Timpuri Noi was formed in 1980, and remained an underground act up to 1991. This was mainly due to what was perceived as "subversive lyrical content" in the Ceauşescu era. Incidentally, the name derives from a cliché of the period: its literal meaning is "New Times" (in the sense of "New Age"), used to signify Marxist Socialism. The tongue-in-cheek reference is somehow associated with the Bucharest metro station of the same name (see: Timpuri Noi). The name is also the Romanian translation of Modern Times, the title for Charles Chaplin's classic 1936 film.
In the early nineties, up to around 1995, the band was arguably the top Romanian act. Around the time, they had the opportunity to be the opening act for rather prestigious (albeit musically different) foreign acts during concerts in Bucharest: Ian Gillan and Uriah Heep in 1992, Scorpions in 1993, Saxon, Paradise Lost and Jethro Tull in 1994, Iron Maiden and Kreator in 1995, Eros Ramazzotti, Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart later in the same year.
1994 also signified an important event in both Timpuri Noi's career and Romanian music in general: Timpuri Noi gives the very first unplugged performance in this country, recorded as an album in the same year (see below).
In 1997, the band was presented with one of the MCM French music television and Radio France Internationale "Decouvertes de Rock a l'Est" (Eastern European New Acts) Awards, performing in a special gala concert. (The previous year, Timpuri Noi had been interviewed for MTV Europe during the Golden Stag Festival in the Romanian city of Braşov.)
The band split in 2001, with members becoming involved in personal projects - Partizan for Artan, ZIDD (sometimes mentioned as "Zid" - Romanian for "wall") for Dan Iliescu. It reunited in early 2005 and is now touring across the country. An album is planned to appear in 2006 - Timpuri Noi, Vechi, Noi si DJ ("Timpuri Noi, Old, New and DJs") containing reedited versions of all songs from the first album (and some remixes).
Timpuri Noi's early music reflects New Wave influences. Later, the band incorporated a sound that was a mixture of Red Hot Chili Peppers guitars, Led Zeppelin intermezzos, clear vocals (Artan is a classically-trained vocalist, and a member of the Romanian Radio House Choir; he also cites Simple Minds as a personal favorite) and grunge-influenced additional sounds. They are noted for highly original, usually melancholic lyrics - all in Romanian. The songs had anthem-like qualities - most notably the likes of Luca, Perfect, Stan, Emigrant USA, Nămol, Stere, Mistreţul, Malu Valu (Lume care m-a lucrat), Fumatul (all performed on their Unplugged album) or Albele furtuni. Most take the form of social commentary and revolve around past and present cultural stereotypes, authentically depicting the world as seen from inside large peripheral quarters of the capital city.
- Dan Iliescu - guitar and vocals
- Sabin Penea - bass guitar, backing vocals
- Felix Sfura - drums and percussion, backing vocals
Other band members over the years
- 1986 - 1988 Radu Cartianu - bass guitar
- 1986 - 1989 Luminita Mihaescu - keyboards, vocals
- 1990 - 1991 Sorin (Croco) Badea - bass guitar
- 1992 - 2001 Cătălin Neagu - drums
- 1992 - 1997 Marian Moldoveanu - guitar
- 1992 - 1997 Adrian Borțun - bass guitar
- 1998 - 2001 Cătălin Răsvan - bass guitar
- 2005 - 2010 Silviu Sanda - bass guitar
- 2005 - 2010 Andrei Barbulescu - drums
- Florin Barbu - bass guitar
- Victor Rivalet - keyboards, samplers, groove machine
- Vladimir Sateanu (Vlady) - bass guitar
- Florin Tuliga - programming
- Aurel Parocescu - samplers and drum machines
In some concerts, the band would add two backing female singers to its line-up (whether vocalists or violinists): the official site mentions Denis Iliescu, Crina Godescu and Maria Radu as its main collaborators.
- Formaţii Rock Nr. 11 (Electrecord, 1988) split, last 3 tracks (LP)
- Timpuri Noi (Cartianu SRL, 1992) (LP, MC)
- Timpuri Noi Unplugged (VIVO, 1994) (CD, MC)
- De regiune superior (VIVO, 1995) (CD, MC)
- Basca Abundenţei (MediaPro Music, 1998) (CD, MC)
- Lucky Nights Unplugged (MediaPro Music, 2000) split, last 7 tracks (CD, MC)
- Back in Business (MediaPro Music, 2006) (CD, MC)
- Deschde-ti mintea (MHO, 2012) (CD)