Silence – The Mugu Studios “Underdog” Demo – Part 1

In 1997 I came back to South Africa after a romantic misadventure that ended in a very broken heart. One gets over these things and along the way good things happen, usually because of the influence of good people.

Before 1998 I had played in a few bands and we’d had great fun but I had never really pushed hard at trying to do anything with my songs. This was the year that changed.

I need to give credit here to Philip West. He used to date my sister and we always got on like a burning house on tequila. It was Philip who kept urging me to record my songs. I eventually roped him in to help me select a shortlist of songs and then he sat in while I went through rough arrangements and practiced like a madman so that I could do the recording as cheaply as possible.

I had the good fortune to know Peter Auret who had built a studio in his parents’ garage and so I could afford the recording time. On the 5 of June 1998 I went through to Florida and sat down in Peter’s studio and who should be behind the controls but Riku Lätti. I love Riku’s “Me and Mr. Sane” albums (Speaking of which…) and so I was a little awestruck. Riku did a great job in helping me through the process and I’ll always be grateful to him and Peter for that day.

In the end I recorded 18 songs. I remember driving through to Centurion afterwards where Phil was working at Exclusive Books and we listened to the disc in the shop after he had closed up. I had never been so proud before and the response I got to the demo in the next few months gave me the confidence to get going again. Steve Savage and I had started playing a few gigs by then, under the name Underdog. This was so long ago our first website was on Geocities… 🙂

In April 1999 we renamed the band to Sharkbrother and started gigging at Tings and Times. Thanks to the support of Jaco van der Merwe we eventually played there more times than I can remember. Soon we would start playing at the Abelarde Sanction, but more on this later.

Here’s one of the songs off that demo. It’s called silence and it’s about knowing the truth and keeping quiet about it.


This song is featured (in full band version) on the second Sharkbrother album, Life Full of Wednesadays. You can purchase the album here.

If you are interested in the first Sharkbrother album, Taj Mahala, which was SA Rock Digest Album of the Year 2000 you can purchase the album here

My current solo project, 88 Kilos of Sunshine is available as a free download at or at

My Favourite Songs – What do I do now? – Elvis Costello

As if you didn’t know. I have a weakness for heartbreak songs. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to post a favourite political song, given the state of the world, but there’s enough of that being posted elsewhere. So I’m going to give you one of my favouriute songs about the despair in love. We all know it will tear us apart.

Elvis Costello’s cover of Sleeper’s What do I do now? is a perfect . The difference between the two versions could not be more pronounced and I think Costello communicates the despair in the words far more convincingly. He’s not as good looking as Ms Wener though.



My Favourite Songs – Lanitra Manga Manga by Salala

The first time I heard this was at daybreak, on the road, heading out on a roadtrip.

It’s a song about beauty, loss and forgiveness, and it never fails to move me. It talks about the meaning of the blue sky and hearing it as the sun came up, opening the gigantic, blue African sky, was a moment of indescribable peace.

It has become a tradition that we listen to this song as we head out on adventures. If my life was a movie this would be the soundtrack to the opening credits.

Here is a translation of the words (if you have corrections please send them):

The blue sky

Hidden by the clouds

Is home for the saints

Who doesnt wanna be there, my friend?

Quarrels you had before

Dont do it anymore

The tree has lost some leaves,

But you have to grow the rest, my friend

You and I Are only pilgrims

Nobodys gonna stay here

So lets forgive each other, my friend

If you ever feel blue

Because some relatives left you

Theyre just a bit ahead

And were gonna be too there, my friend

The blue sky Hidden by the clouds

Is home for the saints

Who doesnt wanna be there, my friend?