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#aTypicalInterview: Cito on the best and worst thing about being a rock star

Image: supplied.

Image: supplied.

Published Mar 17, 2020


In this week’s A-typical interview we feature South African musician and performer Martin ‘Cito’ Otto.

Otto, better known by his stage name 'Cito' ,has been part of rock band Wonderboom for 22 years and is the band's lead vocalist and guitarist.

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The 45-year-old, who was born in Queens, New York City and moved to South Africa when he was 14, is also a stage performer.

He's featured in hit stage productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar where he played the role of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as in the blockbuster Broadway musical Rock of Ages, where he played the role of Stacee Jaxx.

What is the best and worst thing about being a rock star?

The term "Rock star" has certainly changed in definition over the past 20 years or so. In the traditional sense, the best thing about being a rock star is the role-playing and pretending to be this extraordinary character. 

The worst thing is that it's all a façade and it lacks any real substance or soul. Being a rock star is overrated. There were moments in my career where I certainly acted like a rock star, but that usually caused fans and friends to not be themselves around me.

Image: supplied.

If Cito wasn't a rock star, what would he be?

Perhaps I shouldn't be having this introspection in an interview (lol). If Cito wasn't a rock star, he would be this vulnerable guy who is actually a dork. Still doing music, for healing and inspiring purposes.

You are given the chance to collaborate with any singer in the world. Who do you choose?

I would love to collaborate with FKA Twigs. I could learn so much from her and really think our voices would harmonise beautifully.

What does a rock stars diet consist of?

This rock star's diet currently consists of vegetarian food, coffee and plenty of fruit and nuts.

Care to share the most raucous party you have ever had?

I've had my fair share of raucous parties. From band-related after parties to out-of-hand year-end functions to exclusive decadent house-parties; some elaborate stories, mostly drug and alcohol-induced. 

But I think, one of the most memorable moments was the night I told Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), that he was a "[email protected]#$ing c%&t" to his face, because he blatantly ignored me, while I was trying to give him a compliment and while he was chatting up my friend's girlfriend, at their after party in Randburg. 

His security tried to kick me out of his cordoned off area, but his band (and the girl) stood up for me. Later that night, I couldn't get into my mother's house, because I was locked out and all were away, so I slept in the dog house with the dogs. It was mid-winter.

What has captured your attention on social media in the past week?

Unfortunately, I was really invested in the US Democratic primaries. Heartbroken that Bernie Sanders is not looking like the candidate for the party. But, I guess the world's not ready for a straight up progressive, uncorrupted leader right now.

The rock star you idolised as a kid was?

I was obsessed with Jim Morrison, from The Doors. Also, Bono, U2's vocalist.

Which actor would play you in a  movie about your life?

Adam Driver

What are the three most important things you have to pack in your bag when going on tour?

Toiletry bag, laptop and headphones.

Have you ever been disappointed by a live music act. If so which artist or band was it?

I have a high tolerance for bad, live music, so it's very seldom that I get disappointed. The funniest, though, would have to be seeing (half of ) Sheep On Drugs, at the Stones in Harties.

The vocalist was so smacked up, his motor skills were very compromised and he kept forgetting to switch off his guitar pedals and turn his volume down, when not using his guitar.

There was this constant feedback noise going on through their set, and he was like, "Don't know what the [email protected]#k that noise is but anyway..." Luckily, I was close enough to lean over the stage and sort it out TWICE!

The Saturday Star

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