Off The Edge
I was no longer involved in music at all and in June 1983, I was on my way to Plumb Crazy in Johannesburg when I bumped into Tony Groenewald. He had apparently finished up with Top Dog and was also at a loose end. We started talking about recording some of the songs that he and I had written in Boss as we felt that they would just be forgotten. A number of our friends who were followers of the band also encouraged us to make some kind of record of those songs. We couldn't call it Boss but we could certainly make it sound like Boss. My only regret at this time was that Grant and I were not speaking to each other and I know that he would have loved to be involved in the project.
We contacted "Blue Tree Studios" and arranged for studio time to record three songs. Wayne Edgerton was asked to play on the demos as he was still familiar with the songs.
The songs were recorded and the response from friends was more than we'd expected. We gave the demo tapes to a DJ at Radio 5 (Chris Prior) and it was through him that the whole "Off the Edge" idea came about. Chris was so impressed with the demo tapes that he contacted us and suggested that we should do something with the material. We decided to make more demos and this time we used a different drummer (Neil Fox). We even managed to get Abigail to come and sing on one of the tracks. The recording went well and we were fairly happy with the result. Chris Prior was giving us lots of airplay on his show and the whole thing was gaining momentum. The studio then made us an offer to record an album by providing us with unlimited studio time and a limited amount of pressings. The total cost for the album would come to the sum of R4000-00. It would entitle us to 300 copies for distribution. We never had any thoughts of trying to release the album because we still wanted to do this only for ourselves.
The task of finding the right musicians for the album now started. This was to prove somewhat difficult. I'd wanted Merco to play on the album but he'd turned down the offer saying that he would have had problems with the other members of Streetalk. I'd also decided to record a song that Grant and I had written in Cape Town with Wildeside and spoke to Grant about this. Grant had no problem with the song and sounded quite keen to hear the result.
There was a bit of bad feeling from Garth over the recording as he had felt that he had also had a hand in writing some of the material involved. I can quite clearly remember that the songs that were to be recorded were written by Tony and I. We decided to ignore any of the songs that any of the other Boss members had had a hand in writing.
We had finally found a drummer who was keen to be involved. Eric Liebermann (ex-Hotline) had made himself available for the first sessions.
The first session consisted of three songs:
Just Another Band
I Can't Carry On
All of the backing tracks were recorded and the whole session went well. I felt that it would have beneficial to have keyboards on the album but I wasn't going to ask Fred for the same reason as Merco.
The next song to be recorded was an instrumental entitled 'Fooling Around'. We'd both wanted Colin Heaney to play on this track as he had played on the original version in Boss. Colin was playing in Pietermaritzburg, but he flew to Johannesburg to play on the track. We also felt that the song should definitely have keyboard parts written for it and now we would have to find a keyboard player.
A friend of mine (Mark Gathercole) had given a telephone number to me of a keyboard player (Dave Sharp) that he knew. We were to find that Dave was to change the shape of the band in such a way that we expressed an interest in having him as permanent member for the recording.
'Fooling around' was such a success that we asked Dave if he would attend the next sessions to complete all of the remaining backing tracks. He agreed and the date was set for the next session. Eric however, was going to Germany with Hotline and so we had to find another drummer.
Tony had met Ingrid Herbst (ex-Clout) in the interim and asked if she would play on the remaining tracks. Ingrid agreed and we were ready to finish recording.
The songs for the session were:
Evil in her eyes
Liven up the night
Off the Edge
Out of luck, out of love
Ingrid had proved to be exactly what we'd needed, giving the songs a unique sound. The "band" was now starting to sound like a band that had been together for some time. I decided to remove certain guitar tracks that were previously recorded and replace them with keyboards.
The recordings were eventually completed and after a few hiccups the mixing was finished off to our satisfaction. The record was pressed and we collected the albums from EMI. The records were given to friends, family and to everybody that had given us such enthusiastic support. Chris Prior was given a certain amount of records, which were to be given out on radio and for airplay. We were very surprised to find ourselves being playlisted on national radio without even having a record on the market or a band as such.
Dave was involved with the Mattisson Brothers at the time of the album, and when Dave Mattisson left the band, I was asked to join. I decided to join as I had nothing else to do and I really wanted to play again. After having played with Dave on the album I looked forward to playing in the band with him as well.
We then decided that we would record again. Tony had written a ballad called 'Take it on the run' and Tony, Dave and myself had written 'Shady Lady'.
These were to be the next two songs to be recorded.
We managed to get Colin to play on these songs and they were recorded at the new Blue Tree Studios on a Saturday afternoon in October 1984.
The tapes were given to Chris Prior and were immediately played on radio. Things were going a lot faster than initially planned. Tony had also been interviewed on radio by Chris and mentioned that we were trying to put the band together for live work.
Dave and I had unfortunately had other commitments (playing with the Mattisson Brothers) and Colin was playing with a band called "In and Out". The thought of playing and putting another band together from scratch was just too much to ask after my experience with Boss.
The whole project had ground to a halt, but then again I hadn't expected anything more to come out of it in the first place. We had achieved everything that we'd first set out to do.
Dave and I played with the Mattisson Brothers for roughly a year with Tony joining towards the end of that year. The interest became less and less and eventually the band broke up.
Dave went on to join Feather Control, Tony joined Cyndicate and then Chapta Too. Chapta Too was formed out of the two bands Face to Face and The Working Girls. This arrangement didn't last either and he played briefly for Kid Gloves before moving to Cape Town in 1986.
He arrived in Cape Town and started working as the technical stage manager at CAPAB. Tony ended up joining David Kramer and Taliep Petersen and toured for two years. Once again Tony and I lost contact with each other.
... on to 1987
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