Hailed as ‘power rock that SA needs to watch out for’, Cape Town three-piece The Rescu spent a year-and-a-half crafting and launching their debut CD. Now the gigging starts – with Rocking The Daisies as the first step.
First appeared in the Cape Argus “Good Weekend” of 2011/ 10/02.
Cape Town based power rock trio The Rescu burst onto the scene with the launch of their eponymous debut at Grand West in August. It had been a tough 18-months in the making for vocalist and bassist, Mike Vaughan, guitarist Gray Lowndes and drummer and vocalist Brendyn “Rusti” Rossouw, but the hard work paid off with accolades from South African rock veterans. “The Rescu is one power rock act that SA needs to watch out for, they are coming in full force,” said Prime Circle’s Marco Gomes while Just Jinjer frontman Ard Matthews called them “a well refined powerhouse band with huge sound and great songs”. Even live electronics act GoodLuck were impressed, with Ben Peters saying “the new album is truly something special… can’t wait for you to share it with the world”, and the debut CD has been selected as a featured South African album in the annual “Cosmo Rocks” section of Cosmopolitan magazine.
“We’ve worked hard, and we’ve been lucky,” says Vaughan. “We had a two-part strategy a year and a half ago. First, to put out a good album, so we sifted through the songs we’d written and picked the ones we felt were the strongest – but always with a common thread to pull the album together. It wasn’t ‘this is this song, and that’s that song’, we wanted to find a balance. The second issue was: can we perform the album? You can do all sorts of tricks in the recording studio, but can you actually play it live? Everything you hear on ‘The Rescu’, we played. The drums are all recorded live, without a single use of a sample or a trigger – there is no software, nothing. It’s just big drums and loud guitars and amplifiers and us.”
The songs were written in the creative breakaway space of an empty house in a small town outside of the Mother City, and then recorded at Heritage Sound on Buitengracht Street’s Heritage Square. One single, “Beautiful Life” was sent to mix engineer Jeff Balding in Nashville for “a touch of international class”, with the balance mixed and engineered by local whizzkid Rian Loubser – and The Rescu’s own Rusti Rossouw.
“We tried different things on different songs, but kept it as a whole,” says Vaughan. “For ‘Take Your Love Out On Me’, we recorded that live in studio with no click-track and no overtakes – nothing. We’d been talking about Kings of Leon, and how they create that amazing live band sound. Brendyn travels to Nashville quite a lot and, being in the music industry, I go there quite regularly and we just wanted to capture that feeling: set the band up in a room with some Persian carpets and drink some rye whiskey and write some music and thrash this thing out and record it. We were quite frightened to try that, but the song turned out incredibly well, with a real organic feel.”
What about the lyrical content of the song, which growls up from a threatening bass rumble into a thundering, clashing epic rock tune? Vaughan gives a bit of a smile, “You know some people in life, in their relationship with a wife or husband or partner, they always seem to be happiest when they’ve got issues? When things are perfect, they’re miserable sods, but when there’s crap to deal with, then the passion and the life comes out in them. The song is about a guy in a relationship with a woman and he’s needing some attention, maybe also the sexual side too, and he’s saying things are too good right now. Let’s get something here so you can take your love out on me.”
Another powerful song on the debut album – although for entirely different reasons – is “Sharpeville”, which tackles both the turbulent history of South Africa’s apartheid past, and ties it to the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City. “I’m still scared about that song, but I love to listen to music that either gives some kind of life lesson and leaves something with me, instead of all those pop and rock tunes that go, ‘You left me; I hate your guts; you’re a doos; I never want to see you again’. I tried to draw two parallels – between what happened in South Africa, and what happened in New York and the States. I travel quite regularly to New York, and I’ve been to Ground Zero, and it really impacted me. Then you think of the cruel things that have happened in this country. That song just came to me – I grabbed a pen and little piece of paper and I wrote it all in one go in just a few minutes, from beginning to end. It’s a call to the world to give us peace. I guess it’s a prayer.”
The Rescu have announced their arrival on the South African music scene with a definitive debut and a much more rounded package than many brand new bands. Vaughan explains: “It’s a combination of a few things. One part, I guess, is getting older, and realising that I can’t die without playing in a cool band! We’d all tasted the band scene quite a few years ago, but we’d all chosen to establish ourselves in the business environment. We recognised the reality that unless you’ve got something special in a band – and even if you do – it’s only one in every thousand that makes it, here in South Africa, and anywhere in the world. It wasn’t a lack of belief in my music, but I was in love with a girl and, unless I could provide, then things weren’t really going to happen, were they? The Rescu has a little bit of reality and a little bit of fantasy in it but, now that we’re all established in our personal lives, we can really give the band one hundred percent. That’s what the next step is all about.”
More on TheRescu.com
. Rocking The Daisies
is from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 October at the Cloof Wine Estate (Darling), featuring over 100 acts including The Rescu, Band of Skulls (UK), Civil Twilight (SA/USA), Prime Circle, Just Jinjer, aKing, Jon Savage (ex Cassette) and The Nomads, Kevin “The Techno Elevator” Saunderson (USA), Boom Pam (Israel), Belleruche (UK), Mustard Pimp / Dim Mak (France), Tumi and The Volume, Kwesta, Lark, The Arrows, Jack Parow, Gazelle, Mr Cat and the Jackal, DJ Sibot, Shadowclub, Yoav, Haezer, Mix ‘n Blend, Tucan Tucan, Toby2Shoes and more. See full line-up, list of attractions and directions at http://www.RockingTheDaisies.com
. Pre-sale tickets R450; gate R550 (R150 Sunday only).
First appeared in the Cape Argus “Good Weekend” of 2011/ 10/02.