František Ringo Čech

* 1943  

  • "I played at Rubeš when the Russians invaded Czechia. We were in shock, we cried, were unhappy, the whole band. Already that evening there was a huge protest in Bern. A hundred thousand people went to the square to demonstrate their solidarity with Czechoslovakia. And the then Swiss president told Rubeš that if we liked, he would give us refugee and Swiss citizenship. Normally you waited thirteen years for it. Rubeš was eager. He was emigrating to Switzerland. He was the only one to take up that offer. He became Swiss. And I, crying, with tears in my eyes, returned to Prague. Crowds of Czechs from the country and I, like an idiot, struggled in the opposite direction where my wife and my small child waited. So I returned home."

  • "It was rather difficult for me then because Jirka Schelinger was in touch with a certain Faktor. This was the brother of his wife. And the Faktor was engaged. He returned from Canada, published the Lázeňský host journal, a samizdat. Jirka Schelinger was under his influence. He always wanted to sign the Charter 77 and fight. We, the whole band, tried to put him off, saying to him: ,If you want to destroy yourself, go ahead, but you'll destroy all of us. Including the bandmasters, their families, with little children. Forget about it.' Schelinger always tried to do something but the band kept him silent. He would have taken the risk but thanks to me we evaded it."

  • "The strong five was the centre of attention. We were... people who had the best position in popular music, including rock. We were: Gott, Štaidl, Slováček, Svoboda, Roháč and me. We were six (sic). We had the biggest influence. I had a great scope, I was friend actors, I was friend with Menšík, Lipský, Brzobohatý. We lived culturally, as a coeity. And then once a year they sent an StB agent to you. He came, greeted you, showed you the badge and said: ,Let's go to pub'. It was not possible not to go. So I went. I was vague, didn't tell him anything, avoided his questions. Then I found a key, I told him: ,Comrade, I would like to help you very much, but I don't want to get you into trouble because I drink. I admit it. I am an alcoholic. Don't tell anybody. When I get pissed, I telle everything. I will tell that you met me, what you told me, what your name is. I am not a partner for you, comrade, although I agree with you in all.'

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    Praha, 09.06.2016

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I wanted to make music, not to serve as a boiler attendant.

František Ringo Čech
František Ringo Čech
photo: autoři natáčení

Born on July 9, 1943, in Prague. His mother was a dressmaker, who stayed home with children. His father was a musician and performed in bars under the name František Čech Pražský. He trained as a TV staff and worked at Kovoslužba. Then he studied at the National Conservatory in Prague, as music was his major hobby. In 1963 he was the founding member of the Olympic group. In 1965 he received the award for the best Czech drummer and left, with the Black Theatre of Jiří Srnec, to perform in Las Vegas. On his return he established the band Shut Up, which performed in the Semafor theatre. He wrote lyrics for many singers and performed alongside singer Jiří Schelinger. In 1985 he established Čech’s Temporary Theatre. After 1989 he went into politics and in 1996 he was elected MP for Social Democrats. After his unsuccessful campaign for the Senate he withdrew from politics. He is active on the net and comments on current issues on his website. He paints. In 2015 he was awarded the Medal of Merit by president Miloš Zeman.