Paul Abramson (vocals), Marc Bobro (bass), Bryan Kovarick (drums), and Ian Putnam (guitar)
It was late in the evening. Prague was deep in snow. The Castle, an inscrutable punk rock club, was veiled in darkness. Crying 4 Kafka (C4K) gazed into the vacuum that surrounded it.
Tomáš introduced himself. You don’t know the Castle, do you?
Quite to the contrary, C4K replied. One shouldn’t judge prematurely. All that we know at present about The Castle is that the owner has chosen to hear a good Americana Desolation Punk Rock Band.
C4K started as a fantasy. It was four guys who didn’t know each other standing in the lobby of the Nuart Theater in LA waiting for the double feature, Tarkovsky’s Solaris and The Sacrifice. The house was empty, so we sat together.
Afterwards, we drove to Gorky’s downtown. We talked about Russian films, literature (Gogol), and poetry (Akhmatova). Then it was punk rock music. X, The Minutemen.
Let’s start a band! Crying 4 Kafka! Da! (Da was the only Russian word we knew.) That’s how it all began.
We never spoke again until 5 years later, when we met by chance at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. We were waiting in line to see the Polish movie Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease.
What are you doing here?!! We asked each other.
It soon became apparent that each of us was now living in Santa Barbara. Crying 4 Kafka! Let’s make it happen!
The first C4K song, Demons Come Dance, was used for the closing credits of a Zombie movie, Haunted Maze. The film can be seen on Amazon Prime.
Shortly thereafter, C4K opened for Bad Religion at the House of Blues; then played shows at The Roxy and The Viper Room, eventually playing gigs up and down the West Coast, including three times in Vegas, once opening for the Meat Puppets.
A punk rock musical followed, The Saint of Fucked Up Karma. Based on a true story, the songs were co-written with Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails. True stories then propelled C4K’s CD Humbled by the King of Porn.
The Welsh poet Erika Blair saw C4K at a gig in Joshua Tree. She wrote a book about the band; a slam poetry montage titled The Sanctity of Rhyme: The Metaphysics of Crying 4 Kafka.
Three more highly acclaimed CDs ensued: Twisted Rules That I Deplore; Murmured Truths to the Dispossessed; and songs from The Saint of Fucked Up Karma. All available on Crying 4 Kafka Soundcloud. A greatest-hits album, the intentionally misspelled Greytist Hetz, is now in the works.
Two weeks before our tenth anniversary celebration, there was a knock on the rehearsal door. Two club owners from Prague, looking pale and grizzled. They stood in frock coats and bowler hats.
No one notified C4K that they were coming. The band was in dress rehearsal for the third straight run of The Saint of Fucked Up Karma.
You’ve come for us? C4K asked. For the summer festivals?
Yes, but we want you to play The Castle first.
Let’s talk to our producer, Paul du Gre, C4K demurred.
And so it continues…
The Pundits of Punk (LA Weekly)
Great songs. (Greg Graffin, Bad Religion)
A complex and gripping array of songs. (The Independent)
Crying 4 Kafka tunes come out punching. (Robin Finck, Nine Inch Nails)
Abramson is a national treasure. (Drex Heikus, Editor-in-Chief, LA Weekly)