Sunday, August 1, 2010


Over here at the Nitro-Retro lounge cave, we have many favorite groups and favorite songs, but it's a strong consensus that one of our all-time top favorite European bands from the mid-60's was Austria's THE SLAVES.

There is not much information out there on these guys. Maybe this adds to the mystery, obscurity and dark quality to The Slaves? Comparable to the rawness of The Pretty Things & The Q65, and often listed as a Swiss garage band, they were an originally from Vienna, Austria. These guys were deeply entrenched in the local Swiss band scene in the mid-60's. There were actually two Swiss musicians that played with the SLAVES for a while: Jelly Pastorini (of later SHIVER fame) and Peter Rietmann (of The DYNAMITES and The SAUTERELLES fame) on bass. The core band members, however, were from Austria. But the band lived, played, recorded and released their records in Zurich, Switzerland - at least until they were forced to leave Zurich due to the use of "forbidden substances". At that time they returned to Austria where they slowly faded away into the history books.
The SLAVES only released 3 singles in their short life-span, (all incredibly rare and very expensive) but what a trio! All 3 singles were recorded and released exclusively on the Philips label in Switzerland, with great picture sleeves of the band - looking very cool indeed. Mysteriously, all 3 singles were apparently released at the same time, not helping sales & promotions.
"Slaves Time" is a masterpiece. A classic mid-60's primitive, maraca-laden mod-punk workout. But what can one say about the singer's vocal style in the song "Shut Up"? It sounds like he's a disgruntled and/or demented drunk, mumbling through his lyrics and continuously trying to catch up with the band's tempo - finally catching up at the end of each verse. Just Beautiful.
Footnote: "Slaves Time" was compiled on the second Rhino Nuggets boxset.
Turn it up and ENJOY!!

Here's a YouTube video/jukebox of their 3rd single, "Panic".


Morgan said...

Shut Up is just so great. I love the singer's extremely cool, laid back (some might say flat) delivery. Shut up, shut up. it's been a long time since I heard this. Thanks for bringing it back to my playlist.

Jack Hayden said...

I agree. The "chorus" is interesting by being so anticlimactic and understated. Great chord-based guitar solo too.

Matt said...

Thx for the comment guys!
And how about those bass lines in Slaves Time!

Whirling House said...

I'd love to see a Monks-Slaves double bill (I'm working on my time machine). They were so close in Germany and Austria.

Anonymous said...

Met The Slaves in Zurich incredible live sound no other band at the time were as good.When Karl Ratzner left I was asked to join them but declined.I have all the singles on my ipod.
Mike ex "The Blues Sounds".