Kongos on the Cutting Room Floor
You know when singers do the thing where they hold the mike to the audience and let them sing? On "This Time I Won't Forget" the power went out three quarters through the song. That was one of the songs we'd been giving away and the CD had been out for a month so we had 13,000 singing it a capella with us...
-- Dylan Kongos
UOTS: I guess the biggest change since the first album is that Danny and Dylan became monsters on their instruments. I forgot when you first started gigging, you didn't even play bass.
Dylan: On the last album, it's a lot of programmed bass. I think what helps this album is that we played all of this material live first, which made it more enjoyable. As opposed to the first album which has songs we never played live. We did try our best this time around to just do three takes and then not do anymore. It made for more spontaneity than using take 110 with bits of take 92.
Does South Africa feel more like home than Phoenix does now having spent an extended period there?
Johnny: It doesn't feel like home anymore than Phoenix feels like home but there is a connection. Everybody in this family moved countries before they were 8 so I think it does detach you from the home mentality.
What's it like there now, race relation-wise?
Johnny: Even though they've gotten over the apartheid and segregation thing a lot more recently that America, they're not as uptight about race like they are here. It's difficult to discuss. In South Africa because of the Truth and Reconciliation thing they did, there's just an acceptance that reaches another level than it does in America. As a white person you are the minority there so you can't go your whole life living in the suburbs and never meeting a black person.
The Afrikaans people who were the government of apartheid, the youth of the Afrikaans whose fathers were the oppressors have done a 180, where now they are the hip liberal kids, and they did it all without being bombed into freedom.
Jesse: There's a vibrancy in South Africa right now because it's young, because they've gotten over so many of the problems; there's still big problems there with crime and poverty but it's just so alive. In Johannesburg particularly and Capetown, just drive around and the streets are alive, people out doing things. Phoenix has its downtown sign that's [doing] well. But in South Africa, there's a bit more lawlessness there so people are tending to live a little more on the edge there.
What was the "edgiest" show you played there?
Danny: Probably this show that was in a narrow club that should hold 1,000 people but 12,000-13,000 people were in there. There was no air-conditioning and no ventilation systems so at one point there was sweat dripping from the ceiling above us. It's called rave rain,.
Johnny: As we showed up the generator went out. They were running on generators cause they have occasional rolling blackouts. But now the generators were gone also. So there are 12,000 people in pitch black darkness, we had t-shirts stolen, the bar ran out of water and as we were playing the power kept on cutting out.
Dylan: Which ended up being kinda cool. You know when singers do the thing where they hold the mike to the audience and let them sing? On "This Time I Won't Forget" the power went out three quarters through the song. That was one of the songs we'd been giving away and the CD had been out for a month so we had 13,000 singing it a capella with us until the power came back on so it made for a hair standing on your neck rendition.
Where is the next market you think Kongos is likely to take off?
Danny: We always think Germany.
Ya! "I'm Only Joking" could almost be made into a German folk dance. Maybe a special "Schuhplattler remix"! The album gets its name from a line in that song. Any other titles you bandied about?
Danny: Greatest Hits was one. Golden Edition.
Dylan: We were going to try calling it Escape but one of the Inglesias' had that as an album title.
All the more reason to call it Enrique Iglesias' Greatest Hits. Think of the lawsuits! Think of the sales!
Kongos is scheduled to perform Friday, July 20, at Crescent Ballroom.