LIFE AFTER LIFE held their premier performance in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 1993. They played to a packed house at The Chameleon. Their next show was on Valentine’s Day, when the band opened for Helios Creed. An ecstatic Jello Biafra approached them after the show and was heard to say, “I was blown away. Finally, a San Francisco band with a totally unique sound!”
LIFE AFTER LIFE is a band that that meets in the intersection of East and West. Two members, Jim Cert and Jaroslav Sedivy, were freedom fighters in Communist Czechoslovakia, where they were persecuted for playing in rock bands that were not sanctioned by the state. Jaroslav was arrested and imprisoned twice for playing drums at underground gigs, which was officially considered a crime against the state. The first arrest happened when he was just a teenager. The police came to his mother¹s house in the middle of the night to drag the teenager to prison. They said, “Put your clothes on, we’re taking you with us.” (He) asked “What’s the charge?” They said, “No charge. Just do it. Do you want to go naked or dressed?”
Jaroslav was held in an underground cell for a week before he found out why he’d been detained. The charges were hidden in the fine print of a document his jailers wanted him to sign, which stated that the Primitive Group- his band at the time- represented a radical organization with influences from the West, and demanded that the group disband. His choices were to sign the document and go free, or refuse to sign and stay in jail. He signed, formed another band, and was arrested again for the same “crime against the state.” Jaroslav escaped from Czechoslovakia using a false passport made by a friend who worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The woman was later imprisoned for providing him with the means for escape.
Jim Cert was banned from performing in public and was arrested for doing so several times. An “official diagnosis” declared his lyrics “incompatible with the tenets of social realism and, therefore, undesirable to the ideology of the regime.” In one small village pub, when one of the patrons decided to inform the police about Cert¹s performance there, the pub keeper leaped over the counter with a butcher knife and cut off the phone line, before the informer could say a single word.
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