Boris Yeltsin was the first freely-elected president of Russia, who served beginning 1991. After nine years of reshaping the post-Communist country, Yeltsin resigned during his second term and lived a quiet life after that, passing away at age 76 in Moscow six years ago. The powerful man will always be remembered in Russia as a strong patron in taking apart the Soviet Union, and pushing the social reform that made present-day Russia.
But how does this political icon connect to a quirky, eccentric, indie-pop band from Springfield, Missouri? Phillip Dickey, drummer, and Will Knauer, lead guitarist, of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin answer on a cell speakerphone while taking a small break from traveling to their next tour stop. “His name was on the radio a lot at [the time we formed the band], since he was resigning from office,” Dickey says. “We knew it had a catchy and pleasing ring to say ‘Boris Yeltsin.’” He admits that they did not want anything too serious, and if they knew it was going to stick, they probably would have put more thought into it. But the group passively continues to give tribute to the late politician as they travel from city to city, country to country, bringing their live show to their fans (along with “cookies and crème,” according to Dickey).
Instantly connecting at a Superbowl party during their senior year of high school, Dickey and Knauer were the founding members SSLYBY. Knauer remembers having an essay that year prompted by the question, “Where will you see yourself in 10 years?” “I had just gotten a guitar and started playing in a band and knew I loved it. I didn’t want to have to work in a scary factory or something,” he admits in a low, calm, paced voice.
Dickey, being a slight sports star in his adolescent life, mentions that he thought he was going to be a professional athlete. I tell him I’m glad he didn’t take that route in life, or maybe I wouldn’t have liked him so much. “Maybe you would have liked me more,” Phil jokes, speculating that he would have been a wrestler, toned with 6-pack abs…a feat he continues to work on with his out-of-shape dog, Loretta. Continue reading →