iAfrica Online Journal

Saron Gas Band Of The Week for April 23, 2001

Jo'burg rockers Saron Gas first grabbed the attention of local moshers and headbangers late in 1999, when they reached the finals of the Emerging Sounds Exposed competition. Since then their grunge-rock sound has roped in two Top Forty hits and a Sama nomination, firmly establishing them as one of the country's top emerging bands.

Comprising three talented musicians, vocalist and lead guitarist Shaun Welgemoed, drummer David Cohoe and bassist Dale Stewart, Saron Gas has been compared to international rock act Nirvana for their loud 'n hard sound. All three musicians dabbled in music from an early age and have played in a variety of bands before the formation Saron Gas.

Not long after the threesome linked up in May 1999, the band independently released their first demo, featuring the single "69 Tea". The track received nationwide radio play, and was a hit at band competitions and festival gigs.

After numerous futile attempts to sign a recording deal and a few radio stations refusing to play their songs because of their heavy sound, Saron Gas signed to Musketeer records in September 2000. Working with top South African producer Brian O'Shea, they spent two months in the studio, rewriting and refining material, to produce their full length debut album "Fragile", which brought in a 2001 Sama nomination for Best Rock album.

"Fragile" features a rerecorded version of the band's first hit "69 Tea." The album's first single "Fine Again" reached number four on the 5FM chart, while the new single "Take Me Away" looks like it's heading in the same direction.

Saron Gas's music tells of life's experiences - the vocals, written by Welgemoed, actively depict real life encounters. "Shaun writes all the lyrics, so that part is pretty much all up to him, and it's very close to him," Dave told jol.co.za. "But anyone can relate to the lyrics, or they can be about someone specific in your life. They're all songs anyone can identify with in some way. You know the vibe and how that feels," Dale added.

Saron Gas is currently on a nationwide tour that includes a performance at the Splashy Fen music festival. For a detailed tour schedule, call the Jose Cuervo Happenings Guide on 082 234 2234. The guys also have plans to break onto the international scene during the course of the year. "There's nothing in black and white yet, but we hoping to go to the UK, Germany - which has a massive rock market - and Australia" said Dave in an interview with jol.co.za.

Even though Saron Gas lost out to The Nude Girls at the Sama's, they're a band to keep a beady eye on