Continued from Part 1...
being a movie star & filmmaker
the Madonna experience
a Gypsy presence at Live Earth
tuning in and turning on the celebration
being a movie star &
I'm going to switch
gears a little bit. I know that Gogol Bordello is your main focus
but you've also become a really well-known person, not just in
the music scene, but also
around the world for other projects you've
done outside the band. Like for instance, you
played one of the
leading roles in one of my all-time favorite movies, "Everything is
you so much!
Yeah, I'm serious, it really
is one of my Top 10 of All Time. I absolutely loved
Well, I try to keep a low profile, I'm
(laughs) Do you foresee doing any
more projects like that? I understand you've recently
that's actually coming out on September 3rd. That's about Gypsy camps.
about several things, but most of it is about Gypsy camps in
And where are you from in the
Were you looking for your family
who might still be there?
I'm actually very
exact and certain where all of them are. I know. So I was trying to
extended family. Because most of our family they all moved out
from that area in the
mountains where all the Romanis came from in my
family. They all moved to Estonia,
or some of them are in Germany,
or parts of Kiev. We were very
where. But I was trying to find the extended family that goes
back to like my
grand-grand-grandparents. But when I got there it was
like, well, of course they
remembered the ones that left like 10-15
years ago. But when I said like, do you know
who else by thelast name
of Hütz that moved here, they said there are like 40 families by
last name of Hütz in every village!
long were youfilming?
It was probably about
a month journey.
Well that's not too much
time. It was proabably just about the right amount to bite off all
it's a good film. It was already presented at many festivals. It was already
which is one of the biggest Gypsy festivals in the world. In London.
shown there, and a lot of Gypsies were basically psyched
because it was showing
Gypsies in a just straight ahead way. There was
no romanticizing. It was just an insider's
look, you know? There was
no exaggeration. We were just basically knocking on the
walking in on people.
And how did they
react to having cameras in their homes?
the Madonna experience
know you have to watch out for that. Everything is in the film. If I was going
welcomed, I was going to get welcomed. And if I was going to
get my ass kicked... And
acting, I just did another movie. I
had a leading role in a film called "Filth and Wisdom."
was directed by Madonna.
Left: "Ultimate," at NY's Irving Plaza, 7/20; Right: "La Isla Bonita," with Madonna @ Live Earth
Really? I'm curious, because I know that you just performed with her
at Live Earth, which
was a huge audience, and great exposure.
was seen by every 3rd person in the world!
What's the Madonna experience like? How did you come to meet her? Did
she seek you
I had heard for years that she was a huge fan of Gogol Bordello. Originally,
heard it through Liev Schreiber. And I always heard about
it, but eventually, I heard in
person! And she said she had a film in
mind, and she would love to have me do the
leading role. And I said to
myself, Madonna directing me acting is going to be great. It's
tobe out of control.
I can't even
know, it's pretty much my character. I'm basically playing the singer from
Bordello. And the whole band is in it. And of course every
morning I'd go there holding
my guitar and whatever... There will be
my guitar. There will be freestyle Gypsy jam.
both musicians, we're both singers, and she really likes these songs that
singing. It ended up being, for Live Earth, just us freestyling,
and improvising. I was
singing my songs, you know my Gypsy songs, and you
know, she found a way to work
her song in. [Note: La Isla
And it's a really great match,
the way that it was orchestrated.
like completely spontaneous. It was like 10 days before the Wembley show that
came together. And you know, we had all it takes to make it happen.
I was there, she
had the last spot...
(laughs) and the dancers...
had the beats, I had the melodies. Everybody was psyched about it. And to
about it, everyone enjoyed it. Ever since then my phone has been
and fans from the States, and from Russia,
and my friends call me like
celebrating. They were like, "Hey
man, you got Madonna to sing in Gypsy, that's crazy!"
know those were all Romaniwords. You know? And I was like, "Yeah
that's what I do!"
when is the film going to come out?
going to come out I think in the beginning of next year. It's a really
philosophical comedy. Fun fun fun fun, definitely. She's so fun
to work with, you know?
Is she? Cuz you
hear a lot about what a hard worker she is...
a totally hard worker, but it's dynamic. And it's like ideas non-stop. So sign
That's what I like, and you know, itwas like, Gogol Bordello,
that's a bunch of hard
workers, if you want to talk about hard work.
That was a perfect live match.
match no one's ever seen before. I mean it really is unique.
a Gypsy presence at Live Earth
andhow many people would expect that? That's what I like, you know,
challenge the people watching their televisions, including the
die-hard. But you know, the
response has been so amazing. For people
in Eastern Europe, it's like a
breakthrough, you know. To have somebody like Madonna give us
a spot to shine and
represent our culture. On such a
Every demographic! You really are
cutting across everyone by playing with her.
for us, for Romanis to be seen as a positive force in global affairs, to play
Earth, is a whole other step. I mean the shit that we have to
deal with. And even moreso
the actual people who live still in the
camps, you know? I mean, I made my way to be a
representative. I am an entertainer. I live life of a rock and roll musician...
more celebrated than them. Only once in a while will somebody show
up at a show and
start handing out fucking pamphlets about white
Does that actually happen at
Yeah, it happened twice,
but you know, they are so outnumbered that they usually just leave, without a
That's unbelievable, in this
day and age.
Actually, in Ukraine it's the
worst that it's been. Like skinhead riots in Gypsy villages. And
yeah, it's the worst. For us to be able to represent on a scale that goes
the skin of the crowd is the last step toward altering Romani
perception, you know what I mean?
imagine your documentary will be a big step towards helping with that,
Yeah, well I don't know if every third
person in the world is going to see it, but it wasn't
like that. It's too radical for that. But it's good to be heard, you know?
mean, of course Gogol Bordello is always going to be a special band,
and with as big of
an audience as it gets and as big of a story, it's
still a very unique band, that was never
continually close to making
it. But it's good to be able to penetrate this far, and see who
wants to join the party.
It also says a lot about her, about
Madonna, being so on top of what's happening
And she always
has been that, that's for sure.
it's like now everybody's acting like we've just flown out of the sky and
like everybody's Christmas present. You know, but we've been
around for nearly a
decade, and we've been touring with an illegal
number of people in the band for years.
And it became, ok, now we have
amuch better real touring bus and a crew, but there is
illegal amount of people on the bus. So everything just has two lanes.
But she knew about us years before, so everybody now
realizes it's Christmas.
Well I am just
so happy for you, because it really seems like the momentum is
and carrying you guys forward, and now you have this big tour
in front of you. So it
seems like the timing is just
I mean I think that some birds you chase, and some birds just land on your
That's a great way of looking
But you know, at the end of the
day, people respect the whole odd character, you know.
humanity, that's one of the things we can probably take pride on, is that
actually have the ability to not give up that easily, actually.
People are pretty strong, you
know. They want to celebrate, you know?
They want to celebrate the depth of character.
tuning in and turning on the celebration
your music is all about celebration. It's rawkus and high-energy. You can't
smile and want to jump around.
that's the good side of life, and all I want to do is share it, and turn people
a great word for it.
scientifically totally explained. It's the way we tune in to frequencies. If
tuned wrong, you're going to be suffering. By tuning yourself
to a different chord, your
feelings are music. In our case, that's our
area of expertise. That's what fans are
driving two hours for. They're
not really driving two hours fora show and for the band.
driving for something that gets them tuned in and lasts the next six months.
what the experience is all about. It's a shamanistic act. It's
a soul catharsis. It's a way of
tuning into something that sustains
for a long time. That's why people get addicted to
because that's what makes them feel a certain way, and it's great so
And I'm just like that.
music is transporting. Well, like I said, I'm so excited for you. And I get to
on July 20th! I can't wait, I'll be right up in
Well comebackstage and we'll have a
Excellent, I will! Thank you! And
thanks so much for taking so much time to talk with me.
Good luck with
the album release today!