Minas & Armadilhas was one of the first Portuguese punk rock bands, formed in Lisbon in 1978. They had an ephemeral career and did not leave any record.

Considered one of the precursors of the style, they were formed by Paulo Borges (vocals), Paulo Ramos (guitar), Zé Eduardo (bass) and Peter Machado (drums). Simple compositions and fast, direct sound influenced by bands like the Clash or Sex Pistols. During their short stay they remained faithful to the values of punk culture.

Awakening of punk in Portugal
The movement associated with punk culture emerged in the second half of 1970, in the United States and the United Kingdom, within the context of the full economic crisis during the Cold War. Under these influences, Minas & Armadilhas decided to adhere to the values of Counterculture in an attitude of revolt against the progressive rock of Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, among others, and against the social stagnation of the time: betos, queques, hippies and society freaks. Portuguese post-25th of April.

In fact, the April Revolution functioned as a catalyst for desires, demands and demonstrations, and in this context it was favorable to the outbreak of the first punk demonstrations in Portugal. The punk movement was characterized by the principle of ‘do-it-yourself’ autonomy, with a style based on music, clothing and behavior, especially rebellion against the system.

But the entry of punk rock into Portuguese society was not easy. Only in December 1977, radio broadcaster António Sérgio highlighted in Música & Som magazine the release of the first punk single pressed in Portugal: “(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)”, by the Stranglers. It was on his program “Rotação”, on Rádio Renascença, that António Sérgio made known, between 1977 and 1980, the new musical style, despite some editorial limitations. The first public punk event in Portugal took place in February 1978, at Archote Clube, in Arco do Cego in Lisbon, organized by António Sérgio, Joaquim Lopes and José Guerra, which featured commented passages from several albums by punk bands English, American and French rock.

News about performances by national punk bands began to appear through fanzines and, timidly, by Música & Som magazine in the May and June 1978 issues, in which it reported on Faíscas’ concerts at the Os Belenenses and Aqui d’el pavilion. -Rock at Clube Atlético de Campo de Ourique. The publishing of fanzines became a kind of self-promotion for bands, being the main form of communication, as rock was not fully publicized in Portugal through radio, newspapers or television. The punk movement, like any other urban tribe, needs to promote and publicize the projects it develops and it was here that the creation of fanzines found its purpose.

The members of Minas & Armadilhas SARL (as they also came to be called) belonged to small heterogeneous groups of young radicals, who maintained contact with English news (records, clothes, etc.), and it was in these social groups that the wanting to be punk. They were art students, working-class and middle-class musicians, and journalists upset with what rock had become. First, Aqui d’el-Rock, and then Faíscas, Minas & Armadilhas, Raios e Coriscos, UHF and Xutos & Pontapés, sought to follow the values of punk culture.

Training and end of career
Paulo Borges and Paulo Ramos met at Liceu Gil Vicente and met again at the Faculty of Arts, in 1978, when they decided to create a band that would continue their musical taste. They listened to Sex Pistols, Clash, Damned, Television and Dr. Feelgood. Borges remained as vocalist and wrote the lyrics while Ramos composed the themes and played the guitar.

The name became Minas & Armadilhas. The initial group was joined by Zé Eduardo (bass) and Peter Machado (drums). The rehearsals took place at Ramos’ house or in Senófila’s room. On May 5, 1979, they performed their first concert at Liceu D. Pedro V, in Lisbon, together with the bands Raios e Coriscos, Xutos & Pontapés and Aqui d’el-Rock. Journalist Pedro Ferreira wrote in Música & Som magazine:

There are those who don’t take the punk phenomenon seriously. The recent concert at Liceu D. Pedro V once again called this attitude into question. Punk has its own vitality, as evidenced by the appearance of new (few, it’s a shame) groups of the genre, such as Minas & Armadilhas SARL, Raios e Coriscos and Xutos e Pontapés, who performed together with Aqui d’el-Rock at the aforementioned high school. Returning to the concert, it was significant that one of the true rebels asked for the microphone to give a shout out; deep down, the common denominator of those people was the cry of “we are alive”.

But the communication between the group on the platform and the audience was univocal, because the nebulous and overwhelming sound erased the contestation, the pluralism, at the same time that it created the timeless atmosphere of the miracle: the cigarette that is ordered, the beer that is drunk, your eyes in my eyes… affective miracle, another communication between individuals floating in clouds of friendly noise, musically passive miracle, miracle on the surface… punk on the surface of the miracle!

The bands that emerged from punk in Portugal showed that here too it was possible to make music with just two guitars, a drum and a microphone, valuing the power of reducing rock to two or three essential chords. On June 3, 1979, they were present at the “Antinuclear Festival – Pelo Sol” at Parque Eduardo VII, in Lisbon, with UHF, Trovante, Rão Kyao, Pedro Barroso, Vitorino, Fausto, Jorge Palma, among others.

The performance was marked by the fire in Zé Eduardo’s bass amplifier, which had been loaned by UHF, and which affected the performances of the other bands. They advertised themselves by distributing the fanzine “Estado de Sítio”, edited by vocalist Paulo Borges – who published at least six issues throughout 1978 – about punk music news and information about the band’s activity.

Still in 1979, in August, they performed the first part of two Xutos & Pontapés concerts, one at the old Santa Cruz Casino and, most notably, at the Praça de Touros de Vila Viçosa, where UHF also performed. Paulo Borges set fire to a newspaper and launched a speech that upset local convictions. Rushed from the stage, and faced with such confusion, the organization ran away with the money and did not pay the cachet to the bands. The sound material, excellent for the time, had been provided by Tantra. The concert had images captured by the RTP channel, which are believed to have been lost.

The last concert was held, in October 1979, at the Sociedade Filarmónica Estudantes de Apolo. Guitarist João Cabeleira took the place of Paulo Ramos who had left the group a few months before. Like Faíscas and Raios e Coriscos, Minas & Armadilhas ended their career without recording the music they produced.

Among the main themes, the highlights are “MInas & Armadilhas p’ra Tudo Rebentar” and the emblematic “Lisboa a Arder” – written by Paulo Borges and set to music by Paulo Ramos – praises punk culture, in a critique of the city of Lisbon which, despite being cosmopolitan, he found himself stuck in time:
“You listen to records at home
You wander the streets
You’re nothing rebellious
What passions are yours?
You’re stagnating
You sink in good order
Learn to be delirious
Take the taste for disorder
I’m tired of castrated people
I’m tired of flipped people
I want something to do
I want to see Lisbon burning!”
, says the excerpt of the song.

In 2017, the punk rock band Patrulha do Purgatório paid homage to Minas & Armadilhas with a version of “Lisboa a Arder” on the album Pede a Deus que Te Mate e ao Diabo que Te Leve. The album recovers ten songs that have long been forgotten and are unknown to many, and others that have never been recorded. It is a tribute to ten pioneering bands of Portuguese punk rock.

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