Group King and Shut


Photo: King and Jester

+12 photos

Video: King and Jester

Biography of the group “King and Jester”

The King and the Jester is a cult horror-punk band from St. Petersburg. Creativity “KiSh” is distinguished by mystical fairy-tale texts and melodic sound.

“King and the Clown”

History of the group

In 1988, three Leningrad schoolchildren decided to create a musical group called “Office”. Misha Gorshenev (Gorshok) was responsible for the vocals, Sasha Balunov (Balu) played the guitar, and Sasha Shchigolev (Poruchik) played the beer barrel, which at first replaced the drum set.

At the beginning of the creative path, “King and Shut” were the group “Office”

After school, Misha entered the restoration school and there he met Andrei Knyazev (Prince), who also joined their group. The fifth member was bassist Dima Ryabchik, who got Gorshk and Knyaz to work at the Hermitage. Thanks to this, they got their own housing in a communal apartment, where the guys set up a rehearsal base.

Young Mikhail Gorshenev

In 1989, the group released the Heresy album, decorated with drawings by Gorshenev. It was not officially released, but some compositions (for example, the song “Drink”) were subsequently “brought to mind” and included in the studio albums “KiSh”.

In the photo: Mikhail Gorshenev and Andrey Knyazev

With the advent of the Prince, the concept of the group changed, Andrei began to write mystical texts, reminiscent of playful fairy tales based on myths and legends. Therefore, it was decided to change the name of the team, and after long meetings it became known as “The King and the Jester”.

The main stages of creativity

In 1990, the Tam-Tam club appeared in Leningrad, organized by the former cellist of the Aquarium group, Seva Gakel, as a counterbalance to the Leningrad Rock Club. It featured young alternative musicians who broke out of the established formats of Russian rock. On Thursdays, punk bands lit up there, and on one of those days, the guys from KiSha played their first concert there. Soon “Tam-Tam” became for them something like a second home, where they spent all day long.

King and the Clown. Concert at the Tam-Tam club, 1993

In the early 90s, the group recorded two cassettes at home: “True Killer” and “Be at home, traveler.” Almost all the songs subsequently ended up on the KiSh studio albums.

“Kish” performed in the club “Tam-tam”

In 1993, Knyazev joined the army. After demobilization, he came to his bandmates with many new lyrics and ideas. At the same time, a new guitarist, Yakov Tsvirkunov, joined the group. In 1995, Prince’s demo album Love of a Scoundrel was released (in 1999 it was revised and went on sale under the name Acoustic Album).

In the photo: Yakov Tsvirkunov

In the fall of 1996, the group’s first studio album, Stone on the Head, was ready. All texts belonged to the Prince, and Gorshok wrote all the music. Thanks to the success of the album, the musicians went beyond “Tam-Tam” and began to perform in other St. Petersburg clubs. By this time, the group was firmly entrenched in the reputation of hooligans and brawlers.

King and Jester – Stone on the head (live-1997. Polygon)

An indicator of success was the fact that Yuri Shevchuk invited them to his festival “Fill the sky with kindness”, “Kish” held concerts in the Gorbunov Palace of Culture and the Yubileiny Sports Palace.

But a real breakthrough for the team was the rotation on Our Radio of the song “I’ll Jump from the Cliff” from the 1995 demo album, which immediately increased the number of the team’s fans many times over. From that moment on, “Kish” began to gather full houses from Kamchatka to Kaliningrad and became welcome guests at the most prestigious rock festivals in the country.

“The King and the Jester” had an inimitable “fabulous” image

The group celebrated its tenth anniversary with grandiose concerts at Luzhniki and Yubileiny, a major tour of Russia and Belarus and the release of the next album. In the same year, “KiSh” were among the most advanced rock musicians in the country who took part in the recording of the album “Kinoproby”, dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the death of Viktor Tsoi. This greatly expanded the circle of their fans, which were joined by fans of classic rock.

Masha Nefedova joined KiSh in 1999

In 1998, the group’s first video was released – “The Men Ate Meat”, which got into the rotation of the Russian MTV. In 1999, a new member appeared in the band – violinist Maria Nefedova. Her instrument was first heard in the “Acoustic Album”, which was released in the same year.

King and Jester – If the meat is men

The new millennium for musicians was marked by the release of the album “Heroes and Villains”. The team did not meet the deadline, so they could not carry out all their plans. For example, the song “Memories of Past Love” was released in an instrumental version – the Prince simply did not have time to come up with a text. The recording was driven by Alisa’s guitarist Evgeny Levin. According to Knyaz, he paid too much attention to the sound of the instruments, so the vocals on the album were underdeveloped, and this led to the commercial failure of the album. However, the listeners, contrary to the fears of the musicians, fell in love with “Heroes and Villains” no less than the previous albums, especially the melancholy “The Executioner’s Bride” and the romantic ballad “The Drevlyans Remember Bitterly”.

Almost all album covers were drawn by Andrey Knyazev

In 2001, the album “Like in an old fairy tale” went on sale with a track list of 17 songs. Among them: “Damned Old House”, previously released as a single and became the leader of the charts, the finalized song of 1994 “Animal Farm”, as well as “Memories of Past Love” – ​​now with words. Shortly before the presentation of the album, guitarist Alexander Leontiev joined the permanent composition of the King and the Jester.

The King and the Fool – The Cursed Old House

The musicians loved to shock the audience and constantly came up with something unusual. During their concerts, spectacular scenery was installed, and the artists never appeared in public without appropriate costumes and makeup. The picture was complemented by Pot’s broken front teeth, which gave him an ominous flair. The group’s fans still remember the performance at the hippodrome in Ramenskoye, which was preceded by a mystical torchlight procession of Dominican monks, which led the audience into an indescribable ecstasy.

Each concert of the group was a spectacular show.

In 2004, Maria Nefedova left the group. The album “Riot on the Ship” was released without her participation. Perhaps due to the lack of a melodic violin, he met the audience with a heavier sound. In addition, the record was recorded from a “live” performance. This album is the last one to feature Baloo’s bass guitar. After Balunov left, Sergei “Zakhar” Zakharov took his place.

King and Jester – Rum

In 2005, Knyaz and Gorshok decided to pursue their creative ambitions separately and released two solo albums. Mikhail recorded a tribute album “I’m an alcoholic anarchist”, dedicated to the work of the punk band “Brigade Row”, and Andrey’s solo album “Love of a scoundrel” was imbued with romantic and medieval motifs. This experiment did not affect the atmosphere in the team, which continued to exist in the same composition.

But six years later, Knyazev nevertheless decided to leave the group and, taking violinist Dmitry Rishko with him, started his own project, Knyazz. Gorshenev at that time was completely absorbed in his new brainchild – the horror opera TODD, in the creation of which he was assisted by RAMT actors. In the fall of 2012, this unusual horror musical premiered at the Moscow Film Actor Theatre, and the music from it formed the basis of the group’s last two albums.

Frame from the musical TODD

On July 19 of the following year, the KiSh frontman died at his home from a heart attack caused by a morphine overdose, a little short of his fortieth birthday. Read more about Pot’s death in his biography.

After the death of Gorshka, the group “Korol i Shut” disbanded.

His ashes were buried in St. Petersburg, about ten thousand people attended the farewell ceremony. The musicians went on a farewell tour of the cities of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and informed the fans that from 2014 they will perform as the Northern Fleet group. The name “The King and the Fool” was decided to be left only on the posters of the TODD opera.

Collaborations with other artists

  • “Summer Will End” – “The King and the Fool” ft. “Kukryniksy”
  • “Punk Rock Lessons” – “The King and the Jester” ft. “Brigade Contract”
  • “Oh, in the meadow, in the meadow” – “The King and the Fool” ft. Pelagia
  • Ulva Brewery – Mikhail Gorshenev ft. “Troll oppresses spruce”
  • “Do not rush!” – Mikhail Gorshenev ft. Chacha and the “Lomonosov Plan”
  • “Werewolf” – Mikhail Gorshenev ft. “Tales of the Black City”


At the Russian Music Awards-2006 ceremony, Mikhail Gorshenev fought with the lead singer of the Zveri group Roman Bilyk. There were already disagreements between the two teams, and having met Roman, who was going up for the award in the nomination “Best Group”, Mikhail could not resist sarcastic remarks. Bilyk responded in kind, and now the musicians are rolling on the floor, and the security service is trying to separate them. Both groups were barred from entering the after-party ceremony.

The King and the Jester – The Drevlyans remember with bitterness (acoustics, TV)

In November 2007, at a KiSh concert, a group of nationalists attacked the audience. A pyrotechnic projectile hit the leg of one of the group members, which started a fire. In parallel, a fight broke out, which resulted in the hospitalization of several fans of the group with head injuries and fractures. One of them, 21-year-old Alexei Kovrizhkin, died without regaining consciousness.


  • Stone on the head (1996)
  • King and Jester (1997)
  • Acoustic Album (1999)
  • Heroes and Villains (2000)
  • Like in an old fairy tale (2001)
  • Sorry no gun (2002)
  • Riot on the ship (2004)
  • Nightmare Seller (2006)
  • Shadow of the Clown (2008)
  • Demon Theater (2010)
  • TODD. Feast of Blood (2011)
  • TODD. On the Edge (2012)

Group “King and Shut” now

After the death of Mikhail Gorshenev in 2013, the King and the Jester group broke up. The musicians founded the new collective “Northern Fleet”, motivating this by the fact that without Pot “KiSh” cannot exist. The name is a nod to Mikhail, the title of a song he wrote from the album “Riot on the Ship”.

Group “Northern Fleet”

Andrey Knyazev continues to perform as part of the KnyaZz group. He did not join the “Northern Fleet” and forbade them to perform their songs. For the summer of 2018, anniversary concerts of the KnyaZz group were scheduled in Moscow and St. Petersburg, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the founding of the group and the fifth anniversary of Gorshenev’s death.

“KnyaZz”, group of Andrey Knyazev

Korol i Shut – listen online