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In this issue:
Nebula News
Looking for Julian
Late Harvest
Abstract Truth
Nick remembers...
Jethro Tull
Darkest Africa
Splashy Fen Book
UK Report


The SA Rock Digest is a discussion forum for anything about
South African rock music; past, present and future.

Read it, digest it, enjoy it, send in your comments
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"Rock" is a very general term encompassing rock and roll,
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soul, R&B, metal, indie, alternative, new wave, reggae, etc, etc.

Don't get hung up...if you want to say something about the music
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it should appear soon.



Dantai's inferno rages on.

Dantai's success story gathers momentum as 'Pyjama Jam', the first
single off their debut album 'Operation Lahlela', moves up the Metro
charts and begins to make an impact on other radio charts nationwide.
Waiting in the wings are their next two singles, the highly-tipped,
cool ballad 'Livin Ain't Easy' and the eponymously-titled kwaito-bash,
'Dantai' Their Cape Town launch on Saturday was both well-received and
timeous as a German TV crew happened to be there, making an
eight-minute insert for a German TV music program on Kwaito!

Top Boo-ing!!

After a well-received tour of Warne and Waugh country, Boo has
consolidated their SA support with a series of power-gigs and
impressive sales of their debut album. Boo! will be featured on
Top Billing on the 11th June - showing off their new fun-filled video.

Splashy Phlegm double CD snot to be sneezed at!!

This 35-track highlights package from past Splashy Fen festivals
is garnering a lot of attention for its lovingly-assembled list of live
performances by the who's-who of South African acoustic, folk music.
Among the highlights by Tananas, David Ledbetter, David Goldblum and
Urban Creep, is 'Bittersweet', the lovely duet between Heather
Mac and Nebula BOS's own Mark Harris. Well we would say that, wouldn't

Remember, remember the 5th of November!

The title of this CD is '617', which gives no clues. The album is by
November 5 which is even more oblique. But the songs on this debut
album by Abraham (ex of The Led) leave no doubt that this album is
destined for cult and, hopefully, mainstream status. Its nine diverse,
intelligent and beautifully constructed pop/rock songs demand repeated
back-to-back listenings and are sure to establish '617' as one of the
best SA albums of the '90's. It's as simple as that....!

'Trip Of Africa' takes off.

Having sold all its initial copies, and with a second pressing on its way,
'Trip Of Africa' looks set to achieve the success it so clearly promised.
Its creator, African-Trance king Jorge Carlos, is already
working on new material and a new single, 'What A Perfect Day',
could be out before the Millennium festivities begin.

Jorge Carlos recently visited Gauteng on a promotional visit with mixed
results. An interview on 5FM resulted in a regular playlisting for the
radio edits of 'Calling Of The Whales' and the appropriately-titled
'Cape Axe', which fuses heavy metal guitar with some contemporary
trance. Jorge's performance at the Intergalactica 1 festival was abruptly
ended in mid-set after a clash between the promoters and the owner of the
farm where this festival was being held. This caused great dissatisfaction
among the hundreds of attendees who were getting their first look at this
multi-instrumentalist's dynamic performance. There will surely be many more
opportunities to do so....

The Nebula News Team

The Indie Music Explosion


(extract from the Too Good To Be Forgotten message board)

Hi Jules

I saw your picture on the web today. Still playing that guitar of yours!!! I would love to get in contact with you just to hear how life's treating you after 27 years! I'm sure you won't see this message, it's a bit like a message in a bottle I guess. In any case I thought it would be worth trying... just in case. I'll keep looking at his page for a while.

Candy (alias Muffins Pod)

{Editor: visit the Message Board at: }



Just finished reading the latest Digest. There's a query from Angie regarding the Homegrown Band. If she wants info direct from the horse's mouth let her contact JP (John Paul De Stefani) on (011) 894-7787. He runs his own recording studio from home.


Andrew King

{Editor: I phoned John Paul and he has now joined the digest, so maybe he will tell us more about all the great SA bands he has been involved with}



Just read Leon's message - we, LATE HARVEST opened for Jericho at Ellis Park when they were on tour here. We also opened for the Troggs (!!) at the Rainbow drag strip - anyone out there remember the Sunday concerts there? Those were great days - no TV!!
Any musicians from that era wish to contact me please do so. I would especially like to hear from the guys of JACOB HAY - great band.

When the LM charts for ’73 get published, you will see LATE HARVEST featured. Thanks again, Julian (Laxton, of course) – by the way what happened to Chris Kritzinger?
And all you guys talking about Abstract Truth & so on, remember the OUT-OF-TOWN club?
Nice to reminisce, hope someone out there remembers me too.
(I’ve still got my Rickenbacker!)

And let’s not forget about the South Coast, the early days of the GROVE were a breeding ground for SA Rock

Ray Brazington



I am writing in regard to a recent submission from one Colin
McDonald, reflecting that some enterprising guy could make some money by
re-releasing old Abstract Truth or Hawk albums.

First one would want to ask whether any of the band members would like
to see this stuff re-released! Also one would hopefully want to see the
original band members also make some money from this enterprise were it
to happen. I know that I, for one, never saw a penny from the Silver
Trees album and I don't think that George, Sean or Kenny (now living in
Paris, Amsterdam and SA respectively) ever did either!

Peter Measroch



Although I've lived in the UK for the past 22 years, I spent my youth in
SA ('66 to '76). Some random recollections of SA 70s music, then.

* Joburg's first blues concert at the City Hall, 1971? Otis Waygood,
perhaps their debut gig, I'm sure it was just before The Fever was

* South Africa's first "pop festival". Ellis Park, 1969? I made the
wrong choice - the rock bands tended to be at a different concert on the
same day at the Town and Country Club (?) on the edge of town.
Nevertheless, we did get Hawk, and I have a treasured photo of them from
that day.

* The second event at the Town and Country Club, including the live
premiere of Freedom's Children's "Astra". I was standing at the edge of
the stage, which was lined with burning joss sticks. I salvaged Ramsay
McKay's broken plectrum, which I kept for years. I recall Colin
Pratley's hands bleeding after a stickless drum solo. (Hey, remember
drum solos?)

* The Free People's Festivals at Wits. I went every year from '71 to
'76. That included helping to organise one or two, as part of the Nusas
cultural wing, Aquarius, later renamed to Cultural Action. (If anybody
is in touch with Barry Levinrad, a buddy from that period, I'd love to
get back in touch.)

* Dave Marks, to whom a huge debt of gratitude is owed by anyone
appreciative of SA music. During those years he organised those
festivals, being the one constant factor as students and student
organisations changed around him; he formed Third Ear Music; he
established The Market Cafe in winter 76, a gloriously multi-cultural
centre of a sort previously unknown outside university campuses; he ran
SAFMA (the SA Folk Music Association); he taped everything, and played
those wonderfully eclectic tapes before shows, which might include Johnny
& Sipho singing Zulu street songs, or BJ Vorster ranting on at a Nat

* The Beaters. I remember them as essentially a good covers band, and a
fun bunch of guys to hang out with. (I put them on at Wits a couple of
times.) It was only after I'd left the country that they found fame as
Harari with a much more commercial sound, let alone Sipho Mabuse's later

* I did a bit of work (i.e. was a hanger on) with Terry West and John
Sharpe of Northwest Music. Most vivid memory is of a "Jazz Festival" in
Soweto over a long weekend in October '74. The music went on for 12 or
18 hours a day for four days at Jabavu stadium. One night two of us
slept in the car inside the stadium. I remember waking slowly to what I
thought was the sound of Santana on the tape player in the car, but it
turned out to be Malombo playing their hearts out on stage, a trio
making enough sound for six, with Philip Tabane's guitar really talking.

* My friend Duncan Todd and I made a great friend at that festival, by
the name of Long John Snowy Mongangane. A photographer from the Sowetan
newspaper took photos of the three of us dancing, and although they
weren't published, Snowy got copies so I have fading photocopies of them
amongst my most treasured possessions. I lost track of Snowy after the
riots of 76. I guess it would be too much to expect anyone on the list
to know him? Similarly, Sandy and Mangosta (Norman Forth), characters
who were around a lot as part of the same scene.

* At the Free People's Festival in '74, I got up put of the crowd to
play bongos on La Bamba with a Spanish group whose name I've long since
forgotten. A week later I was sitting on the steps of Jameson Hall at
UCT, and someone came up and asked if I was the bongo player he'd seen
the week before. The one moment of musical fame in my entire life.

* I'd like to apologise to anyone we ever annoyed at a Free People's
Festival. For 2 or 3 years my friends and I took guitars and bongos, and
at some point would be jamming in a far corner, gathering a sizeable
crowd. With hindsight, this was remarkably discourteous to the
performers and organisers, but at the time it seemed completely in
keeping with the spirit of the occasion.

* Leon Furie's late night show on Swazi Radio was a rare beacon of rock
music in a sea of pap. Did he actually play much local content, though?

* I recall those Chase concerts mentioned by an earlier correspondent. I
remember it being at the City Hall rather than the Colisseum, though. I
went with my buddy Lleon - we were probably 16. I didn't have the guts
to bluff my way backstage at the interval, but Lleon did. He drank cane
spirit with the band, and asked Angel South if he was going to be doing
a big solo. "Maybe!" was the answer. But did he ever, including using
the mike stand to bow his guitar like a violin. I too was gutted when
the band died in that plane crash some years later.

* I'll save my Rodriguez story for another time!

* I was intrigued to read in an earlier Digest of the outdoor show
played by Jericho and Hawk. I met my wife-to-be, Audrey, a few years
later, and she said she had once modelled clothes and makeup at a
Jericho/Hawk gig (strictly amateur, she would have been about 16). I
thought I had my finger well on the pulse of the rock scene at that
time, and didn't recall and such show, so I simply assumed she was
mistaken. You've now proved that it was just me being arrogant!

* One of the advantages of the restricted nature of the SA music scene
in the '70s was that you couldn't afford to recognise too many barriers
between musical genres. So although I considered myself a rock and folk
fan, I'd happily go to see all sorts of other things. Remember Taubie
Kushlick's Tribute to Jacques Brel that seemed to run for years? Or when
Demis Roussos toured? Or Percy Sledge?

* But the most mind-opening ventures into other musical territory for me
were into jazz, seeing Dollar Brand play in Joburg and in Cape Town,
before he became Abdullah Ibrahim. I had no idea that solo piano playing
could be so inventive or hypnotic.

* Webb played at our matric dance (Northcliff High, 1973). They were
from Pretoria, and were certainly a rock band rather than pop. They
played a storming version of Tobacco Road. Did they ever record

* I've mentioned the names of some people with whom I'd love to re-
establish contact, who were involved in SA music in some way way-back-
then. There are many more, including:

- Fabrizio Grosso. I believe he went on to become a sound engineer
and/or producer in the early '80s (a few years after we were at school
and Wits together). I found his name on the credits of the Concert for
Hunger live album.

- Nigel Flint, who'd been a guitarist in a Durban band around 72/73, but
whom I knew at UCT in 74.

* On a less personal note, how about some of those folkies I recall from
the Free people's Festivals and SAFMA gigs?

- Edi Niederlander? I know she discovered electric guitar and made a
couple of fine albums. And then?

- Paul Clingman? I have a couple of albums, but I understand he withdrew
from music to work in a Joburg advertising agency. He published a novel,
A State of Symmetry, in 1996.

- Coin Shamley. He sang Dylan and self-penned numbers, and went on to
make a countryish album called . Was there anything after that?

sala kahle, Nick Shears.



Martin Probert wrote...

I appreciate that the digest is focussed towards SA Rock - but there must be someone out there who can assist me in tracking down some Jethro Tull collectibles. I am looking for anything you have - with 7 singles being the much sought after items. Anyone who wants to chat, etc anything about Jethro Tull or anything about anything, is more than welcome to contact me. I live in Gauteng and am currently on short-term contract in Botswana.
Would love to hear from other music lovers/collecters.

Anyone want to trade a 7 single of Void covering "My Sharona" (this was before they added the 'e' to their name and was recorded, I think, in Rhodesia!)

{Editor: visit for more info on Jethro Tull}



I'm quite confident in saying I'm the biggest SA music fan in the
Central African Republic!

I run a radio station for a United Nations peacekeeping mission up
here, and SA music features prominently on our play fact,
two weeks ago we ran a special on Saturday night spotlighting winners
of the SA music awards.

For the person who queried Roger Lucey music in issue #17: Roger's
Running for Cover album is a hit on the Bangui music scene!

I just wish I had easier access to SA music...when last in Jhb (March)
I filled my suitcase at CD warehouse.

David Smith
Director - Radio MINURCA
Bangui, Central African Republic



The Splashy Fen Book has been published to mark 10 years of Splashy Fen.
It's big, colourful, and jampacked with pictures and stories from the last
10 festivals 1990 to 1999. It's on sale for R65 from Chris Chapman at (031)
3036466 or e-mail The book is also available at
selected outlets such as Adams in Durban, Exclusive Books (Pavilion and La
Lucia) or Shuter and Shooter in Pietermaritzburg.

Chris Chapman

{Editor: visit }



Had a great time at the Mike & the Mechanics concert on Friday and got the
new album yesterday - awesome, especially for old establishment rockers
like me! Brilliant support act though called The Swans - an Irish Rock band
with melodies to die for - bought their CD as well! - very reminiscent of
Crowded House/Mutton Birds. Well worth getting hold of!

Did the rounds of my family up north over the weekend - didn't come away
with too much but pleased with what I managed to salvage:

Man on the moon - Ballyhoo (original vinyl album - I voted the title track
as one of my all time favourite SA songs!)

Rock Machine - The Bats (1969 seven single)

Peter Vee - 4 track seven single, produced by one R J Lange for Clive
Calder Productions!

Got a response from a digest member about the dragstrip venue on the
Alberton - Heidelberg road which featured Band of Gypsies- it was called
Margos and not Spiros, as I had originally thought.



(Tale Music Group TMGCD 2)

The May/June 1999 issue of UK magazine Classic Rock
gives this album 3 out of 5 stars.

Here is a short review from that magazine...

Tale are a duo comprising South African guitarist Rob Granville
and New Zealand pianist Michael Stodart. This is their second
album, and a concept work to boot. There are some good tunes,
reminiscent of Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd, and fine muiscianship -
notably the saxophone - but "Elysium Fields" is overly tied to a storyline
which weighs it down in places.

Nick Shilton

{Editor: Tale website is as at: }



Distorted guitars, gravelly vocals and yet another version
of The House Of The Rising Sun...I love it!

Sounding like Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath and Nazareth in places, this album
picks you up...and then throws you into a corner!

Graham Pike, Reinhold Buttner and Shane Jordaan make a real joyful noise.

Look for it on the Indie Music Explosion stands in Musica stores countrywide.

Brian Currin


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The SA Rock Digest is compiled by Brian Currin from the
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