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Czech underground band formed in Prague in 1968. Its principal members were Milan (Mejla) Hlavsa (1950–2002; founder, lead vocal, bass, composer), Vratislav Brabenec (b 1943; saxophone, clarinet), Josef Janíček (b 1947; guitar, keyboards, vocals), Jiří Kabeš (b 1946; violin, viola), and Martin (Ivan) Jirous [Magor (‘Loony’)] (1944–2011; artistic director/manager). Their main influences included The Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, and The Fugs. With psychedelic stagecraft that included fires built in urn-like receptacles, flickering flying saucers, painted faces, and togas, the PPU started performing weekly shows in February 1969. These props served the band’s concept of a mythological world of sun and planets and what they called the ‘great nation’ that ‘lives in velvet underground’. This early repertoire was sung mostly in English with Czech recitatives in between. Their innovative approach and charisma helped them attract a devoted audience and win the national competition of amateur bands in ...