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Pokolgép - Biography




Long time ago, in a far, far galaxy...

Gabor Kukovecz, Tibor "Pepe" Varga, and Endre Paksi played together in an amateur group, and then started military services. After leaving the army they decided to take music serious and were playing with dozens of drummers. They had gigs, and followers , including an yet unknown guy named József Kalapács. After a gig József walked up to the band saying he could sing with them. Like in a Hollywood bestseller he became a legendary member of Hungarian rock-scene. His arrive a bit mixed the standing water, not only because he brought his friend Laci Nemeth, who was a singer too. '82 was the year when "Kalács" officially became the lead singer, and the band counted eight members. Because of their theatrical on-stage antics they really needed eight man. For example, for the song Ave Cezar, one of them dressed up like Cezar. The band has been using Orf's Carmina Burana as an intro since that time. The nickname of Gabor Kukovecz ( Hangman) rested upon his costume too. "Kalács" and Józsi Németh spread the word wearing panther skin waistcoat in songs like Cirkusz és Rács( Circus and Grating) and Gladiátor(Gladiator). Because Gábor used to learn from Prognózis guitarist István Vörös, they did open-up shows for the band. Vörös was really surprised seeing his ex-student taking on mask in the dressing-room. At that time their name was already Pokolgép , despite Vörös suggested to change it immediately. The original idea for the name was Kommandó, but another band had used it already, so the actual drummer Dezso Neográdi suggested to pick up the name Pokolgép.

There was a lot of guitarists changing beside Gábor, in the beginning István Maza was the co-pilot, after his leaving came Józsi Révi (later Dance) from Metal Vox. Until the time ex-Ninive guitarist Laszló Nagyfi joined them, there was many guitarist coming and going. By that time Gábor and Endre couldn't make a decision together, so Endre left the band and founded the legendary ans still working Ossian. György Pazdera became the bass player who was a friend of the actual drummer András Gyenizse, and who invited Laci Pazdera (ex Rockwell drummer) into the band when Gyenizse left to U.S.

Around the time '84-'85 the band became more and more popular. It happened that they did two gigs in FMH(Capital House of Cultural), that meant more than 1500 people watching them. Only money didn't come with fame, because the boys put every forints into new equipment. They bought bigger scenery, lightning and sound gear. They bought a coffin that time, which was a stage décor and cable-rack too. Between two gigs they stored the coffin at Gábor's first floored pad, so the dwellers often asked them taking the coffin, Who has died again?

The band played open-up acts for such popular names like Omega, P. Box, or P. Mobil and had own club-gigs as well. At this time they found themselves against the first big problem. Those times it wasn't too lucky to wear masks, leather-clothes and singing about things that can influence the youth's thought. Due to the official directives they wasn�t allowed to do gigs in town, but they solved it with a special tech. They put up clear papers on the walls across town three days before the gig, and the other day they neolux-sprayed on the gig's place and time. The time was not enough to cancel the show by others. This gigs was often visited by government organ's "watchers". Gábor used to sat at local police stations hearing that bands like "Dolly Roll" was nicer for government. That times Béla Józsa booked the gigs, rent the halls for disco, and he brought his own open-up band which was Pokolgép. Fans certainly knew well what was going on, so these was all sold-out shows.

In '84 a special TV program brought them un-waited success and new problems too. Pepe became sound-engineer from keyboardist. After the TV session they took off the leathers and started playing dirty-rock.( they kept one song Vérszívó Asszony(Blood-sucking Woman) from that time). They were promised to get signed, but after a few gigs they went back to their music saying they were serious about metal. This was their luck.

After opening-up for Motörhead in '84 and for P.Mobil on its boat trip-tour, they could talk much easier with Hungaroton Records, because it was clear, that the band had many followers. They got the biggest help from Mária Csala. Hungarian rock-legend, music business vet Feró Nagy (leader/singer of Beatrice) also supported them with advice, lyrics, etc. The first album (Totális Metál (Total Metal) released 1986 by Hungaroton Rec.) was a huge hit. In part it was the first record in this style in Hung., and they had had many fans already. The album went in 65.000 in the first two months, and 80.000 in total and still searched. The second LP (Pokoli Színjáték (Hell Comedy) 1987. Hungaroton Rec.) went in 90.000 or more. It's not clear, because the rec. Company kept the secret. If they had reached 100.000 the company would have spent 1000000 forints on advertising. The 100.000 also meant to become Golden-album. Today its enough to sell 10.000 copies.

Tours were also successful, sold-out gigs everywhere, headlines in the news, most of readers poll were won by the band members. Fan followed them across the whole country. For some people it was the summer holiday to follow the band to every gig. These was nice and successful times. Many of today's leader bands in Hungary name Pokolgép as a big influence on there becoming musicians.

The band says their first three records were the biggest hits, but they always tried to reach a higher level with every new album. The studio sessions, the tours, the managing, the transport, the rehearsing took the band's whole energy and differences became deeper. Especially Gábor's and Laci Nagyfi's musical ideas were different. This led to the break-up of Hungary biggest metal group's original line-up. In 1990 József Kalapács and László Nagyfi stepped outside and formed the also successful metal band Omen. (Today Józsi leads his solo band named Kalapács.) The original line-up played together once again on the 2nd of September in 1995 at Petofi Csarnok. This is available on CD and VHS ( Utolsó Merénylet (Last Attempt) 1995 Sony Music). Józsi Kalapács has always been a guest at every more important gigs of Pokolgép's new line-ups. The original members will (maybe) appear at the band's 20th Birthday show. After the break-up new , also successful times have begun.

So with full of ideas and energy, Kukovecz, Tarca, and Pazdera stayed together. The other day Gábor saw a Led Zeppelin cover band called Coda, and he was impressed by the singer's voice and image. The new singer was found. Joe Rudán's only request was let him do Coda as a hobby. This band still works. The guitarist�s space was filled by a prodigy Péter Kun (1967-1993). He worked with the band only six months playing gigs and writing songs. Then he got a call from Hungary's most popular rock band Edda's leader to join. His death by a car hit in 1993 really shock the band. His loving memory is still here. He is always commemorated at every anniversary of his death by his friends.

The next co-pilot was Norbert Jung. This line-up also had big hits. In 1991 the album Adj új erot (Give me new power -1991. EMI-Quint) was released and its still one of the most successful albums of all times in metal era. After a huge tour, and a record with Hungarian metal queen Metal Lady the album Vedd el ami jár ( Take what is due to you 1992. ) was released in 1992. The album was sold well but Hungarian rock scene went through changes. Rock bands had to play in clubs, musicians needed a civil job to be on their feet. Gábor became a music teacher in a grammar school. He still works there and prepares for his second university degree. Norbert, Laci Tarca left the band , so as Pazdera.

Gábor, being a creative human being continued writing songs. He finished the songs with Joe Rudán's voice, and band Gép (Machine) was founded. Gép was Pokolgép's nickname. The album Gép(Mechine ) was released in 1995 spring. Despite the weak advertising the record went well, a tour was needed. And the band needed musicians. The first gig went well on the 26th of January in 1996 with Csaba "Pinyo" Pintér ( of Carmen) on bass and Wladi (of Damned Road) on drums. The tour went well, and after Pinyo left Carmen he became the bass player. Old Pokolgép hits were parts of the set forecasting a possible continuation of the story. As time went by Wladi moved to the U.S. so Ede Szilágyi who had also left Carmen took the drumsticks over.

Back in '95. This was the year when the original line-up played a farewell gig together. Guests were Joe Rudán and Endre Paksi. Everything for the audience! Hungaroton Rec. took an opportunity to release a Best of with the first four albums songs. Despite it didn't include any unreleased, live or new tracks it went well just because it was the originals first CD. And it still goes well where it's available.

The story goes on. The years of '97 and '98 were spent with rehearsing and song writing. But on the 8th of May in 1998 they played together under the flag of Pokolgép at a huge metal fest with Omen and Ossian. This was followed by a tour and looking for the new co-guitarist. László "Csiga (Snail)" Láris from metal group Machbet seemed to be perfect for the job. The new songs lyrics were written by Attila "Leak" Berencsi and Dávid Nagy (guitarist from 2001). The album Csakazértis ( Forallthat - spelled this way) was released on the 13th of may in 2000 with a big concert in Petofi Csarnok with guest star U.D.O. The album supporting tour was finished at Petofi Csarnok too on the 2nd of December, where a live album was recorded. Short after Csiga left the band because he lived in a distant city from the band's headquarters. They wished him the best luck in the world. From the spring of 2001 Gábor's ex-student and band's lyrics writer David "Dvd" Nagy became Gábor's partner in crime. That time the last album came out in English named "Ancient Fever". In July the live album recorded in Dec. was released.

The band played some gigs in Vajdaság (Voivoidship, Jugoslavian area dwelled by Hungarian people) and Transylvania in August making the people living there, die-hard fans. They spent the autumn with studio-works, and the winter went with tour over tour. The new album "Te sem vagy más" (You're not different either) came out on the 8th of March in 2002 at Hammer Records. The supporting tour started on the 20th of April at Petofi Csarnok with guest stars József Kalapács and Feró Nagy.

Here we are at the moment. And the rest, we'll see...