Pop Mechanics

From Unearthing The Music

Sergey Kuryokhin

Pop Mechanics (Russian: Поп-меха́ника, also known in English as Pop-Mechanika or Popular Mechanics) is a Russian ensemble founded by Sergey Kuryokhin in 1984.

Due to the group's (and Kuryokhin's own) parallel activities as members of bands such as Aquarium, Kino, AVIA, Strange Games and others, their performances only happened sporadically - despite this, they released several recordings. The group ceased to exist with Kuryokhin's death in 1996.


In the late 1970s, Sergey began experimenting with a variety of his own groups. The first Pop Mechanics concert took place on April 14, 1984 in Moscow, on the stage of the Moskvorechye Palace of Culture[1]. The group's name was taken from an American magazine of (nearly) the same name (Popular Mechanics).

Their first performance in Leningrad was in the spring of 1985 at the festival of the Leningrad Rock Club. In 1987 and 1988, Pop Mechanics performed in Tallinn and Sverdlovsk. The group soon began to travel abroad, performing in the USA, England, Sweden, Austria, Germany, France, Denmark.

Sergey Letov described the group as such:

"Kuryokhin’s work with the musicians of Pop Mechanics was as paradoxical as the performances themselves. He did not tell us the notes to play - sometimes he hummed or played the keys, or dictated simple parts to us just before the performance. If the musicians could not play what the Captain wanted correctly, he simply discarded that fragment and moved on to the next. He developed the set about a couple of hours before the concert - a chain of musical styles or events that each artist was supposed to represent. At the same time, at the Captain's disposal were mainly the musicians of the Leningrad Rock Club, gas stokers and janitors by profession. Many of them did not bother to master the music, nor did they really strive for this. The main thing was - an outfit (from a thrift store), a hairstyle, fashionable black glasses... Rehearsals were just before the performance. They played as they could.

If at first I allowed myself to “improvise” something, to go beyond the scope of the alleged material, then this led to a quarrel with public insults. And if someone did not understand his conductor's instructions, the Captain simply expelled them from the concert, such as, for example, his longtime friend saxophonist Vladimir Boluchevsky. Or the entire Kino group as a whole, as it happened at a concert in the Leningrad Composer House. The audience, it seems, was also interested. Moreover, in one of the productions of “Pop Mechanics”, 464 people and 1 goat appeared on the stage at once. Indeed, in addition to people, Pop Mechanics” concerts were also attended by boas, a monkey on a bicycle, horses, donkeys, hens, as well as various rolling stock - trucks, vintage emka cars and even a tank - which happened already in Sweden..."


  • Sergey Kuryokhin † - conductor, keys, vocals, general management
  • Grigory Sologub † - guitar, stage action
  • Victor Sologub - bass, guitar, stage action
  • Boris Grebenshchikov - guitar, stage action
  • Viktor Tsoi † - guitar
  • Alexander Titov - bass
  • Yuri Kasparyan - guitar
  • Igor Borisov - guitar
  • Igor Butman - alto saxophone
  • Ivan Shumilov - Krumhorn Flute
  • Yuri Kasyanik - soprano saxophone, flute, block flute
  • Igor Tikhomirov - bass
  • Alexander Kondrashkin † - drums
  • Mikhail Kordyukov † - percussion
  • Alexander Lyapin - guitar
  • Alexey Vishnya - guitar, sound engineering
  • Nikolai Gusev - keyboards
  • Alexey Rakhov - saxophone
  • Vladimir Boluchevsky † - saxophone
  • Sergey Letov - saxophone, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
  • Yegor Letov † - bass, guitar
  • Mikhail Kostyushkin - tenor saxophone
  • Arkady Shilkloper - horn, yagd horn
  • Arkady Kirichenko - tuba, vocals
  • Mikhail Chernov - saxophone
  • Alexey Zalivalov † - alt
  • Vladimir Dikansky - violin
  • Vsevolod Gakkel - cello
  • Boris Raiskin † - cello
  • Leonid Fedorov - guitar
  • Alexander Berenson - trumpet
  • Alexander Shvetsov † - pipe
  • Gennady Trubin - trombone
  • Nikolai Olshevsky - trombone
  • Sergey "Africa" ​​Bugaev - industrial group, electronic drums
  • George "Gustav" Guryanov † - industrial group, drums, vocals
  • Timur Novikov † - industrial group
  • Oleg Garkusha - maracas, industrial group, stage action
  • Elena Korikova - vocals, backing vocals
  • Garik Assa † - shows, demonstrations of avant-garde fashion collections
  • Vladislav Mamyshev † - performances and shows

Discography (partial)

  • 1985 - Concert
  • 1985 - “3rd Leningrad Rock Festival” (recording released in 1999 in the series “Festivals of the Leningrad Rock Club” by the Exit Department)
  • 1987 - People Walking
  • 1987 - Insect Culture (reissued in 1998 on CD by SoLyd Records)
  • 1987 - "Pop Mechanics" and Westbam "Father and Son" (in 2002 reissued on the CD "Sergey Kuryokhin - Pop Mechanics - Westbam")
  • 1987 - Introduction to Pop Mechanics (LP, CD / Leo Records)
  • 1988 - Pop Mechanics No 17 (LP, CD / Leo Records )
  • 1988 - Pop Mechanics and Westbam Live at Leningrad (LP)
  • 1991 - “The Lusty Possum - Concert in France” (CD, reprinted on “SoLyd” entitled “France. The Lusty Possum”)
  • 2000 - “Legends of Russian Rock” (CD, collection from the series “ Legends of Russian Rock”)


  2. "Pop Mechanics": what were the kings of the underground of the 90s
  3. Recent history. Sergey Kurekhin. Pop mechanics
  4. Sergey Kuryokhin

Links (in Russian)

Text adapted from Wikipedia