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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


He is a musician, an artist, a cook, a businessman and a television host.

No, it's not Henry Rollins. It's Andrei Makarevich, the leader of Mashina Vremeni, or Time Machine, perhaps the best-known Russian band, beloved by many generations.

Makarevich's role in Russian culture goes beyond just being the leader of the 30-year-old rock 'n' roll band, which this week announced plans for a world tour around the former Soviet Union, as well as Germany, the United States and Australia. The news conference about the tour was held in the Rhythm and Blues Cafe, which Makarevich co-owns with other prominent Russian musicians.

Makarevich was a semi-official figure during Soviet times, enjoying the best of both worlds: At times he was supported by the authorities, who needed him as a model of positive pop culture, and at other times he was prohibited, giving him an underground mystique that endeared him to the people.

An artist by training, Makarevich never sang about the Komsomol and the bright communist future. His songs were about puppets, candles, turns in the road. He sang with a soft voice that made people listen.

At 45, Makarevich looks tired and sad. With his shaved head, he looks absol utely different from the man I met in Bulgaria when he performed in the Soviet Embassy in 1989. There, he was performing for diplomats, government workers, Bulgarian Communist Party officials, but he paid no attention to that. "We were running around in circles, thinking we were racing on horses," he sang. The audience was quiet during this critique of Soviet society but broke into applause when he finished.

But this is not the audience he expects to attend his concerts from Novosibirsk to Sydney. "We aren't aiming to make as much money as we could. We think that we have certain obligations toward the people who come to our concerts," Makarevich said.

I hope he means it. Frankly speaking, I have noticed that Makarevich has become a little more subdued and bourgeois. His credibility may have been damaged by his affinity for appearing in commercials and schmoozing with celebrities on his talk show.

Perhaps his world tour will bring a little fresh air to his career. As he sings in one of his well-known songs, "Nothing lost yet, while the light is still on and the candle is burning."