Legends of SA Rock, Arapaho induce a massive flashback of awesome memories many years later
A couple nights ago, out of nowhere, Little Richie Crofts sent me a message on Facebook, there was a sense of desperation in the poor boys message, he said he seemed to have lost his copy of Arapaho – Wicked Wonder and wanted to know if I had a copy.
I did have the CD, aswell as the 1/2 mile from Eden CD, I remember it’s non-CD case cover which was like a hard cover book which was pretty similar to an original copy of Pearl Jam – Vitalogy, which I also once had… but sadly as was the case with pretty much my entire CD collection, over the years, had grown legs and walked. It got me thinking though, the things I would do to sit back, relax and have a little listen to that album once again. The reason being is that it signified one of the best most “unmemorable” parts of my life. Back in the mid 90’s from about the age of 13 onwards, I was a bit of what I like to call, an “inbetweener”, since everyone at school kinda stuck to their social groups, like the sporty okes stuck together, the library monitors stuck together, but I was one of those people who kinda slipped inbetween the groups, Some of the sporty okes were my best friends, yet I never really played much sport at all, lets just say if smoking cigarettes and weed was a sport, I would have been in the 1st team. I was a proper grunge kid, Kurt Cobain was my idol and my “fashion sense” consisted nothing less than a grungy look, so much that one day the cops drove passed me, stopped and literally gave something just short of a strip search looking for zol. One thing that still makes me wonder to this day is that the dumbass didn’t care to look in my bag, because in there he would have found my school clothes… it was a school day and it was about 11 in the morning 🙂 As a grunge kid, I lived for alternative rock, on weekends I’d hang out in places in Maritzburg like The Buzz Bar and Churchills, basically the two places in Maritzburg that thrived on live bands and in my books, helped pioneer the SA Rock Scene. We saw just about every pioneer of SA Rock play at these two places, I still remember my very first gig I went to, which was Wonderboom\Electric Petals, memorable bands like Stonedhenge (phenominal band!) and ofcourse the major players like Squeal, Sugardrive, Just Jinger in their VERY early days, Henry Ate (I didn’t know it then, but much later Karma-Ann would become a personal friend), The Springbok Nude Girls and ofcourse one of my most memorable and a very vivid memory of Arapaho at Churchills. I still have a clear picture pretty much in HD in my mind of Alistair Murdoch on stage with his Fender in the tiny venue. Meeting Alistair, Gavin Meiring, Brett Savage and Nigel Tarbotan after the gig back then was like meeting Nirvana, these guys were our heros, they inspired us in such a way that myself and my mates, actually started a band called Wednesday. We had a few originals but never really kicked off since we were always short of band members. These guys drove our youth and pretty much played a big part in me spending at least 2-3 hours every single day for years teaching myself to play guitar whilst everyone else played cricket or rugby. Anyway, enough of me, but I guess you get just how big a roll these guys played in shaping the person I was, and why I think these guys are absolute legends.
This evening I got an email from Richie, it had an attachment… I opened it and seconds later the opening riff of Dumptruck started playing… I leaned back in my chair, face staring at the ceiling and did nothing but listened, I got goosebumps like I haven’t felt in years along with a massive stream of unbelievably awesome memories started flowing as if I just been plugged myself into the matrix.
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Back in the early 90’s when grunge was in its prime, it was as if you had this big bang then suddenly we had a handful of great SA Rock bands popping out of nowhere turning out some pretty astonishing material, huge credit of course goes to the legends that are Barney Simon and Pedro Carlo for being the driving force behind it. Arapaho was one of the very first, if not the very first. When Wicked Wonder was released, just about everyone I knew had a copy, this was still when copying CD’s was barely heard of yet, you actually had to buy the CD or record it onto tape. These guys pretty much burst open the gates for bands like Just Jinjer, Prime Circle, Seether (Saron Gas), Plush and the likes. If it wasn’t for their perseverance, SA Rock would have happened, but it would have had quite a bit of a delayed start. These were the guys that got people listening to SA Rock, they started pulling the crowds. Arguably, Splashy Fen would have still been a folk rock festival for many more years if it wasn’t for Arapaho, I remember one Splashy when Arapaho headlined on the Saturday night, the main marquee was packed to absolute capacity, not a single soul sitting at a campsite. Like myself, I’m sure there’s many an SA band who’d say without a doubt, that Arapaho was the real inspiration for them realising that they could get out there and do it.
Do yourself a favour right now… go have a scratch in your CD collection and have a little listen to Wicked Wonder or 1/2 Mile From Eden, and re-live some awesome memories, and if you’re like me that doesn’t have a copy, have a little search at Kalahari.net, Look and Listen or Musica and get yourself a copy as all three of them have it 🙂 I’ve just got to work how I can get a copy to London.
I’m not sure what the guys are up to these days, although it would be pretty interesting to find out, and guys if you reading this… just wanna say shot for the memories 🙂
“Take me there and bring me back again…take me there, bring me home” ….. you did 🙂
All this nostalgia did make me think about how long its been since I picked up my guitar… sadly its been over a year now 🙁 I guess everything else in life pretty much takes over without you even realising it, but I dug up a video I put up on YouTube a couple years ago of my version of Rodriguez – Jane .S Piddy… have a little listen…hope you like it 🙂