Luis Alberto Spinetta (January 23, 1950–February 8, 2012)

Today, I interrupt my regularly scheduled post to note the passing of South American rock pioneer Luis Alberto “El Flaco” Spinetta. Spinnetta, aged 62, died on February 8 from lung cancer. Spinetta’s musical career began in 1967 with the fantastic band, Almendra, which was formed in his hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Featuring Edelmiro Molinari on guitar, Emilio Del Guercio on bass, Rodolfo García on drums, and Spinetta–as one of the group’s principal songwriters–on guitar and vocals, Almendra helped revolutionize the way local rock music was both perceived and created.

After Almendra dissolved, Spinetta returned from traveling Europe to form a new group—Pescado Rabioso (Rabid Fish)—featuring Black Amaya on drums, and Osvaldo Bocón Frascino on bass.

Pescado Rabioso could be considered more aggressive (as well as progressive) than Spinetta’s earlier music, at least in terms of its socio-political voice, as well as its poetic one; particularly so, at a time when South America was being pressed beneath the boot heels of military dictatorships (typically backed by the C.I.A.). Pescado Rabioso’s 1972 debut, Desatormentándonos (from which today’s song comes) was released with the following poetic text written by Spinetta on the inner sleeve (I’ve attempted to do the translation myself, so it might read a bit more clunky than originally intended):

The people are the magic star.

All we see resembles the river.

Worms of the emperors tremble

in apocalyptic feast.

They have no time to resort to arms.

The star cast them all in an infinite plane.

The hair of the torturers bleeds into my car.

We: desatormentándonos forever.

And with a postscript, which reads:

PS: I love you Beatles.

            After Pescado Rabioso split up, Spinetta continued recording up until the present day with various bands, as well as solo projects, having a musical career that has spanned nearly 5 decades. he died in his home, surrounded by his children Dante, Valentino, Catarina and Vera (BBC, 2012).

From Desatormentándonos, and featuring some sinuous Hammond organ playing by guest Elvio Lado, here’s Pescado Rabioso’s psychedelic epic: “Serpiente (viaja por la sal).”


Like it? Buy it.

Below are the lyrics, translated by my father, Julio, who is the primary reason I know anything about this music.

The Serpent (travels across the salt)

In the light of the warm day

The serpent travels across the salt

No one demands that she leave

The serpent travels on and on

And in the new day

Timeless lips…

Clouds arrive

Bearing messages…

And doors, doors, doors

Day of lilacs…

You’ll speak

The serpent across the salt

No one demands that she leave

The serpent travels

And in the new day

Of dusk

Clouds will arrive

Bearing messages

In the clear water of the sun

All mourn

Goodness gone

In the body

Some will see

That the serpent travels

Across the salt

And dusk travels

Travels like time

And clouds will come

Bearing messages


If you’d like to hear more of Spinetta’s music you should check out the excellent playlist created by Academy Records for East Village Radio and here’s a link to a list of the songs they played.

And I’ll see you all back here real soon for (finally) my conclusion to “The Narcotic Wreck Quintet.”

Luis Alberto Spinetta (January 23, 1950–February 8, 2012) R.I.P.

————————-Bobby Calero


BBC. (2012, February 9). Argentine rock musician Luis Alberto Spinetta dies. BBC. Retrieved February 17 from

Spinetta, L.A. (1972) Serpiente (viaja por la sal) (recorded by Pescado Rabioso) On Desatormentandonos [CD] Microfon. (1972). Sony Bmg Europe. (2003)


  1. nick

    perchance, did anyone make a recording of robert calero’s performance at the glasschord event? I think some self-promotion is in order here…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s