Matt Collins is Karlo Metikoš

photo by Marjan Ciglič


 Karlo Metikoš or Matt Collins as he was called in the western market was a Croatian musician.

He was born in 1940, and his love for music has been present in the family since his father graduated from the Music Academy. At the age of seven, he enrolled in music school, and in his adolescence, he discovers the records of King of Rock’n’roll Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Little Richard, and Jarry Lee Lewis.


He recognized something powerful and strangely appealing about rock ‘n’ roll.

Not much has gone from the fascination with sound from the west to the action. He made his debut on “Prvi pljesak“ and begin his career as a fun singer. Later, he started singing regularly on the dancers.

photo by Marjan Ciglič

The 1950s were not easy for rock’n’roll artists in Zagreb, so Karlo joined few people that were about to form a vocal quartet. Individualism turned him back to a soloist, so in the summer of 1960, he accepted an offer to play at a newly opened club near Poreč (a popular town and holiday resort in Istria) where he delighted his guests with his R’N’R, which led him to is trying to make it abroad.

Karlo, fearless and optimistic, without a good knowledge of French, was fortunate to meet the manager of the US military clubs in France, musician Jeff Moran, whom he had known before.

He got his first engagement, had a manager, mastered the language, and increasingly played outside US clubs. At one audition in Paris, he was selected between 500 candidates, which was a key moment in his Paris adventure. The manager of Karlo Metikoš opened the phone book of New York and drew the line: the new star will be named Matt Collins!

Matt Collins became a permanent star at the best and most famous Paris rock club – Gold Druot, where he performed with a promising band called the aptly named Les New Stars.

The handsome blond young man became one of the first names in Paris rock, and over time he became not only a famous but also a rich man.

One encounter changed his life and Josipa Lisac became his irreplaceable life companion.

Josipa Lisac is a Croatian singer and one of the most famous representatives of Croatian music.

Josipa and Karlo met back in 1971, and love happened at first sight.

On the first day, when they met in Petrinja at a joint performance in 1971. “So what am I looking for, I wondered when I first heard her sing… I immediately fell in love … I felt that there was someone out of the ordinary, who deserves my attention, when I realized that I was already a little old and tired of rock ‘n’ roll … “, explained Metikoš while he was asked in one interview why he stopped his r’n’r raison d’etrea perpetuated in the unforgettable Matt Collins.

After his last trip to solo waters, he estimated well that composing was his final choice. The last track he would sing as Matt Collins was Presley’s Holiday Blue Christmas, recorded in 1985.

Karlo dedicated himself to his composing career, with Josipa singing instead. This co-authored tandem has created unique pieces of music, from the legendary album „Dnevnik jedne ljubavi“ (Diary of a Love) to rock opera Gubec beg and „Grička vještica“ (The Witch of Grič). Twenty years of living and working together were interrupted by sudden death.

Karlo Metikoš passed away at the age of 51, and he spent most of his life with a music diva, Josipa Lisac.

In the Mirogoj cemetery, only Josipa’s performance of Ave Maria could be heard from the gramophone, because that is exactly what her Karlo wished. The legendary king of European and local rock’n’roll lives today in his songs and in concerts that are being performed, only to honor him.

Without Karlo Metikoš, domestic rock history would be much poorer. At a time when rock was supposed to “provide young people with plenty of opportunities for fun and dance”, Karlo went one step further: he became one of the first international music stars.

He was awarded the Order of Danica Hrvatska with the image of Marko Marulić for his special contribution to culture.

Bernarda Cenkovčan, author

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