Excerpts from interviews conducted by DTE (Winter 2021 and Spring 2022) on the mid-1980s hardcore punk scene in Yugoslavia; chapter Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Winter 2021, Rijeka, Croatia
Samir (Sexy), Dissidents (Prijedor)
Samir: We (The Dissidents) were formed sometime in the Winter of 1986. We got together, a group of young punks who had something to say and who wanted to express ourselves. The line-up was: Eka-drums, Dushan (Kangaroo) - guitar/lyrics in English, Amir/Serdjo-bass, and I as a singer/lyrics in our language. We formed a little before that famous gig at the grandmother's of the late Drazen. Hence the recordings from that compilation “Make Love Not War.” Also down there in that basement were WSW, and I think the AWOL. Regarding the band called Terminatori (The Terminators), I have never heard of them before or after the compilation cassette. It doesn't mean that they didn't exist, because as everywhere there were "crews" that met here and there. Like, from the same city, but all for themselves. There was no internet, so we went with the model, "he said-she said... this and that“ and "I heard from this and that ". You get what I am trying to say. This is where fanzines come into play... bands, contact addresses. Drazen had a fanzine "Eastern Front" and did a distro. A lot came to us from that side. We had contacts with a lot of people. Traveling, friends, concerts, cassettes... In my personal opinion, the late Drazen Zaric was one of the most important characters in Banja Luka punk (at least in that period of the second half of the 80's), because he expanded the circle. A lot of years have passed since then, a lot of it has been forgotten, a lot of it has been destroyed due to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (for me personally EVERYTHING... all those fanzines, records, singles, letters from people...everything... something my late mother saved, sent to me through so called humanitarian convoys, so people picked it up for me, but 80% of it went to waste when my family had to leave Prijedor overnight, not of their own volition... the ones who "came in", let's say, dismantled and destroyed it).
Anyway, let's go back to Banja Luka for a moment. Yes, we knew some people who played in "Policijski Cas“ (Curfew). A guy from Prijedor, we called him Nidjo, maybe Nikola was his real name, was their bassist. I know that he studied in Banja Luka, he must have met one of the guys from the Curfew and that's how he started playing with them (I even had a tape with their demo, 3 or 4 songs - it ended up in with all of my stuff that got stolen and destroyed). The band member names that come to mind about Curfew are Babin and Emir, but it's all like in a fog (a very thick one). That Summer (1986), they played at a festival in Prijedor, in the Summer Garden. I wasn't there, but according to people's stories, it was revolutionary for that moment. They had a darker expression... not punk, but it was not soft music. Of the Banja Luka people, I'm still in contact with WSW bassist Grams (Goran). He is in Germany.
There were also some younger people around. Well, they didn't play punk, but that Mega City Four, pop guitars, melancholy and the like. They were called "Blue Noise". With them, and another band, we (The Disssidents) played in SKUC. We were already on the third demo at the time. From the gig in the basement of Drazen's grandmother until then, we have already released 3 demos. We've been on some compilations (From the Cradle to the Grave, Dead Men Tell No Lies, The Nameless). That's where the nation comes into play, the fuss before the war, troubles, Dushan's stubbornness - I don't wanna know anything about that guy... he played badly in the last year of our "friendship" ... nothing more about that.
Compilations I know of are "Make Love Not War", "Krdo Slonova" (WSW and the Geneva Decree are also featured on this one), and some others for which I never received feedback (well, you send someone material, because they said they were a doing a comp and you never hear back from them and such).
And yes, that famous gig in Doboj. We played, as well as WSW, Fuck The Army, and, I think, ArtDeFacto. The gig was in 1989, the place was called "U Magazi" and now, I don't know if it was called "Pigeons Have Fallen To The Ground", but now it's like some gray cells are waking up, so it could be so. Thank you for "refreshing" my memory. The tape from that concert was ours. Someone asked us to borrow it in order to play it on Radio Doboj and it has not been seen since.
The guys I remember from Doboj are Robi, Roni, and Sanyin. The late Drazen and I visited them after that gig. We slept at Roni's. Then there were some police drills — blues and reds — and the blues caught us because I had a red bandana on my pants. Us crusty with dyed black hair (HC thrash style), tons of patches and what not... a circus. They gave us hard time, we had to show our ID cards, prove that we were from Banja Luka and Prijedor and that we did not know about that exercise.
The rest of BiH mid-80s:
Mostar- everything is already known.
Sarajevo- there were a lot of people, a few bands and some fanzines (Pesha and Epitaph...), Krizha (Encyclopedia).
Tuzla- except for Ludilo and Rupa U Zidu, I don't know any others. Polica Lica as some kind of a mythical band ... people heard of them, but no one saw or knew them.
Zenica- hmmm, you could get information from Zhili (I know you know "Zhili from Prijedor", he is actually from Zenica.) I knew another guy, Goody, but I hear he was killed.
I know of some other punks from "our" area (Bosnian Krajina):
Dubica- the legendary Ado, and a guy from Ivanjska (I forgot his name, but he was great... we met him by chance on the train to Zagreb... went to a concert of UK Subs, there was some fuss after the concert... we fought with metalheads/Bad Blue Boys football hooligans at the Central Station, the police chased us and somehow we returned to our hometown and of course, no one got contact from the punk guy).
Sanski Most- there were some new wave guys and girls, they were just okay...
Fotografije dobojskih pankera Fuck the army i Art 'e facto 1986. / Photo of Doboj's punks Art 'E Facto and Fuck The Army 1986