THERE’S nothing quite like hearing one of your all-time favourite bands from the ’90s reunite for a show after all these years. All the memories come flooding back and you’re overwhelmed at the thought of seeing them live on a stage again.
Well, this is the case for South African rock group Squeal who really made an impression on rock fans across the globe. So I’m sure their local followers will be glad to know they will be performing at Live – the Venue on Friday.
Formed in Durban by Dave Birch (guitar and vocals) and Brett Barnes (bass and vocals), the band features new additions Peter Babel (guitar) and Andrew Cleland (drums).
The thing that defined Squeal and still does is that their music is pure rock with no gimmicks or posing, earning them numerous No 1 hits on 5FM and multiple South African Music Award nominations.
Having played a few gigs since the ’90s, the guys definitely got the taste of what it feels like to be back in the music industry. They also received rave reviews for their performance at this year’s Splashy Fen.
For Barnes, it just always felt right playing with Birch in Squeal.
“In 2000 I decided to leave the band to pursue other interests. I played in other bands as well, but it never felt right. It’s like, when Dave and I are together, it’s the right combination and that’s where the magic lies in the musicality. It just clicks. It feels right, it always did,” the musician shares.
As for their show at Live – the venue on Friday, the bass player says he’s amped about it: “We’re toying with the idea of recording another album. So for now, we will be playing everyone’s favourites from the last three albums. We’re gonna get up there and play good, honest rock and roll. We’re going to give our heart and soul to the audience. It’s going to be an honest, open performance and its going to be bare.”
So after 24 years of making and playing music, what has he learnt along his journey and what does he consider the key to staying relevant as a musician? “I think I learnt that when you are starting out as musicians, you just think everyone will take care of you. But the music industry is an industry after all. So you need to treat the band as a business and you need to survive and take care of yourself. It’s not just a party, it’s a serious thing. So you need to remember the reasons why you started it in the first place. And for me, it’s about entertaining people and seeing their faces light up when you play.
“And as far as staying relevant goes, let’s look at the Rolling Stones. They are still relevant because their music is so honest and you can’t fake honesty. I think people spend too much time trying to be relevant and trendy. And the thing is you can’t, because trends change so rapidly and there’s always a desire for something new. You don’t have to be overproduced. Just be truthful with your singing, your lyrics and be true to yourself.”
• See Squeal at Live – the Venue on Friday. Supporting acts: Hyde & The Resistance, Load-shedder. R60, 8pm. Call 084 510 3107.