Presentation on theme: "Lifetime Achievement Award Nomination SAMA 2005 Nominee : Piet Botha."— Presentation transcript:
Lifetime Achievement Award Nomination SAMA 2005 Nominee : Piet Botha
Index Petition for nominee Piet Botha. Who is Piet Botha? Detailed Biography of Piet Botha and Jack Hammer. Discography. South Africa’s Rock Hall of Fame. A Good Friend of Mine Tribute to Piet Botha 25 February 2006. Individual motivations regarding Piet’s contribution to the music industry.
Nomination for a Special Award “This award goes to individuals who have made a unique and outstanding contribution to the growth,success and sustainability of the recording industry over a number of years”. We hereby petition you to consider Piet Botha for this Award for his outstanding contribution to the music industry in South Africa as a whole!
Who Is Piet Botha? Since the 1970s, Piet Botha (Born 18th July 1955) has been working, playing and building a legendary reputation on the South African rock scene. He began writing songs and forming bands while still at school and then hooked up with Abner Smith at university to develop their Acoustic duo. Botha then connected with the members of Tusk (Doc Barendse, Dino Salvatori and Derek Riley) to establish the band Raven. This hard-rocking four-piece won the "Beat 79" nation-wide competition for new rock groups and released the single 'Wheel Of Fortune' B/w 'The Horseman' on David Marks' Third Ear Label. Botha then formed Catherine Wheel with the two members of Wildebeest, namely Dave Tarr and Colin Pratley. With Botha on bass, piano and mouth organ, the group expanded to a five piece and in 1981 the classic 'Bushrock 1' album was released. In 1984, Botha's new band, Jack Hammer, was started with Boet Faber, Jan Maloney and Eric Birckenstock, but the band's activities were put on hold when Botha relocated to the US in 1985.
There he met Billy Bob Thornton with whom he began a strong friendship; Thornton also played drums and sang on the first Jack Hammer album. Twelve years later, Billy Bob Thornton won the "Best Actor" Academy Award for his part in the film 'Slingblade'. After returning to SA in 1986, Botha restarted Jack Hammer and for the next ten years they released four excellent and acclaimed SA rock albums – 'Jack Of All Trades' (1987), 'The Judas Chapter' (1990), 'Ghosts On The Wind' (1994) and 'Death Of A Gypsy' (1996). During 1995, Eckard Potgieter decided to grow his successful CD club, Mainline Music, into an SA record company, and Wildebeest Records was born with Piet Botha very much part of their plans. Wildebeest released the Jack Hammer albums alongside albums by Valiant Swart, Koos Kombuis, the Transformers and the quirky Naaimasjiene. In 1995 Jack Hammer played support for the Gauteng leg of the Uriah Heep/ Deep Purple "Masters Of Rock" South African tour. Jack Hammer also supported one of Piet's main influences, ZZ Top, on their SA tour. In 1997, Piet Botha and Wildebeest Records released Botha's first solo album, the All-Afrikaans, "n Suitcase Vol Winter', which has received critical and public approval.
A second Afrikaans album, 'Jan Skopgraaf' was released in November 1999 and Piet toured South Africa with Jonathan Martin and Tertius du Plessis during November and December 1999 to promote this album and his back catalogue. A Jack Hammer compilation titled simply 'Anthology' was released in January 2000 and featured tracks from all 4 previous Jack Hammer albums plus 4 new recordings plus a new re- recording of their classic song 'Fort Lauderdale'. -- Stephen Segerman & Brian Currin, 2000
Detailed Biography of Piet Botha and Jack Hammer JACK HAMMER: 21 YEARS OF POUNDING DOWN THE ROAD by Brian Currin, May 2005 "Highway's got my number, yet she keeps calling...“. November 2004 marked the 20th anniversary of the band known as Jack Hammer. This South African band has always stayed true to its original brand of Rock and Roll, and has toured and recorded over the years, never seeking the limelight but always playing their hearts out. Jack Hammer is more than just a band - it is a roundabout of musicians. A collective that over the years has included amongst its members American Oscar-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton, McCully Workshop keyboard wizard Rupert Mellor, Kwaito master producer Gabi le Roux, Not My Dog guitarist Lanie vd Walt, prog-rocker Kenny Henson, Blues Broer Simon Orange, saxophonist supremo Mike Faure, and many, many others.McCully Workshop
As band roadie Hendry Jackson (who is immortalized in the song 'Laat Die Wiele Rol') said, "I have seen many Jacks, so to speak, come and go in my time, I tell you." Fiercely independent, they have somehow survived the strange machinery that is the SA music industry and produced some sterling original albums over the years. Since their first performance way back in 1984 the one constant factor in the band has been the man affectionately known as "The Hammer", Piet Botha. "It all began at Slowfarm on the old Warmbaths road, just north of Pretoria, in November 1984," Botha recalls. Botha (who was born in 1955 and shares his birth date of 18 th July with Nelson Mandela) began writing songs and forming bands while still at school. He hooked up in 1974 with Abner Smith at the University of Pretoria to develop an acoustic duo. "They used to play at the Keg and Tankard in Pretoria", remembers Jackson. Botha recalls this as being their first professional gig.
Botha then connected with the members of Tusk (Doc Barendse, Dino Salvatori, and Derek Riley) to establish the band Raven and later added keyboardist Gabi le Roux to fill out the sound. This hard-rocking band won the 'Beat 79' nationwide competition for new rock groups, and released the Uriah Heep- styled single, 'Wheel Of Fortune' b/w 'The Horseman', on David Marks' 3rd Ear Label. Botha (known as JP Botha at that time and playing mainly bass) then formed the three-piece Catherine Wheel with Karlien van Niekerk and Doc Barendse. At this time violinist Dave Tarr and drummer Colin Pratley (ex-Freedom's Children) were in a duo called Wildebeest. "We amalgamated our two bands" says Botha. Doc Barendse left and Boet Faber joined as guitarist. In 1981 the classic 'Bushrock 1' live album (recorded at Upstairs in Sunnyside, Pretoria) was released under the band name Wildebeest. 'Bushrock 1' was the Rand Daily Mail's 'Album of the Year' in 1981.Freedom's ChildrenBushrock 1
"I was part of the team with Colin Pratley, Boet Faber, Paul van Eden, Piet Botha, Deon Maree and Gilbert Lyons that put on the 'One Skin Mile from Skullgrin', a Wildebeest Bushrock Ballet, at the Conservatoir of Music, in Pretoria, in 1982", remembers longtime friend of the band and sometime manager, Moonshine Lee (immortalized, along with Jan Maloney, in the song 'The Pilgrim'). "Around this time Piet, Boet Faber and myself lived on a farm in DeWildt, north-west of Pretoria, and I ended up assisting with the management of the band." In 1983 Wildebeest was one of the first bands to mix rock music with Afrikaans lyrics and recorded the (now very rare) 'Horings Op Die Stoep' 4-track EP which featured 'Bossies', a song about the Border War, which was very much a no-no during those Apartheid times.Horings Op Die StoepBossies In November 1984, Jack Hammer was started with Boet Faber, Jan Maloney and Eric Birckenstock. The band immediately built up a new original repertoire and started performing. During the 1984 festive season the club they were booked at burnt down with all their gear. Botha, who had been planning a sojourn in the USA for some time, left, and so the first line-up was short- lived, but that's when Jack Hammer really began.
During 1985, Piet Botha lived in Los Angeles, working construction, and other immigrant jobs by day, and writing and recording by night. By a stroke of luck he teamed up with a young, aspiring actor, drummer and singer from the south called Billy Bob Thornton. Thornton would do the drumming in the studio as well as vocals and Botha would do the guitars, piano, vocals and harmonica. Twelve years later, Billy Bob Thornton would win the 'Best Actor' Oscar for his part in the film 'Slingblade', and is also well-known for his marriage (now dissolved) to actress Angelina Jolie. By the end of 1985, Botha had to return to South Africa. The first Jack Hammer album, 'Jack Of All Trades', was eventually completed in South Africa, and released by the end of 1986, as a custom album on Third Ear Records. This album has not yet been released on CD and sealed vinyl copies can fetch over R100 from collectors.Jack Of All Trades From this time onwards the Jack Hammer band would perform all over South Africa with many different line-ups. From 1987 to 1990, the second album, 'The Judas Chapter', was written and recorded at Doc Barendse's studio.The Judas Chapter
During 1991 Botha took up an offer to perform with the Silver Creek Mountain Band, and played acoustic guitar and piano, six nights a week for a whole year. 1992 saw a new Jack Hammer, with drummer Findlay Malherbe playing a major role in the new sound, tighter arrangements, and energy that come to light on 'Ghosts On The Wind', which was released in 1994 to much critical acclaim. The highlight of this collaboration was Jack Hammer opening for Deep Purple and Uriah Heep on their "Masters of Rock" tour in March/April 1995.Deep Purple Findlay went to America, so "The Duke" arrived on the scene. Paul van der Waal had been drumming with bands for years and had to stand in one night in an emergency, without ever having met Jack Hammer. He was hired the same night and is still happily drumming away with them today. He is known as "The Duke", because he always looks smart. 1996 saw Jack Hammer signing to a record label for the first time! Till then, Botha had always been fiercely independent. The first album to be released under the now well-known Wildebeest label was Jack Hammer's 'Death of a Gypsy', with catalogue number WILD001.Death of a Gypsy
During this time the band was also privileged to be the supporting act for ZZ Top (one of Botha's prime influences) on their South African tour. Jackson recalls this as being a high point of his 20 years or so with Jack Hammer: "Ah, you know, everyday is a high point; whenever I hear the guys. I've always been surrounded by so many great musicians that I count it a privilege," says Jackson. During 1997 Botha was asked to write and record an Afrikaans album. Using the Jack Hammer band members at the time, Jonathan Martin, Jason Phillips and Jorik Pienaar, the result was the all-Afrikaans 'Suitcase Vol Winter' album, released in late-1997, which proved to be a watershed. This album is considered a classic by many and a superb example of the groundbreaking alt.Afrikaans genre.Suitcase Vol Winter The major change in Jack Hammer's sound and direction came about by a strange twist of fate when Jonathan Martin joined the band in April 1997. Suddenly there was another singer and songwriter in the band and, despite his youth, his guitar style was linked to the '70's. Soon Piet and Jonathan were doing acoustic shows (as Piet and The Kid), mixing the repertoire from English to Afrikaans and doing covers of old blues classics.
Then there were also the electric rock shows, with some vintage Jack Hammer sounds. Botha released a second Afrikaans album in November 1999, entitled 'Jan Skopgraaf', which did not fare as well as 'Suitcase' but which did include some classic tracks like the live favourite, 'Blues Vir Louise'.Jan Skopgraaf A Jack Hammer compilation, titled simply 'Anthology', was released in January 2000 and featured tracks from all four previous Jack Hammer albums plus four new recordings. It also included a new re-recording of their classic song 'Fort Lauderdale', which was based on the story of bank robber André Stander. Those new songs were recorded during the winter of 1999 at Sunset Recording Studios just outside Stellenbosch.AnthologyFort Lauderdale In February 2001 a limited edition live album, the confusingly titled 'Bootleg', was released and credited to Piet Botha and Jack Hammer. That album included tracks from both the Piet Botha (Afrikaans) and Jack Hammer (English) songbooks as well as cover versions of Led Zeppelin's 'Tangerine', Nick Drake's 'Northern Sky' (plaintively sung by Martin) and 'Runaway Train' by Soul Asylum.Bootleg
October 2001 saw a "Best Of" Piet Botha collection being released by EMI entitled 'Die Hits', which included four new Afrikaans recordings (including 'Vandat Jy Weg Is', a tribute to his late mother) alongside Botha's other classics like 'Sien Jou Weer', 'Blues Vir Louise' and 'Staan Saam Burgers'.Die Hits A third Afrikaans album, 'Die Mamba', was released in August 2003 by Rhythm Records and received much critical acclaim, including being voted the best album of 2003 by the influential SA Rock Digest e-mag.Die MambaRhythm Records SA Rock Digest In a poll by Huisgenoot/You Magazine, this album was voted in the top 5 of 2003 by accredited critics from Huisgenoot, Die Burger, Insig, Rapport, Volksblad and Die Beeld.
July 2004 saw the band returning to their roots, so to speak, with the release of a double live CD, 'Piet Botha and Jack Hammer Live at the Nile', which was followed in April 2005 by a long-awaited studio production, 'The Pilgrim'. 'Live At The Nile' is a double live CD, recorded at the Nile Crocodile in Pretoria in February 2003, and includes renditions of most of the Jack Hammer and Piet Botha classics from over 20 years on the road.Piet Botha and Jack Hammer Live at the NileThe Pilgrim The album includes an updated version of the song 'Russian And Chips' by Wildebeest from 1981, which is based on 'The Kid He Came From Nazareth' from the highly rated 'Astra' album by Freedom's Children. There are also a few covers including 'Last Fair Deal Going Down' by Robert Johnson (a big influence on both Botha and guitarist Johnathan Martin) and songs by The Rolling Stones, The Doors and Pink Floyd ('Wish You Were Here').Freedom's Children
'Live At The Nile' serves as a bridge between the all-Afrikaans 'Die Mamba' and the all-English 'The Pilgrim' which was the first full Jack Hammer studio album since 1996's 'Death Of A Gypsy'. Botha had this to say, "Jack Hammer was a rock band performing in the English language when they started and the swing to Afrikaans was a lovely and vibrant thing at the time, but now it's time to go back as it were, in order to move forward". The Pilgrim' was produced by Lanie van der Walt, who was also responsible for 'Die Mamba' and the award-winning Not My Dog album, 'Braai Vibes' (SAMA best rock album 2003). Lanie was also an integral part of Jack Hammer from 1994-96 as a guitarist and songwriter, but then went on to form Not My Dog. The line-up of Jack Hammer that recorded 'The Pilgrim' consisted of Paul van de Waal ("The Duke") on drums, Tertius du Plessis ("Beano", so named because he acts like Mr Bean) on bass guitar and Johnathan Martin ("The Kid") on guitar and vocals and occasional cello. Martin left at the end of 2004 to go solo, and Tonie 'Slugger' van der Walt (brother of Lanie) joined on second guitar for live performances.
Throughout the many years of performing and recording, Jack Hammer has refused to compromise or bow to commercial pressure and that is why their work is timeless. This is evident when listening to their earlier work as far back as 'Jack Of All Trades'. Botha was one of the first musicians inducted into the SA Rock Hall of Fame in January 2002, alongside James Phillips (who died in 1995). Other media highlights over the years have included performing with Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and ZZ Top on their South African tours, with the legendary Shawn Phillips, and also with Vusi Mahlasela.SA Rock Hall of FameJames Phillips 2004 marked the band's 20th anniversary gig at Oppikoppi, the most prestigious festival on the SA Rock calendar. Botha has been making music for over 30 years and celebrated a 25 year recording career in 2004. Kurt Shoemaker said, "Piet Botha the songwriter has a realistic outlook on the world, he's a veteran who has seen the fight and knows how fragile peace and life, can be". The Jack Hammer band has been pounding down the highway for over 21 years now and show no signs of slowing down.
Piet Botha and his band Jack Hammer are truly Legends of South African Rock. "... and we must be travelling on now..."
http://www.sarockdigest.com/halloffame/inductees.htm Piet was born on the 18th July 1955 and has been a stalwart of the SA rock scene since the 70s when he started the band Raven. In the early 80s Wildebeest combined African, Afrikaans and Rock sounds into one hybrid mixture. His band Jack Hammer, first formed in 1984, defined good time rock and played support to Deep Purple and ZZ Top on their SA tours. In the 90's Piet helped solidify the Alt.Afr.Rock movement alongside artists like Koos Kombuis and Valiant Swart. He continues to perform regularly in and around Pretoria and at most of the festivals during the year. And he can usually be seen performing unplugged at the coast during the summer months. Piet (affectionately known as "Hammer" to his friends) is an intelligent, warm and sincere person who is seen as a mentor and father-figure to young aspiring musicians like Jonathan Martin and Not My Dog. Webpage: www.pietbotha.com
“A Good Friend of Mine” - Tribute to Piet Botha by Moonshine Lee On Saturday 25 th February 2006 the South African music industry pays tribute to one of it’s great legends, Piet Botha, at a festival to be held at the Foundry Fly Lounge, cnr. of Hans Stydom Avenue and N4 (Witbank) freeway, Silver Lakes, Pretoria East. This prestigious event is being held to honour and thank Botha for the phenomenal contribution and the influence he has had on South African music over the past thirty odd years and for his support and assistance to help local artists kick start their careers in the local industry, regardless of their creed or colour. The event, which is appropriately named “A Good Friend of Mine’, a title of one of his favourite songs, starts at 13h00 in the afternoon and will feature top acts like Karin Zoid, Albert Frost, Anton Goosen, Gert Vlok Nel, Southern Gypsey Queen, Not My Dog, Scicoustic, Akkedis and many more of SA’s best acts currently playing on the local music circuit. All the artists participating in this festival, have at some or other stage been involved with Botha, either by playing with him, having shared the stage with him, had an album produced by him or have been mentored by the master.
Botha started this long and illustrious career back in 1972, when as a Tuks student he played as a solo artist at some of his hometown venues in Pretoria. A true Rock ‘n Roller at heart, Botha is probably one of the finest guitarists this country has ever produced. His early influences and inspiration was found from the likes of Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, The Doors, Jimmi Hendrix and many of the rock legends of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Originally Botha stuck to his rock ‘n roll guns and produced some of the most incredible rock music with bands such as Raven, Catherine Wheel and Wildebeest, already then acclaiming some very prestigious awards when Raven was nominated as runners up to the SABC TV’s Battle of the Bands competition in 1979 and when the Bushrock 1 album by Wildebeest was nominated as best local rock album of the year in 1981. In 1984 Botha formed the phenomenal rock outfit Jack Hammer and has kept the name ever since. Jack Hammer has seen many, many members come and go in it’s 21 year history, but it’s founder, the legendary Piet Botha alias the ‘Hammer’, is still rocking steady to this day. Much of Botha’s and Jack Hammer’s magic has been captured on albums such as Jack of All Trades, Ghosts on the Wind, Death of a Gypsy, Anthology and their latest masterpiece The Pilgrim which was released earlier this year.
Soon this all changed, when in1997 Botha was persuaded by associates to migrate his musical genius to the Afrikaans music arena. His first Afrikaans CD, Suitcase Vol Winter, was testimony to his lyricist wizardry and was acclaimed by SARockDigest as one of the finest musical works ever produced on our shores. This album was rated by Brian Currin, editor of the SARockDigest, as being amongst one of the greatest albums ever produced in world music. Other great Afrikaans albums followed suit and Botha, together with Jack Hammer, produced Jan Skopgraaf, Die Hits and Die Mamba, which was acclaimed local album of the year in 2004. The powerful words of Kurt Schoemaker, a native Texan and ardent supporter of South African music, very aptly describes Botha, "Piet Botha the songwriter has a realistic outlook on the world, he's a veteran who has seen the fight and knows how fragile peace and life, can be". A down to earth and humble character, Botha has during this exciting journey in his musical career, rubbed shoulders with other greats of our local music scene such as Trevor Rabin (Rabbit / Yes), Rupert Mellor (McCully Workshop) Mike Faure, Julian Laxton (Freedoms Children), Dave Tarr (Silver Creek Mountain Band / Wildebeest), Hugh Masekela, the late Gito Baloyi, Ray Phiri and numerous others.
In 1985 Botha met up with Billy Bob Thornton, a then young aspiring actor as well as drummer and vocalist, while living in Burbank California for a year. During this time Botha had the good fortune of being able to record a few songs with Billy Bob in a studio in downtown Burbank. Botha with Jack Hammer has also shared the stage with some world class acts such as ZZ Top, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent and your magic with us all. Your music has truly touched and enriched the lives of all of those it has reached. Piet Botha, we salute you!
Individual motivations regarding Piet’s contribution to the music industry. Jan Maloney I started playing with Piet in a band called Raven. After that I was a founder member of Jack Hammer in the beginning of 1984. I consider Piet as one of my very few, very good friends since the beginning of the 80’s. I have played with Piet in various bands, accompanied him on various tours and gigs and spent much time with him just as a friend and Brother in Arms. I will start with the things that most musicians actually take for granted because this is how he really is: He is ALWAYS absolutely punctual no matter whether it is a rehearsal or a gig. He ALWAYS shows respect to all people regardless of age or race. He ALWAYS plays in key and never makes a mistake with the Geography of a Song He is always willing to help, educate, shelter, offer guidance and support, financially assist and protect young up and coming musicians and has done this over the last 30 odd years.
He has played all over South Africa, in some years more than 250 gigs, this only because for his love of music. Even at the age of 50 he is still happy to hit the road and go on tour to play at any destination in this country. All for the sake of the music!He never involved himself with Politics and Religion through all these years, but has always acted as the mediator to resolve delicate situations around these topics when they arose. Piet has always played Excellent Live Original Music in both English and Afrikaans. Piet is a leader. It is he who always organizes the gigs and the tours and puts the band on the road. He organises everything from the PA to the transport, the venue the advertising & marketing, the music and even the vibe.He has always supported young and up-coming bands, has taken then under wing and help them to kick-start their careers. In some cases he has even taken them with him on the road, has in some instances even opened his own home to accommodate them. Piet is always accommodating by allowing new acts to open at his gigs to give them some exposure. ALWAYS there for everybody no matter what. ALWAYS BRA PIETA
Dirk Jordaan, Die Beeld Piet Botha is undoubtedly the Elder Statesman of local rock. For a quarter of a century Botha has created original rock music earthed in classic rock, but with enough local elements included to make it truly South African. He started off in Raven, played in the eclectic and influencial Wildebeest and later created the stallwart ensemble Jack Hammer. Botha has always been socially and politically aware and voiced his feelings in songs like Sarajevo and G8, and obviously in the seminal Afrikaans song Goeienag, Generaal. His decision to start writing Afrikaans songs not only brought him into contact with a whole new, and very loyal, audience. It also enlarged his sphere of influence, which now includes numerous upstart Afrikaans bands. Actually, Botha is a major influence on young artists, not only as an inspiration and colleague who will gladly lend a hand or share a stage, but also as an example. He belongs to the BB King school of rock ethics - he is used to performing up to 300 gigs annually. Be it on Oppikoppi's main stage, where he has been a mainstay since the first festival, or in a small club in front of a handful of people.
Botha will always give his best, will always be friendly, will always be grateful for the opportunity and the support. He commands respect from audiences and other musicians alike. Bra Piet, as he is known amongst his peers, is The Mamba. END Jacob Wulana, Tidal Waves www.tidalwaves.co.za "Through his love for music Piet Botha has played a major role in uniting the musicians of this country, especially musicians of different colour and cultures. His great love and respect for African music has helped draw his fellow musician closer together and has contributed in creating a mutual harmony and respect amongst musicians of all races in this industry. A true ambassador for peace and harmony in our country."
Gareth Wilson, Southern Gypsey Queen www.sgq.co.za In South Africa when folks are talking about our true rock ‘n roll heroes one name always comes up top and that is Piet Botha.What is it about this mysterious character that makes people talk of him as the father of South African rock? Is it because of his undying devotion to his music, never selling out or being afraid to say what is on his mind? Could it be the fire that burns through him when on stage touching lives of the thousands that have seen him? Maybe it is the fact that a man filled with so much passion and musical ability could still remain so humble, helping up and coming bands break into the music scene. Although in my opinion all of these are valid reasons for Piet to be chosen for this award. My reason for loving Piet is the music. Thanks for the songs like Good Friend Of Mine, Streets Of Love and Mozambique. Thanks for making me pick up a guitar. Thank you for Jack Hammer.
Paul van de Waal “The Duke”, Jack Hammer Piet is a positive influence on the South African music business because he is true to the music. His measure of success is how good the songs are and the message that he conveys with the music rather than how many CD’s he sells. This honesty gives his music the sound that has stood the test of time and has already spanned decades. When the bulk of popular South African artists were turning to backtracks to boost profits, Piet was prepared to sacrifice and still maintain a full band setting the example for young bands today. Working with him over the past 10 years has given me the opportunity to see a side that many people never see and that is the effort and time that he takes to advise, develop and expose new acts. The long term effect of this is that there are more local acts that can compete at any level and are producing fresh music that is not ashamed of its South African roots. Piet’s approach is uncompromising and consistent and he has a high degree of musical integrity. Its no wonder that if you attend a performance you will find ardent fans from 16 to 60.
Met woorde soos met swaarde: die lewe van Piet Botha Bacchus Nel, singer, songwriter & poet Piet Botha word nie verniet die ‘generaal van Afrikaanse musiek’ genoem nie. Vandat sy album ’n Suitcase vol winter in 1997 vrygestel is, het hy voortgebou op die nuwe standaard vir inheemse musiek wat hy daargestel het. Not only is he the general of Afrikaans music, though. Piet has been in the music industry for more than thirty years. He has been vocally and lyrically opposed against the Apartheid regime (of which is own father, ex-minister Pik Botha, was a part) as well as against conscription. Sy song Goeienag Generaal word in die algemeen beskou as die definierende anthem van die jong strydrosse van die moeilike tagtigerjare. In one critic’s review, the song is revered as following: ‘Biting Afrikaans commentary with the musical style of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Chris Rea, et cetera. Goeie Nag Generaal is a brilliant hard-rock song about dying for your country… but for what? ‘Toe ek weer so kyk, het 'n AK jou f****-up geskiet’. If this had come out ten years earlier it would have been banned outright!’
He finds himself in good company, that of James Phillips (who also sang in Afrikaans as Bernoldus Niemand), Koos Kombuis and Johannes Kerkorrel.Piet het reeds in 1979 saam met die groep Raven sy eerste single uitgegee en in 1983 was hy een van die eerste protes-stemme in die beweging wat latere jare as die Voëlvry- beweging gestalte sou neem. Maar benewens Piet se uitsonderlike sosiale gewete, is hy ook ’n vrygewige en ja, selfs liefdevolle, mentor. Op my debuut-album, Arms van die nag, was Piet die oorsiener, die inspirasie agter die mengbank, die ou wat in die musiek en die lirieke geglo het. Anders as die vele ander wat beloftes gemaak het vooraf, het hy syne – om my album te laat opneem – daadwerklik en onmiddelik tot stand gebring. Hy inspireer. Hy is ’n baanbreker. Hy is professioneel en verwesenlik die woorde ‘musikale integriteit’. The tradesmark of a big man is always humbleness. And Piet Botha is the prime example of greatness without the ego.
Vernon Lee (Moonshine Lee) Piet Botha, a pilgrim of South African music, boasts a career spanning thirty-two years in the industry. A journey which started out in 1974, when as a student, he played covers on an acoustic guitar in some of Pretoria’s then popular night spots and which has grown and evolved over the years to the magic it is today. A man who’s roots and who’s heart is deeply embedded in this country’s music and who has shared the stage with many of South Africa’s finest, the likes of Ray Phiri, Hugh Masakela, Gito Baloyi, Julian Laxton and David Tar, just to mention but a few. There are countless others, too many to mention. Strongly influenced by the Rockin Roll legends of the 60’s and 70’s, Botha is a Rockin Roller through and through. His musical genius and wizardry with the guitar has been experienced and enjoyed by audiences across the length and breadth of this country. But is it without a doubt Botha’s genius as a master lyricist and songwriter that sets him apart from the rest of the pack. Originally Botha focused predominantly on the English rock scene, and then in 1997 he was persuaded to migrate his talent to the Afrikaans music arena.
His first Afrikaans CD, ‘Suitcase Vol Winter’ (1997) is a revelation to the man’s lyricist wizardry and this masterpiece was acclaimed by SARockDigest as one of the best albums ever produced in this country.Botha is a man of great compassion for his fellow man and these expressions are reflected in his music through songs like ‘Gypsy’s Lament’, ‘Sarajevo’ and ‘Death of a Gypsy’, which bring home the atrocities committed against the people of Bosnia and Sarajevo. Botha’s love for his country and it’s rich and diverse heritage, is portrayed in songs such ‘Van Tonder’, ‘In die Transvaal’ and ‘Staan Saam Burgers’ reflecting the period of the Anglo Boer War. ‘Goeie Nag Generaal’and ‘Jacob Klipkop’ remind us of the times during this country’s armed struggle, ‘Fort Lauderdale’ a song about Andre Stander, the notorious South African bank robber. This song almost made it onto the bill for the motion picture ‘Stander’. Botha shows his deep respect to our great leader Nelson Mandela in the song ‘Al die Stede’, In his latest CD ‘The Pilgrim’, Botha makes it known how he feels about the state of our world today in songs like ‘G8 Manifesto’ and ‘Headlines’ and about the plight our neighbours in Mozambique with his songs ‘Mozambique’ and ‘The Pilgrim’.
It is not only for his tremendous talent and musical genius that we pay tribute to Piet Botha, but for the tremendous contribution he has made to South African music over the years. Botha’s humble and totally unselfish support for his fellow musicians is a mark by which he will always be remembered and respected by those he has been involved with and has worked with in the industry. His eagerness to help and assist new and aspiring artists, his willingness and generosity to give of himself and of his time to help others to get started with their careers in music. Botha is always obliging to contribute to various benefit concerts held to aid of his fellow musicians and their families, as he did for the Gito Baloyi Benefit and many other such events. He recently assisted Bacchus Nel, an artist who had lost his sight in a car accident a few years ago, to produce and record his first CD. He generously offered to take a Hammanskraal gospel group, who did not have the means to fund a CD, under wing and arranged, recorded and produced a CD for them at his home in Pretoria. Piet Botha is a legend in our industry, a musical genius and a Rockin Roll soldier. He is truly South Africa’s ‘man for all seasons’ in our music arena.