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Koos Kombuis

When rockers get married…

2012-02-22 16:21
After a late and noisy gig with my bass player in a student dive in Stellenbosch, I clicked my remote control to drive my sedan car into my garage, got out with my guitar and with half a bottle of Beyerskloof in hand, fell through the connecting door into the luxurious stillness of my suburban lounge where my wife was waiting for me on the couch in front of the large, flatscreen TV set.

Fuck, I love married life.

How I love leaving the chaos of the backstage area behind me, the screams, the autograph sessions, the tumult and the rounds of shots and be able to return to my safe haven in suburbia, where I can spend my days peacefully watching my children play Nintendo, toss old tennis balls at my dogs, and scavenge the fridge any time of the day, or night, in search of cans of Dry Lemon to add to my gin and ice.

That is why, when I got home one night, after kissing my wife, tucking in my kids and stroking the dogs, I got such joy when I switched on my computer to check my Facebook page and saw that my old friends Rob Nagel and Maggie Frost had "tied the knot" at the Up the Creek rock festival.

Of course, Rob and Maggie have been together for ages. Whether they had actually gotten married or simply renewed their vows, was not clear to me, especially not in my slightly inebriated state, but the point is: there they stood flanked by Piet Botha (who had apparently acted as best man), grinning at the camera.

Maggie wore a pretty whitish-coloured dress and Rob was actually dressed in something vaguely resembling a black suit. I just caught a glimpse of it behind his huge bushy beard. They were holding a placard saying "I’d Rather be Sad Than Happily Married" – the famous old Blues Broers quote – with the words "Sad Than" scratched out.

They looked just adorable.

I was so happy for them. I immediately went to Rob's Facebook wall, where I left him a drunken message: "Fokken Hoog Tyd!"

My last thought before passing out was: Why do rockers get married?

Of course, I knew the answer. Rockers fall in love like everyone else. Like everyone else, rockers yearn for some form of stability, some semblance of sanity, care, warmth and loyalty in their lives. That is why Francois van Coke got married in January! (And I heard he isn’t the only member of the old Fokofpolisiekar brigade to tie the knot!)

The remarkable thing about rock 'n roll marriages is that many of them actually survive. If I look at my old friends in the music industry, many of us who had taken the unthinkable step down the aisle of monogamous imprisonment are still together, even years later. I reckon the percentage of working relationships in the rock scene is about the same as in the rest of society. And why not?

You cannot spend every waking moment partying with your mates, writing new songs, tuning your guitar, carrying amps around and guzzling down cheap wine. A man needs a maid, for heaven's sake! We all need a roof over our heads, short-term insurance, lawnmowers, clean sheets, that sort of thing! Like everyone else, we need luuuuv!

Of course, most rockers don't exactly get married in the conventional way. My wife and I got married on a Weskus beach years ago. It was one hell of a party. The guy acting as barman got too drunk to pour drinks, so the dominee had to double as a barman, and ended up misspelling our names on the wedding certificate.

The gay cameraman got distracted and instead of taking photographs of the ceremony, started taking pics of his friends swimming. I remember handing in the film afterwards at one of those old-fashioned one-hour spots in the mall, telling them they were my wedding pics. Great was my surprise – and theirs - one hour later, when I received a pretty little album, full of images of naked men cavorting in the shallow waves.

Oh well. Luckily, somebody also took a video. Or so I heard. It's almost thirteen years later, and I haven't actually seen it yet, but I heard it's somewhere in a drawer behind the bar counter at Oppikoppi.

If you can't be with the one you love, goes the old rock ‘n roll saying from the sixties, love the one you're with. But there comes a time, even in the life of the most ardent old dinosaur, when you suddenly realise that you're okay with the fact that the one you love and the one you're with, by some astonishing coincidence, just happens to be exactly the same person. All the time.

Wow, what a concept. 

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