A Rockapaedia Obituary
Bands: Luger, Blondie, Patti Smith Group, Iggy Pop Band.
Ivan Král Died aged seventy-one on 2nd February 2020 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America. Ivan was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia and moved to America in 1966 as a refugee along with his parents and he was given refugee status until 1981 when he attained U.S. citizenship.
Ivan Král's American musical career began during the early 1970s glam rock scene in New York when his band, Luger, which also featured drummer Shayne Harris, performed at venues including Max's Kansas City, and opened for Kiss at their early shows at the Hotel Diplomat in 1973. After their breakup in 1973, Ivan joined Shaun Cassidy's backing group, then Blondie, then Patti Smith and then Iggy Pop.
Between 1975 and 1979, Ivan Král was co-writer, guitarist and bassist of the Patti Smith Group on her first four albums; including her debut, 'Horses' in 1975, named (in 2006) one of the All-Time 100 Greatest Albums by Time Magazine. The album is also in the American National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress, for recordings considered "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".Ivan's work also appears on other Patti Smith albums, including Radio Ethiopia in 1976, Easter in 1978 and Wave in 1979. Some of Ivan Král's songs written during this period include "Ask the Angels", "Pissing in a River", "25th Floor", "Revenge", "Citizen Ship", "Birdland", "Ain't It Strange", "Pumping (My Heart)" and Patti Smith's hit "Dancing Barefoot", which has been recorded by artists including U2, Simple Minds and Pearl Jam.
Ivan Kral wanted a visual diary of his days in America in case he was ever deported back home to Czechoslovakia where rock music was forbidden, so he bought a Super 8 camera from a pawn shop and he began filming at Murray the K shows in 1968, then eventually got a 16mm camera, on which he filmed other concerts. Some of the clips appear in his 1975 amateur compilation, 'Night Lunch' Ivan Král also filmed his bandmates and friends at rehearsals, Hotel Chelsea apartments, The Bottom Line, and CBGB. He compiled the footage into a 1976 film titled 'The Blank Generation', which features the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, New York Dolls, Television, and drag queen Jayne County, before they had record deals. Ivan also shot three short films from 1976 to 1979 titled Rat, Raven, and Rabbit, documenting his days in the Patti Smith Group, with her band backstage and onstage.
In 1979, after Patti Smith's last show in Florence, Italy, Iggy Pop invited Ivan Král to Rockfield Studios in Wales to work on his album Soldier, produced by Pat Moran. After the Soldier tour, Ivan Král became Iggy's co-writer and guitarist for all the original songs on his 1981 album: 'Party'.
Ivan hoped to build a career as a film composer by going to Los Angeles to compose music for the Barry Levinson film 'Diner', but eventually returned to New York. He wrote and recorded the film scores for three films by underground filmmaker Amos Poe, titled, Unmade Beds, The Foreigner and Subway Riders; these in his apartment on his mini Moog synthesizer, piano and guitar.
In the 1980s Ivan Král was involved in a number of short-term projects; he recorded and toured with John Waite (former singer with The Babys) and co-wrote songs for his album 'Ignition'. Ivan Král wrote songs for many other artists, including Mick Ronson, and was involved in rehearsals with British guitarist Chris Spedding and John Cale (formerly of the Velvet Underground) to create a new band, but it failed to materialize. Ivan subsequently formed his own band, Eastern Bloc, with a record deal and video with Passport Records, though this project ended when the label folded in the mid 1980s. Ivan Král ran a studio in New York from 1982 to 1993, named PAWS, where Mick Jagger, The B-52's, and reggae artists including Kiddus rehearsed.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the Velvet Revolution brought Communism to an end in Czechoslovakia. Ivan Král returned to Prague in 1993, and began working with other rock artists to develop the new Czech rock scene, using his experiences in the west to develop Czech talent and working as a songwriter, producer and musician.
Ivan Král wrote music for the memorial of President Václav Havel, and performed it for live broadcast across the Czech Republic following Havel's funeral at St. Vitus Cathedral.