Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Carni Bass Jam

Don't get me wrong, I love my double bass. But I don't love not being able to hear myself, and sound in this country just doesn't seem to be able to figure out how to get my monster pumping. So I tried out my bass (my beautiful 1979 Peavey T-40) at practice last night, it was a lot of fun, and I got to let loose abit. Here are the results of a practice turned more jam then anything.

Stay Sick
Stay Slick
Stay Psycho

Peachy Keen

Band members:
Dominique Otto – Vocals and Guitar
Alex Wise: Keys, Vocals, Tamborine
Brandon “Slim Anus” Shore – Drums
Greg Abrahams – Double Bass
Nicolas H – Lead Guitar

I like girls, even more than liking girls I like girls with tattoos. But the holy grail of those girl creatures that I like is the girls with tattoos that rock the fuck out. The girls of Peachy Keen are just that. And well worth waiting for, I soon discover on arrival at Kill City Blues Preproduction and Rehearsal Studios in Cape Town. I buzz in, 6 o’clock on the dot. I’m punctual like that on occasion. And head for the bar to find out from Marne which room they’re practicing in. With information acquired I head for the studio at the end of the windy corridor, where I run into Brandon, AKA Slim, drummer and manager of Peachy Keen. A Durban expat who caught the Cape Town city buzz and never left. After a brief introduction we hit the bar, my gracious host spotting me a Zamalek, as we wait for the rest of the band to arrive. Joe Jackson plays in the duke box of my mind “I got a girl who is always late, every time we have a date, but I love her....” Definitely my sort of band. There’s something creepy about a band that is punctual as a whole. It gives me the feeling of clockwork dolls with beady eyes, staring down at me from a shelf in a darkened room. It’s just unnatural. Some people would call it professional. But with creatives, it just isn’t the same. It’s a fashionably late statement of some genre.
The girls, those lovely lady beings in question, the rockers whose arrival we are currently waiting for, met through the band scene, back in the day, both playing for different ska bands. But what they really wanted was to start a band together. That idea was put on ice until January 2010 when they decided: stuff it. Enough screwing around. Let’s do this thing. In their own words: “It was time to make this dream a reality!” And from that point they spent three nights a week together getting into the nitty gritty’s of song writing. “Some songs were shit, others we loved, and finally we got a set together.” Phase one complete, captain. Next step! Members! The first of which turned out to be Slim. Who was stumbled upon by through drunken dance and a love of The Beatles. It was love at first sight. He was THE ONE. Next came Greg, “The Talent,” as Slim describes him; found through the University of Cape Town network. And he rocked up at practice with his big double bass and his chilled out and friendly demeanour and the girls had found another keeper (Geez lucky girls, if only romance was as easy for everyone). After a litany of guitarist - six or seven to be imprecise - Dom’s cousin, Nicolas H was recently imported from Canada and cleared through customs. To arrive with the rest of the band a solid 20 minutes late.

More beer is bought, introductions made, and the band starts setting up; amidst the smell of man sweat from the previous band. I sit in the corner and observe, sipping on beer and fiddling with my camera settings. Greg is double bassless today, playing a five string cherry red court. But he’s still giving my imaginary member hard on as he warms up with some jazzy blues scales.
The band adjourns briefly from set up for a smoke break and a discussion about their upcoming radio interview with Liesel Van De Westhuizen the following Wednesday, the equipment needed for the gig on Saturday, and the upcoming Cape Town Tattoo Convention. It’s 18:44 and I still haven’t bared witness to the band as a whole, but I’m enjoying the banter and the company none the less.

And then the moment arrives. Back in the band room, a blues jam kicks in. I let out a deep sigh in reminiscence of the Death Valley days. With warm up jam over the real music begins. And my skirt is well and truly blown up around my head. Dom has an amazing sultry country voice, which makes my none existent leg hairs tingle. Slim grooves a power shuffle. Alex multi tasks between keys, the tambourine and vocals, another truly impressive voice. Aside from her dexterous and melodic key playing abilities. And I’m hoping that Nic is the guitarist that they keep. He rocks on the slide. All in all they culminate into one of the sickest rockabilly sounds I’ve heard in a long while. These ladies know how to rock. This band knows how to rock. This is how Tiger Army would sound if they were crossed with rock n roll sensibility and smooth fem vocals.  But better. It’s “Here in the Orchard” but it makes you want to do the twist. The band busts into the next song. A straight up rockabilly number with a pop edge that will have you singing “I’ll be your baby, I’ll be your little dove” and tapping your foot for days after. I know this from experience.  
After a few more tunes that I wish I had to take home in my car with me, the time comes for me to leave, I have to catch Dave Ferguson playing up the up the road. But I leave the studio in with a sense of anticipation about the gig at Zula Bar on Saturday. Which in retrospect was epic. They totally blew Cassette out of the water. Performance wise, dress wise, and music wise.

I left that night feeling inspired, but this is an inspiring outfit. So, I’ll leave you with some fine words of wisdom from this band on the up. The first on being female muso’s in a male dominated industry: “We are firm believers that one should never rest one’s laurels and get by that way. As females in the scene we have to work hard to prove ourselves. You can’t just be a pretty face on stage and expect people to listen up. You gotto work it!”
 And the second to all bands wanting to get somewhere: “Find the music that you love playing and give it all you’ve got! Also work on your image, how you want the band to be portrayed. Get a good photographer and do a rad shoot. You’d be surprised at how much that helps! Network and approach people for sponsorships, even if you get shut down. You have to be thick skinned. Do what you love and love what you do!”
The band would like to thank LMG magazine, Sailor Jerry who saw potential and sponsored them before they’d even played a show. Tyler B. Murphy of Sin of Style Tattoos, who has taken them on board and does the band artwork. And MissHapp clothing.
Catch this awesome band on tour in Jozi April 1st and 2nd 2010, with the Bone Collectors and The Carniwhores. It’s going to be a rockabilly road show of note.

(This article was originally published in Vixxen March 2011
Promo Photo by Sweet Nausea Photography
Live photography By Cami Scoundrel

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Submachine - Road From Babylon - Album Launch (with some Qwazaar on the side)

After a rather dismal attempt at an acoustic set with The Carniwhores at Kitcheners (Storm obviously not in attendence due to album launch commitments) I headed to Town Hall for the much anticipated launch of Submachine's debut album. And came out severly dissapointed. There just seemed to be no life to the show. Normally a Submachine show will have you screaming your lungs out while your feet are possessed by the PyschoVoodooBlackNoise. This show just seemed to lack energy. While it was well attended, well decorated, well advertised, Sailor Jerry and tattoo vouchers from The Golden Tiki being given away the whole event just seemed to lack the party element. I got there in time to see Juggernaut, but wasn't captivated and ended up outside shmoking cigarettes and enjoying the hip hop coming from The Woods where Qwazaar was playing later. A quick car bar and it was back inside to watch the mighty Submachine who just came across as exhausted after three hours of sleep after their Durban show the night before. But they held it together, and had the crowd going. I didn't see much of Half Price's set. Instead I snuck into The Woods (the stamps for both venue's were almost identical and the bouncers didn't seem to notice). Now that was a rad ass show. Though I did hop back to Town Hall for a bit in time to hear Half Price's iconic song about Titties. "I like big fat titties in my face..." I think I may have grown out of them when I was 16. The night degenerated back to Kitcheners and jamming double bass on the pavement at 4.30am with Roger Young, JR and Jade.

Next Door

Brothers and Lights

The weekend once again started on Wednesday with an epic mission to pick up bands mates, lostness in Rivonia trying to find the place, a missing hi-hat stand, a Tranni, laughing in the back of the car in the parking lot while Siya showed Ray how it's done from that angle, or maybe it was Ray showing Siya. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

March of the Punks

The hardcore punk scene in Jozi is once again live and kicking. And has doubled in size since the London Calling days. Hmmm, nostalgia of late night soccer games in the street, begging for 1's and 2's to buy R10 quarts. General drunkeness and the best of the underground scene every weekend. It was even the spot where I first got to witness Death Valley in their awesomeness. Although, most of the show I was "back stage" - it can't really be called back stage, it was a corner of the court yard where a small fence was erected to keep equipment - warming up for our set. I was playing in The Kosmonauts at the time. I remember thinking "man I'd dig to jam this stuff." Funny that.

JV and The Carburetors


Anyway, London Calling died under new management. I think the building is still there, unused, waiting to be sold. And now we have The Bohemian. Well The Bohemian has always been there, and it is without a doubt the spawning ground for up coming bands in Jozi. And it is where I ended up on Thursday night after a drinking session with the WITS philosophy department. To witness what I believe is a fresh start for the Jozi hardcore punk scene. The Virulence were awesome. Tight. Got the crowd going. And JV and the Carburetors definitely have potential, although their sound check song sounded like babies crying into a microphone. No jokes. But they definitely exude some awesome energy on stage. But enough jibber, let the photos speak.

The Virulence


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fuck, I miss this band (A Death Valley recording you wouldn't hear otherwise)

Seems like forever ago. Though it's only been a few months. it's like breaking up with 7 people at once when your band breaks up. I owe much of myself to Death Valley. I spent a month of weekends on the  couch in a state of depression and soul searching when we stopped gigging because I honestly didnt know who I was any more. Talk about identity crisis. But spend two years with weekends of solid gigging and it becomes quite easy to lose other aspects of your self. Like a social life. I think I've regained that slightly, and managed to maintain a rather good gigging regiem. it's all about balance.

But the point of this post is this : and probably the main reason why I miss The Death Valley Blues Band so much. We'd rock up at a practice or a gig and start jamming. And it would be this beautiful mulch of E. Yep, always E. Well almost always E..

This is the first jam we had after Kevin left for the UK. It wasn't constructive but the feeling was still there.

Kev, we miss you

Pic 2008: Just before 5fm interview

The Weekend Starts On Wednesday

For the last few weeks it seems like Puzza Thursday has annexed by Wasted Wednesdays. Though Puzza Thursday still occurs, no doubt, the weekend just seems to start on Wednesday nights of late. Jozi has turned into a hotspot of culture and party. Maybe I've been cloistered in the punk scene for too long, but it seems that the diversity of all the scenes that have been bubbling up and growing over the past few years are suddenly coming out of the wood work and melding into something epic. What it's turning into I'm not sure, but scenes are merging, evolving, opening their eyes to see some bigger picture. I'm enjoying watching it.

So Wednesday night was spent in Benoni with The Sunday Punchers. Probably the drunkest punk/folk/rock/irish band I've had the pleasure of watching in a while (since the old Gross Misconduct Days at least). Definitely a band that's full of feeling and passion for music. I respect that. Got there earlyish and in record time, after a relatively traffic free 40 minute mission from Jozi, with Clint and Siane. Shaun was already waiting with beer. Gene wheeling is amp in. A R500 tab for the bands, we raped it, as the rest of the band trickled in. Mostert last, already a six pack down. though he swore he was sober. And we all continued to imbibe (except clint, on a sober driver mission) until the set. After which we hung around for a bit, hunted some weasels, slugged some car bar Scottish Leader. Mostert ended up with a black eye, no-ones really sure how. But that's Benoni for you.

Quinn (Drums), Mike (Guitar) and Matt (Friend)

Mostert decided he needed a prison knife. That poor steak knife never knew what broke it.

Ankia (Violin and Vocals) pregig making sure the pick up is working. Gotto love a girl who knows her equipment.

Quinn, rocking pretty boy Stee's (yep I said Stee's, its infiltrated my vocabulary)

Mike (Guitar) and Gene (Bass)

And Siane (vegetarian holding crocodile sking guitar case)

Going Solo

I think there comes a time in every muso's life where they feel that that it's time to play their own songs. While I love playing in bands, the time has come to expand my  musical horizons. So here, for you, is the second demo I have recorded. And hopefully the first in a journey somehwere else. Where ever that might be. Music is the beat to which my feet wander..


Black paint I escape into you
Pressed close, smeared dry
Hold me closer and closer still
Let's paint each other tonight

I wiped that grin onto your lips
Traced collar bones with finger tips
Unsure you kissed me, went down on your knees
Beneath black paint you can't hide

Black paint I escape into you
Pressed close, smeared dry
Hold me closer and closer still
Let's paint each other tonight

Softly, softly lips parted lips
A brief disjuncture between buttons and zips
A knowing glance between your eyes and mine
Please don't let me fall into you