Therese Owen

Another highlight at Ramfest 2014 is Fuzigish (pictured), a ska punk band who have just released their seventh album, Crazy Friends.

Says band leader Jay Bones about the title: “I initially thought the song was about our fans, but then later on I realised that it was about the band members.”

Fuzigish started in 1997 on a punk resurgence. Their contemporaries were noise mongers like Crossing Point, Sibling Rivalry, The Vendetta Cartel and Leek. Seventeen years later, only Fuzigish and Hog Hoggidy Hog are still performing.

So what is it that has kept the four members in the game?

“The obvious answer is our love of music,” replies Bones. “But it goes back to the title of our album, Crazy Friends. The Police broke up at the height of their fame when they were earning millions. So the reality is that if you don’t like a person, then nothing really matters. Or maybe we are still together because we never made money.”

Having enjoyed them since day one, I can attest that the chemistry between the four is tangible on stage as well as in the studio.

“We get something from this band. People still come to our shows and it keeps us out of therapy. It seems to keep us sane. Also, in the past few years people have come to us and said that our music has helped them in some way.

“It’s cool to think that we are part of a community and that at the end of the day, we are making a positive contribution through our music.

“Punk can mean many different things nowadays. What it means for us is questioning everything. Also, we have always had a DIY attitude.”

One of the tracks Bones is proud of is a step away from their mad ska/punk/reggae sound. Called Question Everything, the title speaks for itself. “I pushed for that song because it was a bit different for us in terms of style.”

It’s the kind of sing-along song that goes down well on a drunken pub night, but is also quite sensitive. “Growing up as a white guy in South Africa, the song questions what happened during the apartheid times. Did our parent ask questions at the time and, if they did, what were the consequences? If you are in a comfortable position it is easy to not ask questions.”

The final track on the album, Mad Circle, is “a nostalgic song written about the times 10 years ago when people used to do circle pits at shows. We used to have all those parties at Carfax in Newtown. They were pretty interesting times.”

As for their performances at Ramfest in Cape Town and Joburg this weekend, Bones says that fans can expect “four guys who love playing music”.

He starts laughing and says: “Fuzigish are the sausage in the middle of two big rolls. We are playing between Trivium and Killswitch Engage. They are both shreddy metal and we have this punk sound.”

Crazy Friends will be available for sale at Ramfest.