The friendship and brotherhood between SA music legend Piet Botha and the Akkedis Band, Arthur and Rudolph Dennis and AJ Graham, goes back almost twenty years. Back then Botha was touring a lot with Jack Hammer and used to bump into Arthur and Rudi who were known as The Dennis Brothers in those days. There was always some kind of jamming going on. Through the years the bond remained strong , Akkedis came into being, Botha did some solo Afrikaans albums and kept on recording and touring with Jack Hammer.
Then around 2002 they found themselves in London Town at the back end of a disorganised tour. “Myself and Johnathan Martin, had gone over, thinking it would be acoustic gigs, small pubs or theatres but then we found the venues rather bigger and we were just two out…fortunately Akkedis Band were there and just volunteered to help us on all the gigs, and all the adventures of course !”, said Botha in a recent interview. From there on the bond was stronger than ever.
During the next few years they would share stages across SA and Namibia and Mocambique but about three years ago there was a shift and Piet Botha started to tour the Cape more and more using Akkedis Band as backing band for his repertoire. This soon developed to a new concept i.e. “The Lyzyrd Kyngs”. The name comes from a Jim Morrison poem, “The celebration of the Lizard King”. The weird spelling is a combination of ancient English and a serious reference to Lynyrd Skynyrd, a band that has been a source of inspiration for more than thirty years.
“It was natural for us to share our talents, now we have three vocals and a four piece band that can work any room or big stage, both electric and acoustic. It is also wonderful to share each other’s songs and collaborate.” And so their first album was recorded last winter and mixed in the springtime and has just been released: Piet Botha and Akkedis Band: The Lyzyrd Kyngs. (“One Night Only / Snake Alley Bar and Grill”)
From the outset the idea was to keep it raw, no digital tricks, just the stripped down sound and to rely on the songs. So what we have now are ten songs that can stand by themselves. The songwriting was shared between Arthur Dennis and Piet Botha. The blues carry a lot of the material, but there is also country music and folk music inherent to the album’s feel. “ Obviously this is not a commercial venture, but I’m sure we will still be playing these songs in ten years time”. Botha insists that Arthur got the best songs on this album, but vows to be back. “With us it’s like a family, there are no ego’s, we all do our best…Arthur is the bandleader, I can just play …” and more wisdom “If the weather’s right we go to the ocean..otherwise we just laze around in the sun”.
And so the Lyzyrd Kyngs were born. And it all happened without any planning. Just like the waves rolling in from the sea. The future is just as unpredictable. Touring extensively for sure, doing another album is a given, but as in their past the plans are best left to the Gods of Rock and Roll.
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