks").
Next year was labour intensive. In addition to tours, solo and group concerts ("Maxidrom" and others) band also managed to record two new albums: "Erogennaya Zona" ("Erogenic Zone") and "Polonez" ("Polonaise"). The song "Polonez" was completed with video-clip: some parts of it were taken in America, others - in Russia, near Petersburg. This travel to America was the first one for every member of the band. And opinions were different. Vladimirov called America "a country of cheap jeans and good guitars", Chizhe noted that "it was boring there and he wanted to come home". Album itself is notable, because Chamber Orchestra by direction of Servebryakov took part in its creation. And there was also new member in the band - old Chizh's friend, Evgeni Barinov (was born 23rd of November, 1963) nicknamed "Moschniy" ("Powerful") - he played with Chizh in "GPD" in Dzerzhinsk. Additionaly, there were some solo projects of band musicians. Chizh took part in record of two albums of "Mitkovskie Pesni" ("Songs of Mitki"), among with other performers: BG, Shevchuk, Butusov, Sklyar and others. All of them performed good old songs from Soviet times and World War II period. Next project Chizh took part in was record and performance of session group of Alexei 'Colonel' Hrinov - "Polkovnik i Odnopolchane" ("Colonel with fellow soldiers"). "Colonel", famous rock-bard from Nizhni Novgorod was invited by producer Firsov to make a record of old and new songs. There was truly "all-stars" team in that project: Chizh, Vasiliev ("DDT"), Fedorov ("Aukcion"), Kolovski ("Aukcion"), Barinov ("Chizh & Co"), Nekrasov. They recorded album "Perviy priziv" ("First conscription") that time, and one song from that album ("Rassteli Mne Pole" - "Spread Me a Field", by Nekrasov) "Chizh & Co" included in their album named "Nechego Teryat" ("Nothing to Lose"). Vladimirov (guitarist of "Chizh & Co") also went on with his solo career and recorded new disc named "Nayavu i Vo Sne" ("Waking & Sleeping"). Legendary soundman of the band Morozov recorded his next album "Illuziya" ("Illusion"), and "Chizh & Co" accompany him. And at last "Chizh & Co" recorded "Liricheskaya" ("Lyrical", by Visotski) for the "Strannie Skachki" ("Strange Races") album. Songs of Visotski were also performed by "Alisa", "Va-Bank", "Chaif", Shevchuk and others.
1997 was a retro year. "Chizh & Co" records cover versions of old songs from Soviet era. Album is dedicated to musician's parents. Videoclips are made to songs "Bombardirovschiki" ("Bombers") and "Pod Zvezdami Balkanskimi" ("Under Balkan Stars"). Republished album "Bugi-Harkov", and it's named "Chizh and Different People". Popular magazine "Rock-fuzz" claims "Chizh & Co" as group of the year.
1998 started with foreign tour in Israel. There was also recorded concert album "Noviy Ierusalim" ("New Jerusalem"). Album is opened with several new songs - "Ya podobno sobake" ("I'm just like a dog"), "Edu, edu" ("Going, going"), "Na dvoih" ("At halves") - and is closed with perfect blues - "Ural Biker Blues". On their returning home musicians shocked with bad surprise: drummer Hanutin leaves the band and goes to "NOM" (another famous group of Petersburg). His place is taken by Igor Fedorod (performed with "Televizor", "NEP" and others, was born on 8th of September, 1969). Group also publishes new album "Luchshie bluesi i balladi" ("The Best Blues and Ballads") - still with Hanutin. It was another "greatest hits" album from "Chizh & Co", and it represents a compilation of all previous discs. In september 1998 group is invited to London for a single concert in "Astoria" club. However, the band gives two shows: second one was an acoustic concert at BBC studio during Seva Novgorodcev's show. Later that record was published as concert album named "V 20.00 po Grinvichu" ("At 20.00, Greenwich time"). There're acoustic versions of some old famous songs and also there was one completely new - later it was included in the next album. Record of "Nechego Teryat" ("Nothing to lose") was interrupted several times - crysis, tours.. It was started on 25th of August, 1998 and finished on 13th of March, 1999 (final mix).
1999 is the year of tours. In the end of march there's festival in New York with participation of "Chizh & Co", "Krematoriy", "Agata Kristi", "Aukcion", and also there's concert in Chicago, day later. Summer of 1999 was filled up with festivals. In the beginning of June there's great rock-show "V gorah na bistroy reke" ("In the mountains by the strong river") in Gornoaltaisk with lots of bands: "Chizh & Co", "Chaif", "Akvarium", "Krematoriy", Butusov, "Kalinov Most", "Alisa", "Va-Bank", "Tequilajazz". And in the end of august there was "Latgallskiy rock-festival" in Daugavpils (Latvia) with participation of: "Pesnyari" (Mulyavin), "Chizh & Co" and local groups ("Cement" with direction of Yahimovich). Presentation of long-awaited album "Nechego Teryat" ("Nothing to Lose") takes place in Petersburg on 17th of September, 1999, and two days later this show repeats in Moscow. This album includes 11 songs and 3 "alternative versions". Nine of those are written by Chizh and others are cover-versions of "Rassteli Mne Pole" ("Spread Me a Field", by Nekrasov) and "Prigorodniy Bluz" ("Suburban Blues", by Naumenko). The last one was recorded as "alternative version" together with "Russkiy Razmer" ("Russian Size") band in techno style. Many say that this album is the best of "Chizh & Co". Since its publication band goes on with active tours to give joy to their fans, admirers and all those who just love nice music. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.