Search results for: Lyzyrd Kyngs
- Up In Smoke
- Ghosts Of Berlin
- Crazy Days
- The Game
- Don’t You Mess With Johnny
- Bertie’s Moorings
- Mama Afrika
- Old Big Red
- Monkey Song
- Blues For Robert [2014 recording]
Recorded at The Chateau Lezard in Somerset West during August and September 2014.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Peter Pearlson.
Tracks 2, 4, 6 & 10 written by JP Botha
Tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 & 11 written by Arthur Dennis
Track 8 written by Warren Zevon
“Mama Afrika” originally recorded by Akkedis in 2010 and released on Afrika My Baby.
Piet Botha: Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Arthur Dennis: Vocals, guitar, harmonica
Rudi Dennis: Drums, percussion, vocals, acoustic guitar, penny whistle
AJ Graham: Bass
18 October 2014, Independent, TLKCD001
The Lyzyrd Kyngs: warm blooded rock ‘n roll reptiles
7 December 2015 | Marc Steyn
South African blues-rock outfit The Lyzyrd Kyngs released their second full-length album, A Few Grains of Sand, at the end of 2014. An event that has been somewhat under-reported in the mainstream media, which is a crying shame, because it is a damn fine collection of songs, showcasing the collective talents of some of South Africa’s most enduring blues-rock musicians.
In a recent interview Piet Botha, well known frontman of the band Jack Hammer and now also one quarter of The Lyzyrd Kyngs ensemble, responded to a question about the state of the music industry by saying, “the Internet will continue to bring great changes and may still be the salvation of rock n roll …”. In that case let this be my small salvo in support of that statement.
A few weeks ago I was the slightly inebriated recipient of above-mentioned album when I bumped into the band at Ye Olde Bell, a landmark watering hole in Somerset West about 50 km outside Cape Town. A copy of the CD was generously thrust into my hands after they finished their live act, which was enthusiastically supported by some locals – so enthusiastically that I couldn’t really form a solid opinion of the album amid the cacophony and crush of the crowd. It was only the next day that I really got into the groove of the not-so-new album when I popped it into my car’s CD player as I cruised the twisty bends of the R44 snaking its way along the eastern coast of False Bay. Since the road lead past the holiday hamlet of Pringle Bay, the drive itself was a slightly serendipitous journey into nostalgia – for it was on this very road that two of the Lyzyrd Kyngs, Arthur and Rudy Dennis, in their other long-standing incarnation as Akkedis, shot an entertaining Afrikaans folk-rock music video back in 2010.
It was a happy coincidence to be reminded of the folksy twinkle-in-the-eye style of that previous song and compare it to what was coming out of my car’s speakers whilst driving the same road. I was not disappointed; the energetic rhythm and mellow vocals were still present but now accompanied by a more mature, ever so wistful dash of introspection that showcased a group of musicians comfortable enough in their own skins to make music that seems to be an honest reflection of where they find themselves in the world today.
But let’s get back to that blues-rock label that is bandied about so easily in the semantically challenged South African music industry – these guys manage to make it their own by blending a distinctly South African flavour, including some maskanda, with traditional blues-rock vibes. Their songs manage to charm the ear with alternatively wry, witty and poignant observations on life, love, people and places without the pretence or pomposity that so often accompany those themes.
Some of the lyrics do come across as a bit clichéd but are presented with such insouciance and a sense of personal experiences being shared that you are seduced into smiling along to lyrics like: “these are the crazy days of the wild, wild years” and “we drink from a poisoned well, sucking on a toxic sky”.
Songs like Ghosts of Berlin and Don’t You Mess With Johnny are great musical vignettes that take you on an aural journey populated with interesting, almost noirish, characters and settings. My favourite though, Old Big Red, is an old fashioned ass-stomping bristling bushpig of a rock ballad that will make you want to do extensive damage to a bottle of Wild Turkey under the delusion that you too could have been a rock star if the planets were differently aligned.
Production values are great throughout A Few Grains of Sand, courtesy of SAMA award winning producer Peter Pearlson. So you can crank that sucker up all the way on your next road trip, hopefully educating some U2 listening plonkers as you go along.
It is interesting to note that despite a lack of coverage in mainstream media and a marketing effort that makes the word ‘lackadaisical’ look energetic, The Lyzyrd Kyngs have been playing to full houses and rapturous commentary on social media where they have a loyal following. Which is maybe a good thing for a brand – and I use that infernal word in a very circumspect manner – that prides itself on its unpretentious focus on what matters most, the music and the audience. But for goodness’ sake at least update the gig section on your website guys!
Here’s to many more years of warm-blooded reptile rock as we all inevitably inch towards that next highway around the bend.
The Lyzyrd Kyngs are » Piet Botha • Arthur Dennis • Rudolph Dennis • AJ Graham
Reminds of » they have their own unique flavour, but if you are one of those poor sods who needs to be prodded along – some guitar sections are reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young is an obvious influence.
Perfect for » road trips • chilled out braais in the bush or on the beach • when your cherry left you for another guy and you need some time to plan when and how you going to kick his 6 foot 6 arse • the moment you realise the corporate sausage factory lied to you and you will never be a warrior, only a cog.
Written in Berlin in the Summer of 2013 by Piet Botha. Recorded in South Africa August 2014. Piet Botha on Vocals & Guitar, Arthur Dennis on Guitar. Rudolph Dennis on Drums and Vocals. Adrian John Graham on Bass. Recorded and produced by Peter Pearlson with Charl Wentzel assisting. Footage of their Tour with Freygang in East Berlin.
New Lyzyrd Kyngs album due November 2014.
Piet Botha maak al 33 jaar lank musiek. Julle ken hom dalk as die man agter Jack Hammer. Hy is ook deel van die Lyzyrd Kyngs wat onlangs by die Big Blues Festival op Kleinmond gespeel het. Ons het Piet oor die Blues fees en sy lang pad saam met musiek (en nogwat) uitgevra. – Elsibe Loubser
The friendship and brotherhood between SA music legend Piet Botha and the Akkedis Band, Arthur and Rudolph Dennis and AJ Graham, goes back almost twenty years. Back then Botha was touring a lot with Jack Hammer and used to bump into Arthur and Rudi who were known as The Dennis Brothers in those days. There was always some kind of jamming going on. Through the years the bond remained strong , Akkedis came into being, Botha did some solo Afrikaans albums and kept on recording and touring with Jack Hammer.
Then around 2002 they found themselves in London Town at the back end of a disorganised tour. “Myself and Johnathan Martin, had gone over, thinking it would be acoustic gigs, small pubs or theatres but then we found the venues rather bigger and we were just two out…fortunately Akkedis Band were there and just volunteered to help us on all the gigs, and all the adventures of course !”, said Botha in a recent interview. From there on the bond was stronger than ever.
During the next few years they would share stages across SA and Namibia and Mocambique but about three years ago there was a shift and Piet Botha started to tour the Cape more and more using Akkedis Band as backing band for his repertoire. This soon developed to a new concept i.e. “The Lyzyrd Kyngs”. The name comes from a Jim Morrison poem, “The celebration of the Lizard King”. The weird spelling is a combination of ancient English and a serious reference to Lynyrd Skynyrd, a band that has been a source of inspiration for more than thirty years.
“It was natural for us to share our talents, now we have three vocals and a four piece band that can work any room or big stage, both electric and acoustic. It is also wonderful to share each other’s songs and collaborate.” And so their first album was recorded last winter and mixed in the springtime and has just been released: Piet Botha and Akkedis Band: The Lyzyrd Kyngs. (“One Night Only / Snake Alley Bar and Grill”)
From the outset the idea was to keep it raw, no digital tricks, just the stripped down sound and to rely on the songs. So what we have now are ten songs that can stand by themselves. The songwriting was shared between Arthur Dennis and Piet Botha. The blues carry a lot of the material, but there is also country music and folk music inherent to the album’s feel. “ Obviously this is not a commercial venture, but I’m sure we will still be playing these songs in ten years time”. Botha insists that Arthur got the best songs on this album, but vows to be back. “With us it’s like a family, there are no ego’s, we all do our best…Arthur is the bandleader, I can just play …” and more wisdom “If the weather’s right we go to the ocean..otherwise we just laze around in the sun”.
And so the Lyzyrd Kyngs were born. And it all happened without any planning. Just like the waves rolling in from the sea. The future is just as unpredictable. Touring extensively for sure, doing another album is a given, but as in their past the plans are best left to the Gods of Rock and Roll.
Two of SA’s most enduring rock bands, Jack Hammer and Akkedis, have a bond that goes back many years.
Having been friends since the early 1990’s they often performed at the same shows and would jam together whenever the opportunity would present itself. During 2001 Piet Botha and J.Martin of the Jack Hammer band were on a two week tour in the UK but the venues were more suited for a full band than an acoustic 2 piece,and so the Akkedis band who were on the same roadshow filled in on all the dates as Jack Hammer besides doing their own repertoire.These were tough times but the bond was cemented by their experiences there.
Since then they have worked together on many occasions but distance has always been a hindrance as Jack Hammer is a Pretoria band and Akkedis is from Stellenbosch. During December 2009 they embarked on a rollercoaster tour starting in Wildernis and winding up a couple of weeks later in Cape Town. It was during this time that Piet Botha came up with the idea of naming this collaboration “The Lizard Kings” after a poem by Jim Morrison.
During Feb 2010 they performed at the annual “Up the Creek” festival and are on their way to Mocambique in May for the annual STRAB festival.
What happens is that a whole bunch of songs get thrown in the mix and the really good ones become the backbone of the sets. It is also a bilingual happening as both Piet and the Dennis brothers have written in Afrikaans and English. “It’s a wonderful thing that happens because we are all just so crazy for the music and we just want to play ..”, Botha has said on more than one occasion.