SA ROCK DIGEST ISSUE #47
The South African Rock Music Digest
is a free, subscription e-mag, edited
by Brian "Vagabond" Currin and Stephen
"Sugar" Segerman and delivered direct
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Established January 1999
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WHATS NEW ON THE SA ROCK FILES WEBSITE:
OFF THE EDGE
Added a message board for SA melodic rock band, Off The Edge.
Also updated and added new graphics thanks to guitarist and graphic designer, Peter Hanmer
Added a Bright Blue discography webpage
FREEDOMS CHILDREN FAMILY TREE
Updated this family tree, thanks to Brian Davidson
Uploaded an MP3 of the title track from the unreleased CD
'Hammerhead Hotel', thanks to Tully McCully
Added 'Jive' album to discography pages, bought from
Outlaw Records in Cape Town
Added chords for 'Gomorrah (A Nursery Rhyme)', thanks to Danny Lloyd
BLOU KOMBUIS - KOOS KOMBUIS
SA Music website
Koos is bles, but still rocking - it seems. Friday (the 11th) saw the launch of Koos' newest CD, titled 'Blou Kombuis', at Up the Creek in Pretoria. The CD consists of a variety of older songs that's been spiced up, and some older songs that you might have heard so long ago that it almost sounds new. The CD is a live recording with Albert Frost on lead guitar (he knows more chords than Koos).
List of songs:
Lisa se Klavier
Oorlog van die Lem
Huisie by die See
Liefde uit die Oude Doos
Everybody Wants You
Johnny is nie Dood nie
Verslaaf aan Ruk-en-Rol
Paranoia in Parow-Noord
Die Sommige Ou Tannies-Blues
PHYSIOGNOMY OF THE SOUL - BERNARD BINNS
Amuzine's CD of the week, 21st February
You're not going to believe who just stepped into the early 2000 limelight, with the first quality SA rock album of the year. The older SA pop fans amongst us will certainly remember The Helicopters, who emerged from Vereeniging in 1981 and cast a medium shadow over the '80's SA music scene. Their biggest hit was a naggingly hooky little single called 'Mysteries And Jealousies', and, if you can still recall the plummy vocals of the lead singer, then you'll remember Bernard Binns. Binns fronted the band through a string of singles and two albums, 1985's 'Love Attack', and 1987's 'In The Flesh'. The band folded its blades in the early '90's and Binns spent the next few years working in the music and communications industries. Then in 1998 he connected with Adrian Levi, ex-Ella Mental guitarist, and the two took a year to complete 'Physiognomy of The Soul', his debut solo album.
The time and care taken in attempting to merge these lofty lyrical concepts with a broad vista of sounds and styles has, to a large degree, succeeded admirably. 'Physiognomy Of The Soul' is not as intense as its title or evocative cover suggests. These 12 songs individually make for strange bedfellows, but as a whole the album is as thrilling a one-hour musical trip as we've had for years. 'Hypocrite' opens the batting here with a stalking groove and Binns' "in-a-cave-with-a-megaphone" vocals swirling in the mix. 'One Good Love' is a deceptively sweet pop song with the crushing "Why do you piss me off so much" chorus. The first single, 'Physiognomy', is adequate if a bit too retro, but 'Mon Amie (My Friend)' steals the show here with its beautiful piano intro and soaring melody. 'Scorch', 'Head Rush', and 'Absolution' add a harder core to the middle of the album, tempered by Bruce Cassidy's flugel horn touches on the moving 'Toronto (Canada Moon)'. 'Soul Girl Soul Boy' throws Sly Stone onto a late-'90's dance floor and embarrasses neither and 'Tuna Free' will hopefully pop up as one of the next singles. The mellow 'Angelique' closes off the proceedings followed by the (unnecessary?) extra remix of the industrial chanting of 'Absolution'. All in all, 'Physiognomy Of The Soul' is a strong, subtle and consistently un-boring piece of work and it should surprise and impress a lot of people. Welcome back Bernard!
See also http://www.rock.co.za/files/helicopters.html
-- Stephen Segerman
'Physiognomy' is taking off phenomenally - must have done something right this time :)
It's only been released for two weeks and is already playlisted on East
Coast Radio, KFM, Highveld 94.7 this week, had airtime on Radio 5 on Tuesday night, half hour interview, 3 plays & playlisting on SAFM, front page press & reviews on many portals & ISP front pages (iafrica, WOZA, etc..), call from management at CD Wherehouse in Sandton & Rosebank who are doing major in-store promo from next week - including support marketing.. posters, dedicated racks/gondolas, etc.., had interest from Musica, CNA, Powerzone....
Check out http://www.bernardbinns.co.za - new 1,5 minute MP3s, posters, etc..
ANTHOLOGY - JACK HAMMER
Whenever anyone writes about Piet Botha, they invariably mention that he is Pik's son, so I won't. Piet Botha formed Jack Hammer back in 1984 and over the years the band has seen plenty of different line-ups contributing to the four albums featured on this anthology. Those albums - 'Jack Of All Trades (1987), 'The Judas Chapter' (1990), 'Ghosts On The Wind' (1994), and 'Death Of A Gypsy' (1996) - were all rock ballad albums in the Bob Seger tradition, with Botha displaying an uncanny knack of fusing decent and powerful rock sounds to some very relevant South African lyrics. He went on to produce a handful of excellent solo albums, but these 16 songs, including 4 new tracks and a 1999 re-recording of the ballad for André Stander, 'Fort Lauderdale', illustrate the consistent work that Piet Botha has been putting out over the past two decades. File with pride alongside Koos and Valiant!
Piet Botha has very kindly supplied 2 copies of the new Anthology CD to give away on this week's Digest.
Please answer this question: 'January's Son' has been recorded twice by Jack Hammer and released on 2 different albums. From which album does the version come from that appears on the new Anthology CD.
Answers to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with "Jack Hammer" as subject.
DINOSAUR DAYS - VARIOUS ARTISTS
Volume 2 of the Dinosaur Days CD series is out now. Sub-titled 'Classic Rock of Yesteryear' and compiled by Leon Economides with some input from Chris Venter of Universal Music, this is indeed a CD of classic rock. Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Budgie, Pat Travers, Savoy Brown, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Camel are just some of the bands who appear here. The obvious hits are ignored however and this CD features some classic album tracks instead. As Phil Wright writes in the sleeve notes: "I'm sure that if you've bought this album, you've got a copy of 'Smoke On The Water' somewhere". Damn right... buy it now...
Leon Economides has made a copy of this new CD available for one lucky Digest subscriber... name 3 tracks and the artists that perform them that appear on the new Dinosaur Days Volume 2.
Answers to: mailto:email@example.com with "Dinosaur Days" as subject.
THE BIG TREE
Gant's Centre, Strand
Visit their Gig Guide webpage to see who's playing at this superb venue in The Strand.
PIET BOTHA & JONATHAN MARTIN
8 TO 11 MARCH JARGONNELLES ZOO LAKE JHB
18 MARCH WILDEFEEST PRETORIA
24 TO 31 MARCH KLEIN KAROO KUNSTEFEES
1 APRIL KAKTUS OP DIE VLAKTES
2 TO 9 APRIL - EASTERN CAPE COAST
22 APRIL OPPIKOPPI EASTER FESTIVAL
27 APRIL SPLASHY FEN - KZN
29 APRIL THABAZIMBI WILDSFEES
Jack Hammer's Anthology is out now.
Visit the Piet Botha and Jack Hammer webpage at:
SQUEAL GIGS - FEBRUARY/ MARCH 2000
26th February: Roodeplaat Dam
1st/2nd March: Bat Cafe: Durban
Any queries regarding gigs please contact:
Cell: 082 883 0535
A BIG NITE OUT
The confirmed line up for the three dates in SA is Lenny Krawitz, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Cult, Springbok Nude Girls, and Fetish. Dates and venues: 17 March (Johannesburg Stadium), 19 March (ABSA Stadium, Durban), 21 March (Green Point Stadium, Cape Town). Tickets (R125-R250) online at Ticketweb at http://www.ticketweb.co.za or (phone) 0861 400 500. Details from Big Concerts.
NORTH SEA JAZZ FESTIVAL - CAPE TOWN 2000
More info at Amuzine
Time to start booking your tickets for this major jazz event.
Dates and Times:
Friday 31st March - 7:30 pm - 3:45am
Saturday 1st April - 6:00pm - 2:00am
Doors open 90 minutes before start.
The Good Hope Centre - Cape Town, Main Road, Woodstock.
Website: (For all details, tickets and travel packages online) http://www.mweb.co.za/NorthSeaJazzFestivalCapeTown
Final Festival program to be listed online by Feb 15.
27 April to 1 May 2000
PR AND PROMOTIONS:
NANCY HILLARY / BETH HILLARY
RUSTLERS VALLEY - end of April
EASTER ROCK FESTIVAL
Authentic Ideas runs the Easter Rock Festival at The Rand Show Show Grounds. People can contact us for info:
011 646 6467/58/69
This year it falls on the 22nd of April.
Confirmed bands will start being announced this week.
WOODSTOCK - 22nd to 25th of September
Heidelberg Kloof - Gauteng.
Bands can submit demos to:
P.O.Box 91657, Auckland Park, 2006.
There will be four stages/arenas.
PIET BOTHA AND JONATHAN MARTIN
Piet and Jonathan are currently on tour to promote the new Jack Hammer
The Digest caught their unplugged set at two different venues in Cape Town recently. First at the Big Tree in the Strand on the 12th February and again on the 17th February at the Whammy Bar in Table View.
These 2 musicians are incredibly talented and they entertained the enthusiatic crowds with songs from all 4 previous Jack Hammer albums, as well as Piet's 2 solo Afrikaans outings.
They also played a few covers which included Nick Drake's 'Northern Sky', Soul Asylum's 'Runaway Train', Bob Dylan's 'All Along The Watchtower', Led Zeppelin's 'Tangerine', Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here', Guns 'N Roses' 'Sweet Child 'O Mine' and Robert Johnson's 'Crossroads'.
2 brilliant evenings of Acoustic Afrikaans Alternative Folk Rock (pick one or all of the above) which will never be forgotten...
Visit Piet Botha and Jack Hammer on the Net at:
Read more about the Jack Hammer Anthology CD in the new releases section below.
Tumbleweeds in Paarden Eiland was the place to be on Friday night (18th February) to see 3-piece rock band, Snakebite. (I would also like to have been at the Big Tree in the Strand to see Paarl Rockers Plethora, but hey, I can't be everywhere).
Snakebite is led by the guitar-wielding René (known to his fans as "Axe"), with Speedy on bass and Ian on drums. These guys ripped Tumbleweeds apart with blistering versions of 60's and 70's classic rock. 'Smoke On The Water', 'You Really Got Me', 'Paranoid', 'Knocking On Heaven's Door' and a host of others kept the crowd bopping, rocking and head-banging.
The Troubadour in Kalk Bay was where King Rat were playing on Saturday night (19th February).
This 4-piece rock band features none other than Freedoms Children vocalist Brian Davidson on vocals and left-handed rhythm and occasional lead guitar. His voice is still powerful and soulful like Joe Cocker, Steve Winwood, Paul Rodgers and Paul Weller.
Main guitar-work came from the frantic fingers of Jimmy Ray Hawla, the drum seat was filled by Brian O'Donnell and John McWilliams underpinned the beat with his superb bass playing.
They covered classic rock songs ranging from the Cars to ZZ Top. They also performed a few originals like 'Ecstacy Dance' which was a real treat.
Catch them again at the Troubadour on the 4th March.
BRIGHT BLUE CD RELEASE??
Although Bright Blue effectively split a few years ago, the interest in this seminal Cape Kwela-Pop group has not diminished. The band began as a five-piece in 1983 (Peter Cohen, Ian Cohen, Dan Heymann, Tom Fox, Robin Levetan) and in 1984 released the single 'Window On The World' and the album 'Bright Blue'. Founder member Levetan left the group before the second album was completed, apparently due to his dissatisfaction with the viability of releasing Dan Heymann's composition, 'Weeping', as a single (Gulp!). In 1989 the band released their second album, 'The Rising Tide', which contained 'Weeping', 'Yesterday Night' (the excellent B-side on the 'Weeping' single), 'One Of These Days', 'Standing Still', and 'Where Would I Go'. In 1996 the band, now without Heymann, issued their first CD release, the three-song 'Open Your Eyes' EP. Since then the band has been quiet with Dan Heymann living overseas, Tom Fox joining The Usual and Peter Cohen managing The Usual and doing drumming duties for an assortment of SA acts including Karma and Mango Groove.
The problem is that the only Bright Blue material available on CD is the group's final EP. Neither of the two official albums, 'Bright Blue' and 'The Rising Tide', are on CD. The single 'Weeping' (which walked the SA Song of the Century' award in the SA Rock Digest/Amuzine Poll
<http://www.rock.co.za/files/sarock_pollwinners.html>) is only available on CD on two SA music compilations (Best of SA Pop Vol 2 and Sharp Cuts). However there seems to be word of a new 'Best of' collection somewhere in the ether called, apparently, 'Brightest Blue'. Requests for this CD, and the two other albums, have been pouring in to the One World online CD store and no one seems to know if this album is a reality or possibility. Watch this space for news on this release. Here's hoping!
MAKING IT IN THE USA... NOT!
Okay, this is probably going to be a long eMail, so be warned :-) Just to set the tone, I am simply a South African musician living in New Jersey, with an opinion about why it is so difficult for musicians (especially a South African) to make it in the USA.
Here goes my story ...
When I first arrived here, my thoughts were, "yeah, this is where I'm gonna do it. My name will be up in lights ... blah, blah, blah ... famous and all that jazz ... blah, blah, other ramblings".
Well, to start off with I had 2 serious flaws as a musician. The first was that I play keyboards - you know, that Synthrock, Darkwave stuff that's "not really marketable music". Oh my God! What? No guitars! Shock, horror! First nail in the coffin for me. "We don't like house or techno music" ... "nah, that stuff just doesn't sell well" ... etc. Tell that to Depeche Mode, you idiot! Without even a listen, some morons assumed my music was techno, dance, acid, or Detroit house, when in actual fact it is none of these. Several times I managed to cut my own hand off because I was so pissed of with the idiotic attitude of some execs.
My second flaw? I have no image. Urrrm, and there I was thinking that my "cool" image was to NOT have an image, and be somewhat faceless - no spiked up hair or designer grunge clothes (errr, is this not a contradiction in terms?), just plain old, fashionably rebellious black. Well that just doesn't cut it in the US. You need to have that guitar strapped over your shoulder bud, or you're out in most people's books.
To add insult to injury, a whole host of other "flaws" were bounced back at me, and none of them were really about the music. "You're too old" ... "you need to be Brad Pitt, or at least scruff yourself up a bit" ... "you're married" ... "how could we market a South African if you're not even black" ... "you've never played live" ... etc. Okay, so I'll go with the "you've never played live" bit, but all the rest just seemed like a load of crap to me. Man, I just want to play music and give people the opportunity to listen to it, that's all.
And then came the worst flaw of them all ... I don't have the time or inclination to spend hours trying to suck up to people, and float amongst the "knowns". Eugh! This is just so far removed from what I am that I can't even imagine doing it, let alone actually doing it.
Now these are just the simple day-to-day problems musicians face over here, and I'm sure most everywhere else too, but for South Africans there is one specific problem not faced by bands from, say, Australia, or Europe. The problem is "Africa". Most people here are ridiculously ignorant about it, and the word "Africa" conjures up images of people running around naked in the bush, banging drums, and chasing wildlife for food. This is no joke - most are totally unaware that there are heavily urbanised populations anywhere in Africa, and if a promoter finds out where you're from before he gets to see you, there's a serious chance your CD will get tossed without even a listen. This is where I have some advantage, because I now live here in the US, but for some of the great bands in SA it would be very difficult to make it here simply because of where they are from.
As a side-issue, there are some strange things I have noticed in the NYC music world since arriving here. For example, one of the major radio stations here in NYC (105.5FM - PLJ) tend to play songs which for the most part wouldn't be out of context in the 70's. There's no progression at all, and I've been here for almost 3 years already. Also, the same selections are played for what seems like an eternity - 6 months at least, and there really are only a handful of songs chosen. At any time I can tune to PLJ and hear the Goo-Goo Dolls, Sugar Ray, Jewel, or Sarah Mclaghlan within minutes of tuning in. Sure, nothing wrong with this, but the fact is that this is exactly what I heard on the same station some 6 months ago. Who makes these selections? Surely not the DJs?
Do I ever hear a synthesizer amongst the songs? Well, urrrm, no, not unless it is used in a background context.
So what was my solution? I went independant. I still continue my day-job as a Systems Analyst, trying to drum up the money to get my own CD's pressed. Do I have fans? Sure, a whole bunch of them on the web, but do they own any of my CD's yet? Errrm, well, only a select few who were willing to brave my first few CDR copies, which I then halted because of compatibility issues. I have now got so much material ready for pressing that I don't know what to do with it all. I could probably press 3 CD's in a short space of time if I had the cash to outlay.
Anyway, my final point is this: As a South African musician, if you're ever upset about "half-hearted" attempts by SA music execs to market you in the USA, please remember some of the problems they face over here. Think back to the select few difficulties I mentioned, and you will realise just how many bands get rejected here, simply because their package isn't good enough. Your music plays second-fiddle to a host of other criteria here. Who cares if your lyrics are intelligent, and mean something? Who cares if the music is catchy, and people will enjoy it? "You don't have the image we want, but I'm sure we could do a Milli-Vanilli for you".
Regards from the USA, and thanks for a great website detailing SA music. It's because of people like yourself, Benjy Mudie, and Barny Simon that SA music doesn't fall by the wayside.
Ian (aka. Silicon 39)
TOP SOUTH AFRICAN DRUMMERS
Andre Fourie has sent us a list of his favourite SA musicians by
instrument. This week we feature his Top 20 drummers:
1) IAN HERMAN
2) BARRY VAN ZYL
3) ANTON FIG
4) GEORGE BASTOS
5) COLIN PRATLEY
6) MIKE GRAY
7) SAVVY GRANDE
8) KEVIN KRUGER
9) WALLY CULLIS
10) SHAUN WRIGHT
11) CECIL RICCA
12) PATRICK VAN RENSBURG
13) DANNY DE WET
14) DERRICK "BOKKIE" DE BEER
15) MIKE BRAND
16) ALAN THWAITES
17) KEVIN GIBSON
18) NEIL CLOUD
19) NEIL McKELLER
20) STEVEN SPANNENBERG
ON THE NET
LEGENDS OF SA ROCK
The legends of SA rock history, like Hawk, Freedoms Children , Otis Waygood, Rabbitt, etc are alive and well and living online at the "Legends Of SA Rock" website.
Also later bands like, Hotline, Asylum Kids, The Helicopters and Falling Mirror have their place in the (African) sun here.
And 60's band, The A-Cads, is fondly remembered with detailed info on all single and album releases, thanks to vinyl collector Tertius Louw and original A-Cads guitarist Richard "Dick" Laws.
So please go visit and feel free to offer input and comments...
FOUR DAYS NOTICE
The music of Four Days Notice can be described as acoustic rock with jazz and classical undertones. According to lead vocalist and songwriter Matt Allison, influences include Jars of Clay and Sixpence None The Richer.
René Mullenders is an ex-South African whose interest in SA music has not waned since he settled in Holland. So much so that René has been busy loading lots of relevant info about SA music onto his website. He's just finished his SA Pop Compilation CDs page and it has all these albums with covers, track listings and more. Worth checking out and bookmarking for future reference, especially if you are just looking for a specific SA song.
LINKS AND ADVERTS
SA ROCK LEGENDS
SPRINGBOK NUDE GIRLS
OFF THE EDGE
THE LEGENDS OF SOUTH AFRICAN ROCK
Where SA rock legends still live
SOUTH AFRICA'S ROCK FILES
The online archive for the History of South African Rock
TOO GOOD TO BE FORGOTTEN
Post your message on the SA Rock message board
News, views, reviews and interviews
AFRICAN INVASION OF ROCK
News, reviews and opinions
Arts news from Kwazulu-Natal
Electronic Music Magazine
News, links, features, etc
News, updated daily
News, classifieds and much more...
WALL OF SOUND
Up-to-date news on the International music scene
Cape Town's Music Club
THE BIG TREE
Superb venue in the Strand supporting local talent
What's on around South Africa
SA's music retail chain
Selling South African Music to the World
5% discount for Digest members!
OUTLAW RECORDS, CAPE TOWN
Cape Town Central (021) 4238145
Wynberg (021) 7972482
Claremont (021) 6717887
10% discount for Digest members!
VIBES MUSIC - N1 CITY, CAPE TOWN
Phone (021) 5953220
RECORD COMPANIES, LABELS & STUDIOS:
Home of some great SA bands
Independent multi-faceted music group
Supporting South African Music
INDIE MUSIC EXPLOSION
The Ultimate Independent Music Site in South Africa
Music from and about Africa
The home of the Radio Rats, The Glee Club, the Chauffeurs
and the Pop Guns
Private Bag X10
RIESTER INTERNATIONAL RECORDS
South African independent record company
STRANGER THAN FICTION PRODUCTIONS
STREET LEVEL RECORDS
Cape Town's Independent Record Label
Stellenbosch Recording Studio
The Home of African Music
The Musician's Resource
PEDRO THE MUSIC MAN
ROCK DAY BY DAY
The History of rock as it happened
SA MUSIC DATABASE
Over 100 links relating to South African music
sound - lights - dance
SA Music magazine
The radio show, the CDs, the website
Remembering Capital 604 (1979 to 1996)
Internet radio supporting local music
THE HISTORY OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowicz (TOGA, 1994)
KOOS se SONGS
Free musical equipment classifieds ad website
CLIMB UP ON MY MUSIC
A site dedicated to Rodriguez, the Sugar Man
IMAGES OF ROCK
Your Ultimate Rock And Roll Experience
POP SHOP TRACK LISTINGS
A tribute to those great Pop Shop albums
The only known website for Ramases
VAGABOND'S MUSIC TRIVIA
a rock music trivia site
PIOTR'S GREEN PAGES
Discographies and lyrics for the legends of rock
The festival, the CD, the book, the website
CD Database Online
CD player for accessing the online CD database http://www.mindspring.com/~clark_tisdale/CDmax/
African music, MP3s and more...
Listen to MP3s of South African artists
Links to download sites
BACK ISSUES AND RULES
SA ROCK DIGEST ON-LINE
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