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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Music General Discussion »

Permalink The Space Cossacks Tsar Wars Turns 15!!!

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Please use this thread to discuss the article Jake has put together to celebrate this milestone!

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

Shocked ohmigod. You guys are crazy! What a surprise. Thank you, Jake, Noel and Brian, I'm really touched.

The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

2000 in a nut shell:

Price of Gas/Gallon - $1.26
US Postage Stamp - $0.33

The new Millennium Bridge across the Thames is opens on June 10th and is closed on June 12th due to safety fears for modifications.

The use of mobile phones continues to grow as mobile phones move from the percieved "Yuppie Device" to an essential consumer product.

Y2K ruined civilization(we almost didn't get Tsar Wars, I'm sure.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Oh Brother, Where Art Though, and Gladiator were released in theatres.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book, was published.

N'Sync's No Strings Attached sold atleast 9,900,000 more copies than Tsar Wars.

IvanP wrote:

Shocked ohmigod. You guys are crazy! What a surprise. Thank you, Jake, Noel and Brian, I'm really touched.

I was very surprised and honored to be part of this celebration.

This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

Oh! Nice!!!! This is very cool with the Space Cossacks logo on the start site here!
Yes, an album to celebrate!
I am happy that I bought it when it was released.

...unfortunately I never owned the original CD... just a copy... I always searched but never found a CD...
BUT I have two Tsar Wars LP's. Why? I bought one online here in Germany. It was new but it has got a crackle on the 2nd side... Then the online seller sent me a 2nd one. Now I have one in white vinyl and one in violet.
...isn`t the song "Tsar Wars" THE surf track of the last 40 years??? It is. But not everybody knows this.

what can I say?:
Thanks to Ivan and his old band The Space Cossacks for this wonderful piece of music!!!

Twang cheers!

Ralf Kilauea

Last edited: Mar 26, 2015 20:46:15

This collection of songs is SPECIFICALLY one of the reasons I went looking for a good vintage stereo setup. Shake.The.House

Jake, you wrote a wonderful article. What a cool retrospective. 2x Thumbs Up

Leadup to Year 2000: Working for a gov agency in IT (networking & radio trunking). Some of my colleagues consumed alot of Maalox.

SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

Congrats to Ivan and all of his Terrible Surfers who found themselves at the Nexus of the Wave and declared War- Tsar Wars!

Tsunami Tsurprise is my all time favorite surf song. Sorry Ivan, I know Mark wrote that one.

This band ushered me into the Truth of Surf and all things Twangy. Gone was the fuzz (mostly). Clean was my new dirty.

FYI: MY copy of Tsar Wars is on vinyl. Searched for a year and a half and suddenly there it was. In glorious Soviet nuclear purple. Like the skies over Chernobyl.

Ivan "StratoCossack" Pongracic, Mark English, Catherine Gray, Doug Hoekstra. We are forever in your debt. And we are legion.

Da Vinci Flinglestein,
The quest for the Tone, the tone of the Quest

The Syndicate of Surf on YouTube

I really don't remember how I stumbled onto this CD. But it was different, it was melodic.. it was great. About as "out there" as I ever got with surf instrumental guitar prior was Spies Who Surf.
I was wondering who this "mad Russian" (or so I thought) kid on the guitar was. Through the internet, I was able to converse with him. Later, I even had him over to the house a few times when he visited New York.
I picked my favorite tunes from the album and had them professionally transcribed. I still play them (great finger exercise) and play the album whenever I have a long road trip. The tunes are a real surprise at a party or similar surf guitar festival.

Hard to believe it's 15 years.

Thanks Ivan - to you and your crew for a real gem.

J Mo'

Years from now when most of us are long gone. Surf musicians will be looking to The Space Cossacks and Madeira with the same reverence that we view the first wave artists now. Congrats on the anniversary! Looking forward to your new album!

How did this escape my attention?! Time to make some purchases.

As a thought, it was 15 years between the decline of surf music (1964) and Jon & The Nightriders resuscitating it in 1979...

15 years ago I was repairing cameras and surfing and skateboarding a lot. I played guitar but hadn't even thought about being in a band...

Looking forward to seeing Ivan at SJF2015

Last edited: Mar 26, 2015 09:21:42

I had wanted to write something about this album (Jake had asked me to share my thoughts), as it was one of the first albums I picked up when I discovered the third wave (a bit late, but better late than never). But as I listened to it several times, I found that words just would not come. My mind is in a thousand directions lately, and words just seem to get in the way of my thoughts, and they can never actually describe what I intend. In short: I flaked.

So after reading this really nice tribute, I sat back and listened to the album again. This time without looking for words. Then it hit me: Its an instrumental! What in the hell do words have to do with it?!?! So I closed my eyes and let the sounds paint pictures in my mind. It took me on interstellar journeys. It brought me home again, thankful for experience.

Thanks to Ivan & Co for such a sonic treat! Perhaps we can be treated to another reunion in the not too distant future Wink

edit: I do have my original CD that I bought, but I also have a vinyl copy. My vinyl copy came from the library of Baja Marty (RIP). It is one of the jewels of my vinyl surf collection and I know he is rocking out somewhere when I play it. Cheers!

Last edited: Mar 26, 2015 09:36:29

To create something that is still cherished and loved fifteen years later is an amazing accomplishment and I stand in total admiration and respect.

A richly and well done tribute.


Sandstorm turns 10 this year as well!

I have this one very special Fender guitar. It's a translucent blond CIJ Jazzmaster LE with gold hardware and a red tort guard. It used to belong to Ivan Pongracic, and he played it to record some parts on Tsar Wars. I get to hear this guitar every time I play that incredible album, most recently as I listened dozens and dozens of times to write my review.

Ivan was one of the earliest members of sg101 to see in my enthusiasm, if not my knowledge or skills and abilities as a guitarist, something worth encouraging. For his friendship and trust enough in me to let me take over possession of this wonderful guitar, I am ever humble and grateful. To say I feel inspired every time I start to play it is to greatly understate my emotions. I only wish I could do its previous owner justice to this guitar when I play it.

Ivan was generous enough to include his catalog of Madeira and Space Cossack albums as a surprise when he shipped me the Jazzmaster. I was floored by his generosity. And this is when I first played Tsar Wars, an album I had by then read much about but hadn't heard in its entirety or even seen in person. Yep! That was another jaw-dropping experience. It still is.

I feel a joyful debt to Ivan and this Jazzmaster to become the best guitarist I can possibly be. Thanks Ivan, for everything!


This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

Last edited: Mar 26, 2015 09:45:35


Da Vinci Flinglestein,
The quest for the Tone, the tone of the Quest

The Syndicate of Surf on YouTube

So much good stuff in this thread, too much to comment on individually, but what a great tribute. I have a Madeira cd, but I'll be seeking out a copy of this and other Space Cossacks works in short order.

damn, that jazzmaster is beautiful!

The Mentawais
The Rentones

Thank you all so very much. I really am extremely moved by this gesture and all the comments. I emailed it the other Cossacks, and Catherine wrote back and said she cried while reading it. I have to say that I also got a bit teary-eyed. It's a pretty amazing feeling to elicit this sort of a response in people, and it is truly humbling since it feels like there are other forces involved in the creative process - sometimes it all comes together, other times it just doesn't. The Muse was with us for Tsar Wars, and I am grateful beyond belief. The surf music world may be quite tiny, but all I had hoped for when I started playing surf music is to create some music that will matter to people, even if only a few, and it's pretty wonderful to see that this had come to pass.

My memories of recording of Tsar Wars are extremely vivid, though the album was recorded in two sessions a year apart. There were many things that happened around that time, some really good, some much less good, but I guess it all led to the album being what it is. One of the nicest things behind its creation was the friendly rivalry with the Penetrators that led both bands to push ourselves harder and come up with something better - Tsar Wars for us and Locked & Loaded for the Penetrators, an astounding album. Rip and I used to send each other the tracks from the two albums as they were being developed, and I think it led to both bands stepping up our game. That's just one very special memory I have, many many more in my mind....

Noel, I'd say my old guitar is in VERY good hands, and I'm very grateful that you're taking such good care of it! I'm really pleased you have it.

Thank you all very much again!

The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

And huge props to Mark, Catherine, and Doug. I was very careful to not single out a single person in my write up. Something so clearly a band effort.

And thanks to anybody who has shared their thoughts so far or that will share their thoughts in the future.

Tsar Wars also blew me away. I have to say that for some reason The Defector really did it for me. It's my favorite song on the album and I know it's not the best song. It's just one of those songs where you and the song are at the right place in the right time of your life and it sticks with you forever. I had just started a new job after moving back closer to home. After 6 months my project was cancelled and I got put on a real lemon. Listening to Tsar Wars and The Defector gave me the courage to flee (The Defector has such great movement) to a new project. There are so many great songs on Tsar Wars though, I think I'll give it a spin to celebrate 15 years.

That's a great post Ivan. I really enjoyed that bit about you and Rip comparing and sharing tracks. Those two albums are indeed legendary albums of the later surf revival.

And thanks again to Jake for doing this. It was completely Jake's idea, all I did was add his banner to the page.

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

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