On the 16.07.1970 COUPLA PROG entered the Südwestfunk's
(former radio station in Southwest Germany) studio U1 in Baden-Baden
for the second time (first visit was 26.02.1970 – SWF-Sessions
Vol. 2) with big plans. They were going to record their own
pop-opera "Edmundo Lopez".
The session would be a challenge as the piece was not just a bunch
of songs mixed into each other but a continuous 60-minute opus with
11 different parts. As this was just a basic radio-recording studio
with no facilities for overdubbing or editing it was to prove very
difficult. It was decided to record the pop-opera in two parts: one
approximately 25 minutes long other approximately 36.
The difficulties arising from the session are not at all noticeable
and COUPLA PROG produced an almost perfect piece of
underground and progressive rock history played with passion and
very high quality.
But what is this "tragedy with music" all about?
Edmundo Lopez lives in South America, has been drafted into the
army and deserts to the mountains on the wishes of his pacifist
mother. One day he sees a man armed with a machine gun and hides.
The man loses a stack of handbills...
COUPLA PROG have been playing long enough together to be able
to construct this story of reality and resignation combined with
musical complexity in such a way that the pathos of the story is not
lost. These are 4 musicians that revel in spontaneity but are
professional enough to keep a wry smile whilst lending Edmundo Lopez
a strong human nature.
On the handbill that Edmundo has found it says: "Message to
all soldiers. Throw down your weapons and desert. Beforehand though
kill all of those who want to get you killed!" Mr. Thompson was
one of these. He used to own a pet shop and now his business is
Guitarist and singer Rolf Peters, who writes the texts and is
the musical brain behind the story of Edmundo Lopez, died in 1971 at
the age of 21 from an overdose of sleeping pills and alcohol. This
was not a surprise to those who knew him. A newspaper article from
the time compared him to Dylan Thomas if he'd lived longer and had
more time to develop his creative talent.
The stranger with the machine gun returns. His name is Christobal
G., he killed his colonel because he had ordered him to shoot a
captured partisan. Edmundo doesn't understand his actions and
reproaches him. He would never kill a person against his conscience...
Co-author of the opera is bassist Reiner Niketta. By the age
of 6 he had already played classic piano at home. His compositions
lean more to the classical direction than rock. Among his influences
are Tangerine Dream and Procol Harum.
Christobal wants to take Edmundo to his village where he can also
hide. On the way they hear shooting and Christobal runs unarmed away
from it because he believes his parents are in danger. Christobal's
mother is interrogated about his whereabouts. Christobal gives
himself up voluntarily...
Wolfgang Schindhelm was also involved in the writing of the
opera. He played organ and electric piano in addition to singing. He
plays in a simple melodic style
and his compositions lean in a
The soldiers shoot Christobal and his mother. Edmundo saves
Christobal's younger sister by shooting a soldier with Christobal's
machine gun. But he still has a guilty conscience. He gives himself
up and is sentenced to death while the arms dealer Thompson uses his
chance and sells guns to the partisans for 20 million Pesos.
Hubert Donauer is the drummer of the band. Aged 19 he is the
youngest member of the band, not only has he superb timing but is
also both the motivator and constant factor in the group.
COUPLA PROG were never bothered about a band career.
They played mostly a benefit and politically motivated concerts.
Lopez" they will never be forgotten!
More on the band's history can be found in the booklet accompanying
the CD COUPLA
PROG "Sprite" SWF-Sessions Vol. 2 on LONG
HAIR LHC 2. "Sprite" is a compilation of
titles from the SWF-Sessions recorded on 26.02.1970 and 16.04.1971.
The remaining unpublished titles from these recording sessions, as
well as the complete session from 18.02.1972 with a different
line-up and the 18 minute highlight "Death is a great gambler,
but if I win,finally I can die" will also be released on LONG
ALONE IN THE MOUNTAINS
PAMPHLET TO MR. M. THOMPSON
CHRISTOBAL G. 07:04
ON THE WAY TO A VILLAGE
KAKI GATAL 07:25