Mad Heads XL

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Mad Heads XL
OriginKyiv, Ukraine
Years active2003
LabelsComp Music EMI
MembersVadym Krasnooky
Maxym Krasnooky
Vadym Nikitan
Valeriy Chesnokov
Volodymyr Zyumchenko
Bohdan Humenyuk

Mad Heads XL is a Ukrainian band from Kyiv, Ukraine


Mad Heads[edit]

Band called Mad Heads was formed in Kyiv, Ukraine by Vadym Krasnooky. In Ukraine they enjoyed the status of a rock legend for many years, with 4 studio albums, good press, frequent TV appearances and constant live touring. They have also been acknowledged internationally, as a well-known band in the psychobilly scene across the world and #1 of the genre in the whole Eastern Europe.

It took time and a few line up changes before Mad Heads became a band able to succeed with such a hard task, but since they were ready there was nothing to stop them. Their debut album “Psycholula” was out in 1996 on Crazy Love Records in Germany, while in Ukraine they were already a well known band: seen on TV, heard on radio, talked about in major press. They filmed a video to support their album, and it was actually rotated on the channel of national importance.

Soon after, Mad Heads started to tour abroad. They appeared 4 times at Rock’n’Roll Jamboree in Finland, 3 times at Calella Psychobilly Meeting in Spain, they rocked the halls of many festivals and clubs in Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland and Italy. They've been invited to the United States and only couldn't make it because of some visa problems. They played the same stage with the most of their favorite bands of the scene while becoming the heroes for many younger acts.

The debut album was followed by “Mad In Ukraine” in 1998 and “Naked Flame” in 2002 (both out on Crazy Love Records) which brought the acknowledgment for Mad Heads of being #1 band of the scene in Eastern Europe and with no doubt an outstanding act of the 90s psychobilly generation. In Ukraine, they simply become a rock’n’roll legend, so they decided to do even more for their local fans and in 2003 was released the album “Contact'” with all the songs in the mother languages (the first 3 albums were in English). This record was out on local EMI licensee Comp Music.

In 2004 the guys felt that their mission was complete. Their music was changing throughout the years, and now they had to face the fact that it didn't fit psychobilly scene anymore. So they took it even further, doubled the line up with 3-piece brass section and mixed up their older sounds with ska punk and some Ukrainian folk. The new project called Mad Heads XL became a smashing success in Ukraine, so it was decided to quit as a trio for an indeterminate period.

Mad Heads XL[edit]

In the beginning of 2004, the new project Mad Heads XL was born. The line up was doubled with the powerful brass section (trumpet, trombone, saxophone) and the music drifted in the direction of ska with a touch of swing and Ukrainian folk, becoming something that might come out of Manu Chao, Brian Setzer and Emir Kusturica jam session.

In March 2004 it was tested in the best live music clubs of Kiev, in April it appeared on top Ukrainian TV channels and in May the band came up the stage of the main Ukrainian music festival Tavria Games to perform for some 75,000 people (there was also a live broadcast on M1 – the main Ukrainian music TV channel). That show brought the band to 9 more big open air stages in the next few months, with the audience varied from 5,000 to 100,000 (Day of Youth on the main Kiev's square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti), proving that Mad Heads XL could really entertain a huge audience. In September 2004 the band was invited to take part in Djuice-Drive tour (sport palaces in the 6 biggest cities of Ukraine). They were the only Ukrainian act on the bill with artists from Western Europe. They also got busy playing in the clubs.

They were among the first bands to support the people of Ukraine in the protest action, when the Orange Revolution started. They canceled any commercial gigs and performed for the people on now famous central square of Kiev Maidan Nezalezhnosti, giving away their new song for the compilation "Orange Songs of Ukrainian Revolution" which featured some of the best Ukrainian acts and artists, and the profit of which had been transferred to the inhabitants of the protest camping. The band never thought of any promotion back then, but there probably was: their performance on Maidan was seen on CNN as well as on several European news channels.

In 2005 the band was on the road again and played plenty open air stages all over Ukraine. Mad Heads XL also appeared abroad, with a lot of success, at Rock for People 2005 festival in Czech Republic, not to mention a club tour of Russia. In September 2005 ZYX Music released maxi-CD “Nadiya Yea” in Germany, but the main events with this song were happening in the homeland. The album “Nadiya Yea” was released in the end of October on Comp Music/EMI, so far in Ukraine only, soon proving to be among the bestselling local releases of the year 2005. During 2004–2005 years the band had several line-up changes.

Beyond Europe, Mad Heads XL have performed at Ukrainian festivals in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2010, and Dauphin, Manitoba, in 2011. Commanding a strong fan base in the Ukrainian-Canadian community, they returned to Toronto again in January 2012 performing material from their new album УкраїнSKA at a zabava on one night and the "Royal Malanka" the following night. For both events, Mad Heads XL were joined onstage by Ukrainian violinist Vasyl Popadiuk (aka "Papa Duke"). Local Ukrainian-Canadian music groups, "Zapovid" and "Hudi a Mocni" opened their shows.

Current members[edit]

  • Vadym Krasnooky - vocal, guitar, songwriting (1991–present)
  • Maxym Krasnooky - bass (1996–present)
  • Vadym Nikitan - trumpet (2004–present)
  • Valeriy Chesnokov - trombone (2005–present)
  • Volodymyr Zyumchenko - drums (2005–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Bohdan Ocheretyany - drums (1994–2005)
  • Maksym Kochetov – saxophone (2004–2006)
  • Anton Buryko – trumpet (2004–2005)
  • Volodymyr Pushkar – trombone (2004–2005)
  • Bohdan Humenyuk - saxophone, flute (2006–2008)


Mad Heads

Mad Heads XL

  • 2005 - Nadiya Yea (Надія Є/The Hope Is Here)
  • 2007 - Naykrascha Myt - compilation (Найкраща Мить/The Best Moment)
  • 2008 - Forever
  • 2011 - УкраїнSKA
  • 2015 - 8

External links[edit]