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The Steve Hofmeyr Show - Steve Hofmeyr talks straight

2006-03-29 10:55

M-WEB: You always seem to maintain a high media profile. Is this pre-meditated or not?
STEVE: Well, it's not. I don't wake up one morning and decide I'm going to hit a journalist at the Karoo Kunstefees. That's the worst thing you can do for your career. But somehow I think my enemy is right. To pick Anton Goosen - except for the church it's probably about the best enemy to have. I do not do art. I don't care a f*** for art. I don't know what the definition of art is and I couldn't care a s***. I care to buy a new Mercedes Benz at the end of the year. Anton Goosen hates that kind of talk, but there is no good definition for art. There's a very specific definition for your career: to make business decisions. That is what I do. If people call it art or not, I don't care.

M-WEB: Did you really take offence at the comments about your shoes?
STEVE: No, it wasn't about that. The journalists also abused their power the next morning, their freedom of speech. On every hall at the kunstefees it said "Boycott Steve Hofmeyr!" I had to go take photographs of the queues outside the shows because I just felt so good.

M-WEB: Afrikaans music does seem to have a very loyal audience...
STEVE: Ja! I think with some of the black music genres and lots of the Afrikaans genres there is a massive loyalty. I'm trying to work it out, but I think it's always been like that. I'd like to say that after 1994 because we were marginalised we've had an extra bit of loyalty and people are grabbing and re-doing the FAK songs. But I can't remember a time when it wasn't like that. My answer is that Afrikaans people buy music for many more reasons than just notes and bars. You also have to kind of climb in under their skin and become the big brother they never had or the man they'd like to invite to their farm and have a chat to.

M-WEB: How did the new album Toeka come about?
STEVE: This year I did Toeka featuring local South African artists in English and Afrikaans from the 60s and 70s. I redid the songs but I also did more - I went to visit (the original artists) with a camera and have conversations with them that I put on DVD and cut out all my questions. These questions I ask live on stage and they answer me on the big screen. So I say Glynnis (ex-4 Jacks and a Jill) "how many children do you have?" and she goes "Well, Steve I've got 3 children, they're 30 years old", that kind of thing. And I come in and sing their songs with them.

M-WEB: Do you have any particular favourite tracks on the album?
STEVE: I love Bobby Angel's "Long Ago and Far Away" - if I stop singing everybody carries on singing. People are not going to admit to listen to country in their wildest dreams, but they know the words. I just love it! I'm doing a version of "Amazing Grace" that I think is the phattest version I've ever heard. That is very important because of the statements I've made. People like to think that I'm an atheist, you know? But that's not fair. It's not fair that if my god's definition doesn't look like yours, then I'm an atheist. That's why we think the Muslims are atheists....

M-WEB: For the record what was the whole I'm gonna sue "Laugh it Off" T-shirt issue about?
STEVE: I don't really care what it says and means. I laugh at his ridiculous justification for what he's doing as if he's some sort of f***ing chosen moral father for all of us. He's gonna represent us all. My reasons for taking him on would strictly be trademark issues. But I'm not sure he's gonna have any money left after SA Breweries. So I wonder if I should just wait until he's extremely bankrupt and then take him on - or just leave it? I'm not too angry about it.

- Miles Keylock

Steve Hofmeyr may be seen as South Africa's answer to Neil Diamond but when it comes to attitude the blonde boytjie of boere pop is more akin to Eminem. Politics, religion, money, the Afrikaaner - there's no taboo Steve isn't prepared to tackle. We talk to him about his shoes, beating on journalists, suing t-shirt company Laugh It Off and of course his new album, Toeka
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