It’s not all sex, drugs and rock’n’roll

Photo gallery

View the photo gallery of kidofdoom playing Die Mystic Boer in Bloemfontein

On the road with kidofdoom

At Die Mystic Boer: Gotham City

At Die Mystic Boer: Son

The MP3s [right-click to download]

Gotham City MP3
Sociallight MP3

Mail & Guardian music journalist Lloyd Gedye and photographer Lisa Skinner hit the road to Bloemfontein with kidofdoom to bring you this multimedia package.

“Lloyd, this is the beaten track.”

It was a few weeks after we had hit the road with Pretoria rock band kidofdoom that I found the message scrawled in my notepad.

The band’s guitarist, Ryk Benade, had written it, probably while we were hanging backstage at Die Mystic Boer in Bloemfontein.

The doomers had recently finished recording two new songs that they were going to release on the internet as a Christmas gift for their fans.

With a planned hiatus from the live scene scheduled for early 2009, so they could begin work on their second album, the string of live shows was the band’s farewell.

Mail & Guardian photographer Lisa Skinner and I were tagging along on the band’s sojourn to Bloemfontein with the intention of documenting life on the road with one of South Africa’s premier rock bands as a multimedia package.

The road in rock’n’roll lore is glorified as the life of excess, the place where conventional boundaries are ignored, where drugs, booze, groupies and mayhem are the norm.

But life on the road with kidofdoom does not conform to these stereotypes — firstly, kidofdoom travel with girlfriends.

Secondly, there were no Class As trading hands or coordinated trips to the bathroom — the drug of choice was alcohol — and although kidofdoom like to party, this was hardly a night of debauchery.

On stage the band were the epitome of professionalism — there was no drunken, sloppy musicianship and because the the band are purely instrumental there were no lyrics to forget.

Back at our accommodation for the night there were no trashed hotel rooms, televisions thrown through windows or run-ins with over-eager police officers — the craziest it got was drummer Johan Auriacombe filling keyboardist Richard Brokensha’s shoe with water and leaving it in the freezer all night.

Realistically, the road is not a very rock’n’roll place. Maybe if you’re Lemmy from Motorhead or you’re a member of Led Zeppelin, but let’s face the facts, the Seventies are long gone. Welcome to South Africa’s minute rock’n’roll scene. The road is a hard slog.

It involves long hours in the car, the toil and sweat of moving amplifiers and drum-kits, the tediousness of hanging around a venue waiting for the punters to arrive — or not, if you’re really unlucky.

The road is a tough place, especially for an independent rock band trying to eke out a niche in the local music scene.

The next morning the breakfast table was a collection of drained faces, frazzled brains and frayed tempers. The band moved food around their plates as they put off the inevitable journey home.

‘I have a lot more respect for what you guys do, having witnessed it myself,” I say to them.

Auriacombe just laughs. ‘This is only one day, bru.”

Like Benade wrote in my notebook, this is the beaten track.

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Lloyd Gedye
Lloyd Gedye
Lloyd Gedye is a freelance journalist and one of the founders of The Con.

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