“… you could be a good friend, good friend of mine …”
“A Good Friend of Mine” – Tribute to Piet Botha
On Saturday 25 February 2006 the South African music industry pays tribute to one of its great legends, Piet Botha, at a festival to be held at the Foundry Fly Lounge, cnr. of Hans Strydom Drive and N4 (Witbank) freeway, in Silver Lakes, Pretoria East.
This prestigious event is being held to honour and thank Botha for the phenomenal contribution he has made to promote South African music over the past thirty odd years and for his support and assistance to help local artists kick start their careers in the local industry, regardless of their creed or colour.
The event, which is appropriately named “A Good Friend of Mine”, a title of one of his favourite songs, starts at 13:00 and will feature artists who at some or other stage, have been involved with Botha, either by playing with him, having shared the stage with him, had an album produced by him or have been mentored by the master.
Botha started this long and illustrious career back in 1972, when as a Tuks student; he played as a solo artist at some of his hometown venues in Pretoria. A true Rock ‘n Roller at heart, Botha is probably one of the finest guitarists this country has ever produced. His early influences and inspiration was found from the likes of Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and many of the rock legends of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Originally Botha stuck to his rock ‘n roll guns and produced some of the most incredible rock music with bands such as Raven, Catherine Wheel and Wildebeest, already then acclaiming some very prestigious awards when Raven was nominated as runners up to the SABC TV’s Battle of the Bands competition in 1979 and when the ‘Bushrock 1’ album by Wildebeest was nominated as best local rock album of the year in 1981.
In 1984 Botha formed the phenomenal rock outfit Jack Hammer and has kept the name ever since. Jack Hammer has seen many, many members come and go in it’s 21 year history, but it’s founder, the legendary Piet Botha alias the ‘Hammer’, is still rocking steady to this day. Much of Botha’s and Jack Hammer’s magic has been captured on albums such as ‘Jack of All Trades’, ‘Ghosts on the Wind’, ‘Death of a Gypsy’, ‘Anthology’ and their latest masterpiece ‘The Pilgrim’ which was released in 2005.
Soon this all changed, when in 1997 Botha was persuaded by associates to migrate his musical genius to the Afrikaans music arena. His first Afrikaans CD, ‘Suitcase Vol Winter’, was testimony to his lyricist wizardry and was acclaimed by SARockDigest as one of the finest musical works ever produced on our shores. This album was rated by Brian Currin, editor of the SARockDigest, as being amongst one of the greatest albums ever produced in world music. Other great Afrikaans albums followed suit and Botha, together with Jack Hammer, produced ‘Jan Skopgraaf’, ‘Die Hits’, and ‘Die Mamba’, which was acclaimed local album of the year in 2004.
The powerful words of Kurt Schoemaker, a native Texan and ardent supporter of South African music, very aptly describes Botha, “Piet Botha the songwriter has a realistic outlook on the world, he’s a veteran who has seen the fight and knows how fragile peace and life, can be”. A down to earth and humble character, Botha has during this exciting journey in his musical career, rubbed shoulders with other greats of our local music scene such as Trevor Rabin (Rabbitt/Yes), Rupert Mellor (McCully Workshop), Mike Faure, Julian Laxton (Freedoms Children), Dave Tarr (Silver Creek Mountain Band/Wildebeest), Hugh Masakela, the late Gito Baloi, Ray Phiri and numerous others. Botha with Jack Hammer has also shared the stage with some world class acts such as ZZ Top, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent and your magic with us all. Your music has truly touched and enriched the lives of all of those it has reached.
Piet Botha, we salute you!
The awesome line-up of artists paying tribute to Piet includes
Janice & Half Jacks, Gert Vlok Nel, Bacchus Nel, Die Kaalkop Waarheid, Johnny Dopper & the Rubber Soles, Akkedis, Johnathan Martin, Anton Goosen, Scicoustic, Southern Gypsey Queen, Albert Frost, Karen Zoid, Not My Dog and Jack & the Beanstalk
Tickets are R100 and available from Computicket.
Press release from SA Music website.