In partnership with

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

The Parlotones: 24 Facts

2009-11-12 14:03

The Parlotones are: Kahn Morbee (vocals & guitar), Neil Pauw (drums), Paul Hodgson (guitar, keyboard), Glenn Hodgson (bass, piano, backing vocals).

1. The word "Parlotones" sounds a bit like "talking tones" if you speak a Latin language. But it's really a made up word - so all Google results for searches deliver only links related to the band. Taking notes, Taxi Violence?

2. Before they were a band, Kahn worked as a PR for Sovent Entertainment (their record label now), and Neil Pauw worked as a Mercedes Benz car salesman.

3. The band has always had a very clear image, dressing in synch and styling themselves professionally, right down to matching eye-liner.

4. Paul and Glenn learned to do spider eyeliner while working on a university production of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" during the 1997 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

5. Lead singer Kahn cites Aussie rocker, INXS's Kick and UK indie legends The Smiths' Louder than Bombs as the albums that made him want to be a singer in a rock band.

6. Paul's magical musical moment was hearing Chesney Hawkes' "The One and Only" when he was 10. "I just loved it. I played the song over and over and I’d look at the cover and say, I want to be like Chesney Hawkes when I grow up. I’m gonna be a rock star."

7. Niel has a different tip: "I used to listen to the Top 40 every Sunday. My dad and I used to take bets on what would be the Top 5. The first album I ever remember loving was rap music. It was DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. I loved it to death, knew it word for word. It was just so cool."
8. Glenn had more of a literary moment: "In standard 6 my English teacher gave me a tape with Nirvana's Nevermind on the one side and the Metallica Black album on the other side. And that was the first time I was ever really blown away by any music. That was my defining moment."

9. As often happens in SA, the Parlotones' big break came not through the media, but when their song "Beautiful" was picked up and used in a Irish Fuji Film commercial in 2006. However, the first single to receive international and South African radio play was actually "Dragonflies and Astronauts".

10. They were the first South African band to receive a multi-territory record deal, when "Beautiful"'s success resulted in a European license deal with Universal Music.

11. Things the Parlotones did in attempts to become famous include: waxing each other's legs, eating tripe in Soweto, and having water bombs thrown at them during live shows.

12. The Parlotones are popular with all sorts of South Africans – they've met the demand for their music with over 100 000 copies of their albums sold, and 280 live shows in the last year. "it seems like a lot, but in the same breath it looks like we had eighty days off!" quips Kahn.

13. Some of their most popular songs have been covers, noteably "Lisa se Klavier" (a classic Koos Kombuis song that you can download here) and "Here Comes A Man" (originally "Here Comes the Man", which was a big radio hit for one-album-wonders Boom Boom Room in '88.

14. Parlotones' strategy for covering other people's songs is basically to speed them up and change a few lyrics, which makes them more suitable for KarateParties. The band has never officially admitted this, but I personally can prove it beyond all reasonable doubt.

15. Kahn and the boys supported top indie band Starsailor on a recent UK tour.

16. The Parlotones have won two MTV Africa Awards, three South African Video Awards and they were chosen as the Face of the HD launch in SA.

17. They've launched their own blended red wine titled (perhaps appropriately, considering how much time they spend around drunk people in their line of work) "Giant Mistake". "Giant Mistake" is of course one of their best known songs, and features the lyric "And elegantly wasted, tasted more/More than I should". Read, more about the wine on their official site here.

18. The single "Beautiful" has gone to radio in 14 countries across Europe. Countries where they get radio play include Japan, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, France, Ireland, Asia and Turkey.

19. Fans from all over Europe have posted messages of support on the Parlotones' LastFM profile.

20. On the 2009 tour, Neil and Kahn were prevented from playing Dubai with Paul and Glenn, when the Dubai gov decided to cancel all SA visas without warning,. Paul and Glenn got in on their European passports and did the gig anyhow, "White Stripes-style." Oops: actually it was the other way round. Paul and Glen got left behind - thanks Bev. An extra Channel T-Shirt's on its way to you.

21. According to their tour tweets, the Parlotones' favourite city – the last one of their tour - was Moscow.

22. They were the first South African act to headline the Coca-Cola Dome in Joburg. In a turning of the tables, their support band, Spirits, are from Canada!

23. Their brand new CD, Stardust Galaxies, went gold within one week of release. This almost never happens with Rock albums in South Africa.

24. They've been together and actively pursuing world domination since 1998 – a lot longer than most bands give it before they break up over some girl. 

Need even more useless information? Fine! You can follow them on twitter as @parlotones.

The biggest band in South Africa right now are… surprise surprise, four white rockers with too much guyliner, and a bit of an odd name! So wise up. Here's what you need to know. We've also included one FALSE fact. Which one is it? If you can spot it first, and you've used your correct email address to post your guess, we'll send you a Channel24 T-Shirt. Promise.
Read more on:    the parlotones  |  24 facts
NEXT ON CHANNEL24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Recent News

In the seventh episode of the Channel24 Coffee Break series, Just Jinjer frontman Ard Matthews stopped by Channel24 to jam a few songs and talk to us about his new album and band as well as overcoming his National Anthem upset. Read More »

Are they VanFokkingTasties?

2012-05-03 09:27

The lads talk life, love...and their new album. Read More »

inside channel 24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.