Hang­ing out with PLUS Gig guide part 1

People (South Africa) - - Contents -

T HIS band is def­i­nitely one of the most unique to ever come out of South Africa; they have such a dis­tinc­tive sound. Their live shows are an ex­plo­sion of tunes old and new and you can’t help but sing along and bust some moves. Ri­aan is

elec­tri­fy­ing on the drums and Chris Chameleon is one of the most phe­nom­e­nal, most cap­ti­vat­ing front­men we’ve

ever seen! We caught up with Chris to find out what’s go­ing down in the land of BOO! How did your mu­sic, which you re­fer to as Monki Punk, come about?

Most of it was un­in­ten­tional, sort of by ac­ci­dent. I was work­ing be­hind the scenes on a tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion and one evening, af­ter work in the Sun­down Ranch near Sun City, the props master and set dresser heard me play my gui­tar, singing to my­self. They knocked on my door and when I opened, they told me I should not be here, that what they had just heard sounded like I should be on stage, singing and play­ing. The next day I re­signed and started look­ing for band mem­bers. I found a drum­mer first. We re­hearsed a few weeks, booked the first gig, and then I re­mem­bered a band mate of mine, from a pre­vi­ous band, a sort of a jack of all trades with a lively stage per­son­al­ity. I asked him to join in with us, which he did. Then we looked for a gui­tarist right up un­til our first gig, by which time we still hadn’t found one, but the gig went well and we de­cided that, un­usual though it was, we would con­tinue in that fash­ion. But the story is way more in­volved than that and I have a good mem­ory of the de­tails, so I have be­gun writ­ing the Boo!og­ra­phy. The full story is in there. You have played so many shows around the world. Where are your ab­so­lute favourite places to play?

Se­ri­ously, my favourite place to play is where the next gig is go­ing to be, wher­ever that is. I’m kind of for­ward mov­ing in that way. I have very fond me­mories of Italy, Croa­tia, Slove­nia, The Nether­lands, the USA... Ba­si­cally all of it is good, of­ten for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. Trav­el­ling around, you do get to re­alise that each place is dif­fer­ent, that the ‘na­tional iden­ti­ties’ vary from coun­try to

coun­try, and it be­comes a pas­time play­ing to those dif­fer­ences, be­com­ing a bit of a con­nois­seur of the var­i­ous quirks of dif­fer­ent na­tions. What is the best thing about tour­ing?

I don’t mean to sound jaded, but af­ter about 3 000 shows in 32 coun­tries, my favourite thing about tour­ing is com­ing home. The first time go­ing to a new coun­try is al­ways in­ter­est­ing. New faces, new flavours, new vibes to get ac­cus­tomed to. Af­ter about the fourth visit you start fig­ur­ing it out. Also, it’s never a hol­i­day. Gigs are sar­dined into tight, of­ten hec­tic sched­ules and you don’t get to chill much. Also, I might be giv­ing my age away a bit, but I have been do­ing this for 30 years now and one in­ter­est­ing thing I have no­ticed is how uni­form the world has be­come. Tech, travel, new

ap­proaches to bor­ders etc. have cre­ated a greater uni­for­mity among coun­tries. But, that said, we have had some re­ally good times on the road. Mo­ments of ab­so­lute de­bauch­ery, ten­der care for mem­bers in, say, per­sonal dis­tress, meet­ing the cra­zi­est peo­ple un­der the most in­sane sit­u­a­tions and then a whole bunch of things un­suit­able for fam­ily view­ing. I pretty much tell all in the Boo!og­ra­phy. Band mem­bers come and go, and usu­ally go un­der hor­ri­ble cir­cum­stances (an am­i­ca­ble de­par­ture by a dis­grun­tled band mem­ber is as com­mon as uni­corns) but af­ter a while all you re­mem­ber is the ca­ma­raderie, the good times, the love. What is the most im­por­tant les­son you’ve learnt along the way that oth­ers may ben­e­fit from?

I’m not so sure I am a good one to take lessons from. But if I ab­so­lutely had to give a les­son, it would be that ev­ery­thing you do makes a dif­fer­ence for­ever. So at­tach a sense of pos­ter­ity to ev­ery­thing you do, whether re­hears­ing or speak­ing to peo­ple or do­ing deals, try to keep in mind that the con­se­quences of what you’re busy with rip­ple out into the uni­verse for­ever, so do it in such a way that you may look at it at any given time in the fu­ture or the past and go: ‘it is good’. then, for­get the les­son and en­joy your­self. You had the same line up for many years and fans be­came used to the mem­bers. Would you tell us once and for all what hap­pened to Ampie Omo & Leon? As I said ear­lier on, it’s hard, leav­ing a band, and hardly ever pretty. So when you talk about stuff that ain’t pretty you need to be care­ful about mak­ing it even more un-pretty. The guys are not here at this in­ter­view to de­fend them­selves, or to give their take on it – which, I’m cer­tain, will most likely not be sim­i­lar to mine. So one needs to stick with the facts. Both guys, Leon once and Ampie twice, re­signed from the band. I know their rea­sons, but I will let them tell first, be­cause at the end of the day, I am still here. It is also un­rea­son­able to­wards Ri­aan to make too much of this. He is a mu­si­cal giant, who has in his lit­tle fin­ger more mu­si­cal­ity than my­self and the ex mem­bers all com­bined. But then he man­ages this in­cred­i­ble thing: not to be a ses­sion mu­si­cian. I have worked with ses­sion mu­si­cians many times be­fore, but he is some­thing else. His con­tri­bu­tion is so unique, so un­usual, that it de­fies the pa­ram­e­ters of ses­sion­man­ship. He has also oc­ca­sion­ally done the near-im­pos­si­ble, like make songs even bet­ter. Like Stiki Choon – what he has made of the song has taken it from an also-ran to an ab­so­lute high­light of any show. He has brought a power and a mas­culin­ity to the mu­sic that wasn’t pos­si­ble in pre­vi­ous line-ups.

Riann and Chris

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.