MAMAs 2016: The winners of the annual MTV Africa Music Awards were announced during a glitzy ceremony

Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

Telling It Like It Is

2008-10-21 09:29
Just another soft-c*ck rock band? Nope. "We’re five Swedes and one American, that’s what makes us different," Wolf reckons. Seriously though, he's realistic about the fact that there are only so many fresh sounds out there. He's quite flattered that I've 'boxed' his band alongside the likes of The Fray, The Killers, Keane and maybe even Coldplay.

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Their trendy dance rock alternative sound is on the other side of the Mississippi from the blues influence he grew up with. "I come from down South. When I was 15, I was sitting in the living room, I got up to fetch a glass of water or something, and this song started playing on the TV (Come on in My Kitchen by John Hammond Jr). I just stood there and thought, I gotta figure out how to be that guy" confides Wolf. So why didn't he go the blues or rock route of his some of his heroes like Robert Johnson and Lou Reed? "That would be such an insult. I can't play like that!" he exclaims.

You'd be forgiven, like me, for wondering where these guys came out of. Suddenly, their single "I'm Not Over" is all over the radio and they're doing interviews and touring the country like evangelists. Seems they've hit the teen market right between the eyeballs too, while they’re watching TV. "Coming to Terms" featured on One Tree Hill, "California Bound" on 90210, "Beautiful World" on Gossip Girl and "Show Me What I'm Looking For" was used for a Michael Phelps Olympic PSA in the US. All in one year.

Talk about flooding the market. While Chad enjoys the fruits of this exposure, isn't he concerned that Carolina Liar might just become that band that sang that song from that show? "Yeah, it’s a risk, but it’s the only avenue you have these days. It’s a tough world to survive in."
Tough as nails, indeed. But sometimes you just need a little heads up from the right people. Turns out Chad once worked for celebrated songstress Diane Warren. Not only was she inspirational, but she told him what any aspiring musician needs to hear: "You’re only as good as the moment you're in". This moment’s been a long time coming for Wolf. "I was just too stupid to stop working at it" he reflects. Well thank goodness for that, because he finally found what he was looking for (pun intended) in Swedish producer Max Martin who Chad confesses "beat me into shape". And then there was Carolina Liar.

Celebrity association from the hit shows that have used their songs has had a big influence on their audience group. Chad says "We’ve got fans that otherwise wouldn’t have ever heard of us". Pretty, young, screaming female fans – right, Chad?

Of course, it’s par for the course that being in a band comes with sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. So what has this recent injection of fame done for his sex life? "It’s caused more problems! There are a lot of beautiful women around. Before the band, I was in a 2 year long relationship and the (touring) lifestyle just creates jealousy. Everybody’s single in the band," he chuckles.

Nice one Chad. Just what we need. A rock star who doesn’t seem phased by fame; a free spirit; a modern-day gypsy with a genuine love for rock ‘n roll. "In ten years time, we won't be doing much else. We're road dogs".


Top 5 on Chad’s iPod:
* Grizzly Bear – "I’m the Knife"
*A-Ha – "The Swing of Things"
* MGMT – "Electric Field"
* Kings of Leon – "Sex on Fire"
* Some Bob Dylan

On channelling Kurt Cobain in his look:
"One of my first jobs was as an extra in the DMX movie Never Die Alone. I got (the part) because I looked so grungy. I had to buy crack from a dealer in the scene."

On the environmental impact of their touring:
"When we make enough money, we’re going to buy a bus that can run on biodiesel".

First CD he bought:
“Duran Duran."

Favourite Carolina Liar song:
"Beautiful World."

- Sam Brighton

Chad Wolf. Who's this? A real Southern jennelman with his heart on his sleeve. He's also the frontman for alternative rock newbies, Carolina Liar.

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