We go behind-the-scenes as the Blood Brothers prepare for the rock event of the year

2015-07-15 07:00

Cape Town – This must be one of the most surreal moments of my life, I think to myself as I walk into Kill City Blues studios in Woodstock at 10:00 in the morning.

And it's not because I am in a recording studio for the first time, as I’ve been there, done that, but rather because I will be witnessing something historic, almost sacred: a get together of SA's top rockers in one room.

They call themselves the Blood Brothers, and with good reason. They are all cut from the same cloth – rock 'n roll.

SA's very own rock supergroup. On one stage. For 3 hours. And all of this in the name of charity. This is what the Blood Brothers show is all about. Co-founder of the show, Rudi Norval, explains it better:

"Henre Pretorius (Vrede Foundation) and I have been involved with Vredefest since the beginning and we wanted to do something different than booking a few well-known bands and hope to sell tickets. So the two of us and Loedi van Renen (Taxi Violence) came up with an idea to get the best musicians together, get them to all on stage at the same  time, performing each other's hits. That was over a year ago. Blood Brothers symbolises the boys getting ready for war against cancer. The fight is real and we want to raise as much awareness as possible and what better way to do it than by using rock & roll?"

I walk into the studio where Francois van Coke is busy recording his vocal part for the song that will be released as part of the show. Francois is all smiles and laughs as he sings the same chorus over and over in an effort to get the perfect take. As I sit and watch Taxi Violence's George van der Spuy behind the recording desk, and Fokofpolisiekar's Hunter Kennedy in the producer seat, I realise that magic is being made right in front of my eyes.

Hunter tells me he wrote the song, and that for now, it is titled People Gotta Know. "We are going to try and release the song before the shows, but it's obviously just so cool to have so many cool dudes together, that it's obvious to make a cool new track. And hopefully it will attract more attention to the event."

The lyrics, says Hunter, is self-explanatory, "people need to be aware".

As Francois finishes his vocals, more guys arrive - Arno Carstens (Springbok Nude Girls), Kobus de Kock Jnr (Black Cat Bones), Rian Zietsman (Taxi Violence/Beast) and Loedi van Renen (Taxi Violence) walk into the studio. Sjoe. This. Is. Awesome.

Francois is done with his vocals, and before he has to rush off to a Van Coke Kartel rehearsal, I sit down with him and Hunter and ask them how they got involved. "I think for me it just sounded nice to make music with all of these dudes. And we are all basically friends in the group and the others will be our friends afterwards," says Francois.

"I think all of us obviously met and bumped into each other at some point backstage at festivals, but the cool thing now is that all of us will get to hang out a lot more," Hunter adds.

"Have you guys rehearsed a lot yet?" I ask.

Francois laughs. "No! We haven’t!" he says. "The drummers and the bassist, I think they are rehearsed. I think the guitarists are working on the songs they have to play, they’ve worked it out, Hunter has worked out all his songs."

"I haven’t even looked at it, I don’t even know what songs we are playing yet!" Hunter says laughingly.

We all know you guys will nail it, #justsaying.

Francois and Hunter say their goodbyes. I try and get all the other guys on the couches for a chat. It's not that easy. These guys are chatting and laughing as this is the first time they have all been in the same room together. It’s like one big social. But like the best one ever. Seriously. The best!

I just start throwing some questions at them. "How did all if this come together?" I ask.

"Loedi chatted to me about the idea more than a year ago already, and as I like making music, I was keen from the start. The idea was from the start to sort of get the top SA musicians together..." says Riaan.

Kobus chimes in: "Yes, it has been long ago, like more than a year... Rudi Norval phoned me the first time, telling me they have this idea, and asked me whether I’d be interested. And I asked well, who else will be involved? And they said they are still going to speak to Arno, and with Frannie and Albert, and I thought, ‘Ja right’, if you can get these people together... it was like this wishlist of people, it was very nice and everything... but I didnt’t think much of it. And then a few months later they called me back and said it’s happening, everyone is in. I mean these guys are all my heroes, its awesome!"

"I just want to know how you guys chose the songs, it must’ve been difficult," I say.

According to Francois, Loedi is like the ultimate bandleader and what he says is law in terms of song choices.

"All the vocalists could choose, it’s mostly in their hands, but there was also group choices," says Loedi.

"It’s like a wishlist, so it’s all the songs we like," adds Kobus. "Ja it’s stuff we grew up with and stuff that influences us in some way," says George.

"Can you give us some hints as to what you guys will be playing?" I ask

"I will be doing for example Royal Blood, Pearl Jam..." George reveals. Someone chips in... "And Walking On Sunshine, Karma Chameleon..." Everyone bursts out laughing.

"We can’t give away too much..." Kobus adds.

I plead with them...

"Okay, okay, there’s Nirvana in the mix and Rage Against The Machine," says Kobus. "All of us are doing our own bands’ music as well. Arno’s doing some Nude Girls stuff and some solo stuff," says George.

"Francois is also doing some Van Coke stuff and some Fokof stuff," adds Arno.

The guys also reveal they have a very active WhatsApp group which they use to chat about song choices and other stuff too. Arno says it’s probably the best WhatsApp group he’s ever been part of.

Through the chatter the guys also reveal they have all run into each other at some point while on the road and at festivals, and that they will be having a braai and drinking some beer together after rehearsals.

The show will be three hours long and they will be playing between 36 to 37 songs. Now that’s good value for money, I think to myself.

Event details:

Venue: Carnival City Big Top Arena.
Date: 18 July 2015.
Time: 19:00.
Tickets:  R250 – R395. Click here to book your spot.

Cape Town
Venue: Grand Arena, Grandwest.
Date: 23 September
Time: 20:00.
Ticket info to follow.

Click here to meet all the Blood Brothers and get more info on the show.

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