Red Wave

ebook An American in the Soviet Music Underground

By Joanna Stingray

cover image of Red Wave

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A memoir by an American who almost single-handedly introduced Soviet rock to the free world, [...] Stingray, who wrote this memoir with her daughter, Madison, nicely captures her daring amid an atmosphere of liberation and fear, and she's a study in moxie and enthusiasm.
Kirkus Reviews

As one of the first American musicians to break through the Soviet scene, and one of the few women to be seen as an equal amongst Leningrad's pantheon of rock superstars, Stingray's perspective on the development of late Soviet rock is probably the single most important source for those who want a birds-eye view of late Soviet youth culture, and Stingray's stories are as entertaining as they are relevant and illuminating.
—Alexander Herbert, author of What About Tomorrow?: An Oral History of Russian Punk from the Soviet Era to Pussy Riot

Wild and vivid — a rollicking memoir of romance and rock 'n' roll in an era of upheaval and transition. From Los Angeles to Leningrad and back again, Joanna's story is borne along by her infectious, headlong enthusiasm. It's quite a ride.
—Patrick Radden Keefe, creator of the Wind of Change podcast and author of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

The history of Russian rock music could have been very different without Joanna Stingray. Joanna was friends with rock musicians, recorded songs with them, shot their videos and brought them clothes and instruments from the West. Her video footage, capturing young icons of Russian rock like Viktor Tsoi, Sergei Kuryokhin, Timur Novikov and Boris Grebenshchikov, is rare evidence of the golden era of the Soviet underground.
—The Moscow Times

Red Wave is a warm and conversational autobiography about a lost world, peopled with courageous artists risking their freedom for the ideas of expression, art, and rock 'n' roll. [...] We root for her and her friends to overcome bureaucracy, oppression, isolation, deprivation, and the heavy footsteps of the KGB. [...] In a readable and personable way, Red Wave helps shine some light into this remarkable corner of rock history.
—Tim Sommer, Guernica

Joanna Stingray's appearance in St. Petersburg in the early 1980s must have been God's response to our unconscious prayers. Her naive bravery, curiosity and generosity created a kind of a lifeline for us rockers: she brought in things we needed to play our music, and took out not only our recordings but the very message of our existence. Had it not been for her and her Red Wave, it would have taken Aquarium many more years to have official records on Melodiya and Kino to start touring Europe. This fearless maiden broke through the siege that looked hopelessly unbreakable. She threw a life-saver into our waters and she changed everything. No matter how many times we thank her — it's never enough.
—Boris Grebenshchikov (Aquarium), 2018
Red Wave