The birth of Tarantula was fated to happen sometimes between 70s and 80s as Stanislav Balko and Michal Langer took the guitars into their hands for the very first time. This was followed by Pavel Balko, who was trying to play the bass guitar at first but soon enough ended up behind the drum set. At the beginning, they started a band called Sphere sixty which was later renamed to Psí deka (translation: Dog's blanket). They, however, later disbanded and started playing in various dance party bands. They also had to do their mandatory military service so the band members were going back and forward. This was also the case for most of the Czech bands at the time.
Tarantula itself was born at the beginning of October 1987 in the town of Hranice in still socialist Czechoslovakia. Their plan was to start playing uncompromising "marsh metal".
It was probably destined that the boys would meet again and start a new music group as they also met their new bass guitarist Dušan Zeman (who used to be a guitarist and a tubist) and the singer Libor Mrkva as well whose voice was believed to be the strongest the east from the river Rhine. The first line-up is shown on the poster from 1989.
Their collective harmony and energy helped them to make their first opus – Železná jízda (Iron Cavalry) in 1988. It was mostly inspired by the Czech history and legends, e. g. the songs "Lucká válka" (The War with Lučans), "Kressenbrunn 1263", „Přemysl Otakar II.", „Kunhutin pláč" (The Lamentations of Kunigunda), Ktož jste boží bojovníci" (Ye Who Are Warriors of God), and others. See audio files and video files for more.
In 1989, the Mobilis in mobili was being recorded and the singer's spot was taken by Vítězslav Kula (shown in the photo from his first concert in Broumov in January 1990).
The line-up that made Mobilis in mobili (1990):
From the left: Dušan Zeman (Dodo) (bg), Vítězslav Kula (Viktor) (voc.), Stanislav Balko (Stano) (g.), Michal Langer (Kevé) (g.), Pavel Balko (dr.)
Every one of us attended the public art and music school. When were kids, we were sort of expected to go there and forced to do so. We had to be there three times a week but it did not last for any of us for too long. After two, three or four years, we usually got expelled for various reasons or just preferred to leave on ourselves:
- Stanislav "Stano" Balko used to play the piano but was sent down because of "the lack of talent". His teacher was a typical old spinster and he felt relieved when he did not have to see her ever again.
- Michal "Kevé" Langer had to stop playing the violin because he "was regularly skipping lessons" (also, his teacher threw herself under the train).
- Pavel Balko was not forced to leave his clarinet lessons but he needed to go to save himself from his teacher who was torturing him (hit was often beating his fingers with a pointer). After every punishment, Pavel was not able to see his note sheet because of teary eyes.
- Dušan "Dodo" Zeman used to play the tuba in a brass orchestra of the Czech vehicle company Tatra Kopřivnice to skip school. His tuba career made him, in turn, hate alcohol for the rest of his life.
- Vítězslav "Viktor" Kula used to learn to play the fipple flute (he was even attending the same class with Pavel but they had no idea they would one day play together in the band). After year and a half, he gave up the flute to sing and play the drums in his first band (but when he, later, started singing with Tarantula he gave up even on drums because he found out it was easier to "pick up girls than pick up drum sets".
Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, Whitesnake, Judas Priest, the Czech band Katapult and their singer/guitarist Olda Říha, the Czechoslovak singer Jiří Schelinger, the Czech guitarist Standa Kubeš and singer/guitarist Pavel Váně. Like all of his band mates (and about 96% of musicians, in general), he started playing the guitar "to get girls".
Metallica, later even Panthera, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, the Czech singers Jana Kratochvílová, Zuzana Michnová, and Jiří Schelinger, the Czech bass guitarist Jan Kavale, the Czech rock band Pražský výběr and their guitarist Michal Pavlíček, the Czech bands Abraxas and Progress 2, the Czech keyboard player and singer Roman Dragoun. Pavel's first favorite band was Katapult.
Czech bands like Katapult, Turbo, Lucie, Citron, Progress 2 and foreign bands and artists like Deep Purple, Smokie, ZZ-Top, Styx, Status Quo, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, Manowar (Kings of Metal), WASP, AC/DC, Ozzy Osborne, Motörhead, Elvis Presley, Ronnie James Dio, Joan Jett. And, of course, Jiří Schelinger.
Iron Maiden, Steve Harris, Judas priest, Rainbow, Metallica. The first songs he learnt to play with the guitar were by Katapult ("Půlnoční závodní dráha"). He was also strongly influenced by Miroslav Bělík, (the Czech musician, guitarist, innovator of electric guitars and constructor of electronic devices for progressive rock guitars).
The Beatles, Judas Priest (British Steel), Black Sabbath (Sabotage), Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Metallica, Slayer (Blood Red, Spirit in Black), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Czech composers, musicians and singers like Bedřich Smetana, Karel Plíhal, Katapult, Jiří Schellinger, Zdeněk Kluka a Pavel Váně. And a Slovak band Tublatanka (O nás).
What connects us?
We are connected by many things but mostly by our love for the Czech band Katapult ......... Thank you, Oldřich Říha (the Katapult's leader)!
The history of Tarantula does not end with Mobilis in mobili. There was a personnel change in the line-up (Michal Langer left the band and was replaced by Michal "Grizzly" Furár). (viz. kapitola „Lidé kolem"),There was another album called Peklo pro všechny (Hell for everyone) and after that, other projects followed and band members came and went. But this is not a subject of the website (at least not for now...).
Anything else? Well...nothing much.
Sometimes I get questions if Tarantula will play ever live at least one more time. My answer is that I do not think so. The band's drummer once famously said (and he is the only drummer that Tarantula has ever had): "Tarantula has no one to play the drums".* Not even I am all that pumped about possible comeback. I am saving my energy for a new (and last) small music act.
Note:* It is needed to be said that the same man has once said: "Never say never".
Last but not least, if YOU have any constructive tips, interesting information, good photos or videos or you just have found some of your long lost music equipment or band artifact – please contact us. This version of the website is not the final one and it can be expanded, possibly thanks to you!