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Interview: Hamtramck-based Polish Rockers to Headline Old Town's Oktoberfest

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The seventh annual Oktoberfest hits Old Town’s cozy streets on Friday and Saturday, and perhaps nobody is as excited for the festivities as polish-rock group the Polish Muslims.

The Hamtramck-based band -- who recently celebrated its 30th anniversary -- headlines the festival on Friday night, bringing a fun, energetic mix of comedy, music and nostalgia.

I caught up with vocalist and guitarist Kenny Kondrat to chat about the group’s latest album, “Quadroswinia,” and why the band wanted to play Oktoberfest for a second year in a row. Read it all below!

Q: Tell me about the experience of recording and writing your new album, “Quadroswinia.”

 A: With the exception of our Christmas CD, we hadn’t released a new full-length CD in over five years. The pressure from our fans was getting unbearable, and we needed to get back to the studio. Of the 14 songs on “Quadroswinia,” we re-released a few songs that were fan favorites, but only “live” recordings were released previously. We really thought those songs needed refreshing and were overdue to be recorded properly.

All the other songs are essentially brand new parodies. Actually, some of them were created in the studio as we were finishing up other tracks!

Q: Tell me about how son was involved with the album.

A: A cool thing different about this CD was that it engineered and co-produced by my son, Carl Kondrat-- former MSU graduate, second string drummer with the Polish Muslims and owner of MindVine Media. Carl has grown up with the band members… and gave us all the TLC in the studio, pushing us to keep it fresh and live, and we ended up with what we all think is the best product to date! It was a great recording experience completed in approximately six weeks. Not bad for a bunch of codgers.

Q: What was your vision with “Quadroswina?”

The vision was to release something we’d be really proud of for years to come. It took us five years to release this one, and who knows how long before the next one. Our fans are great and look forward to anything new, so we didn’t want to disappoint. 

 The CD title came to be after we have an internet vote from our fans on our Facebook page and website. We gave four options: Polka Rock for Dummies, Exported from Hamtramck, Polish Muslims for Sale and Quadroswinia.  Of course, Quad won, and the winner received copies of all of our CDs, plus a polish combination plate of food at a recent show. We saved no expense—we’re big spenders!

“Quadroswinia” is obviously a play on the Who’s “Quadrophenia,” with the parody being “Quad” our fourth CD and “Swinia” meaning piggy in Polish. It just seemed to fit.

Q: The Polish Muslims played Old Town’s Oktoberfest last year, and you’re back again this year. What made you want to play the festival again?

A: Seriously, we all had a ball [last year]. The crowd was such a mix in age and ethnicity everyone seemed to catch on to our humor pretty fast… Folks are already there for a good time, so you’re halfway there to a fun-filled, successful night.  If we can show them we’re having as good a time as they, are it’s a slam dunk!

Online: For more the Polish Muslims, check out their official Facebook page via www.facebook.com/thepolishmuslims.

More on Oktoberfest: For the skinny on Oktoberfest, visit www.oldtownoktoberfest.com.


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