Mississippi Queen (Croatia)

Mississippi Queen (Croatia)

The oldest rockabilly band in Croatia, with five albums released so far.

The story of the Mississippi Queen began in 1989 in Zagreb. Forming members were: Jurica Štelma (double bass), Karlo Starčević (rhythm guitar, vocals), Renato Zgrablić-Pit (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Vedran Žanko (solo guitar, vocals). In that line-up, Mississippi Queen played for over a year, and they recorded several songs, three of which were released on the “Rock this town” compilation. These were the first officially released footage of the Mississippi Queen. The year 1990 was very successful, because no other band in Croatia had a “slapping” double bass, so for the mainstream it was very exotic and interesting. They had hundreds of concerts and several appearances on national television that year. At the end of 1990, Vedran left the band and since then Renato has taken over the solo guitar.

The next few years the band performed as a trio, but only a few things were recorded during that period, which were later released as bonus tracks on the re-release of the album “Golden Years”. In 1992, new members joined the band: Gorana Čehić (violin, vocals) and Igor Balent (drums) and the band recorded their first album (Golden Years). The peculiarity of this project is that the band comes out with one author’s song for the first time. However, there was no interest from the record labels for the album, so Mississippi Queen members released it on their own. After a year, Igor and Goran had left the band and the Mississippi Queen continues as a trio. The next album, “Ten Years After” was recorded in 1999. The peculiarity of this album is that the band entered the studio and played one of their usual concerts, and later just chose the songs that will be on it, so it remained a true picture of the band from that time. This project did not come to life as a “regular” release either, and then the band tried to make a turn and get closer to the mainstream, in order to leave some trace of their existence in the discography. Work on the author’s material in the Croatian language begins, but even this attempt does not arouse the interest of record companies. Then the band decides, for the first time, to send their recordings of original songs in English to foreign record companies specializing in this type of music. This resulted in an invitation to Tail Studio, Sweden. That collaboration didn’t come to life, but two recordings from that session have been preserved, which were later released on the “Crockabilly” compilation for Aquarius Records. At that time, Pete left the band and Ivan Semeš-Sammy came as guitarist. Then the band signed a contract with Rhythm Bomb Records from London and in the Lightning Recording studio in Berlin, they recorded the album “Did You Say Love” in 2005. The album was recognized by the audience and highly rated by critics, so the band began to participate in many festivals and clubs across Europe. Soon Sammy left the band and as a new member came the established Berlin guitarist and producer Axel Prefacke, and in 2008 they released a new album “Rock-A-Billy Heaven Bound”. After a couple of years, drummer Kruno Krapec joins the band again, and Axela is replaced on guitar by Gvozden Šopp.

The current line-up of the band is:

Karlo Starčević – vocals / rhythm guitar;

Jurica Štelma – double bass;

Gvozden Šopp – solo guitar;

Kruno Krapec – drums


Text: Wikipedia (Croatian)