Extempore

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The brainchild of singer/songwriter Jaroslav Jeronym Neduha, the Czech group Extempore went on to become one of the country's most influential avant-rock bands. First started as a folk-rock outfit in…
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The brainchild of singer/songwriter Jaroslav Jeronym Neduha, the Czech group Extempore went on to become one of the country's most influential avant-rock bands. First started as a folk-rock outfit in 1972, it leaned more and more toward experimental rock as Neduha began structuring his compositions into live programs (extended suites). Under Mikolás Chadima's direction, the group steered ever more toward rock-in-opposition, playing gloomy avant-rock.

Forced out of the professional folk-rock scene by the authorities in 1971, Neduha started Extempore in the small town of Dóbris as an amateur band. By 1974, the group has coalesced around Jirí Hradec (guitar), Jerry Tomásek (bass), Vlasta Marek (drums), and Petr Krecan (percussion). Neduha was granted permission to perform and "the Naive Extempore Band" performed its first "program," "Plesnivé Embryo."

In late 1975, Hradec turned to a mainstream career and Vlasta Marek joined Elektrobus. They were replaced by guitarist extraordinaire Jirí Marek and drummer Miris Toman. Under the name "the Rock and Jokes Extempore Band" (a way to render their social commentary and use of happening-like elements more acceptable for the Communist regime), the group performed Neduha's "Stehlik," a sci-fi adventure. But the "classic" era of the group began the next year when Elektrobus saxophonist Mikolás Chadima joined. A songwriter with a strong identity, Chadima challenged in a positive way Neduha's hold of the band. Their collaboration resulted in Milá Ctyr Viselcu, still considered the group's best effort.

After a couple more programs and a few changes in lineups, the group disbanded in early 1978. Neduha was forced into exile by the political regime; Chadima performed his military service. Meanwhile, percussionist Marta Gotthard-Zelinková and bassist Sláva Simon (both recruits from the mid-'70s) found new musicians, and when the saxophonist came back in November of the same year "the New Rock and Jokes Extempore Band" was ready to work. A month later, Zabíjacka premiered. The group's next program, Velkomesto, crowned their career, attracting attention from the British Rock-in-Opposition scene. On March 2, 1981, Extempore performed the work in London with members of This Heat, Art Bears, and Henry Cow. That date and a subsequent short tour of Hungary accounted for the only extra-Czechoslovakian ventures of the group, which disbanded later that year.

After the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Neduha, still exiled, came back to the Czech Republic and re-formed Extempore with Chadima, Simon, and new members. An LP came out the following year but the group did not last. Neduha recruited different musicians for another incarnation of the group in 1994 and continued to work under that name.

All the live programs of the group since 1974 had been available illegally on tapes. In 1985, the label Fist released them more officially on cassette, but their circulation was still very limited. Black Point, the first alternative rock label to materialize in the newly-freed Czech Republic in 1990, reissued the tapes. In 1996, the label put out a remastered CD edition of Milá Ctyr Viselcu.