Sometimes it's the singer. Sometimes it's the song. Once in a while, it's the land you sing it in. Czechoslovakia's Plastic People of the Universe surfaced in late 1968 just as the wheels of Brezhnev's tanks were rolling into the public square, ending the Prague Spring and its promise of national liberation. It was the dawning of a new era, and the Plastics seemed to have been born to confound it. Early shows were elaborate, theatrical responses to the dreariness of the social ist-realist aesthetic--carnivals conducted in front of a gulag wall. Band members painted their faces and took the stage in flowing robes to play the Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting for My Man" while standing behind a giant flying saucer and a sign that read "JIM MORRISON... More >>>