23 September 2011

Anti-Social

I like social networks... to some extent. I have a facebook page and I use Twitter regularly. I've even gone as far as linking the accounts so I don't have to post the same messages twice. However, there are some things that I either don't like, or I just don't understand. Here are a few:


Facebook Groups - I.e. Forcing me into a non-consensual online relationship.

Pretty much everything on Facebook requires your permission. "Do you want to accept this random person you've never met as your friend?" "Are you sure you want us to e-mail you every time that one friend with a trigger-happy-itchy-mouse-clicker-finger hits the "like" button on every one of your 1000 photos?" etc. etc.

Then,why, for the love of Leisure Suit Larry, can your friends add you to a group without your permission?!

If I was truly interested in voting for Suzie Whatshername as Miss SmallTownInTheMiddleOfTheDesert 2011, I'd join the group willingly. But since I have no interest whatsoever in doing that, especially since I have no clue who that is, I don't want to join your group and have my inbox flooded with notifications! If you're reading this and are my friend on Facebook, don't add me to your group. If you think I might be interested, e-mail me the link and I'll check it out myself. Otherwise, we can't be friends anymore... :p

Why don't you follow me?

Please don't ask me this on Twitter. I only follow people that I've had the pleasure of hanging out with several times, or people who can entertain me with news, funny stories, etc. I follow a few celebs and musicians too, because it saves me the money of having to buy magazines to find out what's happening in the showbiz world. If I don't know you personally, and you don't fit the above criteria, I'm not going to follow you, no matter how many DM's you send me asking to. I don't expect you to follow me either, by the way; but thanks for doing so. It's nice to know that someone finds me interesting, because I'm really quite average.

I just LOL'd at this.

I seldom Laugh Out Loud  at anything I read on social networks, and if I do, I tend to write "Haha!", because that is generally the sound coming out of my mouth. I get annoyed when people constantly write things like "LOL" and "WTF", when it is clear that they're not actually doing or saying it. Get real, people. You have at least 140 characters; be creative! You can do better than using WTF for every other post.

This especially applies to randomly using FFS and FTW out of context. Eg. "What a bad day. FFS". How many people actually speak this way? If you do, you sound like an A-hole and should read more books.

Troll

The term "troll" is often used to describe people with extremely limited IQ's plaguing message boards with nonsensical and utterly rude comments that actually have no relation to the content displayed on the site. Trolls make use of a primitive form of English, only developed in the past few years. It severely lacks vowels
and words are often shortened to such an extent that they could mean up to 15 different full-length words.

I am happy to accept the use of "U" instead of "you" and "2" instead of "two", "to" or "too" (Yes, kids; these are all different words with different meanings. Stay in school and eat your vegetables), but when your facebook status eventually looks like an Eastern European language written upside-down and regurgitated by a cat with an upset stomach, you should really consider reading through your high school English textbooks, or just jumping in a lake with concrete boots. Either way, don't be a troll.


I'm sure I sound very cynical, which I am, but I think this could be quite an entertaining post. I'm going to post the link to this blog on Facebook and Twitter too, just for LOLz!

Peace!


02 September 2011

Backstage passes

Continuing in showing off my collection of partially focused cellphone photography, I snapped a few pics of some backstage passes I've collected from various shows I've played or been involved in somehow. Check it out!

  
Hard Rock Cafe - Cape Town - 1999
I was only 11 when this show happened, but I got this backstage pass when I went to the soundcheck with my uncle, whose band headlined the event. It was the New Year's Eve/Millennium Party and it was also my first visit to the Hard Rock Cafe. 


   
Lanners Landing - Klapmuts - 2002 or 2003
One of the most intense shows I've been to. This took place before I joined 12th Avenue. I was working as a roadie/lighting technician (underage labour) for the band at the time. The crowd was so crazy that someone picked up a monitor from the front of the stage and passed it around the crowd!


     
Southern Exposure Festival - Observatory - 2003
 My first (unofficial) show with 12th Avenue. Their drummer at the time had hurt his hand and I filled in for him.


"Crazy" EP Launch - Mercury Live - Cape Town - 2005
Our first EP launch was a major DIY effort. We had these passes made for the band and crew and spent the entire night before the show inserting the CD sleeves into the cases, as we printed the first set of discs ourselves.


"Crazy" Tour - 2006
My second tour with 12th Avenue, which included my first trip up the Garden Route.


RAMFest - Rawsonville - 2007
We played the opening night of the inaugural RAMFest outdoor festival. It rained really hard for most of the night, but stopped when we hit the stage, and we got the funniest stares ever from the late night staff at the local KFC. I suppose we asked for it showing up in our stage clothes...


"Rock N Roll Circus" Tour - 2007
Much of this tour is a blur to me. I do, however, remember falling asleep for a few seconds on stage in Durban, due to pure exhaustion,  as well as Mark and I having to ice our feet after walking on hot tarmac to the beach.


Seether SA Tour - 2008
Nights 1 & 2 of Seether's "Homecoming" tour. Good times!


Seether SA Tour - 2008
The venue for the Durban show didn't have enough space for dressing rooms for the support acts, so Shaun from Seether was cool enough to share their room (and their food) with everyone. 


Seether SA Tour - 2008
Final night of the Seether tour. What a party!


FIFA World Cup FanFest - 2010
 We were selected to play four shows at the various Cape Town FIFA FanFests. We met some fun football fanatics (alliteration...nice) at those shows.


Random Festival - 2010 or 2011
I don't actually remember what show this is from, but I thought it was cool that the promoter made custom passes for each band.

23 August 2011

Photo fun!

Since I haven't had (and still don't have) much to say lately, I thought I'd share a few interesting photos that I found when browsing through the pictures folder on my phone.

Enjoy!

Venue marquee from tour earlier this year. All cool venues have marquee signage.

My view during soundcheck. This show was set up in a warehouse. Very underground...

Static electricity! Bzzzt!

Awesome Halloween Cake

My mediocre attempt at making a smiley in my coffee.

Having sponsors is awesome.

I promise I'll actually write something soon. :)

01 August 2011

Mark Haze makes Idols SA TOP 10!

A huge congratulations to my brother, Mark Haze, on making it into the TOP 10 on Idols South Africa! Well done, dude! If you're not already aware, Mark is the lead singer in our band, 12th Avenue. The band is super proud of Mark's achievements so far and hope you'll vote for him in the next stages of the competition.

To vote for Mark on Idols, SMS 08 to 37400 when the voting lines are open on Sundays. You can also vote 100 times each week on Mxit by adding the M-Net application through Tradepost.

Here's a clip of the Top 15 performing together. Mark opens the song and shows off some of his guitar skills:

http://www.dstv.com/mnet/idolsSA/Video/Play.aspx?vid=7502

Well done, bro! Keep it up. :)

25 July 2011

Mark Haze - Idols SA - Top 15 Performance

Check out this video of my brother, and band's lead singer, Mark Haze! It is his Idols South Africa Top 15 performance of "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns 'N Roses.

http://www.dstv.com/mnet/idolsSA/Video/Play.aspx?vid=7133&AdCategoryId=0

Mark totally rocked the song! But, as is the nature of this type of competition, he needs YOUR votes to get to the next round and continue performing on the show.

The public has until 10pm C.A.T tonight (25/07/2011) to get their votes in for Mark Haze.

Mark Haze - Vote for him on Idols SA!


You can get all the details on 12th Avenue's website - http://www.12thavenueband.com


Thanks to everyone who has been voting already and for all the support that you've been showing to Mark on Facebook and Twitter.

You all rock! Now, let's get my bro into the Top 10!!!

19 July 2011

This took me all day...sort of.

I've had this window open all day on my pc and have only decided to start typing now. It's been a busy day, and I am very hungry. My awesome lunch was just not enough to sustain me and now I require something more. At least I don't have to fend for myself tonight. My parents are feeding me tonight (Good behaviour rewards... hehe!), so the kitchen and surrounding areas will be clean for another day until I release my next wave of messy cooking terror.

After what is sure to be an epic dinner, I have rehearsal with 3/4 of 12th Avenue. Mark Haze is up in Johannesburg, as he has made it to the Idols SA TOP 15! Well done, brother. We're behind you all the way. :) I'll post links to all of Mark's Idols videos whenever a new one is uploaded. Check my blog's archives for his first three performances in the competition so far.

While Mark's away, we're busy working on a few new songs. There's nothing super solid down just yet, but we've got some cool ideas. Bjorn, in particular, has been doing quite a bit of writing and has some really nice musical cards up his sleeve. :)

In other news, Nicole and I are embracing the nomadic existence again, and are housesitting for her brother, who is living it up in London for a few weeks. Craig, if you're reading this...t-shirts from Camden Town. That's all I have to say. :p Also, we're helping out as leaders at Youth Alpha at our church, which I think is going to be a very awesome experience. That starts this weekend. Hold thumbs that I don't influence any kids badly. I'm a good person. I just shout at people when I drive, that's all. :)

And...I think that's about it. No more news. Tune into CNN if you want anything more. :) Oh, but if you do want to make me very happy, then please please pleeeeeeeeease be the fantastic people that you are and "Like" my band, 12th Avenue, as well as my brother/singer/dude who's helping to make me famous by dominating in Idols SA, Mark Haze, on Facebook. It'll really mean a lot to me if you do this. I might just share my chocolate with you...Okay, I won't, but that's beside the point. Just do it!! :)

11 July 2011

Mark Haze performs with The Parlotones on Idols South Africa

We've declared Sundays as Mark Haze Day! - My band, 12th Avenue, is so proud of our singer and brother, Mark Haze, who has been giving some amazing performances on Idols South Africa so far.

Check out the link below to see him performing with The Parlotones on the show.

http://www.dstv.com/mnet/idolsSA/Video/Play.aspx?vid=6036&AdCategoryId=0

To keep up with Mark's progress, keep checking out my blog and also be sure to check out the following sites:

www.markhaze.com
www.12thavenueband.com

And don't forget that when your share all your Mark Haze related news and comments on Twitter, make sure you use the Official #TeamMarkHaze hashtag!

More updates coming again soon. For now, 12th Avenue are writing new material, while Mark tears it up on the Idols stage. :)

07 July 2011

The cuisine of the road

I love food. I have a fast metabolism and therefore I'm constantly eating. If it's not a sandwich or a bowl of cereal, it's a chocolate bar or a packet of potato chips. I'm known for not saying no to a second helping if I still have space for it, and I almost never say no to dessert.

Being on the road with my band often leads to a change in eating habits, and most of the time means a change of menu. On our last tour, we were blessed enough to have a temporary home away from home that provided amazing cooked meals for us, but this isn't always the case.

Two-minute noodles: The world's most versatile and affordable touring food. Dry, cooked, plain or spiced. It never gets old. Okay, maybe after a solid few weeks of eating it twice a day.


I remember my first ever tour, back in 2005. I was only 17 and didn't have much money to spend on anything really. My mom packed a cooler box full of food and a big flask of coffee for the band to share (Thanks, Mom), which we finished before the end of day one. So the next 2 weeks were not going to be easy. I actually remember on the first night, we stopped at one of SA's famous Engen 1-Stop Wimpy restaurants, where I, being the cheapskate I am, brought my foil wrapped homemade hotdogs into the restaurant and ate them there. (Don't worry, I ordered a coffee. Well, only because we'd finished ours already.)

The band's basic diet for the rest of this tour (because all of us were pretty much at the same level of poor at this stage and decided it would be better to pool our limited resources) consisted of two-minute noodles and peanut butter sandwiches. We bought powdered milk for cereal and accepted any free meal we could get our hands on. We even went as far as having Mark and Bjorn do an impromptu acoustic performance in a shopping centre parking lot. It got shut down after about 10 minutes, but we made about R25. :)

Thankfully, things got a bit better on later tours. We eventually moved up to roadside pies, which I can assure you are the single greatest health hazard to a band, and now we actually eat real food. Hooray!

Bjorn and I had a brief facebook conversation around hunger this morning, which got me to write this post. In a nutshell, I was hungry and craving a second breakfast. This made me think about the various meals that I end up enjoying on tour. So after that incredibly long introduction, here they are!

Breakfast - Cereal. Normally Coco Pops.
Second Breakfast - A couple hours later. Maybe a sandwich, fruit or on a good day, chocolate.
Brunch - Quick snack an hour before lunch.
Lunch - I'm not explaining lunch, seriously...
Mid-afternoon snack - Similar to second breakfast.
Late-afternoon snack - Cookies or similar. Mmm...
Supper - Om nom nom...
Evening snack - If at home, cookies or similar. If out, N/A.
Post show feast - If playing locally, normally N/A. If on tour, whatever's still open at 4am or leftovers from supper.

And there you have it! Now you know my secret to my on-stage energy! hehe! :p Looking back at this, I'm surprised that I am actually able to eat so much. I'm just going to say I'm a gifted individual. :)

05 July 2011

Mark Haze's Idols Top 100 group performance

Check out this link! It's my brother, and 12th Avenue's lead singer, Mark Haze, doing his Top 100 group performance on Idols South Africa. They performed "Fat Bottomed Girls" by Queen.

http://www.dstv.com/mnet/idolsSA/Video/Play.aspx?vid=5836&AdCategoryId=61

Enjoy it, and keep following his progress on DSTV Channels 101 and 170 (HD) every Sunday at 17:30 and Channel 199 for all the highlights every day.

30 June 2011

Listen up!

Firstly, 12th Avenue have released a new single - "Taking My Heart With You", featuring the vocal talents of our guitarist, Bjorn Faree! Listen to it on the SoundCloud player below:

Taking My Heart With You by 12thAvenue

In other news,  I hosted a drum workshop last night, with the help of Mark Haze and Brian Lee, where we discussed playing in studio, preparing for recording, different styles used on our albums, and drumming in general. It was very well received. A big thank you to Paul Bothner Music, our sponsors, who arranged the event. I'm looking forward to doing something like this again.

Mark heads up to Johannesburg soon to continue his journey on Idols South Africa. The Top 100 round will be aired this Sunday at 17:30 CAT on M-Net - DSTV Channel 101 & 170 (HD). Check it out, as you might just see Mark perform a few more songs. Keep following his progress on Idols and check out his website - www.markhaze.com

Do not fear, as 12th Avenue, will still be alive and kicking when he's away. Even though we won't be touring during this time, the rest of us are still going to be meeting up regularly to rehearse and write new material. So once Mark's back from dominating on Idols, we'll be able to play a few shows for all of you. Hooray! :)

That's all for now. I'm going to check out Transformers 3 next week. Will let you know what I thought and maybe talk a bit of nonsense about movies, since I haven't done that in a while.

20 June 2011

Still alive....

I have literally 5 minutes to blog here, so I'll keep it short.

I'm still alive, even though it's been over a week since my last post.

I would've blogged tonight, but Nix won tickets to an awesome Jazz Big Band show in Cape Town tonight, so we are going to that. I'm really excited. Haven't been to that sort of show in a loooooooong time.

12th Avenue have an acoustic show on Friday at Berties Moorings in Gordon's Bay. I hope everyone that reads it comes, because it's the last show of our current tour.

On  29 June at Paul Bothner Music, Plumstead, we're hosting a workshop around recording for their Drum Month. This means that most of the talk revolves around drumming on a record. This means that I have to do most of the talking. Wish me luck...

Okay, that's my 5 minutes up. Adios!

10 June 2011

Friday Fun!

This has to be one of the funniest flash games I've seen in a long time. Enjoy!

http://armorgames.com/play/11498/reimagine-the-game

Who knew that faceless people and pop-culture parodies could be this much fun?

09 June 2011

Keep no secrets, tell no lies

"There are some people who say you shouldn't mix politics and music, sports and politics. Well... I think that's kinda bull****!"
- Adam Clayton, U2.  [Just prior to Star Spangled Banner/Bullet the Blue Sky - U2 - "Rattle and Hum" - The Movie]

I'm not really into politics, but I'm very much into freedom of speech and freedom of media. I'm also very much against greed, corruption and dishonest or unethical practice.

I feel that as a musician, who intends on having my music, and therefore my views, heard by the public; it's my responsibility to get involved where I can in speaking out against injustice. I'm not trying to be a political musician, but as the opening quote states, I'd just be BSing myself and everyone else, if I didn't get involved.

That's why I've signed the petition against South Africa's secrecy bill on Avaaz.org and I think you should too. If you value freedom of speech and transparency within government, then I urge you to sign up too. 

As Rage Against the Machine said, "Take the power back!"

Stand up for your rights and sign the petition here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/south_africa_stop_the_secrecy_bill/

06 June 2011

Mark Haze on Idols South Africa

Check out this clip of my brother, and 12th Avenue's lead singer's audition on Idols South Africa. He's through to the next round at Sun City!

http://www.dstv.com/mnet/idolsSA/Video/Play.aspx?vid=3365&AdCategoryId=53

Follow his progress on M-Net (DSTV Channel 101), M-Net HD (170) and Idols Extra (199).


24 May 2011

Paul Bothner Music Birthday Sale

12th Avenue's amazing sponsors, Paul Bothner Music, are celebrating their birthday with a 5-day sale that any musician looking for incredible deals should not miss. Check out the details below and take a look at their website - www.bothners.co.za


THE SALE OF THE YEAR!!!!

Absolutely Everything on Special!!

It’s our Famous Annual Birthday Bash!!

MASSIVE Savings on ALL our Gear at ALL of Our Stores

Extended Shopping Hours 

5 Days Only!! Wed 25 to Sun 29 May

First come, first served!! Don’t miss out!!

R3000 voucher up for grabs!! 

Shopping Hours at Western Cape, KZN and Gauteng Branches:
All 6 our stores – Including Jean Village and Glenwood Village
Wednesday till Friday: 9 am to 6 pm 
Saturday: 08:30 am to 3 pm 
Sunday: 9 am to 2 pm

23 May 2011

Track by track - 12th Avenue (self-titled) - Why I played it the way I did...

This one is for the drummers, and for anyone else who might be interested in the writing and recording process of the drum parts on 12th Avenue's latest record.

Track 1 - "Walk on the Water"

The snare sound on this track came about by accident. After soundchecking the kit and getting a good sound to build from, we decided to record this track first. It was only the next day when we starting the next track, that we realised we hadn't hooked up the underside snare drum microphone. However, when listening to the song, we realised that it gave a nice industrial sound, so we kept it as is. The song features a fairly solid rock beat with fast paced fills. It was inspired by Josh Freese's drumming on Lostprophets' 2006 "Liberation Transmission". I was also listening to quite a bit of Paramore before recording this, which inspired quite a few of the snare-heavy fills.

Track 2 - "Wasting Time"

Lots of breaks and accents in this one. I planned a lot of the fills and breaks around the guitar riffs. The guitars also help to accentuate some of the drum parts through scratches and slides, which add another percussive element to the song. The drumming during the guitar solo is bit of a tribute to my favourite drummer, John Bonham (Led Zeppelin). In fact, several parts of the song are very Bonham inspired. The use of the splash and china without any bass drum or snare, just before the last chorus, was kind of borrowed from the Seether track "Burrito" where John Humphrey does a similar sort of thing. In addition to my 10" splash, I also used an 8" splash cymbal for quicker decay.

Track 3 - "Sally"

A bit more of a blue/jazz inspired track, drumming wise. Most of the drumming you hear on the track came about by accident. I really just jammed it out with the band, as I couldn't remember which part came next. I was quite surprised that it sounded so good when I listened back to the take. I tried to keep a lot of the drumming fairly simple in this one, as the song has quite a bit of dynamics to it. We went for a bit of a deeper tone on the snare and toms on this song as well, which gives it a nice vintage feel. To add to this, I used a 16" thin crash in the last section of the choruses to give an older, more worn-out feel to the song. Again, there's a big John Bonham influence, as well as influence from Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters).

Track 4 - "Taking my Heart with You"

This is probably my favourite song to play on the new record and also one of the hardest to play live, especially when singing such high backing vocals. Amazingly, it was done in a single take. More Josh Freese inspired stuff happening here. It's also the only song on the record in 6/8 timing.

Track 5 - "Lost in Confusion"

Even though it's the most simple song on the record, it took me the most takes to get right. There's nothing too crazy going on in the song, but the straight-forward beat, along with the pumping bass guitar notes, drives the song.

Track 6 - "Nightmare"

This track has a lot of subtle effects and really nice offbeats that fit in nicely with the bass guitar work in the second verse. The choruses are straight forward, but build up to an epic climax. We used a lot of the underside snare mic on this track, which makes the ghost notes in the verse sound really great. The simplified fill at the end of the song actually came about by accident, as I miscounted the bars and thought the song was ending a bar later. The explosive reverb on the bass drum at the end of the song ends the record off really well.

My drum kit! Ain't she purr-dy? :)

19 May 2011

A few things you didn't know about me

It's been too long since I last blogged and for that I apologise. If it's any consolation, I've decided as my next blog post, I'll divulge a bit of information that most people probably wouldn't know about me. It's probably not even that interesting, but whatever. If you got this far, you most likely have nothing to do and you'll read the rest anyway! :p


Fact 1: I have a birthmark under my toe. Don't ask me which one. I'm not prepared to take my shoes off right now to check, as it is cold, but I think it's the 3rd toe on my left foot.

Fact 2: Another foot one (don't ask). I always put my left shoe on first. Maybe it's a result of doing the Hokey Pokey in preschool.

Fact 3: I am Scoleciphobic (I have a fear of worms). Those legless buggers freak me out for some reason. Caterpillars are not so bad, since they have legs, but if it squirms...no thanks!

Fact 4: I taught myself how to play drums when I was 11. My grandpa and brother discovered my talent when I sat down behind a kit in a music store and started playing a beat.

Fact 5: I have never smoked a cigarette.

Fact 6: I literally got goosebumps when I saw John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)'s drum kit on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in London.

Fact 7: I once fell asleep for a few seconds behind the drums at a show in Durban a few years back. It was the second last show of an enormous summer tour and we were on stage at about midnight. I drifted off in the middle of song out of pure exhaustion. I felt really bad at the time, but I laugh really hard at the story now.

Fact 8: When typing messages on my cellphone, I have a terrible habit of accidentally typing "o" instead of "i". I'm just waiting for me to type "I'm just coming around to fetch a few thongs" instead of "things"! - Can you spell awkward typo?

Fact 9: I once ordered bottomless coffee at Mugg & Bean and drank 9 mugs of coffee in a couple of hours. I felt so sick that I drank a litre of water, which made me feel worse.

Fact 10: I have 6 less teeth than the average person. All 4 of my wisdom teeth were extracted, along with 2 other teeth when I was 13, as my jaw was too small for all those chompers. And yes, I had braces for 2 years and somewhat resembled the evil robots from Terminator. :)


So there you have it, a few things that I'm guessing you didn't know about me, but now you know.

04 May 2011

Busy busy busy!

After a moderately quiet April, touring for 12th Avenue is in full swing again. Already, we have a few battle scars, which are an inevitable part of any tour. I have a few scratches on the back of my hands that I assume are from loading equipment into a vehicle. I've also been dealing with blisters on my fingers from drumming, which are thankfully all calloused now, as well as on one of my toes, as a result of doing a 10km walk the other day. My bassist, Brian, was unfortunate enough to get his thumb caught in a car door at the last show, but thankfully it's just bruised and he can still play bass.

Apart from minor injuries, the shows have been incredible so far, and we have loads more coming up. Thank you to everyone that's come to the shows so far. Your support is greatly appreciated and you really make it that much more meaningful for us.

Make sure you get down to one or more of the following 12th Avenue shows. We'd love to see you there!

12th Avenue upcoming tour dates so far:

6 May - Nameless Pub, Somerset West
10 May - Aandklas, Stellenbosch
21 May - Private Event, Cape Town
26 May - Tings n Times, Pretoria
27 May - Cool Runnings, Fourways, Johannesburg
28 May - Die Mystic Boer, Bloemfontein
3 June - The Grand Daddy Hotel, Cape Town
10 June - Plaasteater, Brackenfell

26 April 2011

One of the strangest things to see on a train

I took this photo a few months back and have shared it with a few friends. I decided it's finally time to unleash it upon the internet! It's a little out of focus, but if you look carefully you can make it out.

Finger licking good...well, not exactly.
 
Yes friends, those are indeed chicken bones the floor. Where was this taken? The alley behind the local KFC? A traditional healer's backyard? No, this photo was taken inside one of Cape Town's mind-numbingly awesome Metrorail trains. I know I get hungry when traveling, but whoever devoured this culinary delight must've had some appetite.

This is among one of the many wonders that you can experience on the Metrorail system. I've yet to snap a pic of the shirtless, tattooed ex-prisoner that I once saw. Although, thinking about it now, I don't think he'd appreciated that very much. :)

Don't forget - 12th Avenue live in Durbanville this Saturday! - 30 April, 9pm, at Blizzard (Wellington Rd.) with Silent Side and Save the Ears for Breakfast! See you there!

21 April 2011

Bunnies laying eggs...

Because I'm going to try and spend as much time away from my PC as possible over this long weekend, I figured out just wish everyone Happy Easter!

I can't believe it's Easter already. I think I only just stopped writing 2010 instead of 2011 about a few weeks ago. :) I hope you all enjoy the hot cross buns, chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs being laid by chocolate bunnies, chocolate bunnies hatching out of chocolate eggs...okay, enjoy the chocolate.

And for those of you, like me, who actually celebrate Easter and not just the chocolate, I hope God blesses you and your family big time this Easter.

Enjoy the long weekend! :)

20 April 2011

When you're bored...

I've been sick for past couple of days, so I've been spending most of my time reading, watching TV (and falling asleep in front of it), and playing X-Box.

I'm feeling a lot better now, but still feel a little short on energy and willingness to do anything constructive. In times like these, I check out a fun website called Bored.com. It's filled with great flash games to keep even the most fun-deprived creatures happy for at least an hour or so.

Check it out if you're feeling bored like me today. :)

15 April 2011

It's all about the venue

My lifelong dream is to headline at Wembley Stadium in London, England. It's just such a fantastic venue with such a rich history of excellent performances. Apart from that, it's totally humungous! However, this isn't the only place I'd like to play. Cape Town Stadium, where I got to see the legendary U2 perform earlier this year, would be epic, as would any of SA's 2010 Fifa World Cup Stadiums. Madison Square Garden, NYC, USA would be another great place to perform.

However, when I think about it, I've actually performed in some amazing venues, and from a young age no less. I was only 13 when I played a drum solo in front of about 3000 people at Bellville Athletics Stadium, for my school's Inter-schools Athletics Tournament, which was nerve-wracking, but loads of fun at the same time.

Here is a list of a few incredible venues that I've been blessed enough to perform at, and why that particular show was so memorable. Enjoy!

Grand Arena, Cape Town - 2008

The opening night of our tour supporting Seether. 5000 people singing back at us waving giant foam fingers. Not to mention, the amazing backstage area, equipped with plenty of food and drinks. We also played Standard Bank Arena, JHB; Wavehouse, Durban; and NMMU Sports Centre, PE on that tour, all of which were amazing. However, the Cape Town show stands out the most, as it's my hometown and it was my first ever huge arena show. 

Artscape Theatre, Cape Town - 2005

My high school jazz band performed at the Cape Town Youth Jazz Festival. We did a half hour set that included some of the most insane improvisation and musical innovation. I particularly remember using a 5/8 running into a 6/8 time signature on one of the songs.

Die Mystic Boer, Bloemfontein - 2010

Closing show of our 2010 tour. We had an incredible show and one of the craziest backstage parties ever.

Mercury Live, Cape Town - 2006 & 2011

I've played at Mercury so many times, but our music video launch for our song "Single" in 2006 and our album launch for "12th Avenue", earlier this month, were two of the most epic shows I've played there. 

Endler Hall, Stellenbosch - 2005

I played at a Choir recital here while in high school. It's just a beautiful auditorium with incredible acoustics and a genuine pipe organ. I love it when you can hear every voice and every instrument when there isn't a single microphone in the room. 

Wanderers Sports Club, Windhoek, Namibia - 2010

My first show outside my country's borders, but definitely not the last. The crew at this venue made me feel like a rock star. I didn't have to worry about a thing.

City Hall, Cape Town - 2004

Another jazz band performance. City Hall looks amazing from the outside and even better from the behind the kit.

Zeplins, Pretoria - 2005

Probably the strangest place I've ever performed at. Very dark, very gothic, but still rocking. It was here that we opened our first ever national tour as a band, and where I witnessed my first ever failed stage dive. Can you spell faceplant?

V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre, Cape Town - 2008

This is another venue that I've performed at since high school. I can't remember all the details of every show I've done here, but I do remember a show in 2008 where the stage was covered in artificial grass, which was helpful since my bass player at the time left his shoes at home!

08 April 2011

Raise your voice!

I don't really mean to get all serious on a Friday, especially when I have a show tonight, but I thought that this can't really wait.

I was on Facebook earlier today when I saw a friend post a link to a petition on www.avaaz.org. This website is doing some amazing things in terms of exposing human rights violations, getting the public involved in letting world leaders know their thoughts, and basically creating awareness amongst the global community.

Go check it out. It's completely free and really easy to sign up and add your name to some petitions that can make a huge difference to our world. I know that I'm not prepared to simply sit and watch while politicians sleep on the job, so if you feel the same way, start getting involved in projects like this.

So sign up now, and then go and enjoy your weekend! :)

04 April 2011

Back on stage again

After a lengthy, but absolutely worth it, recording process, 12th Avenue finally have a new album out. We launched the new record at Mercury Live, in Cape Town on Friday night and it was a show of epic proportions. While still doing soundcheck, we were receiving Twitter messages such as "We're queuing outside. Open the doors, it's cold out here!" By the time the doors opened, the queue was quite a way down the street and by the time the show started, a capacity crowd awaited us.

I had a fantastic time on stage. It was just one of those shows where everything seems to work. Thank you to everyone involved in making it such a success - the rest of the band, support acts, management, venue, crew, family, friends and fans. Big hugs to all of you!

12th Avenue on stage at Mercury Live, Cape Town. - I'm hidden behind the drums/band. :) - Photo - VoiceofRock.com

Where to from here? A number of places, actually. This Friday, we're set to play a 2-hour acoustic set in Gordon's Bay, which is likely to be a whole lot of fun. Gordon's Bay is a town full of fun people, great food and an awesome atmosphere. I'm really looking forward to it, particularly because it's the first time we're playing the acoustic versions of the new songs.

We have plenty more shows lined up. They're all on our website - www.12thavenueband.com - but I've added a few here for the lazy readers. :p More shows are still being booked, so this list is likely to get longer!

8 April - Bertie's Moorings - Gordon's Bay
30 April - Blizzard - Durbanville
6 May - Nameless Pub - Somerset West
7 May - Viper Lounge - Table View
26, 27, 28 May - Johannesburg, Pretoria & Bloemfontein - TBA

01 April 2011

Tonight's the night!

A couple weeks ago, I was thinking to myself, "I can't believe our new album is finally complete". And now, after hours upon hours of rehearsing, it is time for our album launch show at Mercury Live in Cape Town, and the kick-off of our national tour.

On days like this, I don't really know how to feel. I'm definitely excited, but there's always a certain amount of nerves involved. I've never been afraid to play in front of a crowd. In fact, I'm more afraid of playing in front of 1 or 2 people (like music practical exams when I was in school) than playing in front of thousands. Maybe it's just a case of "Will they like the new songs?", "Will people actually show up?", "Will all the equipment work?" etc. etc. etc.

Things like that are what really make musicians nervous. Well, at least that's what makes me nervous. However, I think today,  the excitement levels are far outweighing the nerves. I think we're definitely ready for the show and the set that we've been working on is solid. We've also been getting loads of positive responses online whenever we mention the release show, so I think it's going to be a busy one tonight, which is awesome.

So, with about 10.5 hours to go until soundcheck, I guess all I can do is wait patiently...

See you tonight, Cape Town. It's gonna be a big one! :)

The new 12th Avenue album. Available from www.12thavenueband.com on 01/04/2011.

31 March 2011

Teenage Tunes

Don't worry, this post has nothing to do with kids yelling "baby, oooooh!" on top an over-produced electronic beat. I wouldn't subject you or myself to that kind of torture. Seriously, I started listening to Aerosmith when I was 6 years old, so I think I've got my head screwed on right in terms of musical taste. :)

A while back I thought it would be a cool idea to do a piece on songs that meant a lot to me in high school (Most of them still mean a lot to me). In my opinion, the music that you end up listening to and feeling the strongest about during your teenage years, generally shapes what you enjoy listening to later in life and also the music that you end up creating, as you begin exploring the world of writing and performing.

So here's a list of few songs that I loved during my teens, mostly between grades 8 - 10, and the reasons why I still love them (in no particular order). Enjoy!

"A Favor House Atlantic" - Coheed and Cambria

The first time I heard this song, I thought to myself "That girl's got a great voice!". It was only a few months later that I found out that "that girl" was actually "that guy", which was even more impressive. I can't really put my finger on exactly why this song makes me smile, but I can say that it is still a regular on my playlist. I particularly love the lines - "The words you scribbled on the walls. The lots of friends you didn't have." - maybe it reminded me of some of the people I knew in school, who were "popular", but really only had shallow friendships.

"Blue and Yellow" - The Used

"Blue and Yellow" is a song supposedly written about Bert and Quinn's friendship and how even if they couldn't make music together, their friendship would still be more important than anything else. At first listen, it sounds like a love song, which is what I thought when I first heard it. Without getting all soppy on you, I used to think about Nicole, who I had a mad crush on when I first heard this song. I must've done something right, because we eventually started dating and we're still together now. (Insert High-Five here!)

"I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" - My Chemical Romance

This is a song that causes people to stare at me awkwardly when I'm driving. It's a song that I always ending up playing in my car at a high volume with me singing along at an even higher volume. I instantly loved this song when I saw the video for it back in 2004. It's just so honest. "I'm not okay, I'm not O-F*ing-kay!" It's the anthem for any kid who doesn't feel like sitting in class learning maths and would rather be making music. Well, at least it was for me, even though I was pretty good at maths.

"Stare at the Sun" - Thrice

I think what really grabbed hold of me about this song is the delivery of the vocals, combined with the lyrics. The whole theme of the song is desperation and hoping for something more. "I am due for a miracle, I'm waiting for a sign. I stare straight into the sun, and I won't close my eyes". That's some powerful stuff and you can hear it on the track. Emotion in music is very important to me, and it seems to come through a lot in this song.

"A Decade Under the Influence" - Taking Back Sunday

This song kind of grew on me over the years. Initially I thought it was fun to listen to, but didn't really take note of it all that much. It was mostly just a fun song to jump around to. However, I always liked the line "To hell with you and all your friends", which I thought was very fitting when it came to false people, who were only "friends" with you because they could use you in one way or another. Over the years, I've come to really enjoy this song more and more. 

"Rest of my Life" - Unwritten Law

Much like "Blue and Yellow" by The Used, "Rest of my Life" made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's another one of those very open and honest songs, which is probably what makes it so great.

"Last Train Home" - Lostprophets

A really great anthem-style song. When I hear it, I mostly think about how much I love music, which in turn, makes me happy. Apart from that, the song has a lot of energy, and the vocals in the chorus really give the impression of a huge crowd of people telling the world that they'll sing no matter what. It's a song that I'm very unlikely to skip past. 

I'm sure there are plenty, possibly hundreds, more songs that I could go on and on talking about, but I think I'll leave it here. Music really is a gift, and I'm grateful that I'm still receiving more and more of it every day.

28 March 2011

12th Avenue TygerBurger article

12th Avenue was featured in last week's TygerBurger newspaper!

The full article is available on our official website - www.12thavenueband.com

Go read it now! :)

12th Avenue - TygerBurger - 23/03/2011 - Full article at www.12thavenueband.com

24 March 2011

12th Avenue MFM Radio Performance and Interview


My band, 12th Avenue, spent some time at MFM 92.6 in Stellenbosch yesterday. If you missed the interview and performance, check out the link below to listen to it.

12th Avenue on MFM - 23 March 2011

Don't forget about our album launch on 1 April 2011, at Mercury Live in Cape Town!

15 March 2011

What's been cooking in the kitchen that is my mind.

So it's been a while since my last post. In this time, I've grown a year older (and hopefully wiser), been to the zoo, and watched my girlfriend shave her head to raise money for Cancer research. (She has a good looking head on her shoulders, so I don't mind. hehe! ) The band also collected our first batch of endorsed items from Paul Bothner Music. A huge thank you to them. Their endorsement is a huge help to our band.

As I'm typing this, I'm enjoying an amazing tuna sandwich, and a fairly mediocre cup of coffee, the combination of which is making me feel rather ill. I'm listening to the album "Sci-Fi Crimes" by Chevelle. I've been a fan of Chevelle since I heard "The Red" back in high school. I still really like that song. "Sci-Fi Crimes" is a very cool record. There's a lot of raw emotion in the songs that is often lacking in a lot of today's music (I'm not really a fan of the whole "baby, baby, shake your booty" thing).

I've started reading "Life" by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones (Thanks Nix for this awesome birthday present). It's such an interesting book and he tells his life story in such a way that even ordinary moments seem like an adventure. As little as I have in common with Keith in terms of lifestyle and upbringing, I admire his passion for music. The man truly loves it. I'm not even a quarter way through it, but it's already becoming a favourite for me. I've read "U2 by U2" and Nikki Sixx's "The Heroin Diaries", but this seems to take the cake so far.

12th Avenue's new record is being mastered. We've started promo on it already and have also started rehearsing our set for the Cape Town album launch on 1 April at Mercury Live. We have a number of interviews happening on the days leading up to the launch, which is always exciting. Tomorrow, we meet with the TygerBurger, a local newspaper, and in the week of the launch, we have interviews with Bush Radio and MFM. The MFM interview also consists of an on-air acoustic performance, which should be fun.

Alright, I think I've written enough to keep people occupied for a while. Later, alligators! haha! :)

02 March 2011

Give a little bit back

I was sitting and staring at my PC screen wondering what I should write for my next blog post, but couldn't think of anything that's really going on that I haven't already mentioned recently. 12th Avenue's new record is just about done (we just have mastering left), and I'm feeling pretty chilled about life (surprisingly). That's when it dawned on me...I've got it pretty good.

In fact, if you're able to read this post, whether on your PC at home, or at work, or on your phone, or if you're really lucky, your iPad, then you've got it a lot better than a large percentage of the world's population. So why not give a little back to those who really need it. There's a line in our song "Insane" that goes "Rock n Roll can save the world", so I figured maybe I could start living that line a little bit, and maybe you could too. So here's a few things that I feel passionate about, that maybe you could try out to make the world a bit of a nicer place to call home.

I love animals. My girlfriend and I occasionally volunteer at our local Animal Anti-Cruelty League branch. It's really easy and they're always looking for people to help out with a few odd jobs, but mostly just to give each of the animals a little bit of love and attention. Check out their website: www.aacl.co.za.
Help a brother out!



If you're not able to get hands-on like that, get clicking instead. Go to www.barkingmad.co.za and click the button on the right-hand side to donate bowls of food for shelter animals all over South Africa. You can do it once a day.

bzzzzz...
If you're feeling charitable and in need of a new hairdo, get down to a CANSA Shavathon in your city, this weekend (5-6 March). All proceeds go towards Cancer research. If you're not feeling up to losing those locks, just get it sprayed a fun colour for the day. Go to www.shavathon.org.za for details.






Then, if you're feeling really brave, you can also donate blood that can save someone else's life. I'm absolutely terrified of needles, so if you're a blood donor, I salute you! www.sanbs.org.za is where you can find info on becoming a donor.

So there you have it. Just a few easy ways of making a difference. :)
 

24 February 2011

Something to look forward to

Last Friday, I went to check out U2 at Cape Town Stadium, and what a show it was. It's the biggest show I've attended and I was really impressed by their performance and the over-the-top 360° stage, complete with moving walkways and video screens. We sat far back, but it was still amazing. Here's a photo of the show:


Thankfully, even though U2 have demolished my hopes of ever seeing a concert of such epic proportions again, I still have something to look forward to, and so do you!

I'm talking about my band's album launch show. It's taking place at Mercury Live in Cape Town, SA on Friday, 01 April 2011. (Yes, that is the date. For the last time, it's not an April Fool's joke!)

We're hoping to see lots of people there. There's going to be merchandise on sale and the new album will be sold at a special introductory price. (I know how much you all love sales!) Our good friends, The Undefind, will be opening the show for us, and then we'll be performing. Hooray!

If you want to win tickets to the show as well as a copy of the new album, take a look at 12th Avenue's website - www.12thavenueband.com - where you'll find a link to the competition. Also, don't forget to "like" us on Facebook, as we're running a competition there as well.

Hope to see you there!


17 February 2011

U2 tomorrow!

I am officially excited. Tomorrow night, rock legends U2 are performing at Cape Town Stadium! I heard that the show in Johannesburg was excellent and I'm sure this one is going to be as good. Even though I'm in the "cheap seats", I think it'll be epic. It's pretty much the same place I was seated for the FIFA World Cup 2010, and we could see everything on the field quite easily, so I'm sure it'll still be great.

Hopefully I'll get a couple of good photos to share with you.  If not, you can just check out the blurry ones! :)

13 February 2011

7 Random Thoughts in 7 Days - Saturday and Sunday...um... :)

Soooo...about writing a random thought for each day of the week. For some people, Saturday and Sunday count as a single day, as Saturday is spent awake and Sunday is spent sleeping/recovering from Saturday. So to honour that principle, or in other words, use it as an excuse for not writing on Saturday, here are my random thoughts for each day!

Saturday: I went river rafting today for friends of mine's combined birthday party, which was an amazing experience. The only non-amazing parts were getting "attacked by a tree" due to my awesome raft steering skills, and getting a totally stylish slip-slop tan on my feet. My girlfriend wrote a bit more about it on her blog, which includes a few fun pics. Check it out HERE.

Sunday: Today I discovered that my mind-blowingly awesome slip-slop tan, is actually a slip-slop burn. I guess that's what happens when you apply sunblock while still wearing your shoes, thereby forgetting to put some on your feet.

11 February 2011

7 Random Thoughts in 7 Days - Friday

I just had the most awesome chicken pasta. Just thought I'd let you know. :)

In other news, my band, 12th Avenue (who I should be blogging about, but choose to entertain you with random thoughts instead), have been in studio. Last night, we worked on the drum mix, which I think sounds awesome. New record gets released 01 April 2011. More info on our website. Here's a hint - the band's name is a link. Click it!

10 February 2011

7 Random Thoughts in 7 Days - Thursday

I'm so glad that the characters from The Simpsons never age, otherwise they would have all turned out like the Olsen Twins and Macaulay Culkin...

Putting the "fun" into Dysfunctional!

09 February 2011

7 Random Thoughts in 7 Days - Wednesday

As a kid, I used to love watching the Charlie Brown TV Specials that normally aired during Christmas holidays. I still love reading the Peanuts comic strip. However, probably my favourite thing about the comic, apart from Snoopy being the world's most awesome dog, is the sound that Charlie Brown makes when Lucy pulls the football away as he's about to kick it. The only way I can describe it, for those who don't know, is the sound you'd hear if Louis Armstrong was gargling after brushing his teeth. I actually make the same sound quite often to express disbelief or disgust. It's quite entertaining... :)

08 February 2011

7 Random Thoughts in 7 Days - Tuesday

Whenever I walk around in Cape Town, I get asked for money. I don't know why, since I don't look rich and I never carry my wallet around anyway.

Anyway, probably for every 10 people that ask, at least 2 greet me with a "fist bump" (See picture below). This inspired me to entertain you today with an epic fist bump captured on my trip to London in 2009 (See other picture). Enjoy!

Regular fist bump

EPIC FIST BUMP!

07 February 2011

7 Random Thoughts in 7 Days - Monday

Last week, I challenged myself to write a random thought for each day of the week, starting today. I hereby consider this challenge to be accepted!

Random thought: I often wish that I could reach into the TV and slap people. Mostly politicians, trust-fund babies, and annoying characters like the entire cast of Twilight. 



More randomness tomorrow! :)

01 February 2011

What a week!

This past week was a crazy one for me. It started off with my folks going all out and buying an X-Box 360 with Kinect and Band Hero. They've been slowly converting their house into the ultimate party house, and this seems to be the entire pack of cherries on top. Who would've thought that mom and dad's place would be somewhere you'd want to spend your Saturday night? :) 

In between playing X-Box, 12th Avenue have been in studio. Vocals are just about done and the songs are sounding really sweet. I can't wait to share them with everyone! On a scary note, some crazy dude pulled a knife on my brother after studio one night last week. Pretty intense, but he's okay. Check out the story here.

On Thursday morning, I had to be up at 3:30am to model for my girlfriend on live TV. Her designs for the J&B Met were chosen to be featured on Expresso on SABC 3. She's got more about it on her blog, which you can check out here.

While we were there, we scored some free tickets to the J&B Met, which was pretty awesome, although way too hot! Everyone looked pretty suave and the "Larger than Life" entertainers who were walking around looked like they could have been cast in an Aerosmith video. We got chosen to be in the semi-finals of the best dressed couple competition, but unfortunately didn't get through to the final judging. Pity, I could use those prizes. :)

Here's a photo of what we looked like (a bit different to my usual jeans & t-shirt look): 



Along with hanging out at the Met, I had an awesome weekend with friends and family, just chilling out and having fun. Tonight, it's back to the studio to finish off vocals. I'd better start warming up... ahem!


Last album I listened to: "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys" - My Chemical Romance


Last game I played: Gears of War (X-box 360)












Make sure you check out my blog next week. I'm going to attempt a random thought for each day of the week. Should be interesting... :)

20 January 2011

I'm back!

Just a quick update to show that I'm still alive and kicking! :)

I've been away from my PC for a while, but I'm back now, and to keep you all updated, I just got back from the recording studio and the tracks are sounding amazing. I'm so excited for this new record. We're currently tracking vocals, which are taking quicker than usual. I love it when things go smoothly. :) We're back there on Tuesday next week. Hopefully by the week after that we'll just be mixing and mastering. I can't wait to let you hear the finished tracks. As I said, I'm super duper excited about these new songs!

If you want more updates about my band, 12th Avenue, why don't you follow us on Facebook? Here's the link: