Nr. 12 / Juli 2000



The name of the band I formed in the early seventies in London is really called THE 101’ERS. Not THE ONERS, not 101’ERS, but THE 101’ERS. Now I’ll tell you why the THE.

Back in the fifties there were a lot of bands having the THE in front of their names, rather part of their names, for instance The Tremeloes, The Riders, Los (The) Challangers (my own Chilean band), etc, etc. In Southamerica there were plenty of bands with Los on it. Then all of a sudden and by no apparent reason the THE things ceased to exist and we had bands like Family, Pink Floyd (strangely enough for some The Floyd), Emerson Lake & Palmer, Unfaithful Condoms (hoops, sorry I just made up that one), etc, etc.

So when the dwellers of the squatt at 101 Walterton Road, Paddington, London decided to put a band together with players that could not handle more than three chords, a sax player that could not tune his sax as he was partly deaf, I decided to call it THE 101’ERS. My Mexican girlfriend phoned me after agreeing to play a benefit gig in Brixton for some Mexican lost cause and asked me for the name of the band as posters had to be printed there and then, so I said "Mi amor la banda se llama Los 101eros" - or in English - THE 101’ERS in memory of the days when I was young in Chile. I also added that the band was really bad, (somos más malos que el natre), but we were going to do everything possible to get the most of the three chords and the out of tune saxes (we had two: alto and tenor; I played tenor).

The name sticked and from then onwards at the Charlie Pig Dog Club - once a week at the local pub - we used it all the time. The name sticked so much that when I was on tour back in the early nineties in the USA, I met an American bloke that according to some sources he had played with THE 101’ERS. I was surprised to hear that because we never had an American in the band. There were all from strong middle class English background. I finally met the man and the first thing he did was to apologize for the misunderstanding, adding that he had never played in THE 101’ERS, but in an American band called THE ONERS. Hello, hello, hello! You do the mopin & I’ll do the sweepin. The bloke turned out to be really nice and things progressed from there and I never saw him again ever since. But just to let you know how confusing these names can be.

After THE 101’ERS a whole variety of THES appeared like THE BOOMTOWN RATS, THE JAM, THE REZILLOS, THE CLASH, until the ultimate came with THE THE. I never met this band, but I have heard the name. Some friends of mine in order to break this THE thing created a band called THIS HEAT, they were people around Geoff Leigh, Slapp Happy, Cathy Williams, Steven Beresford and the such likes. More the avant garde side of the coin. Ah! memoirs from past THES, not deeds. Keep me posted!

© THE THES STORY by Alvaro Peña-Rojas, written in Konstanz, Germany, March 12, 1999


A couple of years back my former Chilean wife told me a story that still now haunts my thoughts and my concern on ecology, and this without having heard of the British magazine called The Ecologist.

She told me that she was strolling along one of the many beaches of my home-town in Chile - Valparaíso - and then suddenly she noticed a man that was struggling and pulling punches and hand blows to something that was not yet clear. As she got nearer to the scene of this crime, she could describe that this was a man fighting with a penguin. My former wife is called Ana and she is a strict vegetarian (like myself), non-smoker or drinker (again like myself). We are both engaged against genetically manipulated foods (Genetic Engineering Network,, but unfortunately she does not like Europe and stayed back in Chile. Anyhow;

Ana shouted to the man all sorts of unprintable things and called him a murderer and the what-nots. By now the penguin was in dire condition and struggling to free himself from his captor to be unsuccessfully at that. In between punches and kicks against the poor animal he shouted back to Ana saying that with one of these "blokes" he and the rest of his unemployed family - probably unemployable - could eat at least a week. Elaborating that he had not eaten for three days (but the man had a considerable reserve of energy inside of him). He told Ana that he was a poor man and there were enough penguins in the sea to replace this one quickly and promply. The water in Chile is cold, specially in the middle and south areas of the country. This is the reason why you can find penguins sun bathing or plainly swimming in the beaches of Valparaíso. These are not zoo pengiuns. Anyhow; Ana had to do a fair amount of convincing to stop the man. In between she told the man to become vegetarian, the poor man had not heard of that word before and was ready to forgive her saying that. It seems that the persuasive power of Ana was stronger than the empty stomach calls of the man and surprise, surprise the man stopped kicking and punching the poor penguin. After a while the man left rather ashamed and feeling like a criminal. According to Ana, she did go back next day at the same time to that same beach and surprise, surprise she saw a penguin waving his fins to her. Ana insists that it was the same penguin from the day before trying to thank her for saving his life.

Now I said to myself; this is really interesting. Who was in the wrong when all this happened. The murderous penguin killer or Ana that left an entire starving family without nothing to eat for another week.

Keep me posted!

© PENGUINS & POVERTY by Alvaro Peña-Rojas, written in Konstanz, Germany, February 3, 1999

Der chilenische Musiker Alvaro Peña-Rojas lebt und arbeitet in Konstanz. Jüngst ist von ihm die CD “1,2,3,4” erschienen. “The thes story” und “Penguins & Poverty” sind Teil der von Alvaro in unregelmäßigen Abständen erscheinenden Kolumne “Cogito ergo sum”, die sich auf seiner Webseite findet. Dort gibt es auch weitere Informationen zu den Veröffentlichungen und Texten von Alvaro. Ein ausführlicher Artikel über Alvaro erschien in Lesson Nr. 9. mz

Letzte Änderungen: 28.12.2001
Produziert von
Peter Pötsch