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Parlotones’ SA swansong

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By Lali Van Zuydam

SOON it will be time for the last performance of the Parlotones on South African soil – for now at least. But fans in the capital will still be able to catch them at the Mzansi Fela Festival at the State Theatre next week.

The band have been touring America three times a year for the past three years and have recently announced they will make a permanent move to Los Angeles.

Guitarist Paul Hodgson said the move would give them an opportunity to grow “Up to now we’ve only been touring there for six to eight weeks at a time. If we are based there, more opportunities will come up for us to perform,” he said.

Hodgson said they were planning to tour the US as a start because they had not signed with a record label. “We own all our music and we try to do everything we can ourselves so we decide what we do with the end products,” he said.

The band recently released a DVD of their live performance of a rock opera in 3D, including more than 20 of their songs. They were the first band in the world to broadcast such a concert live.

Sales at their tours had been successful enough thus far and would ensure their survival, he said.

“We know it’s a risk to move, but we are willing to take it.”

Hodgson is excited about the start of a new era and to build a new fan base in the US. It was a difficult decision because their families will stay in South Africa for the first year. “It is a hard choice, but in a sense we are used to it because we’re often away on tours,” he said.

The band have been consistent in style and identity through the years and this makes their songs easily recognisable. Hodgson said they would stick to their style once they were in the US. “There is no master plan. We do what we like and we hope that translates to the fans.”

The band, well-known for lead singer Kahn Morbee’s make-up, have been on the South African music scene since 1998. “We were so naive to dream big that we always thought we’d make it.”

Some of their songs include Here Comes A Man, I’ll be there, Push me to the floor and their version of Koos Kombuis’s Lisa se Klavier.

He said their belief in what they did had kept them together.

As for the band’s other projects, Hodgson said they would remain involved in their wine label and would include a sparkling wine. They would attend to other projects.

“Fans are the reason we are where we are. If they stop supporting us, we’d be nowhere,” he said.

The Parlotones will perform at the festival on December 8.

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