never knew that they were there, but Corporal Punishment and Leopard toured
the Natal South Coast just prior to christmas. The tour was badly promoted,
not particularly successful financially, but it was a once in a lifetime
holiday and an experience from which both bands could learn a lot. Had
it been properly promoted it could have brought some good homespun rock
to the people.
The tour opened with something less than a bang at the Fairydene Hotel,
Pinetown. The sound was diabolical, the audience unresponsive, and the
police - not the British new wave band, I might add - arrived with news
of complaints about the volume and a firm "request" to turn
Now some may deem it unfair to place part of the blame for a bum gig on
the audience, but the best gigs are those in which the distinction between
the band - as performers - and the audience - as observers - is broken
down and everybody becomes a participant. And to break down that barrier
you've got to push from both sides. More to the point, we're such an apathetic
bunch, here in South Africa (in more ways than musically), so let's start
making our own judgements instead of listening to whoever it is that purports
to decide for us (say what? - Herbie).
2. Marina Beach
From Pinetown the tour moved south to Marina Beach, a rather attractive
little spot about 12 kilometers away from Margate. From a social point
of view the two day spell at Marina Beach was the highpoint of the tour.
- it's always fun making new friends - but more importantly there was
good music and good audiences.
Of the two bands Leopard had fared the worst at the Fairydene. Plagued
by sound hassles and a lack of rehearsals - due to rythm guitarist Blanche
O'Reilly's recent sickness - they lacked confidence from the beginning
and were thrown by audience apathy. At the first of the Marina dates they
were stronger, and they can count the second as a triumph. After two kitch
and rather pointless opening numbers - designed to tell the people we
are LEOPARD (L for liberated, E for ecstacy....etcetc) and introduce the
members of the band - they rocked strongly, albeit simply, and soon got
a few of the audience up jiving. This, in turn spurred them on, and the
ball started rolling... the better Leopard played, the more the people
dug them. And the more the people dug them, the better they played, eventually
capping their performance with a jubilant "Underestimator" that
should have been committed to vinyl instead of the insipid version on
WEA's infamous and vilely produced "Six Of The Best".
As for the Corporals, I loved them, but on the whole they lacked Leopards
instant appeal. They were tight and together, as evedenced by the amazing
jam with wich they opened, and eventually the audience caught the Corporal's
vibe as well. A splendid time was had by, well not all, but a good few.
Corporal Punishment, as a working entity, has been together just over
a year now - although founder member Carl Raubenheimer (vocals, bass),
James Phillips (vocals, lead guitar), and Mark Bennett (keyboards) have
known each other and played and written together since they were fifteen.
Forming a band to play their own compositions was almost an inevitability.
They've had trouble with drummers, but Henry Jantzen, otherwise known
as O'Henry, seems to have solved that problem. And recently, ex-Radio
Rats bass player Herbie Parkin augmented the line-up on rythm guitar.
The Corporals are a strong unit now, almost a family in fact. Five close
friends, they're all committed to the band, and thus the music, before
Leopard, on the other hand, are just six chicks playing in a band. A band
that basically got together by accident....
It all started with vocalist Marion Kunst ( of "Feedback" fame),
whose brother Budgie plays for "The Dead Babies"
"If you can form a band, so can I!" she said. The next thing
she knew she was singing for one.
Ruben Rose was the catalyst, and after less than three months together,
Leopard had attracted enough attention to warrant the inclusion of two
of their numbers on WEA's afforementioned new wave compilation - although
this seems to have done them more harnm than good. People who have not
seen them live are judging Leopard by their performance on a record that
sounds as if it was made using tin cans and string instead of microphones.
Initial reports from Durban were encouraging, but now Leopard have lost
their initial momentum and are stuck in the doldrums, progressing neither
musically or in terms of stature. Their biggest problem seems to be a
lack of individual committment to the band, as a result they're not as
tight as they might be. When you consider the bands genesis that's hardly
surprising. What Leopard need to do now is to get serious, get their heads
together and get down to the task of realising their potential. On a night
when they're all into playing they can be a great, if not musically accomplished
dance band. However one often gets the feeling that the girls aren't always
into playing. Perhaps the novelty is wearing off.