On stage, Midnight Oil’s lead singer Peter Garrett cuts an imposing figure. Bald, six foot four, bestowed with an intense stare, he’s prone to flailing his limbs with wild abandon while singing passionately about politics, the environment, racism, militarism, and nuclear disarmament. In conversation, he’s thoughtful, articulate, and just as passionate. He has strong opinions on everything from climate change to legacy bands that go out and play the same 15 songs over and over, night after night.
Jack Lawrence-Brown is a bit stressed. It’s mid January. In less than two weeks White Lies hit the road for four months. They’re playing 55 dates across Europe and North America. They’re marking the 10th anniversary of their debut album. Oh, and they’re launching a new LP.
“This is always one of the toughest parts,” the drummer admits, looking ahead to the release of ‘Five’ on 1 February. “It’s all done, you’ve had it done for a little while, and you’re just drip-feeding songs to people, constantly checking the internet to see what they’re making of it all.
You can tell a lot about someone from their Instagram account. The Rock clearly likes working out, meeting fans, and raising his eyebrow. ‘Expresso’ presenter Katlego Maboe is a snappy dresser who meets many socialites and enjoys coffee and rugby. And Founding Director of Black Real Estate, Thato “TT” Mbha, is a dynamic, gregarious, well-travelled family man with no time for negativity. Always smiling (often with equally happy celebrities by his side), he’s mad about his two daughters, golf, fashion, and sharing inspirational quotes like “Pay attention to your dreams”.
The last time éVoid had done a full South African tour, PW Botha was president. The brothers Erik and Lucien Windrich were 20-somethings with a thing for beads and face paint. And their politically charged, African-flavoured ethnotronic songs were considered subversive enough to warrant police attention – and popular enough for jumping fans to cave in the floor of Stellenbosch Town Hall.
That was 30 years ago – an eternity in the music scene. So the siblings were understandably a little worried about doing it all over again to celebrate their self-titled debut album’s anniversary. No need: all 10 of their August homecoming shows were sell-out successes.
“It’s pretty crazy at the moment,” says The Script’s drummer, Glenn Power, with just a hint of understatement. In the past month he and bandmates Danny O’Donoghue and Mark Sheehan have been as far afield as Australia, The Philippines, the Netherlands, and the United States.
We Are Scientists – Keith Murray, Chris Cain, and lately Andy Burrows (ex-Razorlight) – are almost as well known for their quirkiness as their fun indie rock. With a strident new album, ‘Barbara’, out now, Keith calls from The Big Apple to talk about making people dance, soccer anthems, why they won’t be writing any breakup heartache ballads, ‘Dawson’s Creek’, and chasing women. Oh, and utter the immortal words: “It would be a real tease to let me talk to you and then not let me come.”
Akon is a singer, songwriter, producer, and businessman with the schedule to prove it. During a whirlwind trip to Cape Town – packed with radio interviews, in-store album signings, press conferences, and a show – we manage to grab a few minutes with the man and talk cooking, Michael Jackson, ‘Sexy Chick’, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
They were the darlings of the ’80s, the pretty boys of pop who – alongside Duran Duran – topped the charts with hits like ‘True’ and Gold’. But the good times turned bad with an acrimonious split and, later, a bitter court battle over royalties.
However unlikely it seemed, the reunion – almost 20 years later – was inevitable.
Now in a Cape Town hotel suite fit for superstars on the comeback trail, bassist Martin Kemp and multi-instrumentalist Steve Norman tell us about their rocky past, their surprising return, and their bright future.
Don’t expect to see Trevor Noah at screenings of his new ‘The Daywalker’ live comedy film, currently on circuit. During our conversation, one of South Africa’s funniest men reveals why he doesn’t like watching his own performances, how he beats Loyiso Gola at the game ‘Fifa 10’, why hanging with the paparazzi is never fun, the joys of being heckled by a six-year-old, and getting obsessed with twitter.
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’.