Clegg set for Cape farewell
JOHNNY Clegg says he might be hanging up his gumboots but he won’t stop making music.
Clegg, 64, is in Cape Town to promote his Final Journey World Tour which takes to the stage of the GrandWest Arena on June 30 and July 1.
Yesterday, he reminisced about his start with Juluka and their struggles when it came to performing their music live in the early 1970s.
Of his final show, Clegg said it was a “summing-up of my career” which is autobiographical, featuring videos with historical footage with pictures of people who shaped his life.
“Juluka, Johnny Clegg, Savuka – all of that was really prefigured in my adolescent years. A few people, Zulus and other people that I met, (the) music that I heard, the idea that cultural music was important. I was very influenced by that idea,” said Clegg.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and underwent chemotherapy treatment but throughout this he had continued to tour locally and internationally, undertaking a nine-week tour of the US and Canada in 2016.
“I want to hang up my boots after this (tour) and probably go into giving talks and lectures. I will continue recording, putting out music (but) the days of five shows a week for 10 weeks in a row are now over,” Clegg said.
He says the music business is a tough business and that there are numerous “rock ‘n’ roll widows” on the road.
“It’s that very hard lifestyle. One has to make a real effort to keep family together. Keep everybody feeling that they’re all on the same bus.
“My wife (Jenny), after we did our 1990 nine-month world tour she left the tour six months in, she said ‘this is not a life’. We went through a rocky period and then she said ‘I can deal with three months a year but then you must divide it up’. We worked on that principle,” said Clegg, saving his 29-year marriage.
He and his band were at the height of their fame in 1988 and 1989 when Scatterlings of Africa and Asimbonanga successively went to No 1 on the French pop charts.
“I had No 1 album and No 2 album in the Top 10 album sales. It was ridiculous,” mused Clegg.
He says humility has kept him grounded and that at the height of his fame he was not into parties or the celebrity lifestyle.
“I came from a pretty conservative background, especially from my mom’s side. I was a serious artist.
“I wasn’t out to pull chicks. I was trying to get a conversation going between Western and African music, that was my mission, and people (in the apartheid government) didn’t want to hear it,” he said.
LEGEND: Johnny Clegg feels it’s time to hang up his gumboots.