About me deutsch

Dear visitor,

There is a lot of material (memories, texts and many many pictures as well) patiently waiting to be compiled for a long long article about the whole exceptional story behind my present mailorder, distribution and label. These lines offer you at least a short overall view about me, Kalemegdan Disk and its history.

I was born in 1965 and started listening to rock music from the Seventies when I was 15 years old. I was living in Erlangen near to Nuremberg in those days (and stayed there until 1997). During the next years I regularly visited places for the youth where we listened to the music of Black Sabbath, Budgie, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Status Quo and Uriah Heep as well as to many unknown bands mainly from the early Seventies, because these clubs were visited by a larger group of young record collectors with a faible for non-mainstream music as well. I fell in love with that sound, started collecting records, too and was searching for new sounds from the past: British, North American, German, West European and Australian records which were sold in second-hand shops, at flea markets and record fairs.

The Founding Years at West European Record Fairs

In 1986 I started selling records on record fairs myself. First inside a radius of 250 km from my hometown, but it quickly expanded to about 1000 km. From 1988 to 1993 I had a stall on all important records fairs in Germany and I was the first record dealer from Southern Germany who was regularly present in our neighbouring countries (Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. All together it were about 50 fairs a year. About every three months I traveled to the Netherlands and also sometimes to Sweden and went through second-hand record shops to compile and to refill my handpicked assortment which consisted of about 2000 rock LPs from the late 60s to the early 80s: Collectors’ items either sold out as the orginal pressings I was offering or totally out of print, except for one or two boxes containing unplayed reissues.

At 7 April 1988 I saw the first five Yugoslav LPs of my life standing together in a shop in Rotterdam called Plaatboef: Jugoton’s “Time” from 1972, “YU Grupa” from 1973 and the “Boom Pop Festival 1973” as well as Radio Televizija Beograd’s “Korni Grupa” from 1972 and “Kiselina” by Pop Mašina from 1973. Partly curious and partly amused I asked myself: “Rock from Yugoslavia, what could that be?” After some back and forth I bought them, of course not foreseeing that this decision would change my whole life...

At that time I knew many serious record collectors and dealers from most West European countries and also some from overseas. Experts for instance for West German, Italian, Scandinavian, Canadian or Australian rock music from that period, but nobody, really nobody of them knew anything about 70s rock music from Yugoslavia. So I decided to try to find it out myself. In summer 1988 I travelled together with a friend to Budva at the Adriatic coast and visited Smederevo and Belgrade on the way back where I met the first people telling me about some basics of rock music in Yugoslavia. They played records to us and also sold me some of them. So YU Rock, as I have called it, started to become my thing.

Impulses from Yugoslavia

From 1988 to 1992 I travelled about 15 times to Yugoslavia, spending there about nine months all together, the most of the time in the capital Belgrade. I started to reconstruct the Yugoslav rock history and collected all the interesting records I could find, several thousands all together. I met hundreds of music lovers, collectors, dealers, musicians and journalists giving their pieces to the mosaic of Yugoslav rock history growing in my mind. I learned about culture, history, economy and politics of the country and I also learned the Serbocroatian language which I spoke quite well at the end of this period.

During these years I used every opportunity to promote the Yugoslav sounds I liked most to an international rock collector’s public mainly at the record fairs where I usually had a record player with me. So in some moments it was possible for Western Rock enthusiasts to listen to bands like Atomsko Sklonište, Bijelo Dugme, Buldožer, Crni Biseri, Dah, Divlje Jagode, Drugi Način, Galija, Gordi, Grupa 220, Igra Staklenih Perli, Indexi, Korni Grupa, Leb i Sol, Drago Mlinarec, Nepočin, Oko, Opus, Parni Valjak, Pop Mašina, S Vremena na Vreme, Smak, Spektar, Suncokret, Tako, Teška Industrija, Time, YU Grupa or Zlatni Prsti which in my opinion represented the golden Yugoslav Rock generation.

The Kalemegdan Disk Label Project

I started running my mailorder in 1990 and the next step realising my personal “YU Rock trip” was the founding of my own label which I named “Kalemegdan Disk” in 1991. The Kalemegdan has been Belgrade’s historical fortress at the edge of the old part of town with a view to the rivers Dunav (Danube) and Sava. I released five albums by the Belgrade bands Igra Staklenih Perli and Tako in Germany in editions of 1000 copies each strongly and competent supported by my then partner Vesna Jakovljević. The idea behind this label was to present my choice of the highlights of Yugoslav rock music to the Western collector’s public at German quality standards.

Unfortunately this project started just at the most unfortunate moment possible and broke down after a few years of serious struggling due to the tragedy that never should have happened to Yugoslavia and due to other reasons as well. Years were passing and in the meantime it had quitened down about Kalemegdan Disk, although I continiously kept on running my mailorder. Around 2000 I enlarged my assortment with Rock LPs from the other East European countries and besides the records I began also to offer CDs.


At the beginning of June 2012 I returned from a one week voyage to Leipzig and Berlin, where I collected a lot of impressions for my future finding plans. Future finding plans for the music business as it brang out after thinking about the final liquidation of Kalemegdan Disk a few months ago. At the same moment my contract in the purchase department of a Chinese foreign trade company ended, so that all of the sudden I decided to get things straight concerning the possibilities of starting a second serious trial to distribute East European rock music to the rest of the world with a reworked concept.

Yugoslavia once again

I rented a car and in the late evening of 21 July 2012 I cross the Austrian-Slovenian border for the first time after seven years and visit my long-standing trade partner Roman Pavlin near the center of Šenčur. At 23 July I visit the record companies Nika, RTV Slovenija, Racman, Sanje Records and Dallas Records in Ljubljana to introduce me and my ideas and to get a picture of the current situation of these record or rather CD companies. At the next day I visit Želimir Babogredac, the direktor (manager) of Croatia Records (the former Jugoton, one of the leading 10 or 20 record companies in whole Europe about 30 years ago), Hit Records and my old friends Davor and Silvije Varga of Dancing Bear Records in Heinzelova Street, where I had stayed during all my former visits to Zagreb. At 26 July I drive my old route through Slavonia via Varaždinske Toplice, Ludbreg, Koprivnica, Đurđevac, Virovitica, Našice, Osijek, Vukovar, Ilok, Bačka Palanka and Novi Sad on the country road to Belgrade which welcomes its former frequent guest in the early evening with sunshine and a wonderful rainbow.

The time in Slovenia and Croatia was pleasant, exciting and fulfilling, but the now following ten day middle part of my journey in Belgrade has partly even fairytale features. My host Petar Janjatović, direktor of Dallas Records Beograd, receives me at Gvozdićeva Street, puts me up in the CD-warehouse of Dallas Records just like in 2005, the only CD-warehouse in town which accomodates guests as he tells me, we go for dinner and he sees of for summer holidays, leaving me his keys, his computer, his office, his employees Sergej, Ljubiša und Dejan, the title “Direktor of Dallas Records Beograd”, his bycicle and the phone number of the Belgrade journalist Marija Banković who is going to accompany me in the following days strolling over the Kalemegdan, seeing the town and trying to reconstruct the extensive old story about Kalemegdan Disk.

I visit Pedja Vuković, Draško Nikodijević (both Igra Staklenih Perli) and Dušan Ćućuz (Tako). I meet Ljuba Ninković (S Vremena na Vreme) and Robert Nemeček (Pop Mašina), visit my old friends Branimir Lokner, Milan Nenad and Zoran Todorović, record or rather CD companies Radio Televizija Srbije Produkcija Gramofonskih Ploča (the first time Ivana Bojković and the second time Dejan Ilić, the programm direktor), One Records and Multimedia Records, the shops of Dallas-Multimedia, Jugoton & Radio Televizija Srbije and accomplish a one day trip 200 kilometers in South-Western direction to Užice and Zlatibor.

Hungarians, Slovaks and Czechs Knocking at My Door (or the Other Way round)

In the late evening of 6 August I leave Serbia in northern direction and at the next day in Budapest I meet Laszlo Kovacs (Moiras Records), visit Anikó Katona and Péter Porkoláb (Hungaroton) and Gregory Böszörményi (Periferic Records). At 8 August I visit Richard Hanuliak (Forza Music/Opus) in Bratislava and at 9 August my visit of Linda Hrůzová (Supraphon) has fairytale features again for a last hour. At the same day I return exhausted to Nuremberg, but the points for the future are set.

The following months proved to be tougher and more labour-intensive than I had expected: Kalemegdan Disk had to be completely adapted to the standards and needs of modern age and there was really a lot to do: The new contacts had to be developed, a new assortment had to be compiled and financed, a new computer including a new generation of basic programs had to be bought and installed, a stock-in-trade program adjusted to the record and CD business had to be programmed, thousands of data records had to be reworked, a web shop had to be installed, a new office and warehouse had to be arranged, the new concept had to be stabilized towards the suppliers and to be presented towards my wholesale partners and there was a lot more which had to be done parallely.

End of November 2012 I traveled a second time to Yugoslavia. This time I stayed in Skoplje, Belgrade and Zagreb and recreation was the main program. The climax was the fulfillment of a long-cherished wish: At 7 December, twenty years after the most intensive period of our co-operation, I saw at Zagreb’s Purger Park Igra Staklenih Perli, which had reunited about a year ago, for the first time live, and to be true, I was astonished how excellent were set and sound.

In the night of 6 to 7 April 2013 Kalemegdan Disk celebrated its 25th birthday with guests from Nuremberg, Fürth, Leipzig and Rotterdam. There have been a lot of changes during the last ten months, but there is still enough to do and to develop until Kalemegdan Disk’s 50th birthday...

Nuremberg, 14. April 2013

Thomas Werner
Direktor of Kalemegdan Disk