Braille Satellite 2018

MCH Band

Mikoláš Chadima, founder of MCH BAND – non-conformist musician, composer, lyricist and publicist, one of the “fathers” of the Czech alternative scene. He became widely known in the second half of the ‘70s with his performances at Pražské jazzové dny (Prague Jazz Days) as a member of the bands Elektrobus and The Rock & Jokes Extempore Band of J. J. Neduha. Chadima took over Extempore during Neduha’s attempts to emigrate legally, leading the band from 1979 to September 1981. In addition he was engaged in the cult improvising group called Kilhets and the revival-style Old Teenagers as well as the Classic Rock and Roll Band later.

Chadima’s popularity reached its peak in 1981. Extempore won the “All-Star Band 1980/81” survey in the Jazz Bulletin, Volume 27/28, published by Jazzová sekce, beating Etc…, Pražský výběr and Modrý efekt by a wide margin. Chadima also ranked second in the “Celebrity of the Year” survey, following V. Mišík. After eight years he received his passport back and he could finally introduce his work abroad. On 1 March 1981 Chadima performed his music in the London Three Steps club, accompanied by members of the bands This Heat, The Work, Henry Cow and Art Bears. In July of the same year Extempore played three concerts in Hungary as a guest of the former No. 1 Hungarian band – Hobbo Blues Band. Chadima’s passport was then unfortunately confiscated again upon his return from Hungary, which made other offers to perform abroad irrelevant – both in the Western and Eastern blocs.

In September 1981 Chadima broke up Extempore and founded the MCH Band. In the summer his signature on Charter 77 appeared in the media and after the New Year the strength of the repression started to grow. Not even two years later, his legal concert activities were completely blocked. Chadima then slowly faded from the minds of the general public. Although he continued to perform underground, the band kept changing its name for security reasons. MCH Band thus only existed on audiocassettes where Chadima, under the brand Fist Records, spread his music as well as the music of other friendly bands in a “samizdat” way.

In 1983 Chadima established close cooperation with the poet Ivan Wernisch, which has continued to the present.

MCH Band returned to the legal stage in January 1989 with a hugely successful performance in the sports hall in Prague’s Holešovice district, at the event titled “Koncert pro Arménii” (“Concert for Armenia”). After nine long years – a legal concert in Prague! Chadima was offered cooperation with a professional agency – still state-owned at that time – on the spot, making it possible for MCH Band to start appearing legally again, in spite of several restrictions. Chadima received his passport back after many years. This enabled MCH Band to perform a concert on 5 November 1989 at the legendary festival Solidarnoszi Czeskoslow-Polskiej in Wroclaw. In December 1989, after the revolution, Chadima had his first performance with MCH Band in the West, at the “Permutant 89” festival in Copenhagen!

In 1990 Chadima decided to go freelance, becoming a professional composer and musician. He prepared his archive records for release and enjoyed the post-revolution euphoria with his band. However, he didn’t abandon his activities after all the excitement had faded, continuing to write music, release new records and perform concerts both at home and abroad.

In addition to MCH Band, Chadima cooperated with many other musicians after the revolution, such as Peter Binder, Aleš Charvát, Pavel Fajt, Vladimir 518, Mnaga a Zdorp, Chris Cutler (GB), Fred Frith (GB), Fred Gulliani (I), Marc Sens (F), Sergey Letov (RUS), Mona Mur (D) ltd. When not playing with his own band he produces electronic and “economy” project MCH TRIO (MCH3), revival project THE EX EXTEMPORE MEMBERS PLAY THE CITY, improvising project RADIMIL UHLIR & MCH3 and with Julius Fujak Czecho-slovakian improvising project XAFOO.