BedRock Diary 1998
…AND THE BAND FELL SILENT
Well, this is it folks – our last diary entry for 1998. I mean, even we have some respect for certain occasions! It’s been quite a year for the band, that’s for sure. Thinking back, whoever would have thought that six people could ever have consumed so much Tafel and Pampelmussen as we did! Look at all the nights there were after practice where Pete, Ken Malherbe and Charlie would be screaming to go home whilst Kenny Ramage would stand guarding the exit insisting that everyone have yet another "one for the road"? It didn’t stop there mind you, oh no. Then it’s "let’s go to Shout’s house and listen to those old Tremeloes and Marmalade recordings". It’s been really tough on Pete, one of the few band members with a ‘real’ job. Most of the rest of the band – apart from Jennifer – do excellent impersonations of members of the working class. Jennifer doesn’t even pretend anything – she just parks off and takes it easy. Ask Ken. Or Irene. They’ll tell you.
Anyway, enough of this drivel. It’s time, on behalf of the band, to say a few thank you’s for the year. Firstly, to our wives (not you, Jenny, you’re one of "us"!) and families for the tolerance and support you have extended to us during the year. Thanks, girls, at the end of the day your reward is being able to bask in the reflected glory you enjoy when you’re at Bedrock "gigs"! (Honk, honk).
Then there’re all those local folks that have supported us so loyally over the last four years and, certainly, never more so than in 1998. Guys, it wouldn’t be worth it without you. Keep those free drinks coming!
To Fanie Smit of La Cantina, thanks for the many excellent "gigs" during the year and, especially, for backing us without a guarantee of success (which, of course, was to come later!). Good Luck with your plans for next year and we look forward to being part of them.
To the Oranjemund Weather Bureau for always ensuring that the sun shone on "gig" days.
Thanks, also, to the Oranjemund Electricity Commission for depriving us of mains power on a number of occasions in order to enhance our ability to think innovatively…and quickly! Power chords have taken on a new meaning. (How come the rest of the world thinks "unplugged" is so clever? We’re still trying to get used to "plugged"!).
Mention, too, must also be made of those local clubs and organisations which have supported us during the year, particularly the Golf, Bowling and Hockey clubs, the Kleinzee Recreation Club and the Luderitz Rainbow Centre. To those retail outlets – Paul Bothners of Claremont in Cape Town and Take Note of Windhoek - who have been very forthcoming in loaning equipment on appro, supplying quotes and generally providing an excellent service, thanks a lot.
A special word of thanks to Julie Coetzee who does such a fine job of our posters, especially when she sticks them up as well!
Finally, to all those of you who have provided feedback and comments via our websites and e-mail addresses – thank very much. We don’t know all of you but we’ve taken note of your comments – trust me. We’ve got some big ideas for next year so keep int ouch with this site – we might even come your way! May you all have a festive Christmas season and a stupendous 1999!
…AND THE BAND PLAYED ON…AND ON…AND ON…AND ON…
Welcome back to those of you who have managed to find our website again. Thanks to a server problem
We now have an added "sip" word in our address. Please tell all your mates. If you’ve ever signed the guestbook please go back and do it again. Your name could go into the hat for the lucky draw, the winner of which will get an autographed photograph of the band with all their clothes on. Second prize is two photies, third three and so on until the spool is exhausted! Anyway, back to the script...
Let me start by asking, does this band work hard or what? I mean, it’s three gigs ago that we spoke to you last. Can you believe it? Anyway, since last chatting we’ve done the Bowling Club’s annual prize-giving function, a Company Christmas ‘do’ and our last Saturday gig of the year at Fanie’s. How did they go?, I can hear you ask. A mixed bag really. Well, let’s put it this way – none of us got assaulted which is a bit surprising as collectively we don’t run very fast! Actually, your scribe has had to demonstrate his fleetness of foot on a couple of occasions lately due to the fact that local personalities I’ve mentioned in these pages don’t like their nicknames being used. You see, we really dig nicknames – they seem to describe people so much better than their proper names do. I mean, take our bass guitarist instance. Isn’t "You fat, ugly, bald, useless excuse of a marsupial" far more descriptive than Pete? We all think so! But no, folks around here want to see their real names. Well…some of them do, that is. Not all, of course. Those that do ain’t got nuthin’ to be ashamed about. Either that or they’ve forgotten what they got up to! (Okay, Kellie Joyce van der Merwe nee St. John Reid and Jordaan van der Merwe nee van der Merwe, hitherto identified in diary pages as Kage and JD?) Redeemed myself. Marvellous. Can get back to sleeping with my eyes closed. Any other local groupies who want their names trashed all over these pages? You do? Give us a call! Talking about dancing (were we?), we had a spectacular performance on Saturday afternoon by Oranjemund’s answer to Michael Flatley. Our version is shaped like Flatley – two arms, two legs and two heads. He’s not quite as subtle and says more with his face than with his body. Our "version" also plays the meanest air guitar one could ever hope to see. Even more amazing is the appreciation he draws from the audience when he does it. May I introduce you to the incomparable John McCormick, dance master extraordinaire, air guitar player of note and music connoisseur par excellence. The latter day Gene Kelly of Scotland. Johnny, I might add, is also a noted singer. In fact, if we didn’t have Eddie’s voice we’d probably use John’s. Anyway, enough of that. Suffice to say that if you ever see the name John McCormick (of Oranjemund) in lights be sure to be there! Summer seems to be here with us at last with the weekend’s weather being muggy and hot. (Oh, by the way and before I forget, due to a glitch with our server we’ve lost our guestbook. So, if you’ve signed previously please go back in and do it again). That’s it for now but watch this space for news of the BIG RAFFLE coming up next year. Ever bought a ticket to win a fully functional pub? Watch this space!
**Hot Off The Press**
Kenny Ramage has just cleaned his guitar and discovered five plectrums, a set of new strings, a picture of himself as a two year old, an authentification certificate confirming that he was born and not "invented" in a laboratory and two dozen Tafel Lager bottle tops under the grease and grime. He also discovered that his green Stratacruiser is actually grey in colour. Oh ya, and that peculiar smell on the frets wasn’t twenty years of accumulated vomitus it was….something else. Sorry, this is a family page – can’t get anymore descriptive right now!
ANOTHER PAGE IN THE FASCINATING LIFE OF BEDROCK
There we were, faces etched with concern and souls full of pondering. "We could be here all afternoon, standing around like dummies", declared Jennifer with a degree of astute female observation.. So what’s new?, I thought to myself. I always loiter around like a dummy at the best of times.
"Maybe we should pack up and go", suggested Ken whose thirst was declaring itself in a thinly veiled manner. Eddie looked on with his benign smile and Charlie looked unruffled. After all, what was wrong with sitting around in the sun pouring beer down the back of our throats. Beats working at any rate. And the reason for all these musings? Let me explain. You see, the morning of 31 October we were due to play at Fanie’s when a protracted power cut befell our little enclave. The great thing about Oranjemund is that (a) power outages are pretty commonplace and (b) you never know how long they will last. Still, with the consummate approach of real professionals we arrived, set up and then clock-watched as midday grew ever closer. So close, in fact, that it came and went and there was no hint of even the littlest spark arriving to power up our equipment. We became even more fascinated with our navels once twelve o’clock had passed and then Fanie had an moment’s inspiration. "I got it!", he said in his usual positive and enthusiastic manner. "Let’s get a portable generator". Quicker than a fish moth in a guitar case, Fanie was gone and back having purloined and set up a portable genny behind the bar. Next thing she kicked into life and "show time" had arrived. Kenny Ramage shooked his head in bewilderment. Never, he declared, in his long and distinguished career had he ever been powered up by a portable generator before. And guess what? It made him sound better too. The rest, as they say, is history. The mains power kicked in and out during the course of the afternoon and the little generator just kept purring through it all until the outage was repaired.
The following weekend we played at the launch of the local Children’s Fund. We shared the stage with the only other band in Oranjemund, the "Desert Trio Plus One". Quite a novel name, don’t you think? It’s been two years since we last shared a stage with Hans Profijt and his guys (Anthony, Piet and Jose) and it was a pleasure doing it all again. The really nice thing about it is that Hans’ group play completely different music to ourselves…they’re more into langarm, boeremusik and country. Hans is pretty hot with that keyboard of his and loves getting into a bit of German beer drinking type music. Playing alongside the "Desert Trio" ensures that everybody gets what they want. A true "win-win" situation. The function was held inside a marquee (yeah, we finally got inside that "mother" I referred to some weeks back!) with an ox braai outside and an atmosphere that contained all the fun of the fair. The town supported the event wholeheartedly and the place was packed. Better still, people came to party and party they did. I even checked old Ivan giving it a whirl with Kage after her spouse had retired, exhausted, and joined the other wise onlookers just off the dance floor. Pat Fountain did his usual ‘Mustang Sally’ routine and Viv Olivier even stayed on to work the arthritis from his knee joints. Warren wanted to dance but I think Denise said "no" because the next time I saw him he was dancing with a beer bottle! I must say, I saw some interesting dance steps that night, too. I don’t think they’d been choreographed at any rate. Still, that’s what it’s all about and, hey, what a tremendous cause to support. Thanks a lot Oranjemund!
Saturday 03 October 1998
Well, the show was back on the road again yesterday after a couple of weeks break – and what a time was had by all. After a cool, misty start to the morning the sun broke through and by the time we set up at La Cantina (Fanie’s) it was warm and mild. By midday quite a few folk had pitched up and were treated to an extended sound check, so determined were we not to leave any little gremlins loose in the system. With South African school holidays in progress at present it was nice to see the number of teenagers who pitched up to join in the fun. We kicked off the first set with Tom Petty’s "Learning To Fly" and quickly got up to speed. Part from the band, everybody’s attention was concentrated on the rugby match of the day, Northern Transvaal (the "Blue Bulls") versus Western Province, and there was plenty of banter going on amongst the crowd, many of them adorned in the colours of their fancied side. Daniel Shout, Pete’s son, was also home for the holidays so joined us on saxophone for a few numbers. The sax always goes down well with the crowd who were soon calling for more. The third set was a real humdinger, starting off with "You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet" and not slowing down there onwards. The music was loud, the prego rolls were sizzling on the outside steak braai, the weather had turned to marvellous and the dancing had begun. As usual, the intention to pack up at 3.30 pm didn’t materialise as the band started to sound better and better as the audience drank more. We "encored" a few numbers, including Van Halen’s "Why Can’t This Be Love" which we aired for the first time today in public. Ken Malherbe was also released as our "secret weapon" on the session trainer and did a stupendous job with the sound effects in "I Got You Babe" (UB40’s version). There again, it was one of those days when enough was not enough for the audience - it’s probably just as well that the rugby was on as, had it not been, it’s anybody’s guess what time we would have "cooled strings". Anyway, folks, thanks for the great support once again and we look forward to doing it all again at La Cantina on 31 October. Not that we’re not playing again ‘til then – of course we are…just watch the local press. What I mean is that we’re not back at la Cantina until then. But we will be elsewhere!! Catch you all there. (Oh ja, and by the way, the Blue Bulls were pulverised by Weee Peee. Go Province!).
Monday 14 September 1998
Had some good practices lately and the new stuff is coming together really well. Eddie’s day has been made as we’re preparing to do our first Van Halen song.
Nothing is too much of a challenge for this band, I tell you!
Charles has to stretch his vocal chords to cope with that one but it’s bound to go down a treat when we eventually get it right.
Jen’s popped up with a couple of goodies, too, songs that really suit her voice – mind you, there aren’t too many that don’t.
Ken Malherbe took a liking to a chick called Shania Twain but decided that the music didn’t live up to the quality of Shania’s features. Maybe he’ll listen to it in private.
We’ve also been digging deep into Bachman Turner Overdrive’s trove of hits and will be debuting a couple of their big numbers at our next gig. There’s no doubt that they’ll be popular.
Good news is that the work is rolling in and we haven’t even got to the festive season yet. There again, we don’t need too much of a reason to be festive.
By the way, thanks to all you folk who’ve signed our guest book…some great old names from the past.
For the next two weeks things will be going a little slowly as Jen, Charles & Pete are all involved in the annual variety show, the highlight of the local theatre calendar. It’s rehearsals just about every night until next Wednesday when the curtains go up.
This weekend Pete will be in Cape Town and may be able to organise a couple of dates down there for us – wouldn’t that be nice? Other than that, it’s steady work on new stuff…and eagerness to get to the next gig.
Cheers for now.
Saturday 28 August 1998
Well the "feet up" period didn’t last too long now, did it?
Last night we did the combined 40th birthday party bash at the local Hockey Club.
When we arrived to set up our gear we were really excited as there was this huge marquee on the hockey field. The thing would hold a couple of hundred people and, boy, were we ecstatic.
Must have been important people who were turning forty to have so many guests attending that a "big top" was required. Our euphoria didn’t last long, however, when we discovered that we would be playing inside the clubhouse – a venue considerably smaller than the big tent. Another collective dream up in – excuse the pun – dust.
On the other hand, we’re an intimate band and there’s no ways anything would get intimate inside a tent that size. The clubhouse with its low lighting, homely feel and tasteful decorations was definitely a setting that encouraged that sort of feeling.
Besides, for the first time in our careers, the band had dedicated toilets for their exclusive use. This was primarily due to the fact that our equipment occupied so much floor space that nobody could get past to get to the loo so they all had to use the outside ones. Now that’s when you know the band is bigger than the audience!
Anyway, the birthday girls (one of whom was our lead vocalist, Jenny – how old was she? Not telling.) and the birthday boy presented themselves very early and were determined to party which is precisely what they did.
We started up at about 8.30 pm and played a tight first set. It didn’t get better than that as the bonhomie of the occasion got to the band and things got a bit looser.
The beauty about gigs like this is that there’s never any pressure on the band. People are there with one thing on their minds – to dance, chat with friends and totally enjoy themselves.
Once again it was pretty warm but the temperature steadied as the night wore on. By the third set we were into all the old favourites (and some new ones too) from "Locomotive Breath", "Brown Eyed Girl", "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress" to "Brimful of Asha" and the dance floor was full of sweaty, gyrating, 30-Something bodies.
The pumpelmous started to flow and the kareoke fun started with a couple of people from the audience volunteering to do their thing with the band. Big and ugly John Chandler, the birthday boy, did his normal thing to T Rex's’"Get It On" and left the crowd screaming for more…doesn’t say much for our vocalists, does it?
Carol and Dawn then had the pluck to take their turn rendering a totally original version of CCR’s "Have You Ever Seen The Rain".
From our side the hours flew by and before we knew it the midnight hour was a thing of the past and our work was done.
Then the party began!
10th August 1998
Hey man, what a pleasure to have a weekend off. Time to put the old feet up…not even a practice session in sight. One of those rare opportunities to catch up on our latest CD’s – especially that boxed set of Doors material. Isn’t there some great stuff there?
Thinking back, last Saturday’s gig at Fanie’s was really hectic. Fanie’s, for those of you that don’t know our little oasis, is "where it’s at" in Oranjemund. If you wanna be "in", that’s the place to be. Tremendous pub, ice cold beers, televised live sport, good food and excellent company.
Anyway, we’ve got this arrangement whereby we play every month end Saturday at Fanie’s. At lunchtime, that is. The deal is midday to 3.00 pm. What a joke! Last Saturday we battled to stop playing at 4.40 pm.
I tell you, when we got there we doubted we’d last too long at all the heat was so bad. It was what we call "East weather". It’s those days we have in winter when the warm, dry wind blows in off the hot interior and suddenly the mercury soars for a few days. It’s actually very pleasant. Once the initial sandstorm subsides, that is.
Anyway, as we were setting up (we play outside under a shadecloth "roof") our guitars were going out of tune in the heat. (No wonder we sounded so good!). It was real melt-down material. We started off with a few quieter songs foolishly thinking the audience wouldn’t be too active in the heat. How wrong can you be? They were soon on their feet bopping around as if they were trying to warm up at Ice Station Zebra.
As luck would have the beers were extremely cold and it wasn’t long before the pumpelmous started coming. You people all know about pumpelmous? Grapefruit schnapps. Made by Namibia Breweries. I tell you, it’s got to be one of the best "inventions" in many a long year. Especially for the palate that likes a bit of "sweet and sour". Glorious stuff. Good for keeping colds away. My doctor even says it’s the best "fortified vitamin C drink he’s encountered lately". And he should know!
Anyway, everyone started to mellow out even though the pace was picking up. Even Eddie our drummer was smiling. Mind you, the reason for that could have been that sweet little chick out front. Nah, doubt it. Eddie’s too old for that sort of stuff. Besides, his wife’s bigger than him.
Anyway, Eddie’s smile soon left his face when somebody started calling for a drum solo. You see, Eddie doesn’t do too many drum solos these days. They used to be a regular thing but we were scared of overdoing it. And what happens? Somebody wants a drum solo – in 40 degrees heat! Anyway, there was no ways Eddie wasn’t going to take up that challenge. Up to that point he hadn’t had a very good afternoon and he kept dropping his sticks in critical moments of songs. Mind you, if there’s one thing about our Eddie, he’s a pro – and he covered those glitches so smoothly nobody but us ever knew he was playing his high-hat with a flat hand.
Finally we wound done and packed up. We don’t have roadies so that’s always a mission.
Anyway, this weekend’s our turn to "park off" and "park off" we shall. It’s not long ‘til our next gig – a combined 40th birthday bash. 40 – I ask you! I can’t even remember that far back! And there’s four of them celebrating at once. Scarey. Mind you, as long as the pumpelmous is on ice we’ll survive…
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