Well over 18 months ago I got to know a couple of guys at one of the locals I frequent in central Kyiv. As many of you who have visited Ukraine, tattoes are quite popular, but when I met Andriy Antonenko there was something that struck me about one of his tattoes accross one of his forearms, it was a wonderfully stylized word. The word was Riffmaster.
Over time I got to know Andriy and another friend of his Andriy Honcharuk, and I finally came to understand that the word on Antonenko’s forearm was his stage name, which he had acquired after years of playing guitar, but in particularly because of his particular style of putting together a riff.
After a number of times of sitting around with the two Andriy’s I began to understand, that Antonenko’s musical history was quite a long and interesting one which started when he decided that the only thing he wanted to do was to play guitar. At the tender age of eighteen he got his first chance when he joined the Kyiv-based heavy-metal rock band “Edem”. These guys led the way in the metal scene from 1983 through the 1980s and into the 1990s, however, everything had its logical completion. Some of the guys in the band sought their fortunes abroad, while Antonenko was bitten by the need to perform and be creative.
In 1996 Antonenko got together with some other musicians and formed the group Daz Machine. During the next ten years Antonenko continued to perform with them and during this period he acquired the stage name Riffmaster. However, Antonenko wanted something else, and after a great deal of contemplation the Riffmaster Project was started on May 1, 2006. Despite the start of the project Antonenko continues to play with Daz Machine.
The rest is more or less history, and at the end of December of 2007 Riffmaster released their first album entitled Beautiful Day. On occasion I see both Andriy “Riffmaster” Antonenko and Andriy Honcharuk. Even last Saturday afternoon I sat with Honcharuk and had a beer and chatted about different projects, and will probably see him before the week is out.