Denis Mazhukov and the Off Beat

Denis Mazhukov and the Off Beat

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Denis Mazhukov and the Off Beat

Genre = Piano Rock
Origin = Moscow, Russia
Years_active = 1994–present
Label = SNC Records
URL = []
Current_members = Denis Mazhukov
Alexander Vasilenko
Dmitry Rybalov
Alexey Kolodiy
Past_members = Alexander Zhavoronkov
Valery Gelyuta
Nikolay Vtorov
Yevgeny Lomakin
Mikhail Ershov
Victor Kostrov

Denis Mazhukov and the Off Beat is the most successful Russian rock band from Moscow.


The history of "Off Beat" band is directly linked with its leader and inspirer Denis Mazhukov.

In spring of 1994 drummer Igor Danilkin, bass guitar player Dmitry Gaidukov and piano player Denis Mazhukov (all of them former musicians of " [Bravo" band) found out that Yevgeny Khavtan, the founder and the head of "Bravo" intended ] to replace some of the band's players. Igor, Dmitry and Denis decided to form their own band within "Bravo" that would be unique in Russian show-biz. Igor Danilkin suggested naming it "Off Beat" bearing in mind the musical meaning of the term.

After several rehearsals and arrival to the band of a veteran rock-n-roll guitar player, Valery Gelyuta, from the "Staraya Gvardiya" ("The Old Guard") band, "Off Beat" gives its first concert In the "Alyabyeff" club on August 12, 1994. Obviously the concert gave a start to a new age of rock-n-roll in Russia.

The following autumn "Off Beat" appears in best night clubs and most prestigious venues in Moscow. It was the most pleasant surprise for old rock'n'roll fans of the 1960s generation, while the number of admirers kept increasing quickly among younger generations.

The concerts were quite a success and soon the band releases its first album. In December 1994 "Off Beat" started working on their first album on "SNC Records" studio. The repertoire was rather original since besides 12 classical rock-n-roll and blues hits Denis Mazhukov suggested recording in his own version several songs composed by his father, a well-known composer Alexey Mazhukov. Singer Yuriy Kolesnik, then the lecturer of folk singing in the Gnessins State Musical College, was invited for performing songs in Russian. The first album, named "Off Beat", was released in May 1995.

By the end of 1995 "Off Beat" disappeared from Moscow venues and rock'n'roll life. Gaidukov and Danilkin left for show-biz (supposedly having regarded it more profitable business) and Mazhukov plunged into studio work. Experimenting with new sound, new musical ways and instruments, Denis makes a lot of home recordings in various musical styles, helps other musicians in their recordings and concerts. Moreover, Denis and his old friend Alexei Blokhin, a devoted piano player and singer, host a rock-n-roll and blues show with a remarkable name "Three right chords" at the youth radio station "Yunost'" ("the Youth").

In December 1996 Mazhukov meets Denis Antipov, who convinces him of resuming his concerts again, but at a new higher level. Antipov soon became the first official manager of "The Off Beat" and brought to the band young bass-guitar player Mikhail Ershov.

In February 1997 Mazhukov receives an incredible proposal to perform as a warm up band for world rock'n'roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis's concerts in Moscow at the state central concert hall "Rossia" ("Russia") on March 21 and 22. The proposal was immediately accepted. "Off Beat" performed at these concerts in the fol.lowing composition:

Denis Mazhukov - vocals and piano
Alexander Zhavoronkov - guitar
Mikhail Ershov - bass guitarVictor "Chuck" Kostrov - drums

After the concert fabulous Jerry Lee Lewis meets with his talented follower and receives from him an "Off Beat" album as a gift. Deeply touched the great musician said: "I gonna give it to my friends back in Memphis to listen to" and then hugged Mazhukov and uttered "You play just like I played when I was young."

Meanwhile Denis Antipov takes proactive part in the band's activities. In early summer of 1997 he buys music equipment at his own expense and manages a recording session at a studio in Moscow Sokolniki district. Besides some rock'n'roll classics "Off Beat" records several own songs in Russian. Unfortunately, they were not released, but were broadcasted at various radio stations and at live programs arranged by Denis Antipov.

In early August 1997 another breathtaking event occurred as Antipov simply informed Mazhukov: "Tomorrow you will play with Chuck Berry at the closing ceremony of the International Film Festival in Moscow". (It was the second visit of the famous rock'n'roll singer to Moscow. Contrary to the first official visit, this time the media had not announced the event). Mazhukov did not believe it. However, the next day there was a rehearsal at the "SNC Records" studio, where Chuck Berry was introduced to the musicians, who were honored to play with the maestro. They were Alexander Toropkin (drums) from "Crossroads" and Mazhukov. Chuck Berry was extremely satisfied with both of them. The same evening the earthshaking concert that bewildered several thousands of people took place at the Pushkinskaya square. Living legend Chuck Berry was astonished at Mazhukov's performance so much that had immediately suggested joint tour across the United States. Unfortunately, these plans failed to come true because of Russian promoters of Chuck Berry's visit to Moscow.

In September Antipov managed Denis Mazhukov's participation as a special guest in solo concerts of Lee Rocker, the double bass player of the legendary "Stray Cats". Denis Mazhukov played and sang several rock'n'roll hits together with Lee Rocker and his band at "ChesterField" club in Moscow. Later they were introduced to each other and posed together for a couple of pictures.

The second half of 1997-1998 is the pinnacle of "Off Beat" concerts activity. The band would perform about 30-40 concerts a month and tour all over Russia, including such places as Vladimir, Kirov, Yaroslavl and other cities and towns. In the beginning of 1999 Nikolai Vtorov, double bass player and the founder of a well-known in late 1980s-beginning 1990s rockabilly band "Briolinovaya Mechta" (Brioline Dream), joined the band. Later Yevgeny Lomakin "Off Beat" as well. Yevgeny used to be a drummer with Alexei Blokhin's "Crazy Man Crazy" band in mid-1990s. "Off Beat" composed of following players in Summer 1999:

Denis Mazhukov - vocals and pianoAlexander Zhavoronkov and Valery Gelyuta- guitarsNikolay Vtorov - double bassYevgeny Lomakin - drums

In May 1999 Nikolay Tishkov, then the manager of popular club "Taxman", took Mazhukov to Helsinki to introduce to the promoters of the future "Off Beat" tour. Dennis performed four rock'n'roll hits at the city holiday that took place at the central stadium. 15,000 crowd danced ecstatically. During this visit Mazhukov gave a live interview at a radio station for the "Hello, Helsinki" program and also for a major Swedish-Finnish newspaper.

Autumn the same year Denis Mazhukov started preparing his second album. The "That's What I Am" album was recorded in November-December 1999 at the "Akustika" studio in cooperation with Dmitry Krotov, a highly talented sound engineer. This album consisted of songs of different styles: traditional rock-n-roll songs ("Rip It Up", "Breathless") and country ballads ("Early Morning Rain", "You Don't Know Me", "Games People Play"), inelaborate western ("Hello Mary Lou"), and even Charlie Ritch's rock hit ("Mohair Sam"). Besides "Off Beat" group the following musicians took part in recording the album: Alexander Vasilenko (talented guitar player and author of textbooks for playing a guitar), blues guitar player Yuriy Krivoshein ("Scolder Blues Band"), great Russian singer Masha Kats, country musician and harmonica player Dmitry Novokolsky ("Apple Jack"), Andrey Shepelyov from "Grassmeister" and many others. The album was released in 2002 and some of the fans considered it even more successful than the debut one.

In the beginning of Autumn 2000 Timofey Kolomnikov became a new manager of the band and a new wave of "Off Beat" concerts started. The group acquired new fans and some new acquaintances having appeared in Dmitry Dibrov's program "Antropologiya" ("Anthropology"). Among the new fans there turned to be some people from across the ocean - having seen the "Antropologiya" program they invited "Off Beat" to New York. Kolomnikov took up all preparations for the voyage.

In the first half of 2001 the guitar player Alexander Vasilenko and bass-guitar player Dmitry Rybalov joined the band (Dmitry came to trhe group only a month before the tour and that's why he couldn't go to the US). Denis Mazhukov, Alexander Vasilenko, Nikolay Vtorov and Evgeniy Lomakin (it was the last appearance of the latter two in the group) started for the New York tour in May 2001 to give a concert in the "Millennium" hall holding 3000 persons.

In New York Denis Mazhukov met his old friend Alexey Blohin who lived in States for four years already. Together with group manager Timofey Kolomnikov and some local musicians they gave an astounding rock-n-roll concert in "Orange Bear" club in Manhattan

In September 2001 one of the legendary drummers of the 70s joined the group. His name was Alexey Kolodiy. Now the group comprised:

Denis Mazhukov - vocals and piano
Alexander Vasilenko - guitars
Dmitry Rybalov -bass
Alexey Kolodiy - drums

Beginning Summer 2002 after two years of work with "Off Beat" Timofey Kolomnikov quit his manager position. However the group, even though it would lack a manager for another four years, proceeded giving concerts. In July 2004 "Off Beat" represented Russia In "Country Europa 2004" festival in Mrangovo (Poland) and won 2nd prize there. This trip to Poland was arranged by Andrey Zinovyevich Davidovich, a jazz musician in the past, he did a lot for country music in Russia and for promoting it to Europe.

In September 2004 "Off Beat" changed again. Alexander Polovinkin, a young drummer, joined the band and after four years of absence Valery Gelyuta came back to the group. Mazhukov invited Kristina Sikorskaya as a back-singer. She was a daughter of Alik Sikorsky, a well-known musician from back 60s. After Kristina became a piano player and performed several vocal solo and duo compositions together with Denis Mazhukov.

In October 2004 "Off Beat" celebrated its 10th anniversary though with some delay at "Cafe-Blues". The following guests were at the party: Alexey Blohin, Alik Sikorsky, Evgeny Khavtan, Robert Lents, "Apple Jack" and "Scolder Blues" bands, double bass player Alexey "Brat" ("Brother") Vikhrev, guitar player Pavel Styopin (both "Mister Twister"), Timur Popovkin and many others.

In Spring 2005 Denis Mazhukov decided to record an album consisting of the duets with Russian show-business stars and just with interesting musicians. Part of the work has already been done and all we can do is wait for the release of this superb album.

In 2006 a talented manager joined "Off Beat" - Viktoriya Tarnovskaya. The band puts high hopes on her.


* 1995 - "Off Beat"
* 2003 - "That's What I Am"
* 2006 - "Rockin' at the Top"

External links

* [ Official Site of Denis Mazhukov and the Off Beat]
* [ Official Site of Denis Mazhukov]
* [ Review by Php Web Scripts]

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