We met him about 50 years ago, that is, somewhere at the end of 71st, beginning of 72nd year. I must say that Petya was already a very unusual and very talented person at that time, but his talent was manifested mainly in dances that were amazing in their expressiveness and extravagant actions. Petya was a bruiser, scandalized a lot, often fought, behaved defiantly. He worked in the most unexpected and inappropriate places – from the Pioneer magazine to a loader in a grocery store.
Somewhere at the end of 1981, Petya called me, he then lived in the Kakhovskaya metro area, and said: “Tim, this is the case here. I have written several songs. I wanted to consult with you. Will you listen? What do you say?”. I was very helpful, especially since Petya was my friend. I went to the metro station “Kakhovskaya”, where Petya sang with a guitar some of his earliest manic songs like “A fly is a source of infection.”
This was the first public appearance of Pyotr Mamonov, although the entire audience consisted of one listener – me. I liked these songs because they were like nothing else. As you know, all Russian rock is very secondary – it is either in the spirit of Grebenshchikov, repeating Western canons, or in the spirit of Makarevich, or Romanov, who repeat to a large extent Russian and Soviet author’s song. What Mamonov sang had nothing to do with either the West or the East. It was such a pure Mamonov, expressed in music. And I have always been greedy for some unusual and unique things. I said to Pete: “Listen, this is cool, this is cool and great, but you have to create a group.” And the group appeared pretty soon, because he listened to the songs of Mamonov and Sasha Lipnitsky, who at first was more skeptical of him than I did, but then he also got into it. And thus, a group of old friends-hooligans was created, that is, Mamonov on rhythm guitar, author and vocalist, Sasha Lipnitsky on bass guitar, and at first I played the solo guitar, but did not play for long, I was soon replaced by one who reclined from the zone Lyolik Bortnichuk, Petin’s half-brother. He began to play the solo guitar, a rhythm section appeared, Pasha Khotin on keyboards and this was the first classic composition of “Sounds of Mu”, which debuted in early 1984. This is the story of the band’s creation.
The first performance of the “Sounds of Mu” group took place in February 1984, it was a school evening in the same school where Lipnitsky and Mamonov still studied in the 60s. Everything went great. Naturally, such a group could not be overlooked, so the fame of it spread throughout Moscow instantly.
In the Pioneer magazine, Petya worked, in my opinion, as a correspondent or editor. The fact is that before the musical theme arose, Peter had certain literary ambitions. His mother is a translator from Scandinavian languages, including she translated Scandinavian literature, and Petya was interested in these things. Petya, generally speaking, wrote poetry, that is, he saw himself as a poet. His poems, unlike his songs, did not make a big impression on his group, including me. But he had quite definite literary ambitions, which brought him to the Pioneer magazine, where he worked for about a year.
After the disintegration of “Sounds of Mu”, Peter and I became more dashed. This is partly due to the fact that although we did not have a common cause, but I was engaged in “The Sounds of Mu” throughout almost their entire career and I brought them together with the famous English producer Brian Eno, I was engaged in all sorts of their foreign affairs and other such things which can be called group promotion.
After 1991, this common cause dried up, everyone went their own way. Petya began acting in films. To be honest, this aspect of his work did not interest me very much, although as an actor he is exceptionally good. He starred with Rashid Nugmanov in “Needle”, then he starred with Nikita Tyagunov in the absolutely underestimated and undeservedly forgotten film “Leg”. This was the first role of Vanya Okhlobystin. Then he began filming with Lungin, whose films I, to be honest, never really liked. The Taxi Blues didn’t impress me. Petya and I communicated well in a friendly way, he invited me to all his theatrical premieres, for example, “Is there life on Mars?” and “Chocolate Pushkin”. His almost solo performances were exceptionally good. I liked them much more than the films in which he starred, and then we had a sharp cooling of relations, as I understand it, against the background of Petya’s conversion to devout Orthodoxy. I am such a calm agnostic and have always treated people’s religious aspirations not without irony. We talked about this with Petya more than once, we did not come to a common denominator and our relationship with him reached the lowest point. I don’t remember saying or writing anything about Petya, something bad, but he spoke about me, but not fiercely.
I am very happy that after all these light and distant tears, we completely reconciled with him when he came on tour to Tallinn. My wife and I came to his theatrical performance, we really liked it. After that, we went backstage with Peter and his wife Olga, then went to a restaurant, where we hugged again, kissed, fraternized, unlike my other close and incredibly talented friend Sergei Kuryokhin, with whom I never had time to see before my death and say goodbye. We parted with Petya for the last time kindly and even with some delight. It was the year before last, in my opinion. Before the pandemic.