Joanna Stingray is an author and musician from Los Angeles who lived for many years in Russia. She became the first American producer of underground Russian rock and roll when she released the double album Red Wave: 4 Underground Bands from the USSR, a compilation of music she smuggled out of the country in 1985. In 1987, she became an enemy of the state: her visa was blocked to keep her from entering the Soviet Union to marry guitarist Yuri Kasparyan. After intervention by the US State Department, she returned to Russia, married Yuri, and, in the early ’90s became a television host, a recording artist, and well-known rock personality throughout Russia. She has published several books in Russia about her time in the music scene; her video diaries and interviews of musicians make up the only archive of this clandestine, bygone world. In 2020, she published a memoir, Red Wave: An American in the Soviet Music Underground. Photo by Kanaplev + Leydik.
“This Decadent Western Thing”: Joanna Stingray on the Soviet Underground Rock Scene
The L.A. rocker on her experiences in the underground rock scene in pre-glasnost Russia....