‘The Keramics’ is a project born in Rome in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown! Five friends that study at the same music school, ‘Neuma Music School of Rome’, decided to create a band, just for fun.
The Band is composed of: Max M.. “The Grey” (Voice); Mick Pilastri “Blood Hand” (guitar); Francesco Lacovelli “Cesko” (guitar); Alessandro Tozzi “007” (Electric Bass); and Raffaele Marando “The Painter” (Drums). With the Help of the Vocal Coach Sara Facciolo, they started playing some covers in recording studios. The music grew and the passion too, and one day, in the spring of 2022, Max decided to write a tribute to Sixto Rodriguez, due to his love for his songs and his story after seeing the documentary ‘Searching For Sugar Man‘ in 2014.
So the song ‘Sixto’ was written. With the help of Sara Facciolo, Max wrote the lyrics and together they played the first chords. After some practice the band recorded ‘Sixto’ at the ‘Studios Academy Recording’ of Rome.
Now ‘The Keramics’ have created their YouTube Channel, where you can hear ‘Sixto’ and ‘50 Percent’, another new original song. ‘The Keramics’ plan to create their first album at the end of 2023.
Searching For Sugar Man is a 2012 documentary film about a South African cultural phenomenon, written and directed by Malik Bendjelloul, which details the efforts in the late 1990s of two Cape Town fans, Stephen “Sugar” Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out whether the rumoured death of American musician Sixto Rodriguez was true and, if not, to discover what had become of him. Rodriguez’s music, which had never achieved success in the United States, had become very popular in South Africa, although little was known about him in that country. On 10 February 2013, the film won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary at the 66th British Academy Film Awards in London and two weeks later, it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood.
Rodriguez: Vocals, Acoustic guitar Steve Cooney: Guitar, mandolin (from Australia) Doug McDonald: Drums (from New Zealand) Jake Salazar: Bass José Guadiana: Flute
Jake and José were Americans who left three-quarters of the way through the tour and were replaced by an Australian Joe Creighton on bass. The local boys all came from the Mark Gillespie Band who were the support act.
…his aussie tour in 79 was an awesome experience…
Stuart, Australia, May 1998
We will never forget the atmosphere and power of Rodriguez first Australian performance at Melbourne’s Dallas Brooks Hall on 15 March, 1979. (We have the “Alive” record released here and treasure it)
Jason and Anne, Australia, April 1998
Sydney Morning Herald, 19th March 1979
Rodriguez – 10 years after by Ted Robinson
Rodriguez Regent Theatre
Rodriguez’s first Sydney concert was the stuff that dreams are made of. A man lost in time and space he reeled on to the stage to pick up the threads of a 10-year old career. A generally young audience on Saturday embraced both the myth and the man supporting his every move with astonishing warmth. He was theirs and they were his. Not such an unusual occurrence or at least until you know the Rodriguez story. A decade ago he made a couple of records in the United States. They went unnoticed and he turned his thoughts to other things: an academic life, social work; and unsuccessfully running for both local and State office. Unbeknown to him, his records continued to sell… and sell in Australia, where until recently his background has remained a total mystery and the subject of much conjecture. He has long since passed the cult stage with gold records, a published anthology of his writing and now nationwide sold-out concerts. This huge success has something of the fairy tale about it. Not only for Rodriguez, but for the two young Australian promoters who have seemingly pulled off an enormous gamble… to play Svengali to his Trilby.
Rodriguez writes (or wrote) simple but often dark songs of street life, drug culture and street life love. His neon-lit world celebrates characters that would be equally at home in Damon Runyon or William Burroughs. Some songs take the form of powerful commentaries and some are merely musings, most seem to somehow, almost inexplicably, touch the emotional pressure points of a young middle-class white Australian audience. Technically the night was sometimes shaky but more sound than you might expect from someone who virtually hadn’t performed for eight years. Someone plucked from innocent obscurity and delivered to the pressures of expectation and anticipation that surrounds the living legend. Whoops of joy and recognition greeted the introduction to each song, often a chord, feel or broken arpeggio was enough for the identification.
Even when he faltered in the introduction to a song and had to start again the spell remained intact. Ovation poured on ovation. Rodriguez sang his songs, hunched over his guitar and drank nervously from empty cups. Finally he told his audience “after ten years you gotta be kidding… I’m just an everyday person”
Rodriguez has several more Sydney concerts at the Regent and State theatres.
The Australian, 19th March 1979
Nervous virtuoso by Karen Hughes
Rodriguez was nervous. On Saturday night the house lights of the Regent Theatre dimmed and the band began to play but there was no sign of the tall, enigmatic Mexican singer. Suddenly from the wings he appeared, looking frail in a beige suit and open neck blue shirt carrying what appeared to be a student’s briefcase and a handful of music sheets. Hard core fans screamed, shouted and gleefully exchanged knowing smiles as Rodriguez, eyes downcast, but beaming excitedly, sat on his stool, turned side-on to the audience and after a sip of something soothing began the familiar opening to Street Boy. There was a collective sigh of relief as the phrases tumbled out with the same intensity that had enamoured listeners of his two solo albums. Obviously his talent had survived the changes of a decade completely intact.
Unused to playing large concert halls, Rodriguez managed to transform the Regent Theatre into a smoky intimate club. A kind of holy communion which only cult performers inspire was taking place…The only thing wrong was the singer’s own continuing nervousness — though he did eventually manage to move around the stage, face the audience and exchange jokes. Rodriguez sang and played his guitar with great authority and presence. The thunderous applause which greeted every number was modestly directed to his musicians. With him from America were Jake Salazar on bass guitar and José Guadiana on flute, though it was the Australians, guitarist and mandolin player Stephen Cluney (actually Cooney) and drummer Doug McDonald (both from the supporting Mark Gillespie Band), who provided the music’s real push.
Apart from a rare and strong empathy between performer and audience the music was the most important factor in the Rodriguez concert, a not insignificant fact in these days of glittering stage and lighting extravaganzas.
Perth 1979 I remember going to his Perth concert in 1979 because I loved Cold Fact. The concert was pretty disappointing and I said so in a review I wrote for the local evening newspaper, the Daily News. Rodriguez appeared to be right out of it, mumbling and carrying on like more excessively than Dylan in 1966. I wrote a scathing review which his daughter may have shown you. In hindsight, I should have been more tolerant. I look back on his music with great affection. I’m astonished and pleased to hear he is still on this earth and singing.
Arthur Hanlon, May 2000
Steve Cooney Fair play to you! I played guitar/ mandolin on the Australian tour in 1979 and my name is Cooney not Cluney! I was amazed at the Perth reviewer’s ‘repentence’!
My abiding memories of Rodriguez are his sensitivity and vulnerability. I particularly remember a delicate moment when a gentle breeze blew his lyric sheets around, but he caught them so delicately; he and the wind seemed to be really at one…
Steve (in Ireland), March 2001
My name is Jake Salazar. I am the bass player who went to Australia with Rodriguez the first time around in 1979. What an experience it was for all of us. I am ecstatic although not surprised that Rodriquez is still making music and doing well as an entertainer. I got an email from someone who stumbled upon my name while visiting a website pertaining to Rod.
It has been many years since that tour. I have nothing but admiration for him and feel honored to have worked with Rod. The thing we went through to prepare for that tour and the events leading to each concert were ritually rock and roll. Rod is a phenomenal song writer and composer. A composer who creates melodies that establishes lyrical visions.
I remember the afternoon José Guadiana who was on the tour asked me if I would join him and return back to the US on account of him and Rod having a fall out. I tried to change José’s mind and I also tried to talk to Rodriquez but to no avail so we were both asked to leave. Basically, Rodriguez fired us both in the middle of the tour. I have always regretted what happened. I enjoyed being around Rodriguez, Connie and the kids.
José Guadiana has since passed away and I haven’t done so bad after 3 Grammy Nominations as a record producer (1986, 1997 and most recently in 1999). I really hope that Rodriquez continues writing and performing his great songs. I will always be a fan and a friend. I would enjoy to someday jam with him again.
I have very little information about this tour. I know that Rodriguez played on the same bill as Midnight Oil (at The Tanelorn Festival) and that the album Alive, recorded in 1979, was released to coincide with this tour.
Midnight Oil: I feel that Midnight Oil is a top band. I first watched them perform in 1981. I witnessed their powerful stage performance at past two in the morning in the freezing cold of the Australian wind. It was so cold that as Peter Garrett performed steam was rising from his head. It was almost phantom-like. He is musical, political and international. I also love the Stones. For me, Mick Jagger is king, but Peter Garrett is also high on the list of music aristocracy. I’ve been lucky to have been backstage with Midnight Oil on several occasions. We were on the same bill in Australia in 1981 … it was a trip!
I think he is speaking about Tanelorn. The Oils playing at 2am, I remember the steam rising from Garretts bald head too. That 12km dirt road into the festival took us over 6 hours drive on that Friday night but we got there in perfect time to see Rodriguez perform.
Alison Elliott, October 2022
Canberra: I went to see Rodriguez in 1981, it was in Canberra at the Canberra Theatre. He appeared on stage with a support guitarist who’s name escapes me. There was no support acts at all, just Rodriguez. I remember it being an eerie/ chilling experience listening to this extraordinary artist.
Mark Hohmuth, August 2000
OCT 20 1981 – Canberra Theatre, Canberra, Australia
OCT 11 1981 – Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, Australia
OCT 10 1981 – Brisbane Festival Hall, Brisbane, Australia
OCT 7 1981 – Hobart Town Hall, Hobart, Australia
OCT 2 1981 – Tanelorn Music Festival 1981
SEP 26 1981 – Bridgeway Hotel, Adelaide, Australia
SEP 25 1981 – Stage Door, Adelaide, Australia
SEP 23 1981 – Ferntree Gully Hotel, Melbourne, Australia
SEP 19 1981 – Commodore Hotel, Melbourne, Australia
SEP 17 1981 – Prince of Wales Showgrounds, Bendigo, Australia
SEP 12 1981 – Royal Antler Hotel, Sydney, Australia
SEP 11 1981 – ANU Bar & Refectory, Canberra, Australia
We are always interested to hear about Rodriguez songs popping up in the soundtracks for new films and TV series. So, for those who have been watching the excellent new series called ‘The Resort’, you would have spotted a song by Rodriguez being used in Season 1 Episode 4 of this series called “A History of Forgetting”
The plot of this new series is briefly but accurately described on IMDB.com as “Exploring love and the weird things we do in the name of it, encased in an elaborate true-crime conspiracy”.
And the music used in this series is a varied and eclectic selection of songs including the Rodriguez song ‘Forget It’ off his ‘Cold Fact’ album.
Basically I’ve been to South Africa 5 times & I adore your music! I can attest it’s still playing all over there in only the ‘cool joints’ & I was lucky enough to see you in London in 2016. Hope you are well (even though I guess a PA will read this) & long live your gorgeous music!!!
Released On: 01 Sep 2022, available for over a year
Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman’s nickname came from the song Sugar Man by the American singer Rodriguez. In 1970s South Africa, Rodriguez was a household name as his anti-establishment lyrics resonated with many of those opposed to the strict apartheid state. Sugar, a Cape Town record shop owner, was one of his adoring fans. Very little was known about Rodriguez, apart from that he was dead; rumour had it that he’d killed himself during an unsuccessful concert. But years later, when Sugar decided to find out that had happened to him, he uncovered something astonishing.
Presenter: Emily Webb Producer: Emily Webb and Emily Naylor
I’ll Slip Away, produced by Harry Balk, was released as a single by Impact Records in the USA in August 1967. It was credited to Rod Riguez. This track was re-recorded in Detroit in 1972. The b-side was You Got To Admit It.
And you can keep your symbols of success Then I’ll pursue my own happiness And you can keep your clocks and routines Then I’ll go mend all my shattered dreams
Rod Riguez, August 1967
Rod Riguez could make a name for himself with this bluesy, mid-tempo rock ballad. Keep it in sight.
Cashbox, 23 September 1967
The 1967 single features more upfront Byrds-type jangly guitar, vocal harmonies and a subdued organ in the background, when compared to the early ’70s version. The strings that are so prominent on the later version are absent on the 1967 version.
I’ll Slip Away
And I’ll forget about the girl that said no Then I’ll tell who I want where to go And I’ll forget about your lies and deceit And your attempts to be so discreet
Maybe today, yeah I’ll slip away
And you can keep your symbols of success Then I’ll pursue my own happiness And you can keep your clocks and routines Then I’ll go mend all my shattered dreams
Maybe today, yeah I’ll slip away
Cause you’ve been down on me for too long And for too long I just put you on Now I’m tired of lying and I’m sick of trying Cause I’m losing who I really am And I’m not choosing to be like them
And if you get bored or got loneliness Or it’s dislike for me you express I won’t care if you’re right or you’re wrong I won’t care cause you see I’ll be gone
Gerry Arias is a well-known Irish musician who has been active in that industry for a long time. He has also become a big fan of Sixto Rodriguez ever since he saw the film ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ and has been very influenced by that story, and Rodriguez’s music, ever since. So, Gerry recently decided to record a cover version of the Rodriguez song ‘Jane S. Piddy’, off the album ‘Cold Fact’.
However, Gerry’s interpretation of this Rodriguez’s tune is called ‘Jane S. Paddy’!
This artistic liberty was taken in honour of the “Irish” twist to the song. Gerry’s version is done in a 6/8 Irish gig rhythm with an airy vocal. Both the song and video were recorded on the west coast of Ireland and features Brian Flemming on Bodhran, and Quentin Cowper on guitar.
You can see this excellent video for ‘Jane S. Paddy’ by Gerry Arias here:
In September 2015, ‘Sugar Man: The Life, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez’ by Craig Bartholomew-Strydom and Stephen Segerman, was published by Penguin in response to the demand for more information behind the Oscar-winning documentary ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ by Malik Bendjelloul.
For all those fans of Rodriguez and his music and the amazing story behind the search and his re-emergence and current world-wide fame, here are some shops on the web where one can buy the eBook version of this book online:
Please join us in wishing Rodriguez a Happy Birthday on the occasion of his 80th Birthday which falls on July 10th!
On behalf of all of us at the official Rodriguez website, Sugarman.org, we send our warmest wishes to Rodriguez and we hope that he has a wonderful day celebrating with his family, and that he is blessed with a Peaceful, Joyful, and Healthy year!
For all of his fans around the world, who would like to join us in sending warm wishes to Rodriguez, please feel free to do so by posting your messages here: https://www.facebook.com/SugarMan.org/
Sending Our Warmest Regards and Greeting to you all, from South Africa!
Scan of the sound engineer’s set list, dated and autographed.
From Sweet Songs To Street Songs
Review by Brian Currin
From the simplistic, yet instantly recognisable bass guitar intro of I Wonder, to the last fading echoes of Thanks For Your Time, this was a show that enthralled everyone from the die-hard old fans with their balding heads and beer paunches to the new virgin devotees.
From sweet songs to street songs,
from bitter to beautiful,
from minor keys to metal mayhem,
from tear-jerker to tear-it-up,
from disgusting songs to rock anthems…this was truly a magic show of vast proportions.
Rodriguez has not released new material in over 25 years, he has no chart-topping singles, yet he opens to a standing ovation – and everybody sings along to all the songs.
Colin Taylor from KFM radio opened the show by shouting with great enthusiasm:
“Cape Town, put your hands together and welcome a true legend on stage – Rodriguez!”
Reuben Samuels started a slow drum beat and when Graeme Currie introduced that classic bass line (de-de de-de de-dum) the crowd went wild in instant recognition and when The Man slipped quietly onto the stage, the Velodrome stood up in adoration for this long-lost legend. I Wonder was wonderful and after the song, Rodriguez just stood and stared at the audience in awe.
Only Good For Conversation was done hard and heavy with great guitar from Willem Möller.
“..you’re so proper and so cute” sang Rodriguez with a smile in his voice.
Can’t Get Away was superb and when he started to sing the second verse again by mistake, the band supported him and the audience forgave him.
All the favourites followed with the arrangements staying very close to the originals and the crowd hanging on every word. Tonia Selley from The Pressure Cookies and Big Sky provided superb backing vocals throughout.
A highlight was the solo rendition of “A Most Digusting Song” sung with great humour. “There’s someone here who’s almost a virgin I’m told” was met with much laughter.
And when he sang “…your government will provide the shrugs” a responsive chord was hit, even though this song was written in 1970!
Rodriguez doesn’t say much, he lets his music and words speak to us, but he did give us one message:
“I want to wish you the best of luck
in everything you do,
you’re gonna do it,
you’re gonna solve it,
you’re gonna heal ’em,
you’re gonna do it“
– perceptive and profound words from this poet and prophet.
And then into an absolutely incredible blues-rock version of Climb Up On My Music. Willem Möller burnt up his fretboard with a classic rock guitar solo and Russel Taylor played a jazzy-blues keyboard solo which left us breathless.
Rodriguez slipped away as the band ended the song, but soon returned to perform a 3-song encore starting with Sugar Man, then Establishment Blues and ending with the perfect show-closer Forget It with those poignant words “Thanks for your time“.
“Thank you, Cape Town” sang Rodriguez.
No, thank YOU, Rodriguez – the mystery and myth may be gone, but the music and memories will live forever and the magic of that night will stay with us always.