You are currently viewing The autobiography of Sergio Gramática, drummer of Los Violadores

I was born in the Federal Capital, but until I was eleven I lived in the West, more precisely in San Justo. Two blocks from my house was the Huracán de San Justo club, and on Saturdays all the groups of the moment would play. When they went to play Los Gatos, of course I went, because I had been listening to them on records, and I loved them. When I saw Oscar Moro’s gleaming double-bass Ludwig drum kit, I was blown away. The first thing I wondered was how he was going to play all that. I had already seen Keith Moon’s and Ginger Baker’s drums in photos, both with two bass drums each. But I saw Moro’s live and directly. When they entered the stage it was shocking to see Oscar Moro with those hairs, Pappo, Litto Nebbia. I will never forget that image.

From then on, and especially after a while, I understood that rock is a journey through image and sound. Inexorably, one is linked to the other. How much truth exists in that saying that says that a picture is worth a thousand words.

When Los Gatos started playing it was impressive because it was a strong and clean sound. Ciro Fogliatta’s Hammond covered it all and Pappo’s guitar too. I watched Moro throughout the entire show – which lasted no more than thirty minutes – because I wanted to learn the things he did by seeing him in action. That for me was rock, although at that time they called it beat.

My parents were from the lower class, and although they never had a house, or a car, or anything material, they always gave me a lot of freedom to come and go, and to do what I wanted. My old worker. My old housewife. She did everything: she cooked for a school, she took care of the sick, she worked in a factory. Since we never had a house, I counted fourteen moves; back and forth all the time. I was always the perfect anti-hood kid, I never fit in with anything. That must be why I embraced music.

When that trend of neighborhood rock appeared, I couldn’t believe it. I thought how could they sing to those things, if music can be from anywhere and be good just the same.

Once, reading Pelo magazine, I saw that Pescado Rabioso played at the Teatro Opera on a Sunday morning. For me it was great because I liked it, and it had its first album Ten-year-olds. Besides, it was great for me: I was a boy and I didn’t want to go out at night, since most of the recitals were given at one in the morning. So I took the 159 –the white one–, and I went to the center.

When I got to the theater I went to the ticket office to get my ticket, and the guy told me that Pescado Rabioso wasn’t playing, that at the last minute they had put on a new band called Sui Generis, and he asked me if I wanted to get in anyway. I did not know them, but I entered. I don’t know if Rabid Fish suspended their show or if they had already separated. Inside the theater the curtain was open, and on the stage there was a piano, a drum kit and a chair with an acoustic guitar propped up.

The Sui Generis came on stage, started playing, and I didn’t like what I heard at all. It was all very languid, too languid. On the second theme I got up and left. Alone, walking down the street, I thought and told myself: “I don’t want to be like those guys. The day I form a rock band, I don’t want to be like that.”

In February 1983 I attended the biggest show I’ve ever seen: Van Halen at the Obras stadium. Four guys who not only connected with the public, but also gave a master class on how rock is played and acted. I said to myself: “Rock is all that positive density, it’s all that transmission of energy that is difficult to explain in words.”

Despite the fact that in Argentina there was great talent for rock, I was not completely convinced of what those bands did live. They believed that they had to bring to the stage what they did on records. And actually one thing has nothing to do with the other. It’s like when they say that television belongs to the producers, the cinema belongs to the directors and the theater belongs to the actors. A great truth of the entertainment world. That is the difference. It was always like this.

If rock is the cult of personality, it is also the triumph of the nobodies, of all those who were displaced from their family, from their environment, whether because of their tastes, their appearance or whatever. Rock embraced them, and with their sound and their poetry gave them enough strength and energy (myself) to move on. To be able to fight against adversity, step on the ground with dignity and be oneself. And there I include punk, which is a step further. I define punk as a way of defending yourself in every moment you have left of life.

I entered the colimba in the middle of 1978, and I had to do it in Río Santiago, this is passing La Plata.

I remember that, on one of the train trips due to the medical check-up, I bought the magazine El Expreso Imaginario at a kiosk. In that number it brought the note on punk, by Alfredo Rosso, and on the cover it brought a drawing by Horacio Fontova, which said Punk: a violent cut in popular music. The note was very good and complete. Of course, on the train I read it all.

The funny thing is that I thought the word punk had something to do with boxing; It was a strange word to me, and I wasn’t sure what it meant. He associated the term with bands of that time such as The Tubes, Alberto and Lost Trios Paranoias, or even Alice Cooper, who at that time did all kinds of theatrical performances on stage.

Even more funny was when I thought that The Ramones were a country band, and that they were brothers on top of that. Nothing to see, of course. He hadn’t listened to any of them. Neither the Ramones, nor the Sex Pistols, nor The Clash, although their names always appeared in the press and caught my attention. that note in The Imaginary Express cleared everything up for me. From then on I considered that I already liked them, despite not having heard anything.

I bought all the issues of Pelo magazine, which came out once a month. I liked to read about music, in addition to keeping informed of what was happening in the musical activity, especially with regard to punk, which was revolutionizing the history of rock. Evidently there was a curiosity and a passion for the new.

In one of the issues of the magazine I discovered an advertisement that said: “Argentine punk. I have to inform you that punk exists in Argentina, because I am here and I am”. It was signed by Hari-B. Unknown adress.

To the next issue of the magazine I sent a letter that said: “Hari-B, I would like to communicate with you. My name is Sergio and I’m a drummer, a punk friend”. And I sent my Bernal address.

Days later I received his answer in a typewritten letter, where he had put his telephone number so that I could call him. I was very happy because I thought that I was no longer alone in this punk thing; at least, there were already two of us. That’s how we met.

We started rehearsing on weekends in the garage of his house. I would pass him songs I had written and he would pass me his. Me with my red Caf drum kit, and him with his white Faim guitar.

I sang and played drums at the same time. The first songs we released were “Maquinaria”, “None of that”, “Pathetic old men”, “Dirty power”, “Moral and good customs” and “Where are the women”.

After several rehearsals, I told Hari that we could call the band Los Testicles, since there were only two of us. It was between funny and bizarre, and more at that time. In the end it looked like this: The Testicles.

In 1980 Argentina was a defeated country, without freedom and without direction. The military advanced on repression, disappearances and a devastating economic policy violating all individual rights.

At that time, being alone and looking at the ceiling in my Bernal room, I came up with another name for the band, because Los Testicles seemed too ridiculous. That name was Rapists. Los Violadores, I thought, sounds good for the kind of stuff we do. And furthermore, it is a way of ridiculing that dictatorship that had done so much damage to the country. From then on nothing was ever the same in my life.

I remember that the first thing I told him was my old man, and he told me everything. That I was crazy, how was I going to do something like that, that I was an idiot, that we were in the midst of a dictatorship and that I was never going to get anywhere with music, and I don’t know what else…

Later I told Hari-B, who was about to get out of the colimba. He did like the name change.

The Violators in recent formation

One afternoon, walking through the center, looking for strange places to play, on Marcelo T. De Alvear street I found, downstairs, a basement. I got. It was a cabaret called Mon Bijou. Decided to talk to someone to play there, I was lucky to find the owner at that time. We started talking, I explained about the group, and that’s how the show came to fruition. The owner had no problem with either the name of the band or the style of music.

It should be clarified that due to permit problems and I don’t know what other things, the show was not held in the Mon Bijou cabaret, but in a place that was next door, called Salón La Cuesta. It was a kind of folk rock, which also belonged to the same owner.

At that concert, among the audience – about twenty-five people – was Stuka. When it was over, he approached me and told me that he had loved the show, and that if we needed a bassist he would offer himself. Even though he made it clear to me that he played the guitar, of course I said yes.

A few days later we started rehearsing, and with incredible speed he brought out all the songs.

In January 1981 we performed again at the Abba Café Concert in Caballito. At that concert Pil was among the audience, with whom we had already crossed paths several times. After that we all went for a drink, and we talked about the possibility of incorporating him as a singer. There was some reluctance in the group, simply because the move was dangerous. Musically, we functioned very well as a trio, and adding someone else was not easy at all, especially since at that time there were no singers like him. But since I liked the idea of ​​a quartet, I suggested giving him a cassette with the songs so he could learn them. We went with Hari to the house and left it with him.

Then we arranged to do a rehearsal all four of us together, and so we tried it out. We did that rehearsal in February 1981, the same day that Queen played at the Vélez Sarsfield stadium. Because of the claw and the attitude that he showed, Pil stayed in the band. With its incorporation, what was, for me, the fourth piece of a formation that always seemed fair to me for punk, that is, the quartet, was completed: an aesthetic and defining concept that I had in mind from the beginning, since until that moment we had been playing as a trio.

Our next show was on March 14, ’81, at Le Chevalet, where we played about five or six times that year. For me, starting in ’81, the consecrating stage of Los Violadores begins, although the rest have experienced it with a certain delay. The mere fact of having played at the University of Belgrano, due to all the scandal that arose, due to all the violence that occurred that day, and due to the fact that the event was covered by all the media, for a band that did not have recorded not even a demo, it was a triumph.

It was a feat for someone like me, who had started all this in 1978, and who did not even imagine how and in what way events were going to present themselves.

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