Antis is a Lithuanian postmodernist rock band. The name is the Lithuanian word for "duck" and is also slang for a false mass media sensation.
In 1986 in the last days of the Soviet Union, there was an alternative music explosion in Lithuania. Before then all "western low quality music" was officially forbidden with lists of proscribed bands including Ramones, AC/DC, and Alice Cooper. Antis was a politically motivated band that played proscribed music in several styles including ska. They also wrote their own songs with jaunty horns and witty ironic lyrics.
Algirdas ‘Pablo’ Kaušpėdas founded Antis in 1984 as a joke to entertain attendees at a New Year party that he organised for the architects' union in Kaunas. The band's performance was such a success that word of it spread all over Lithuania.
In January 1986, a horn section from Vilnius joined the band and Petras ‘Sniegius’ Ubartas (another architect who was a composer, trumpeter and guitarist) took over the musical leadership of the band so that Pablo could concentrate on lyrics and promotion. Antis was invited to play at the semi-underground festival at Vilnius University and at similar events.
At the Lituanica’86 festival Antis's performance overshadowed those of the headline Russian rock stars Aquarium and Bravo. The subsequent publicity turned Antis into a national sensation and they became known as one of the best rock bands in the whole of the former Soviet Union. Antis grew to such popularity that their audiences numbered hundreds of thousands. They toured most of Europe and the United States.
Algirdas Kaušpėdas designed a dramatic live show with painted faces, besuited musicians, motorbikes, and spaceship models on stage. The band made three video clips, which were later used in the 1986 musical film Kažkas Atsitiko (Something Happened). Kaušpėdas' lyrics were sharply critical of the Soviet regime; an appealing stance for many people during Perestroika. Personnel changes improved the band's musicianship and their music became more sophisticated. Early Antis was heavily influenced by Talking Heads. One of their biggest hits was a cover version of a Men at Work song. Later Sniegius added sounds derived from the work of Frank Zappa.
At the end of 1986 Antis recorded their eponymous debut album at Melodya's Vilnius studio. The LP was released in 1987 and became one of the best-sold records in Lithuania. Their second album was recorded in 1988 in the CCS studio in Warsaw. The band planned to release this independently but Melodya objected and the ensuing litigation delayed release by a year. The last recording session took place in a Vilnius studio in 1988. Those songs with some selected numbers from the Warsaw session appeared as Anties Dovanėlė (Antis' Present) in 1989.
Anties gave their final tours in the second half of 1989 and early 1990 including the appearances at festivals in Italy, Austria, Germany, France and USA, where they participated at the NY New Music Seminar and played at the CBGB.
In 1990 Algirdas Kaušpėdas quit music for politics and then returned to architecture. The rest of the band continued rehearsing and composing, and auditioned some new vocalists but Pablo proved to have been the heart of the band, so they broke up. Some members left the music business and others joined other projects. Kaušpėdas manages a design company and is still an important figure in Lithuanian music and culture.
In 1994 Zona/BMK released two Antis MCs. The EP Bjaurioji Antis (Ugly Antis) included the earliest amateur recordings from Kaunas, before the arrival of the horns. Retas Paukštis (Rare Bird) contained all the songs that had not been released on the Melodya albums. The final album Geriausios Dainos was a 'best of' compilation, released on CD and MC formats by Zona/BMK in May 1995.
Algirdas Kaušpėdas, formed the Antis Orchestra briefly in 1996 using past members and session musicians to recreate the Antis sound for three open-air concerts as part of the Lituanian Rock March. Most of the original members also reformed briefly in 2003 to promote the release by Zona of most Antis recordings on four CDs (Kažkas atsitiko, Antis, Ša! and Dovanėlė) and a box-set Visa Antis.
After 17 years of silence (the last album was released in 1990), the band released Ančių dainos (Songs of Ducks) on 16 December 2007. Initial album sales beat the expectations and became best-selling album by Antis.
In January, 2009 ‘Antis’ won The Veterans of the Year Award in ‘Radiocentras’ Music Awards. The band have played five songs and began work on their new project to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the group. At the end of the year the group presented to the fans the musical utopia and released the new CD ‘Zuikis Pleibojus’ (Rabbit Playboy). At the beginning of 2010 the band have released ‘Zuikis Pleibojus’ vinyl disc, which became the first new lithuanian vinyl dics after several years break and in the end of the year invited to the final performances of musical utopia.