BiographyDezerter, founded as SS-20 in the spring of 1981 in Warsaw, Poland, is one of the most popular punk bands from Poland. The Dezerter band was founded by three students of Warsaw's vocational high school (techni***) - Robert "Robal" Matera (guitar), Krzysztof Grabowski (drums), and Dariusz "Stepa" Stepnowski (bass). All three were born in 1963, and went to the same class. From the beginning Grabowski wrote lyrics, and Matera music. Soon afterwards, they were joined by another student of the same school, Dariusz "Skandal" Hajn (voc., born 1965). In the autumn of 1982, the band had to change the original name to Dezerter because of the reaction of the Communist authorities (SS-20 was a NATO reporting name of a Soviet ballistic missile, and this name was regarded too provocative by the government). To become less recognizable by the Communist regime, they often changed the name in posters, sometimes spelled as "De-zerter", sometimes as "The Zerter" - it was a cheap and efficient trick to cheat the regime. At first, the band practiced at a Culture House in Nieporet
Dezerter debuted during the Mokotów Music Autumn Festival, in November 1981. In the autumn of 1982, together with other Polish punk rock bands (TZN Xenna and Deuter) it went on a tour across southeastern corner of the country. The tour was named "Rock Galicja", and featured shows in Rzeszów, Krosno, Sanok, and Mielec. Earlier on, Dezerter played at the 1982 Jarocin Festival, where it was filmed by the Polish TV. In 1983 Dezerter recorded a four-song 7? EP, Ku przyszlosci (Into the future) also known as Spytaj milicjanta (Ask a policeman). The record was issued by the state company Tonpress, and was very warmly welcomed by fans, with 50,000 copies sold. With fast guitar riffs and intelligent lyrics written by Grabowski, Dezerter's concerts drew thousands of fans and its LPs were very popular, especially in the late '80s and early '90s.
The most famous Dezerter's live appearance took place during the 1984 Jarocin Festival in Jarocin, Poland and it was attended by some 20,000 people. The concert was recorded and later parts of it were released (together with four songs from the EP mentioned EP before) on the LP Underground Out of Poland. The LP was produced by Joey ****head, vocalist of a Canadian band D.O.A.. Dezerter however is not widely known in other countries, perhaps because the band refrains from singing in the English language. Nevertheless, the band played in several European countries, Japan and the U.S.A. (in New York City and Chicago, early November 2009, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall). In 2010, Grabowski's memoirs "Dezerter, poroniona generacja?" ("Dezerter, aborted generation?") were published in Warsaw.