Park Acoustics and Pringles proudly presents Boo!’s 21st birthday bash with The Narrow, Fuzigish and friends!

Boo! began in 1997 in the backstreets of dirty Brixton, Johannesburg, when its first members, Ampie Omo, Chris Chameleon and Leon Retief conspired to make music that would go against most of the conventional wisdom of the time. Boo! became not only one of South Africa’s favorite bands of all time, but also one of the country’s proudest musical exports to both Europe and North America.

It’s an absolute honor to celebrate their 21st birthday with this legendary line up featuring The Narrow(rulers of Wolmer), Fuzigish(kings of ska), Hellcats (saviours of rock), Yndian Mynah(dreamers of pop) and Oh Those Guys(princesses of boogie).

Marnél Smit had a chat with the iconic BOO! ahead of Park Acoustics…

Hi there. The next Park Acoustics is a big one for you. It is your 21st birthday bash and you are dropping your new album that same day. What can fans expect from this new album?

The album consists only of bass, drums and vocals. For the first few weeks of its existence, that was the original line-up of BOO! until the brass and keys came along. So I guess one can say it is the purest BOO! album to date. Also, 21 years ago all the songs had been composed on bass guitar. Since then there have been some deviations from that approach, notably ‘tntlc’ and ‘the three of us’, which were mostly composed on the guitar. This album was also written, in its entirety, on the bass guitar. so it is pretty raw at it’s core. A lot of experimenting was however done in the studio with bass harmonics and chord overlays and fidgeting with the drums sounds, and so there are parts that sound like keys or samples, but that is in fact only bass, vocals, and drums. My favourite track at the moment is a five and a half minute epic, called ‘scars’, which starts with a bass and drums interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s prelude in c sharp minor. We pushed ourselves to the limits of our abilities and experience with this album, going both really elaborate whilst keeping it truly minimalistic. I have never heard anything like this album before and I don’t believe you have.

You have toured across 17 countries and played over 800 gigs, which is really impressive. What were some of your highlights during these 21 years of touring?

That list has now grown to over one thousand gigs in 18 countries. for me, the highlights are not the 40 000 people at the Ziget festival in Budapest or the 50 000 strong audience at Pukkelpop. For me, the highlights are those 200 man gigs in places like Slavonice in the Czech Republic, where, to our utmost surprise, the audience sang along the words to every song, because, unbeknownst to us, we were a huge cult hit in that city. Often it’s those smaller, sometimes even intimate gigs, that really make the best memories.

You are also releasing a documentary later this year. Will this include stories about interesting or bizarre things that happened on some of your tours? If so, could you maybe give us a funny story as a teaser for the documentary?

I am writing the BOO!graphy, telling it like it is, which makes for a tale of tremendous insanity, humour and a fair share of violence. I am about halfway through. I tried to get a documentary going, but some key figures in it are bitter, a bit like gall in a tall glass with vinegar, and won’t be in it.

You have a unique sound and style to your band, which makes that no one else can ever compare to you. What inspires your style and music?

It’s really easy to be unique. we are all unique. so, by being yourself, you will obviously, and easily, be unique. but there are so many influences, so many folks trying hard to be someone else, someone they maybe look up to, that, conversely, the difficulty seems to be in being oneself. Which is kinda weird. I don’t try to imitate. Which is why I innovate.

Because of your unique style, I am sure you have received a lot of amusing comments. What has been the funniest comment you have received that made you laugh the most?

Barney Simon never really liked us. He said we sound like that chicken song (whatever that means).

Haha. Joh! If you had to choose between never wearing heels again and never saying Boo! again, which would you choose?

Well, saying BOO! doesn’t give a lad bunions…

You are heading to Belgium and The Netherlands to play a few shows there at the end of November after touring South Africa. Which crowd do you prefer more and why?

I most prefer playing for the crowd standing right in front of me at any given time in any given place.


Photos by Daniella Deysel