Never To Be Forgotten: PETER RIETMANN

This is a tribute to Peter Rietmann (Born, June 14. 1945) who has unfortunately died on cancer in ca. August 2009.

Peter Rietmann (ca. 1965) At home (Photo by Rolf Antener)

Peter Rietmann rates without a doubt as the leading Swiss Beat and Rock and Roll Bass player from the 60s! His playing seems to have been mainly based on feeling, technics, and skills. He could put a perfect base for the other musicians in the band to play on, like only very few bassplayers possibly ever could!

Peter Rietmann (r.i.p.)
A brilliant musician with a great ear for cool sounds. While a lot of people back in the early 60s still had their doubts about the Rolling Stones slightly unpolished sound and look, Peter Rietmann was sure that the Stones were about to make it about as big as The Beatles. He was right about that!

Correct infos about Peter Rietmann are kinda hard to get, because he never really cared to talk so much about his old bands over and over again. He hardly ever gave any interviews at all.

He even refused to get interviewed by the makers of the books Als Die Haare Länger Wurden, and Beat Pop Protest, simply because he didn't want to talk about the past anymore, but also because he knew that only the bookmakers would be profiting in the end. They were never offering him any money for it either. Most of what has been written about Peter's musical past in recent years seems to be seriously wrong. I'll try to correct most of the errors with this blog entry by just adding the correct facts.

The interviews about him that I've seen were actually never really scratching the past! They've always mainly been interviews about his "present" bands only.

Back in ca. early 1982 when I've first called Peter for some infos about his old bands The Dynamites, and Les Sauterelles on the phone, he invited me from the spot for a meeting / lenghty interview at his place. Since because I knew a lot about cool 60s music myself, we've immediately became friends too! He was a totally humble, down to earth kinda guy, with absolutely zero rock star attitudes at all! He's been just a music fan like myself too!

Peter Rietmann, 1965 (Photo by Ruedi Bertschi)
Peter was never collecting any of the records that he has played on, but he has bought a couple of records by some other cool bands that he liked. The first day when I've met him he was introducing me to the back then still brandnew Buried Alive 12" by the Lyres on Ace Of Hearts records as perhaps his top favorite current record! At this point I immediately knew that we would become friends, because the Lyres were one my favorite bands too. He had just recently gotten the record from Tony Thomas, a friend from Boston, Mass. that moved to Basel in around the late 70s. Tony then turned out to be the bandleader of a great local Basel Punk band called Union, and also of The Code, a very cool 60s influenced 80s pop punk rock and roll band from Basel including Peter Rietmann, that later on became the Lombego Surfers!

Anyways, to get back to the story, Peter Rietmann has never kept any of the records that he has played on. He was generally using his personal copies of the records that were ever released by his bands to hand out as presents to some nice friends in the 60s already, this is unfortunately even including some now unfortunately long lost unreleased acetates by The Dynamites. One of the lost Dynamites acetates supposedly came with a great instrumental track called Explosions. So by the time when I first met him in ca. 1982, he was already long out of everything, including records, bandphotos, bandcards, tapes, etc. All that he had left were a couple of portraits of mostly himself and his very good old friend Rolf Antener of The Dynamites, and Les Sauterelles. He even gave them to me for present too! Some of them are now being displayed exclusively and for the very first time ever on this blog.

Peter Rietmann, 1965/66 (Photo by Rolf Antener)
Peter Rietmann has never earned one cent from any of the records that he has played on, which as it turned out must have been quite a bit disapointing to him, because there were a couple of hits amongst them.

He could never afford to live a fancy life, or to own something real luxury, especially not while I knew him during the early 80s until to his final death in August 2009.

Later on during the late 80s he got some very bad health problems from drinking, and then several years later after he finally got his drinking habbits halfways under control, his heavy cigarette smoking has finally also paid it's toll too. 

He was unable to tour around Europe with The Lombego Surfers anymore thanks to some bad pain in his stomach, that's why he had to leave them towards the mid 90s.

A major loss in his life must have been the death of his old friend Rolf Antener from The Dynamites, and Les Sauterelles who was suffering on lung-cancer, and had suddendly died (chocked) at night while asleep in the early 90s! Peter then was in and out of the hospital for the next couple of years. During this time he understandably quit giving interviews, possibly also to just keep his pains a secret to the outside world.

He also refused to play at Les Sauterelles first reunion gig too, because he could not handle the idea to play as Les Sauterelles without Rolf Antener again.

1963, stone-age mod Peter Rietmann with his first bike
He would not even let some his closest friends know that he had cancer. The last couple of times when I saw him he said to me that he feels "old," and that the good times were long gone! I've never thought that only a couple of days later he would already be found death.

He was never asking me for any favours, except maybe for that Koobas 45 with French-only Picturesleeve that he was beggin' me for after he had seen it! A record which he has kept for until the rest of his life, because they were his personal favorite band from the 60s! He has seen them a couple of times live in 1967, while The Koobas were playing some dates at the Atlantis in Basel (he was even sharing the stage with them at some points too!), and has been friends of them ever since.

During the last couple of years before his death he was mostly into Tex-Mex music, and also The Raunch Hands! He was mentioning to me repeatedly that The Raunch Hands from New York City could have been a band that he would have liked to play with.

The following family tree of Peter Rietmann shows that he's been the bassplayer of literally all the best Swiss 60s beat bands at a time while the respective bands got to their at their absolute peak!

THE DYNAMITES (ca. April 1964 - April 1966)

Peter Rietmann sporting his very first guitar and car back while
he was still taking his first lessons from 
The Dynamites leader
Robert Wittner in ca. April 1964.
Peter Rietmann was starting out as the bandleader of some unknown short living Beat band back while he was still taking his very first lessons from The Dynamites bandleader Robert Wittner in ca. March, or April 1964. This unknown short living band has to my knowledge only been existing inside the practice room. Bandmembers are unknown. Move It, an explosive super early Beat mover by Cliff Richard And The Shadows has been the very first song which Peter has ever learned to play. After the first couple of lessons, Robert Wittner could already feel Peter's talents and strenghts for the instrument. Peter Rietmann was then asked to join The Dynamites in April 1964 (to replace Willy Lanz) with whom he was later on recording several classic Swiss Beat records with, including the killer Columbia hit Single Too Late - a song that has made it onto #2 on the Swiss charts in 1965! The band was still called The Red Dynamites when he joined them.

Robert Wittner: "Peter Rietmann and three other guys had formed a band. They've had already bought their instruments and amps, but were unable to play them. They've wanted to get some lessons from me. I've then learned their drummer, as well as their bassplayer, plus their lead guitarist, and their rhythm guitarist how to play their instruments. I've got paid 10 Swiss Franks from each member per hour, and was receiving 40 Swiss Franks altogether from the band per each hour! They've couldn't play their instruments at the begining, but two weeks later they were already able to play one song by Cliff Richard And The Shadows. When I've showed each one of them a couple of things, I've quickly realized Peter's incredible talents. Since because of the danger that our bassplayer could suddendly be sent to jail for a couple of months, but also because he was unable to progress on bass, and then last but not least of course because of Peter Rietmann's awesome talents, I've asked him to join The Dynamites. Two weeks later, we've already played our first gig -a big Battle Of The Bands- with Rietmann at the Mustermesse in Basel where we've made the first price!"

This band battle at the Mustermesse, Basel had been part of the first Pepsi Cola contest "Music Fuer Junge Leute Von Heute", a huge contest that had already been started back in Autumn 1963, and was lasting for way over half a year! The first big Pepsi Cola final round held on November 8. 1963, at Restaurant Tea-Room Globus, Basel came with The Strangers, The Blizzards, Les Diables Rouges, Peter + Alex Felix, Retiwerous Gospel-Singers, along with three Jazz music orchestras. The 2nd big final round from the same first Pepsi Cola contest was then held on January 24. 1964 at the same Restaurant Tea-Room Globus in Basel again, with the following nine contenders: The Red Dynamites (featuring Willy Lanz on Bass), Retiwerous Gospel-Singers (winners of the first round), Fred Ropele Quintett (they've made 2nd place on the first round), The Strangers (3rd place contestants from the first round), plus several Jazz orchestras. Of course, there were many other smaller battles before and in between the afforementioned two bigger final rounds! The third and last final round of the first Pepsi Cola contest from Basel that was held on April 27. 1964 at the fairily large Mustermesse rates as the very first gig of The Red Dynamites featuring Peter Rietmann on bass. The Red Dynamites ended up winning the Pepsi Cola band battle with an explosive coververson of the Cliff Richard And The Shadows track Move it.

Sad fact: The whole band battle at the Mustermesse, Basel had been recorded onto reel to reel tape by Bruno Kaeser, the manager of The Strangers, but the recordings were stolen during the mid 80s by some unknown middle aged guy who had claimed that he was a reporter in search for material for a big upcomming story that has never happened!! Those recordings unfortunately seem to be lost forever. The same unknown person could have been responsible for the raid of several other local Basel 60s tape/photo/poster archives too. We would like to ask this unknown Swiss "reporter" from Basel at this point to immediately return all the tapes to me, or to their previous owners, because the tapes and material in question is undoubtably of enormous historical value, and could be used for release. Also, if you are an old Swiss 60s fan, or a bandmember of some Swiss 60s Beat/RnB band, with any tape, photo-, or poster- material to share, then please get in touch with me too, because your stuff could easily be good enough to use! I'm sure that we could work out something.

Upon winning the local Pepsi Cola battle at the Mustermesse, Basel,  The Red Dynamites went to play the National Swiss Pepsi Cola contest end finals in Schaffhausen, where they've made the ungrateful 2nd place behind some typical Swiss yodeling band! First price would have been an international  record contract in Germany. I suppose that the yodeling  band was most likely arriving with several local friends amongst the jury members. It was definitely not very correct of the jury to put a yodeling band as the winners of a Pepsi Cola contest that originally went for under the slogan of "Music For Young People Of Today," because Swiss yodeling music is an old traditional Swiss music style that has been around forever (or at least since they were starting out to press the very first phonograph records some 100+ years ago) It must have been a tough competition for the Swiss Beat bands to play against all these wrongly placed traditional Gospel, Yodeling, and Jazz bands for sure. The contest should have been good for Swiss 60s Beat bands only.

1. Pepsi Cola contest 2nd final round from January 24. 1964 with The Red Dynamites on 3rd place, behind some local  Gospel, and Jazz bands from Basel. The Vampires were also used as the house band at the very first final round in November 1963 too! The line that says "At the Pepsi Cola contest there will be just winners!"  should have really read "Everybody will be losing at the Pepsi Cola contest!" They were actually acquiring hundreds of local bands from Basel to work for free for a contest that would last for about 8, or 9 months!

The Red Dynamites winning certificate from the 1. Pepsi Cola contest at the Mustermesse, Basel from 27. April 1964, also rates as the very first gig of The Red Dynamites with Peter Rietmann on bass.

THE RED DYNAMITES with Peter Rietmann as their new member at the Bierkeller, Basel in ca. May (or latest June) 1964. L-R: Hisam Werner (drums), Rolf Antener (lead guitar), Robert Wittner (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, Peter Rietmann (bass). Hisam Werner left soon thereafter to be replaced by Peter Thommen.  The Bierkeller was opened by LES PIRATES (THE SEVENS) in April 1964. THE RED DYNAMITES were booked as the 2nd band to play at the Bierkeller after LES PIRATES. They've both played there for about one month. Also take note of the very rare promo poster for THE 3 MECKY'S great Resonor Records EP displayed on the back of wall (they were an early guitar instrumental band from Zurich, that had nothing to do with the band from the Elite Special label of the same name). My copy of THE 3 MECKY'S EP was signed by one band member in June 1964, but by judging from the photo I would say that it could have been released by ca. May 1964 already.

THE DYNAMITES in ca. 1965. L-R: Peter Thommen (drums), Rolf Antener (lead guitar), Peter Rietmann (bass), and Robert Wittner (lead vocals, rhythm guitar)

THE DYNAMITES ca. June 1965. L-R: Peter Rietmann (bass), Robert Sulzer (piano, vocals), Rolf Antener (lead guitar), Markus "Muggi" Hungerbühler (organ, and rhythm guitar), Robert Wittner (lead vocals, drums)

Article from Blick (daily newspaper) June 10. '65 about the TONY SHERIDAN WITH THE
at Züspa Halle, Orlikon from June 8. 1965!

Article from Star Club Magazin ca. June 1965, about the Tony Sheridan with The Dynamites gig at Züspa Halle, Orlikon nearby Zurich. The underlined text translates to: "The Youth-Danceclub of Zurich has booked Tony Sheridan together with the beloved and highly popular Dynamites for his backing band.

THE DYNAMITES ca. July 1965. L-R: Robert Sulzer (vocals, piano), Robert Wittner (drums, vocals), Peter Rietmann (bass), Rolf Antener (lead guitar)

STAN URBAN AND THE DYNAMITES at the Pony, Zürich, ca. July 1st 1965. L-R: Robert Sulzer (standing at the organ), Peter Rietmann (bass), Rolf Antener (lead guitar), Stan Urban (lead vocals, piano), plus Robert Wittner on drums (seated, hidden off picture behind Rietmann)

The Dynamites were opening as the leading Swiss Beat band for Cliff Richard and The Shadows at the Hallenstadium in Zurich on August 14. 1965, and were backing up such greats as a totally boozed-up Tony Sheridan (of The Beatles, at the Hallenstadium, Zürch on June 8. 1965), or the famous Scotch Jerry Lee Lewis like Rock "N" Roll pianist Stan Urban, who was previously touring Europe as Gene Vincent's piano player, and with whom The Dynamites have played several shows together!

Opening for Cliff Richard And The Shadows at the Hallenstadium, Zurich (Aug. 14. 1965) with new drummer Peter Schaefer!
THE DYNAMITES in Paris, France (February 1966) L-R: Rolf Antener (lead guitar), Robert Sulzer (piano, vocals), Robert Wittner (vocals, rhythm guitar), Peter Schaefer (drums), and Peter Rietmann (bass)

THE DYNAMITES, ca. April 1966. L-R: Peter Rietmann (bass), Robert Wittner (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Peter Schaefer (drums), Robert Sulzer (lead vocals, piano), and Bernhard Spiess (lead guitar)

The Dynamites story would be way too long to repeat at this point, but I'm planing to add it onto my blog later.

THE BLUE SOUNDS (ca. May 1966 - 1966)

THE BLUE SOUNDS, ca. May/June 1966. L-R: Robert "Bob" Muir (lead vocals, harmonica), Mike Whitlock (lead guitar), Peter Rietmann (bass), Markus Althaus (rhythm guitar), and Shorty (drums)

THE MARKSMEN (Liverpool, UK)
The Blue Sounds have formed in ca. September 1965 out of the ashes of The Marksmen (a British Beat band from Liverpool in the early to mid 60s), and The Silver Beats from Basel.

Mike Whitlock: "In the summer of 1965 Bob and I left England and travelled through France  north Italy and finally ended in Basel."

The Blue Sounds formed while crossing the Rheinbrücke (the main bridge that leads over the river Rhine in the center of Basel). Markus Althaus (rhythm guitar), son of the famous Swiss painter Oskar Althaus, and his brother Lukas Althaus, both ex members of The Silver Beats, had met the ex Marksmen lead singer/harmonica player Bob Muir, and ex Marksmen lead guitarist Mike Whitlock while walking over the bridge. They've been catching Bob and Mike singing folk-beat songs together on the bridge. After they've had heard them, they've asked the two Britishmen from Liverpool if they would like to form a new band, and by the time the four of them were finishing passing the bridge together as one unit, The Blue Sounds were already formed.

BLUE SOUNDS, 1965: L-R:  Lukas, Bob, Mike, and Markus
Mike Whitlock: "I came up with the name The Blue Sounds. I said we will play RnB, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Spencer Davis Group type numbers. I had no electric guitar, or amplifier, so I've had to borrow the equipment."

Mike Whitlock: "We would go many times to the coffee bar Oasis, where many groups went like The Dynamites, The Sevens etc. Near the Oasis was a record shop, Sesam Records. I went to listen to records and learn new numbers. The girl who worked at the record shop was very nice, and let me stay all day. Bob and I helped Swiss bands to write down the words to songs by listening to records. We stayed mainly in Basel, playing. Became friends with members of The Dynamites and other bands. We got a new drummer, but I can not remember his name."

The Blue Sounds always got billed as a British Beat band from Liverpool!

They must have been a pretty wild Stones influenced harp wailing 60s Beat/RnB band from what I've heard. After Peter Rietmann had seen them playing live, but also mainly because of conflicts with The Dynamites leader (Peter took his girlfriend Bea, and he even married her!) Peter deceided to leave The Dynamites in favour to play with The Blue Sounds

Mike Whitlock: "We needed a new bass player so Peter Rietmann (ex The Dynamites) joined our band. He said he liked the music we were playing. At some point "Shorty" (ex The Why Not) also joined our band. This line-up stayed till the band nearly finished."

Peter only stayed with The Blue Sounds for about two months. 

When Peter got the offer from The Slaves manager Jaggi that he could now play with the legendary Slaves, he already left The Blue Sounds again. 

Mike Whitlock: "At The Hirschen in Zurich we met a band from England, The Big Wheel (featuring Ron Bryer etc). Peter had already left by then. We then played with the singer from The Big Wheel playing bass. I remember playing at a restaurant in Gstaad called The Lantern that was owned by an egyptian millionaress. We played there for 1 week, and each night she asked us to play late for her."

Mike Whitlock: "A hungarian man asked if he could be our manager and paid us weekly. He owed a Hotel/Restaurant in a small town outside Zurich. In the town there was a factory making stockings/tights employing many young women I think. The owner also had a wine cellar in Zurich. We stayed there so many weeks and practised and played.

Once we travelled to Stuttgart in Germany to play in a club. Once we travelled to Paris to play in a competition. We did not win I think The Big Three from Liverpool won. We played clubs in Basel, and Zurich, other places I cannot remember."

The Blue Sounds were making some private unreleased recordings at some points, but the unreleased reel to reel master tape seems to be in the hands of some old German ex-girlfriend of Markus from Munich, and Markus does not seem to be interested to ever share the unreleased tape with anybody. The tape should be great according to Markus though!

Markus Althaus (the guy at the top right in the photo) has been the very best and closest buddy of Peter Rietmann for years, and years, and years! They 've met each others at least once a week. It was also Markus that got wind of Peter's death first.

THE SLAVES (1966 - 1967)

The Slaves were a legendary Austrian 60s Beat/RnB band from Vienna with an almost Punk attitude! Easily the best 60s band to ever come out of Austria!

By the time when Peter Rietmann joined them on Bass, The Slaves were already banned from most of the Swiss clubs, because of bad reputation. Some people have claimed that The Slaves gigs would sometime end up in fights between The Slaves lead singer (Paul Fischer), and somebody from the audience! I believe that the whole thing was probably just hyped to death by the press, along with a few other people!

Definitely the wildest band to EVER play Switzerland!

There are still no photos of Peter Rietmann with The Slaves known up to this point, this is mainly because The Slaves' lineup with Peter Rietmann has only played some gigs abroad, mostly at the San Remo, in Vienna, Austria, where they've reportedly been booked for several months in a row, but also few gigs in Germany too!

Is there anybody from Austria, or Germany out there that could send me a photo THE SLAVES with Peter Rietmann in the band?? I would love to finally get one for my files!

THE COUNTDOWNS (March 1967 - April 1967)

THE COUNTDOWNS ca. April 1967 during an interview for Albert Werner's classic Sali Mitenand radio show at Radio DRS, Basel. L-R: Hans-Peter Börlin (drums), Roger Vogel (vocals, rhythm guitar), Peter Rietmann (bass), Claude Pfau (lead guitar)

Peter Rietmann joined The Countdowns in March 1967 (to replace the ex-Merseys, and ex-Slaves bassplayer Mike Thackary), but he has only ever played two concerts with them: One concert  at the Times Club in Basel on April 2nd 1967, plus another gig in Lausanne that has been nicely reviewed by local photographer Hans Wilhelm for the sometimes spotty, but still great book Als Die Haare Laenger Wurden

They were also invited for an interview on Albert Werner's notorious Swiss 60s Beat music radio show Sali Mitenand (that was aired on the national Swiss radio), to promote their latest single Sexmaniac.

Peter Rietmann already left The Countdowns in April 1967 again, to play music as a professional musician for a living. He then joined Berry Window and The Movements in July of 1967.

The Countdowns website:

BERRY WINDOW AND THE MOVEMENTS (July 1967 - end of 1967)

Promo photo from July 1967. L-R: Fritz Trippel (organ, piano), Peter Rietmann (bass), Barry Window (vocals), Dietmar Carl (drums), extra (to stand in for the still missing lead guitarist), Ferdinand Keller (sax)
Barry Window: "This photo was mainly made for some agencys to book some shows after our debuting at the Atlantis. We've been busy practicing inside some cellar at the St. Johanns Quartier in Basel. We didn't have a guitarist that would fit to us yet, the contract for the gigs at the Atlantis, Basel was already signed though, so I've had to use an extra to stand in for the lead guitarist for this photo session. One week later we've found our leadguitarist Ron Bryer. Afterwards it was already too late to come up with new promo photos from the lineup featuring Peter Rietmann, and Ron Bryer. "

BERRY WINDOW AND THE MOVEMENTS in August 1967 at the Atlantis, Basel. Photo: Collection Barry Window

Fritz Trippel
(r.i.p), the old ex - Jazz guy from the band, was able to sign them to Intercord Records, in Germany, which has led to the recording of one LP (along with three 45s of LP outtakes from the same session) by this early lineup of the band. There also exists one absolutely great, unique, professionally made film reel (with perfect soundquality) from this early lineup with Peter Rietmann that was caputuring the band in even much better mood than on their first LP!

Ron Bryer (r.i.p.) their British lead guitarist from London, originally came to play Switzerland with a UK band called THE BIG WHEEL in 1966. They've played some legendary shows on the equally legendary "Tanzrad" in Basel, and were even releasing one ultra rare Swiss only mod / rnb / beat 45 on the small Eurex label in ca. early 1967 that will get reviewed seperately, later on, somewhere else on this blog. After the departing of  their lead singer in 1969, THE MOVEMENTS continued to play as BRAINTICKET, releasing the most psychedelic LPs one could ever imagine!

kept on playing as a solo act non-stop until this day.

The best records by BARRY WINDOW AND THE MOVEMENTS were recorded after Peter's departing of the band at the end of 1967, when they got better, and better!!

August 1967, at the Atlantis, Basel. L-R: Tripple Fritz, Ferdinand Keller, Barry Window, Peter Rietmann, Dietmar Carl, and Ron Bryer

Barry Window website:

LES SAUTERELLES (ca. end of 1967 - end of December 1968)

LES SAUTERELLES, ca. April 1968. L-R: Rolf Antener (vocals, lead guitar), Düde Dürst (drums), Toni Vescoli (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Peter Rietmann (bass), and Fritz Tripple (organ, piano)

Towards the end of December 1967 Peter Rietmann got the offer to join up with his old buddy Rolf Antener from The Dynamites to play with Les Sauterelles from Zurich. An offer which he would not turn down!

Les Sauterelles classic number one hit Single Heaveny Club along with all the 12 other tracks from Les Sauterelles 2nd LP "View To Heaven" were recorded at the Bauer recording studio in Ludwigsburg, Germany during a period of two weeks in March 1968. The two songs Heavenly Club and Dream Machine were first released as a Single by the Swiss Blick label on July 3rd 1968. Heaveny Club quickly rose to the top of the Swiss charts, where it stayed at the number one place for several weeks! Consequently, as it usually is the case with all the number one hit Singles, the record had also received a worldwide release!

By this time Les Sauterelles were clearly regarded as the leading Swiss band from the 60s by everybody!Fritz Tripple (a.k.a. Little Fritz,) the organ player from the Heavenly Club LP used to be an old Jazz musician from the 50s, that for some reasons never really fit to the band. A great musician, but a different personality, and he was older than the others too. He's been a member of Les Sauterelles for a short time only. After he was gone the band would continue to play as a 4-piece again.

LES SAUTERELLES 1968 lineup. L-R: Peter Rietmann, Düde Dürst, Toni Vescoli, and Rolf Antener. (Photo from the personal archives of Düde Dürst)

Despite the 13 recorded songs from the View To Heaven LP that were already recorded back in March of 1968, (plus another Decca Records Single of two more outtakes from the same Blick / Decca LP) there were unfortunately no follow up hit recordings produced by the Blick / Decca labels after the glorious success of Heavenly Club, which I think could have been a mistake by the label! They've been
 touring excessively until the rest of the year instead!
Advertisement for a Sauterelles gig from Sept. 21. '68
at Festhalle, Bern with The Koobas, Small Faces, etc.

Towards the end of 1968 Les Sauterelles drummer Düde Dürst deceided to leave the band, which eventually has led to a total split of the band. By the end of December 1968 Les Sauterelles were not existing as a band anymore!

Toni Vescoli then tried to reform Les Sauterelles a couple of times, but unfortunately to no big success. Many years later (after the death of Rolf Antener,) and right after the big Les Sauterelles reunion gig in 1990s, Les Sauterelles have suddendly reformed as a band again, and they are still existing today, this is 50 years after they have formed in 1962!

Les Sauterelles website:

THE CRUSADE (ca. 1969)

A RnB band from Basel that was formed by three ex-members of Noise Abatement Society, along with ex Countdowns bass player Felix Thomann in 1966. Felix Thomann was also acting as their manager too. 

Peter was playing with them for a couple of months, he even wrote some songs for them too! On some occasions Peter would end up their concerts by smashing his bass (just like Pete of The Who!)

During the 70s Peter stopped playing music for a living, to become an artist in the manufacturing of glass instead. Which has been destroying for his lungs. Several years later, he has spent all of his glass art to some unknown foreign museum in France.

THE CODE (1982/1983 - May 1987)


Toni Thomas - Lead vocals, Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar
Max Felber - Rhythm guitar, Lead guitar, Backing vocals
Peter Rietmann - Bass
Alberto Bevilacqua - Drums
Juerg Weber - Drums (after spring 1987 only)
Sami - Drums (at the very beginning only)

Toni Thomas from Boston, Mass., U.S.A. had already played in some local bands around Boston in the 60s and 70s before he came to Switzerland to learn to play the lute at the classical music school of Basel.

Toni Thomas: "My bands in Boston where The Back Room, and Electrified Water, from about 1967-1970 or so... We never made any records and played mostly in the south shore of Boston.. maybe you know of the Teen Haven in Hingham,
Mass.?  We played there alot."

Max Felber (born in Olten, Switzerland) was starting out as the guitarist of the local Basel rhythm and blues band Bluesy Groove in summer of 1967. Bluesy Groove were recording some songs at the Ruba Beerli recording studio in around 1969 that have never been released. After the split of The Bluesy Groove in 1969, Max played with another rnb band called The Dirty Cider, that eventually became known as The Good Morning in 1970. He also played several clubs over Ibiza with the band Transit in the early 80s prior to his forming of The Code with Toni Thomas in ca. late 1982/early 1983.

Toni Thomas: "I met Peter at the end of 1982.  Max knew him. We met up and jamed, seemed cool so we started The Code. Code's first drummer was Sami (can't remember his last name)"
Code have played a melodic punk rock sound (with snotty lead vocals), alongside some real loud 60s coverversions! They've been releasing one ultra rare cassette featuring their 2nd drummer Alberto Bevilacqua that came with five great original compositions written by Toni Thomas / Max Felber

During one gig at the old Stadt-Gärtnerei, Basel on May 23. 1987 Juerg Weber became their 3rd and final drummer. They've then changed their name to The Lombego Surfers in summer of 1987.

Toni Thomas: "The first show with a lineup like The Lombego Surfers was at the old Stadtgaertnerei in Basel. We (Max, Peter, Juerg, and I) played some instros.. FBI, Rumble, Pipeline, and some vocal stuff too.."

THE LOMBEGO SURFERS (ca. June 1987 - 1993)

LOMBEGO SURFERS poster with artwork by Dirk Bonsma for a German gig from Feb. 3. '89 at the Jazzhouse, Freiburg

Toni Thomas
 - Lead vocals, Lead guitar
Max Felber - Rhythm guitar, Backing vocals
Peter Rietmann - Bass
Juerg Weber - Drums

This is basically the same band as The Code!

One day in ca. 1987/1988 I was asked by the maker of the French 80s garage 'zine Tant Qu'Il Y Aura Du Rock to recommend some modern local Swiss garage bands for possible inclusion on a future LP sampler called Tant Qu'il Y Aura Du Rock on Stop It Baby Records. I then wrote back telling that my friends The Lombego Surfers from Basel would fit best. A couple of weeks later The Lombego Surfers were already recording one killer Link Wray styled instrumental called Jungle Walk, which I think could easily stand out as the best track from the LP.

I've made one or two privately cut cassettes featuring some of my favorite 60s Surf and 50s Rock "N" Roll instrumentals for Peter Rietmann back when The Lombego Surfers were still called The Code, a little bit later they were already starting to incorporate some great Surf instrumentals into their set. I've never asked them to play any Surf instrumentals, but I think they've just liked the style!

During Lombego Surfers gig at the Hazyland in Basel back in ca. 1987/1988, Dirk Bonsma from Bern, Switzerland became their cover-, and poster-artist. He still works with them today! Dirk Bonsma could have easily made a hundred Lombego Surfers posters, and record covers by now! He has put some great gigs for them too!

After I've got them in touch with Dirk, I've helped putting a few shows for them together through my small booking agency.

Upon opening for The Wylde Mammoths from Sweden at the Sedel, Lucerne,  The Lombego Surfers were offered a contract from the smart Alec Von Tavel of Disctrade/Out Of Tune Records for the production/release of their first LP "At The Gates Of Graceland." Alec once used to be a member of the pre-TNT Swiss Punk outfit The Dogbodys back in ca. 1978!

The early setlist at the right includes several 60s covers, some great Surf instrumentals, plus a bunch of high energy originals in ca. the style of the MC5, The Stooges, The Who, and the likes. They've played the best and loudest versions of Ramblin Rose and Helter Skelter that I've ever heard! The Lombego Surfers have always played for a full house, like no other band from this town and period ever has! I could not think of a better local band to share the stage with. They were definitely leading back then, something that has not changed to this day, even though they are playing with a completely different lineup now.

Accurate article by the knowing 60s fan/journalist Christian Fink from Basler Zeitung (November 20. 1990)

The Lombego Surfers website:

Peter has surely played in several other bands throughout his carreer too, but mostly for a very short time only! He's even been in some unknown bands during the last couple of years before his death, but most of them would play inside the practice room only!

To be continued later.....


  1. Anonymous7/02/2012

    Between 1964 and 1966 I worked in Basel for an air charter company, SUAC AG - Universal Flugreisen. During this time I met Robert "Robbie" Sulzer who worked part-time in the same organisation. At one stage he asked me to translate a Rolling Stones hit so THE DYNAMITES would have a better understanding of the vocals.

    During 1964/65 Robbie was living in a large house on the Spalenring, I think it was just beyond the Brausebad and on the same side. I walked past it a year ago, but couldn't remember the actual building. Robbie had the largest Scalextric layout I have ever seen. He had track running through several rooms!

    I think it would be during 64/65 that we knew each other. At the end of the 65 tourist season, I bought a BSA 250 motorcycle and went to Israel, via Genoa, I was away for about 6 weeks returning to my flat at Schneidergasse 28 just after Christmas 65, I don't remember seeing him after this time. I returned to England in 1966 and we lost contact.

    Is Robert Sulzer still active with music?

    Kind regards,
    Alex Passmore.

  2. Yes, I believe that Robert "Robi" (or "Robby") Sulzer could still be playing music privately today.

  3. Anonymous7/29/2013

    Had I great time in Switzerland playing with The Blue Sounds Peter was a great bass player.Wish the lost tapes could be found.