10 iconic bands in Ukrainian psychobilly and rockabilly

We’re continuing the most iconic Ukrainian bands series. This is about artists, who influenced on a growth of different genres. And today we want to tell about psychobilly and rockabilly.

Maybe it’s better to divide this direction on two parts at a moment. Both of them - rockabilly and psychobilly are separate subcultures. The first style has appeared in the USA of 1950s’ and it’s the mix of the country and rock’n’roll. Swing, boogie woogie and classic jazz are also affected on a style.

The second one has appeared at the same time in the Great Britain and USA in the middle of 1970s’. It’s the mix of punk with rockabilly or country. It likes to use 1960s’ and first part of 1970s’ horror and science fiction elements in its aesthetic. More aggressive, more grotesque genre comparing it its classical relative. Both styles are intertwined and interconnected. Moreover, the one thing about rockabilly and psychobilly is well-known - if you start to play something alike, you’re unlikely to stop with 99% probability.

This musical branch has mass of styles: serf, swing, gipsy-jazz, neo rockabilly, but it’s unlikely to be typed 10 such iconic bands from all over Ukraine. Scarcely it could be real hit-parade from such a selection, because there are there is no the coolest one l. Everyone is interesting in its own way and everyone is a legend by itself.


The band at the dawn of its appearance could well be called international. It started in 1989 and was formed first by two people - Vova Ridzel aka Vovik from Kyiv and Mikhail Koroliov aka Rak from Moscow. They didn’t have double bass player, whom they found in the face of some Goose from St. Petersburg. So they became a band of three cities.

The collective toured a lot of cities, visiting both capitals of RSFSR, USSR and the capital of Estonia. Periodically the band changed its cast, it lasted only 4 years, up to 1993. At last the guitarist gathered the group in Kyiv. Some old-timers think that Razefit borning gave impetus to the development of the rockabilly / psychobilly movement in Ukraine

Mad Heads

The significance of this Kyiv band is understandable by default. No matter how anyone treated them. This group became the first popular for masses as the genre representative, first started to be shown at National TV, first released abroad on German Crazy Love Records, one of the first who went touring on the West.

It was later, when they started to play ska-punk and experiment with own sound, adding to it Ukrainian and Balkan ethnics to it. But at the beginning it was all psycho- and rockabilly. Just watch the old clips of the band. Now Mad Heads’ vocalist Vadym Krasnookyi lives in Canada and collective has already two versions: Mad Heads UA and Mad Heads CA.

Ot Vinta!

Maybe they could be called the pioneers of ukrabilly. Such a name is for the music of a genre from our country and is used for describing the genre's relation to our country and sometimes language. In pop-culture this band is well-known for its stabbing clip "Nakuryla Baba Zhuravlia" (Bim Stoned Crane). But there was a long story before all of that, which has been started back in 1993. At the beginning of its career the band toured a little bit in Poland. It was like innovation at that times. It was a substantial, innovative step since they also became nominees of the "Perlyny Sezonu" festival (Pearls Of A Season). Ot Vinta! performed at Maidan in time of The Orange Revolution. They’re also famous by their cartoon clips, which were played, maybe, by all native music channels. The band is interesting by its mix of ethno- and classic rock-psychobilly.

Shakin' Guts

They're considered to be the first English-language rockabilly band in Ukraine. Appeared in Kharkiv in 1991 and up to 2000 they brought insanely high quality sound, that still needs to be found. They're called only like "firm guys" in their native Kharkiv. The group had been collapsing for 13 years. Musicians did whatever they want and played with different projects.

In 2013, they gathered once again to perform on the international Ukrainian festival "UKRABILLY BANG! #9" and still didn't stop. The WiseGuyz drummer is playing now with them. Below Read more about this band below.

Freno De Pedales

This formation appeared on the South of our lands, in 1993, 27 years ago in Simferopol. It exists now in two forms - as a classical collective Freno De Pedales and also as the vocalist side-project called Tomato Juice. The band is considered to be one of the most charismatic among psychobilly cause of its performances. Front man's Max Moses Butenko monologues and his stage behaviour are famous enough. He got his nickname, because once he named his projects non-commercial, but missionary. It made him a prophet, who leads adepts of psycho- and rockabilly cult. His conference of festivals is hardly forgotten. There was a time when counterculture "НАШ" magazine wrote about this band and Moses himself.

The WiseGuyz

One more representatives of Kharkiv wave. Maybe, it's the first from not so a big number of Ukrainian bands that toured in Australia. But it appreciated as well as Stoned Jesus on the terrains of Old World. They have been playing rockabilly since 1999 and well-known in own circles on a global level. They play gigs permanently and every musician from a band has a bunch of side-projects. A double bass player Alex Badan (sometimes replaces a permanent member of the group Rebel) plays, for example, in Shakin' Guts. Front man Chris has projects in which he plays psychobilly, gypsy-jazz, swing and serf. However, everything is so mixed up that all these projects can't be called just someone's projects, because there are musicians from both Shakin' Guts and The WiseGuyz. And in general they all, maybe, have studied all the musical parts of each other.

RvB (Руки'в Брюки)

A double bass player who broke off from The WiseGuyz gathered his band in Kyiv 2007. According to words of his colleagues from environ, Alexander Remez aka Yuny (Young) was the first who started to sing on understandable for everyone languages about all things that rockabilly must have: dances, women, feelings, American cars (read like parties, sex, stomps). Rock'n'roll and rhythm'n'blues of 1950s' wave is very felt in their music. Especially it could be heard in wind section using for their songs. A lot of Ukrainian people saw this band on the television. RvB band was playing in New Year's performances and on the X-Factor program. They actively promote their subculture.

Outer Space

One more psychobilly band which is in Ukrainian. But there is no more any references to masses and ethnic, only oldschool canons. Outer Space was born in 2005 and still didn't stop hot rhythms and melodies of a foreign estrade. The band takes principled stands for singing in Ukrainian sings Ukrainian in principle. But their texts are adoptable for global language. It means international English. Band has a stable participation in UKRABILLY BANG! from 2006. Some psychos as well as rockas're saying that such a fest is like a New Year for usual people.

This review would hardly do without UKRABILLY BANG! organizer. Alexander Twaryna Kravchenko advised to include the last two bands in the list. However, it was hard to compare all the balance of psycho- and rockabilly and also to understand who's more important and iconic. Anyway Neformat is more alternative resource. This means that text is more punk than the classics.
Therefore, the review ends with completed by:


"The first psychobilly band of new wave of middle 2000s" and the coolest psycho-band of our Golden Age closer to the end of decade", Twaryna told.

The group from Zhytomyr which started to play at 2002 and didn't betray itself for nowadays yet. According to remarkable details - the band has no double bass. All parties're played by bass-guitar. Sound loses nothing. Sometimes musicians add hardcore, punk, some brutal from grunge and dance from funk. Mystification, as they say. doesn't like catch styles in spite of their playing old-school psycho. However, they don't have any worries about ranks of a branch they're playing in.


Band of a new generation finishes this list. This band is known in its circle like one of the brightest and origin from "new wave". Dillberriezz have appeared at the end of zeros in Kyiv. Reminder of a first demo is about 2008. But debut LP was recorded on the famous Crazy Love Records, which was described above. The band has already performed with The Meantraitors and The Meteors on one stage.
Dillberriezz are playing psycho with a good bias in punk, starting from the dirty sound and ending with lyrics beginning as well as dirty sound as good texts finishing this. Name band could be adored by opposite sides Bands name is worth everything. Its interpretation can be seen in any popular urban dictionary.

That's clear that this list is not so filled, if we don't pay attention to musicians on-the-way. It's clear that this list would not be so filled, if we don't pay attention to musicians on-the-way. Full, iconic, and canonical.

As an author

I'd like to remind major music anyway. Full history was posted on the channel "Тусим под входом" (Party Hard Close To Club-Entrance - ed.) All bands, bands and teams are mentioned in this channel. And it's about all the floods above. The only thing that we still didn't mind is the artists" list:

Great thanks to Twaryna (UKRABILLY BANG), Stan (The Troubled), Chris (The WiseGuyz, The Twilighters, Hot Midnight Combo, SPTP) eyc. You made this article possible to be.

This article is part of a series of materials on the development of various underground musical genres in Ukraine. Early in the series:


Cover - Anastasia Inri

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