Another short-living amateurish band follows in 1963 until finally, the legendary “The Melody Makers” is formed around the end of 1964. Pete became a front man, the lead singer and also switched to playing rhythm guitar. Naturally, they played mostly American rock’n’roll strictly in English. Repertoire was taken mostly from Pete’s huge music collection that he picked and tape-recorded from the radio and from lots of self-made records he owned. It consisted mostly of Elvis, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino and other pioneers of early rock’n’roll. The rest of the band members were: Kostja "Cat" Dmitriyev  on drums, Jevgeny "Jack" Binkovsky on rhythm guitar & vocals, Eduard Vinnik on piano & vocals and Zigmunds Lorencs on lead guitar. By the way, Zigmunds was the first person in the whole Latvia who managed to get genuine American-made red Fender Stratocaster guitar.

The band quickly became a very controversial cult band for teenage audiences of that time and had a huge following among youngsters. Their underground gigs often led to youth riots and hysterical reception wherever they went to play – schools, private parties, colleges, weddings etc. Youngsters used to scream and shout, to dance like crazy – in fact it was just an adequate reaction to this happy, rockin’ music, but at those times such behavior was similar not to the one of “the young builder of communism”. The schools’ management also often used to divid on those who supported youth or at least did not disturb them and deep in their souls they were happy for them, and those who hated all that and who were scared to death of being accused in “supporting Anti-sovietism”. They often called for militia, who brutally threw out the hottest dancers and often tried even to stop the gig and beat up the enthusiastic kids. The most beloved venue of all times was always The Academy Of Arts known for its freethinking liberal attitude. Each time “Makers” played at The Academy fans took it by storm trying to get in, using every possible and impossible way – through the toilet windows, rooftop, basements etc.
Pete went through some very tough times in his life struggling for the right to play rock’n’roll when it was not officially accepted by the Communist authorities and the KGB, and had lots of serious problems in his life because of being in love with this so-called “wrong and harmful” type of art.

In April 1966, Pete was responsible for organizing spontaneous unprecedented unique protest demonstration in Riga in front of “The Planetarium” concert hall. “Melody Makers” concert was scheduled to be held on Sunday afternoon (was it April 12th???) and then unexpectedly was cancelled by authorities. All the tickets were already sold out in advance. After such breaking news nobody from the audience gave their tickets back and “Makers” decided to play acoustically right there on the stairs of the concert hall in spite of KGB agents that had arrived to watch and film everything that happened. An enormous crowd of fans stood for more than six hours outside of the building, right in the center of Riga, carrying banners saying” “FREEDOM TO GUITAR!”, “MAKERS” and other anti–authorities slogans. Passers-by joined in the demonstration, but the militia stood by in bewilderment until the onset of the nightfall finally dispersed the crowd.

(60's to be continued on page 2)

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Pete "Shtatnik"
Artemy Troitsky, Back in the USSR, Omnibus Press, 1987
From the Book Back in the USSR, Artemy Troitsky, "Melody Makers", 1964
"Melody Makers"
"Melody Makers"
Melody Makers Session
"Melody Makers" in Tallinn
"Melody Makers", Tallinn, 1965 (from left to right - E.Vinnik, Pete, Z. Lorenc)
"Melody Makers" Concert - "Demonstration" on te Stairs of "Planetarium", Riga, 1965
"Melody Makers" Concert - "Demonstration" "Freedom to Guitar" on the Stairs of "Planetarium", Riga, 1965
"Melody Makers" Concert Supressed by "ÁÝÎ" ("State Bureau of Etsrada Orchestras") and hold on the Stairs of "Planetarium", Riga, 1965
"Melody Makers" Concert - "Demonstration" on the Stairs of "Planetarium", Riga, 1965
"Melody Makers" placards, exposed during the concert on the stairs of "Planetarium", Riga, 1965
People on "Melody Makers" Concert - "Demonstration" on the Stairs of "Planetarium", Riga, 1965
Placards "Äîëîé ÁÝÎ" - "Off with State Bureau of Estrade Orchestras - ", during "Melody Makers" Concert on the Stairs of "Planetarium", Riga, 1965
"Melody Makers" Concert on the Stairs of "Planetarium", Riga, 1965
"Bits" - what's left of "Melody Makers" after 1965
Optimistid Rehearsal
"Optimistid", the First Estonian Rock'n'Roll Band
Optimistid, Georgia, Batumi
Drawing from one Finn, Leningrad, 1967
Photos from tours, with fans, friends, musicians etc.
CD's recorded, mp3 samples
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