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Perhaps the Soviet Union's first punk band, Propeller was formed in 1979 by a bunch of music pros (Estonian art-rock/jazz-rock mastodonts) who were mostly influenced by Finnish punk/new wave (like Eppu Normaali). The core of the band (flute and saxophone player Peeter Malkov, guitarists Ain Varts and Riho Sibul, drummer Ivo Varts and bassist Priit Kuulberg) met in mid-70's in the art rock band Haak. In 1979 they changed the style and name. The first singer, Urmas Alender (better known as Ruja), left the band soon and was replaced by Peeter Volkonski. The drummmer's stool was occasionally occupied by Harry Korvits Jnr., who normally played in the country band Apelsin.
Propeller only gigged in Estonia. Due to innocent lyrics (some official Estonian poetry, some humourous songs, some just nonsense) they were quite accepted by official structures.
The band was banned by Soviet authorities after their cancelled stadium gig in September 1980 turned into a youth riot with overturned trams and the destruction of police cars. As of October 1, 1980, the band's very name was forbidden, and all recordings that Estonian Radio had were destroyed (the band kept the originals though). Their only CD was recorded in the spring/summer of 1980 and released in 1995 by Fugata Ltd.; the recording was done illegally at nights at Estonian Radio studio (where another one of their singers, Peeter Maarits, worked). A couple of songs were taken from a concert at Tartu Music Days festival in August 1980. Most of the members went on to form the instrumental jazz rock band Kaseke. Volkonski is now a quite well-known poet, actor and musician. Alender died in 1994 when the "Estonia" ferry sank in 1994. Propeller occasionally gets together for a few gigs. One recently recorded live song was included on the Matta Fond 25 Kuldset Looklaudu 4. Osa compilation tape released in 2000.
PROPELLER CD (Fugata Ltd., 1995)