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Interviews Music

Sour but sweet: The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando

Evan Dando is not a fan of his band’s biggest hit. “I don’t really like that song ‘Mrs Robinson’ at all,” he grins at the irony. “How sad is that?”

But the sole constant member of The Lemonheads is not one for regrets. When the band he formed with friends in 1986 hit it big six years later, Dando’s photogenic looks helped him become, alongside friend Kurt Cobain, one of the poster boys of the indie music scene. But even as People magazine put the singer on their “Top 50 Sexiest Men of 1993” list, a 20-something from Pennsylvania began self-publishing the magazine ‘Die Evan Dando, Die’.

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Interviews Music

Seether’s Shaun Morgan can’t fake it

“You should know that the lies won’t hide your flaws / No sense in hiding all of yours.” More than just lyrics to Seether’s swinging hit ‘Fake It’, the words reflect a way of life for the band’s frontman. That’s startlingly clear when I come face to face with Shaun Morgan Welgemoed. What you see is what you get. There’s nothing fake about him.

He doesn’t even bother to hide his vulnerability: “The bigger it gets the more I realise I wasn’t cut out for the fame part of it.”

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Interviews Music

Fatboy Slim is big on beats

“Dance music isn’t at its peak at the moment,” Norman Cook says, rather wistfully, from his Brighton beachfront home on the south of England.

“Five years ago it was breaking rules and turning people on who didn’t like dance music – rock bands wanted to get involved, and people were excited.”

“Since then we’ve kind of lost our momentum a little bit. When big beat came around in the ’90s it gave dance music a kick up the arse, with groups like Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers,” adds the man better known as Fatboy Slim.

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Interviews Music

Karen Zoid living in the present

“It was the best time in my life – I was so carefree,” remembers Karen Zoid of busking on Melville’s streets as a teenager. It certainly beat her grade 10 weekend job as a Mr Delivery call centre phone operator, earning R3.20 an hour towards an amplifier (“Nobody ever knows what they want, they always change their mind!”).

Out on the pavements she could perform to an audience, playing Rolling Stones tunes to 50-somethings, Smashing Pumpkins hits to students, sad Tracy Chapman ballads to loners.

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Interviews Music

Vusi Mahlasela lights the way

“I wish politicians would realise that they can change the world if they work together like musicians collaborating, the world would be very different place,” sighs the man who has teamed up with the likes of Dave Matthews, Josh Groban and now Soweto Gospel Choir.

Vusi Mahlasela should know — for the past 30 years, he has embraced political and social messages that celebrate the importance of reaching out to others. Themes of conciliation and forgiveness run through his songs like the proverbial river through the desert.

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Interviews Music

Springbok Nude Girls break the peace

They were hard to ignore. Their buzz-saw guitars and frenzied trumpeting kicked you between the legs. The cocky singer had a thing for loud halers and goggle sunglasses, like Bono used to wear. Lines like “I’ve got bubblegum on my boots today” were as difficult to get out of your head as an axe.

They arrived with a bang. But by the end of 2001 Springbok Nude Girls went out with a fizzle. The band broke up. Maybe. Various line-ups got back together for periodic “final” shows. Followed by more “final” shows.

What the hell was going on?

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Interviews Music

Il Divo make it look effortless

Take one look at the four men in Il Divo and you’re almost guaranteed to think theirs must be a lifestyle of leisure – yachts, cognac, and lazy afternoons, occasionally interrupted by serenading some beautiful Italian ladies.

At the very least their Armani suits, dashing looks, impeccable grooming and opera training suggest a quartet of staid gentlemen who listen to Puccini in their drawing rooms.

But, in reality, American David Miller, Frenchman Sebastien Izambard, Swiss Urs Buhler, and Spaniard Carlos Marin have a slightly less refined taste in music.

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Interviews Music

Jose Gonzalez: quiet introspection

Born in Sweden to an Argentinian father who loves Latin American music and western pop classics, it would have been easy for Jose Gonzalez to suffer from some cultural confusion.

His first musical outings involved playing bass in a rock band, flirting with hardcore and dipping into indie rock — before pulling out the plug.

The 28-year-old’s stark solo album ‘Veneer’ is “an understated, moody collection” that’s all about “simple guitar, murmured vocals, and the subtlest of harmonies”, said our reviewer.