Drago Mlinarec Bookmark and Share


14 december 1942

Drago Mlinarec was born in Zagreb . In the fall of 1962, he and his friend keyboardist  Braneom Lambertom founded the band Sputnjici but soon changed its name to Vampir and eventually to Jutarnje zvijezde (Morning Stars). During that time, Drago Mlinarec worked as a chemical technician , studying and playing music.

In 1966 he founded the band Grupa 220, one of the first bands to sing in the native tongue. Succes came quick when the Mlinariec composition ´Osmijeh´ became a huge hit. He stayed the band until 1971 , when he began his solo career. His first solo album was based on material he wrote in between 1966 – 1970. His debut features a adaptation of ´Posmrtna osveta´ (The posthumous revenge) written by 1888 by poet Rikard Katalinic Jeretov and a revamped version of ´Grad´ from Grupa 220. From here on Mlinarec is starting to work in a theater for which he will tie most of his future music career. He participates in the children's play "The Fairy Tale about Prince Svebor", where he is the author of music and plays the traveling musician.

In the spring of 1972, the new rock band " Time " invites Mlinarac to perform with them at a concert in Zagreb. He accepts the invitation and appears as an acoustic on stage. It would be a teaser for his upcoming album. He spends the summer of 1972 in the mountains where he writes most of his next album (called translated the Songs from the Mountain). He promoted the album at the "BOOM" festival in 1973- Swithing between his theatrical composer career and that of rock artist his third album has to wait untill March 1975. By then his name stands for quality and he is a household name in Yogoslavia. So much that he commences a world tour taking him to Italy , France , Spain , Poland , the former USSR , Venezuela , Colombia , Panama , Guatemala and Mexico .

In 1976 he dedicates himself again to writing music for several plays. In the fall of that year, he starts a series of concerts at Zagreb universities , and before the end of the year he takes part in a festival of revolutionary and patriotic songs, where he performs the song ´Domovina´, written by Janez Menart and Zvonimir Golob and music by Arsen Dedic. The same Arsen invites him for a solo show in Zagreb 's Lisinski Hall in April 1977. The show was released on the double live album ´Randevu s muzikom´ ( Jugoton 1977), which was released on the occasion of twenty years of the eponymous radio show from Novi Sad.

In the early '80s, Mlinarec worked on the production of the debut album of the Zagreb rock band Azra , which received numerous negative reviews. After that, he worked on the production of the debut album ´Na krivom mjestu´ of the band Mali Ašov and ´Pravovjerni plesač´ by Zvijezde.

In the summer of 1982 he goes to Sweden to record his new album. The production is being re-done by Tini Varga, with Swedish musicians and Josip Kraš (keyboards), while Mlinarec played bass. But on the album Mlinarec sounds absent and musically off for the first time. The album is a big disappointment for a man of his stature.
After a long break, he began to act musically in 1986 when he performed with members of " Le Cinema ". In early 1987 . a concert of  Grupa 220 is being held in Vrbik on the occasion of twenty years since their founding, and on that occasion they are releasing a compilation album Originals 1967/68 with their best hits. At that time, Mlinarec moved to the Sutla Valley in Bijela Gorica and slowly withdrew from public life. 1987 receives the Vjesnik Award "Josip Stolcer Slavenski" for his complete musical contribution.

Mlinarec briefly returned to the music world in 1994 , when he released the Analog tape. He recorded the material together with Aldo Ivancic from Borghesia. The A-side of the album brings instrumental music, while the B-side features three acoustic compositions that seemed to have originated during his early music career. He composed two compositions by Miroslav Krleža.

In 1996 a compilation album Krhotine is released on which he covers sixteen tracks throughout his musical career. It takes almost ten years for a new lifesign from Mlinarec with yet another compilation and one song he wrote for the theatrical play ‘Christopher Columbus’.

On the web:

- There are several progrock website that have an entry about Drago but being the hermit he is, he obviously hasn´t one of his own.

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

- Le Orme (Italy)

What do we think:

DB: I had the album of Grupa 220 for years but never thought about looking of the band members had a career after that. And so it happened that we overlooked Drago for years. It was after we found compilation boxset in Slovenia that we discovered the enourmous talent and high quality albums he made. I mean, think Echoes by Pink Floyd and you get a grasp of the impact his second album made. The last song on that album has the same vibe and same organ melodies. His first three album are almost all equally brilliant. After that it slowly gets less interesting. But boy....with three albums like that who cares.


Grupa 220

- Naši dani - 1968


♪♪♪♪ - A ti se ne daj - 1971

♪♪♪♪♪ - Pjesme s planine - 1972

♪♪♪♪♪ - Rođenje - 1975

♪♪♪ - Negdje postoji netko - 1977

♪♪♪ - Sve je u redu - 1978

♪♪♪ - Tako lako - 1979

♪♪ - Pomaknuto - 1983

♪♪ - Analog - 1994

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided