PETE KROG (Lead/rhythm guitar/vocals & songwriting). 1994 – 1996.
Having been a member of the guitar duo, ‘Double P’, which preceded BEDROCK, Pete was a founding member of the band and it was he who bestowed the name of BEDROCK upon his colleagues. Such is his legacy! Pete also alerted the band to the possibilities of home recording as he was the proud owner of a Fostex 4-track machine at that time. Passionate about the blues and, of course, guitars, Pete brought the influence of many of his favourites such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, ZZ Top and Tom Petty to the band. Pete’s departure in 2004 to Mauritius was driven by his desire to pursue his career as a commercial airline pilot. Today, he is a member of the acclaimed Mauritius-based band, Wave Kerosene and maintains close links with his BEDROCK colleagues. Although Pete left BEDROCK before their recordings activities commenced, he is a fairly prolific song writer and contributed the track, “Cold T”, to the band’s RECOVERY album.
PETE SHOUT (Guitars/bass/keyboards/vocals & songwriting). 1994 – 2015.
Originally hailing from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, Pete was the other half of the musical duo, ‘Double P’, it was through his collaboration with PETE KROG that the idea to transform from a two-piece, into a fully fledged band, came about. Having been a resident of the Namibian town in which they lived, Oranjemund, Pete had a good insight into what talented existed on the local music scene. In seeking to recruit additional members for their band, the first person they approached was local drummer, EDDIE HEUSDENS. Eddie had a long history of playing with local bands over the years and had had some studio recording experience. Having signed Eddie up, the original quartet was completed with the acquisition of CHARLES PIGGOTT on lead/rhythm guitar and lead vocals.
The band originally rehearsed at in an isolated building outside the town, however, they later migrated to Pete’s house in 6th Avenue, hence the evolution of Dining Room Studios. It was at this address that all the band’s recordings were made and where so much of the band’s history took place. There was even a pact with neighbours to ensure that the band could live in “harmony” with fellow residents!
For the first 8 years of the band’s existence Pete played bass and backing vocals, occasionally singing lead. Although he had written and co-written unrecorded songs with PETE KROG during their ‘Double P’ days, it was not until the band recorded RECOVERY (2001) than did his songwriting skills begin to develop. Having contributed just 2 songs to the band’s first album of originals, he increased this to 3 for the band’s next album, SO, WHERE’S THE PARTY? (2003). He co-wrote a fourth song with MIKE MILLAD and EDDIE HEUSDENS. With the prolific, and confident, songwriting KENNY RAMAGE in their ranks, there was little pressure on other members to generate material.
This was to change after KENNY RAMAGE’s departure in 2004 as their next release, SIMPLICITY (2008), comprised 14 tracks, all of which were written by Pete Shout. This trend continued for their next two albums, DESERT ROCK (2011) and SAND CIRCLE (2014). Band changes also required that Pete switch from bass to lead guitar, a role he’d never aspired to in the past! To add further weight, he was also required to sing lead vocals since HEIKO DOEDENS’ departure in 2008.
Largely the band’s unofficial manager and administrator, it was Pete and EDDIE HEUSDENS’ dogged determination that ensured the group’s survival for 20 years and beyond.
EDDIE HEUSDENS (Drums & percussion and, very occasionally, backing vocals & songwriting). 1994 – 2015.
In agreeing to join BEDROCK at the outset, Eddie brought with him a wealth of experience, including studio time, as he had been drumming since his teenage years and had been a member of every prominent rock band the town had boasted over the years. In recent years he had been a member of two stand-out bands in TORQ and STEAM. Eddie had previously organised auditions for PETE SHOUT with some of his previous outfits, however, this did not lead to any further involvement, at the time, for Pete. They’d become friends through their common involvement in the local amateur drama club’s activities. Another one of Eddie’s strengths is that he knew more about backlines, amplifiers and
EDDIE’s solid rock drumming style would underpin the band’s sound throughout their career. Ever reliable, Eddie often kept his head whilst others were losing theirs! Eddie is also a very inventive chap who is good with his hands. So good, in fact, that he actually built his own electronic drum kit. This creation became known as the Urang-U-Tan and served him well for a couple of years before it crumbled in a heap and died one night at a gig! Together with KENNY RAMAGE, he also help design and build what was probably the World’s heaviest racking system which, although it was intended to make the band’s work lighter, actually made it so heavy that it (the rack) never left the ground – literally! It was so heavy that not even castors could be attached to it! Still, the band have always believed that it is better to try and fail than not to try at all. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it!
Apart from his drumming and general inventiveness, Eddie also contributed significantly to most of the band’s song arrangements and ideas for drum fills and percussion. In collaboration with KENNY RAMAGE he co-wrote the song, “Yeah, Yeah” on the band’s album, SO, WHERE’S THE PARTY? He also came up with the idea for the title of that album, as he did with the SIMPLICITY release. He earned a second songwriting credit on SO, WHERE’S THE PARTY? for the song, “Cliche”, which he co-write with MIKE MILLAD and PETE SHOUT.
Eddie survived a number of new misses during his time with the band, including having a room divider thrown on top of him at a gig at a local restaurant. Although this occurred mid-song, Eddie managed to just about keep the bass drum going and regathered his senses after removing the offending piece of furniture with his free hand! His other attribute is that, being a 2nd Dan black belt, his presence was always useful when it came to fending off unruly patrons. This is another reason the rest of the band always addressed him as “Sir”!
CHARLES PIGGOTT (Lead vocals/lead & rhythm guitars). 1994 – 1999.
With a background and education in Fort Victoria and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, the multi-talented and extremely capable, Charles, was recruited for the band after they’d all attended a function at the town’s Little Theatre on the theme HOLLYMOOD. Amongst the props on stage was a Casio guitar which piqued the interest of PETE KROG, EDDIE HEUSDENS and PETE SHOUT who were still looking for a fourth member for their band. When they asked whose guitar it was, their query led to Charles. Although they all knew Charles as a work colleague and fellow townsman, they had no idea that his skills extended before the work place and, of course, the golf course. It didn’t take much persuading before Charles agreed to enter the fray and he quickly established himself as the band’s charismatic front man.
Charles’ very good voice, and interpretation of the songs, perfectly complemented the cover material the band were doing at the time. He was also no slouch with the guitar and often surprised his band mates, and audiences, with his under-stated “chops” when he got into it. His very diverse taste in music ensured that the band’s set lists had a wide appeal.
Although Charles left the band just as they were getting into creating and recording their own material, he did handle the male lead vocals on the band’s very first album release, LA CANTINA. This CD comprised a collection of some of the band’s most popular covers of the day. Charles’ versions of songs like Bryan Adams’ “Summer Of ’69”, “So Bizarre” and Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back” were as good as it gets. His loss was badly felt by the band who never enjoyed the value of an excellent lead singer in their ranks again, apart from HEIKO DOEDENS short period of participation some years later.
JOHN ROGERS (Guitar & vocals). 1996.
John Rogers’ involvement in the band almost occurred by accident and only came about after, through doing recording work for the local amateur dramatics club, the band’s members discovered that John owned quite a sophisticated home recording studio. One of the most generous and accommodating guys around, John readily gave of his time and facilities to record some demos for the band, this being the first of their fledgling output. A competent guitar player himself, John had an ear for what was required and was very particular when it came to the standard of the quality of his work. When the band first started working with John, they had no reason to suspect that they would soon be looking to recruit a replacement. This realisation soon dawned on them when PETE KROG announced his departure. With John and his guitar skills on the scene, he was a natural successor and soon joined the BEDROCK line-up. Sadly, after just one public gig, he also announced his departure from the town! So, although John’s involved with the band was fairly brief, he made a memorable contribution to the future shape of things, particularly through his recording activities with the band.
KEN MALHERBE. (Rhythm guitar & vocals). 1997 – 1999.
Another friend of the band’s members prior to actually joining, Ken was well respected for his classical guitar skills. A big fan of JJ Cale’s, Ken was very particular in getting his acoustic arrangements right and aligned as closely as possible to the original versions. It was this more acoustic, softer, touch and influence that Ken brought to the band after he had agreed to become a part of the Bedrock Story. Generally a bit of an introvert, Ken was content with discreetly contributing to the whole endeavour, rather than being in the spotlight himself. His quiet, calm, professional, manner served as a steady anchor in the second row of the band. All this could change quite dramatically, of course, when Ken sensed there was a good party in store but we will leave this for another time! Ken put forward a number of useful and constructive ideas during the time with the band and, although he left before the group really got into recording, he did play on the band’s covers album, LA CANTINA, upon which he also handled the lead vocals on “Ken’s Song”.
KENNY RAMAGE. (Lead/rhythm guitar/vocals & songwriting). 1997 – 2004.
Having been a resident of Oranjemund for some time and through his activities in the local amateur dramatic circle, Kenny’s musical pedigree, including his guitar playing abilities, were well known to many. Having been raised in Zambia he had played in a number of well known bands, culminating in his membership of the high profile South African rock band, SHERIFF, in the 70’s. Having declined an earlier approach to join BEDROCK, he had a change of heart in 1997 after attending one of their gigs.
Kenny’s arrival was something of a revelation for the band as he brought with him a considerable amount of knowledge and experience from his semi-professional playing days. Not only did he bring his well honed guitar playing skills but he also understood the recording process. Over and above that, he was a confident songwriter and possessed highly developed IT skills which were instrumental at putting the band at the forefront of website development and a capitalising on emerging music-related IT technologies via the internet.
Handling the recording process on the band’s first release, LA CANTINA, was an extremely steep learning curve for the band’s members. With little time to familiarise themselves with the new technology, the quality of the recording suffered as a result. As a result the band did not produce further copies of this release after the first quantity sold out.
The follow up album, RECOVERY, was a completely different experience. By now the technology, “demystified” by Kenny, had been mastered and he was in prolific songwriting form contributing 10 of the album’s tracks. Of these, the opening track, “Rock ‘n Roll Man”, became a break-through song as it was the first of the band’s recordings to be aired on commercial radio, ironically enough, on SAFM. The track was later selected by the respected SA Rock Digest as one of the Top 30 local productions for that year.
Undoubtedly motivated by this success, Kenny contributed a further 10 songs to the band’s next CD release, SO, WHERE’S THE PARTY? Included amongst these was the BIG rocker, “Crowd Invasion”, which also charted in the SA Rock Digest’s mp3 Top 20, peaking at #18. “Crowd Invasion” became the first BEDROCK song to enjoy regular radio play on Namibian commercial radio stations. Notwithstanding the knowledge they had fast gained in the development of their sound engineering skills, the band “imported” the well known former Rhodesia Television sound guru, NEIL THAIN, to assist in their quest to produce a high quality album. Neil’s contribution was immeasurable, not least of which was what he was able to share with the band.
Kenny’s departure from the band in 2004 marked the end of what had been a particularly challenging, constructive and energised period for the band. They had produced two good recordings and his songwriting competencies had gone a long way to put the band on the local map. Their live gigs had also improved considerably and the band had distinguished themselves at events such as the Bank Windhoek Rock Festival in Windhoek, where they were without peer amongst the array of local performers, as well as at the South African Breweries-sponsored, Rock Contest in Keetmanshoop. During this period they had established a strong presence on the internet via their website and had made their first television appearances, both locally in Namibia, as well as in documentaries on Namibia shown in Germany.
Fortunately, and despite the constant loss of personnel, the band were able to maintain and build on the success built during these years.
JENNY MALHERBE. (Lead/backing vocals & tambourine). 1997 – 1999.
As the wife of guitarist, Ken, Jenny, who originally hailed from Salisbury in Rhodesia, put, not only a pretty face in the front of the band, but also her extremely fine vocal talents. Ken and Jen had long been regular acoustic performers on the town’s entertainment circuit, creating an irresistible mix with Ken’s strong guitar skills and her voice. Initially finding the band’s approach to their rock ‘n roll material a bit disconcerting compared to her much more precise, and rehearsed, treatment of her acoustic material, she more-or-less adjusted to the new environment! Jenny’s voice was that of a “song bird” and her presence witnessed a marked increase in attendance at the band’s gigs. Her rendition of songs such as Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day”, Texas’ “Not In It For Love”, John Fogerty’s “Southern Stream Line” and the Eagles’ “Desperado” always had audiences screaming for more. Sadly, Jenny’s vocal contribution did not extend beyond the recording of LA CANTINA as she and Ken left the community shortly thereafter. Her version of “Desperado”, accompanied only by piano played by a young DAN SHOUT. is a memorable one.
MIKE MILLAD (Lead/rhythm guitar/vocals and songwriting). 2000 – 2003.
Another “quiet” character, Mike happily stepped into the BEDROCK breach after the quick, and successive, departures of CHARLES PIGGOTT, JOHN ROGERS and the MALHERBES. Heavily influenced by Mark Knopfler’s style of play, Mike, once again, brought a slightly different emphasis to the band. Mike’s guitar playing abilities could be easily under-rated, however, he was extremely capable and, although he didn’t write many songs for the band, his “Nobody There” from the SO, WHERE’S THE PARTY? album was one of the biggest rockers the band ever performed and recorded. Mike contribution to, both, RECOVERY and SO, WHERE’S THE PARTY? was significant. On the former release he composed the romantic song, “Vision”, and, on the latter, excelled himself with the dreamy, “This Place”, and the all-out rocker, as previously mentioned, “Nobody There”. He also took the lead in compiling the lyrics to “Cliche” with band mates, PETE SHOUT and EDDIE HEUSDENS.
DAVE MacMILLAN (Lead/rhythm guitars, vocals & songwriting). 2003, 2005 – 2007.
Dave was something of a “yo-yo” man in the band, drifting off and returning again from time to time! With an impressive and lengthy musical CV from his years with well known outfits such as Kimberley’s LAGER LOUTS, as well as owning retail music equipment stores, Dave played a useful role in the band during tough times following personnel departures. Although he did some songwriting with the band, none of these songs were ever recorded by BEDROCK. They were, however, performed in the live sets. Few who were there will ever forget such masterpieces as “Sex Machine” and “My Girlfriend’s A Goofball”! It was during his time with the band that Dave identified a young man named HEIKO DOEDENS as a potential talent. Dave had come across HEIKO during one of his one-man-band gigs and earmarked him. Not since CHARLES PIGGOTT’S departure had BEDROCK enjoyed the presence of a recognised vocalist so HEIKO’s arrival was something of a Godsend, albeit a short lived one. After leaving BEDROCK (the second time), Dave settled into the lead guitarist’s role in the town’s other rock band, SNOBLIND. In due course he, too, left the community and is now settled in Sedgefield where he is very active on the local music scene and as a singer/guitarist.
ROZANE FICHARDT (Keyboards). 2004.
A very accomplished piano player, Rozane had hitherto concentrated all his efforts on Church activities. It was only after giving considerable thought to PETE SHOUT’s invitation to join the band that she agreed to “give it a go”. Steeping completely out of her comfort zone, Rozane soon settled down and, although she found the choice of material, and band culture somewhat strange and perplexing, she soon become a valued member of the group. She had come in at a very difficult time when PETE SHOUT and EDDIE HEUSDENS realised that they had been reduced, unintentionally and unpredictability, to a two-piece. With Rozanne taking on keyboards and Pete switching to guitars and vocals, they managed to reset themselves as a trio. Shortly thereafter, SOLANGE HEUSDENS, also “signed up” on percussion so, numerically, the band returned to a quartet. After a very promising start, Rozane decided to leave the band and the community leaving a sizable void which, once again, needed to be filled.
SOLANGE HEUSDENS (Keyboards/backing vocals & percussion). 2004 – 2014.
Having been drummer EDDIE’s wife for many a year, Solange had followed his rock ‘n roll fortunes at dozens of gigs as they ebbed and flowed in the small desert town in which they lived. With the band really struggling for some consistency, EDDIE suggested that Solange come on board to fill whatever role was required, particularly as she had some knowledge of piano. And so it was that Solange would become a permanent fixture in the band, never missing a practice or gig and always being prepared to chip in with the heavy duties – like packing up the gear after gigs! (This made a difference to Eddie who always complained about his bad back!). After Rozane’s departure, Solange was a natural successor on the keyboards. And so it was that she contributed to the band’s activities over the next 10 years, playing on three of their albums – SIMPLICITY, DESERT ROCK and SAND CIRCLE. With the dissolution of the existing BEDROCK line-up at the end of 2014, Solange decided to retire from the world of rock ‘n roll and is undoubtedly enjoying her well earned “retirement” from the loud noise, bright lights, fame and adulation!
HEIKO DOEDENS (Lead vocals). 2005 – 2008.
Heiko was brought to the band’s attention by DAVE MacMILLAN after he had apparently jumped up to share the vocal mic with Dave at one of his one-man gigs. Like Dave, the bands on saw Heiko’s potential and he was quickly enlisted as their front man, quality vocalists being extremely hard to come by in their environment. Heiko was an immediate success, not only due to his vocal abilities but also as a result of his appearance and youthfulness. Although the band had always enjoyed great support across a diverse range of people and age groups, Heiko’s presence reinforced this. When it really put effort into it, his voice was similar to Paul Rodgers and his rendition of Bad Company’s, “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love”, or the Who’s, “Behind Blue Eyes”, were highlights of any gig.
Heiko’s arrival also allowed PETE SHOUT to write the songs for the band’s forthcoming album, SIMPLICITY, with him in mind. The majority of the songs featured content appropriate to the young generation with Heiko given them the vocal justice they deserved. The album subsequently proved to be a popular release with Heiko’s treatment of the opener, “Wheel O’ Hearts”, as well as the pop songs, “My Girlfriend” and “Tell Your Ma”, together with the rock anthem, “The Alchemist”, being stand-out tracks. “My Girlfriend” went on to become the most played BEDROCK track on Namibian commercial radio with its catchy refrain and trumpet chorus. Another track which featured on the album was “She’s A Lady”, composed by PETE SHOUT during his ‘Double P’ days. “She’s A Lady” has gone on to become one of the band’s most popular downloads.
Heiko also started to explore his own songwriting potential writing the lyrics for “Fabulous” for which PETE SHOUT composed the tune. Things, however, were not so fabulous when Heiko took his leave in 2008 for Windhoek’s greener pastures.
ADRI HENNING (Bass). 2008.
Now you see her, now you don’t! That, literally, was the extent of Adri’s involvement with the band. An accomplished pianist and fledgling saxophone player, Adri had lots of musical talent and, at the time she joined the band, was set for the long haul. Life, however, got in the way and, having made the switch to bass and having played live at the launch of the band’s 2008 CD, SIMPLICITY, she, too, departed from the community!
POLLA PRETORIUS (Bass). 2010 – 2013.
Before joining the BEDROCK fold, Polla had been a stalwart of one of the town’s other rock outfits, SNOBLIND. Together with WARREN WEIDEMANN on drums, he had anchored the band’s rhythm section for many a year and many a gig. A man of few words (unless the Bulls are winning!), Polla was another dependable character who played an above average bass. Initially somewhat reticient about joining BEDROCK following SNOBLIND’s demise, he eventually relented, much to the relief of the BEDROCK folk. Together with Eddie on drums, a great, tight, rhythm section was once again established for the band with Polla going on to record DESERT ROCK with the band. Once again, just as thing were going swimmingly well, Polla advised that he was to leave town in pursuit of other career options. During his 3 years with the group, Polla had made an invaluable contribution to the Bedrock Story.
GERT MULLER (Bass/backing vocals). 2013 – 2014.
A closet musician for many a year, Gert finally decided to take a step out into the musical sunlight when the band, as had so often been the case, found themselves in a dire predicament with the departure of POLLA PRETORIUS. Not having played bass, or in a band before, Gert was thrown the tough assignment of holding up BEDROCK’s rhythm section. His saving grace is that he is full of talent, potential, confidence and an extremely high work ethic. So much so that, in a very short period of time, he was playing and holding his own like a seasoned veteran of the rock scene! The tragedy was that Gert had come into the fold so late in the day. There is no doubt that had the band’s existence in Oranjemund run to a longer period, he would have played a major role in their fortunes. Be that as it may, Gert achieved much in a very short period of time playing on the “big stage” at some major music events and appearing on the band’s 2014 album release, SAND CIRCLE. His live bass line on the CD’s title track, “Sand Circle”, was something to enjoy.
The Early Years
It all started way back in 1994 when bassist, Pete Shout, and a close friend, lead guitarist Pete Krog, were messing about as a two piece. The duo were having a lot of fun but weren’t exactly heading anywhere in particular! In order to break this festive inertia it was suggested that they expand their number to form a rock group. Seizing upon the idea, their first call was to acquaintance Eddie Heusdens who was sitting idly by with his drum kit, his last band having disintegrated a few months before. Eddie quickly enlisted. A few weeks later, and almost by coincidence, Charles Piggott, who had kept his musical abilities under pretty tight wraps, revealed that he had an electric guitar – and that he could play it, too! Charles could also sing. And so Bedrock was formed and went public in March 1995 after many months of serious practice.
After nine appearances the first blow was struck in May 1996 when Pete Krog, who is an out-and-out blues fan, declared that he was leaving the band to pursue his full-time career as a commercial airline pilot. Pete departed in a good spirit and the hunt began for his replacement – a pretty difficult task in a small village like Oranjemund.
Shortly prior to this, some of the band’s members had been laying down original material at the home studio of a certain John Rogers. John knew a few tricks on the old axe and it wasn’t long before he stepped into the void created by Pete’s departure. John’s “career” with the band was to be extremely short-lived for, after just one public appearance, he announced that he, too, was on his way out of town. Back to square one and, in the absence of a successor to John, the band persevered as a three piece.
After a number of gigs, Ken Malherbe, a classically trained local guitarist, entered the fray on rhythm. Back to four.
September 1997 saw Jennifer, at that time Ken’s better half, attend her first practice adding her beautifully smooth voice to the band’s vocal talents, complementing those of Charles who, hitherto, had carried the burden of lead vocalist.
The Break-Through Years
It was in October of that year, after attending his first Bedrock function as an onlooker, that Kenny Ramage declared that he, too, was willing and able to join the Bedrock family. Kenny’s arrival brought with it a musician of considerable experience and talent, assets that the entire band benefitted from. Musically, there is no doubt that the band took a major step forward on the back of Kenny’s knowledge, experience, musicality and ability.
Not only is Kenny a skilled musician, but he’s a pretty good CAD draughtsman & it wasn’t long before his skills were harnessed to develop and launch the band’s first website. Few bands or artists in southern Africa at the time, professional or not, had websites and BEDROCK were clearly ahead of most in this progressive step.
1999 witnessed a rash of departures of band members – Charles Piggott to Germany and the Malherbes to Pretoria. These losses were particularly severe as Charles and Jenny were the band’s vocalists , none of the remaining members having any pretensions in this regard! After running an advertisement or two a number of folk interested in joining the band were auditioned. Out of that exercise came the selection of Mike Millad as the newest member – at that time!
Later that month, just as the band had thought they’d seen the last of Charlie Piggott, who pitched up again for a one-off gig? None other than the said Charlie Piggott! Charles had decided to pay his first holiday to Bedrock’s desert oasis and wasted no time in lining up with the band again for a quick performance. The Oranjemund Hockey Club’s never been the same since!
On the 16 June, 2000, the band launched their first album, entitled “La Cantina”, the name of a popular drinking venue in Oranjemund. It was here that the band had established an almost permanent presence and the venue had become known as the town’s premier rocking joint, especially on Saturday afternoons when the band would let rip. It was here that the band honed its skills and built up a following. The album was a selection of some of the band’s best covers but, technically, was not a masterpiece. It was the band’s first effort at recording and producing. As with this, and all their subsequent recordings, the band released the album under their own, “tongue-in-cheek”, Criminal Records label.
More importantly, the recording of this album saw the establishment of the band’s own recording studio – Dining Room Studios – and record label, Criminal Records!!
The latter part of 2000, as well as the early months of 2001, saw the band tackle their most ambitious project to date – a full album of original compositions under the name of RECOVERY. Kenny Ramage penned 10 of the tracks on the album, with Pete Shout (2)and Mike Millard (1) making minor contributions. The album also featured a track, “Cold T”, composed by former member, Pete Krog. The album was accompanied by a 12-page booklet which included photographs of the band and their supporters, as well as the lyrics to the 12 songs on the album. It was a vastly improved effort, technically, over “La Cantina” with some clever, and humorous, touches here and there. Those were the days of major disputes between some of the World’s biggest bands and their recording companies, over the issue of mp3 music and unauthorised downloading (Napster and all that). In alluding to this state of affairs, the album’s opening sounds are those of none other than a personal computer dialling up to a network, a sound typically heard in homes throughout the world. Quite a smart idea which, as it transpired, was unfortunately lost on many people who thought they had acquired a defective recording!! For this reason the intended “cleverness” of this move wasn’t exactly an unmitigated success! The quality of the songs, however, were, and the Kenny Ramage penned opening track, “Rock and Roll Man” received accolades far and wide. These included the music press and the track was made available on the South African mp3 site where it charted in the Top 20 on two separate occasions. It also was featured on the Bruce Millar radio show of that time and became a popular favourite with many people for its nostalgic content. This was all made possible by Steven “Sugar” Segerman, of SA Rock Digest and Mabu Vinyl fame. Steve really liked the “Rock ‘n Roll Man” and aired it on his weekly rock slot on the Bruce Miller show. This was the first time BEDROCK had been aired on national, commercial, radio. Steven was to go on and achieve major recognition for his role in locating Sixto Rodriguez and the subsequent ‘Searching For Sugarman’ movie (2012).
Apart from “Rock ‘n Roll Man”, the album included a number of others songs which became popular at their “live” gigs, including the Pete Shout penned “(Na Na Na Na Na) Take A Look” and the Kenny Ramage compositions, “Babbelas Blues”, “Saturday Night”, “The Loser” and “Freedom”, the latter song being the first original composed by Kenny for the band. Mike Millard also chipped in with a couple of solid contributions, including “Vision”.
The launch of the album had an interesting twist when a German television crew, who were filming a documentary on the town and its mining operations, arrived at the band’s event. This resulted in clips of the CD launch appearing in the final documentary subsequently flighted by German TV! This was not to be the first, or last, encounter for the band with German television productions – do read on…
By now Bedrock had developed into a highly entertaining, tight and well rehearsed, live music act which thrived on energy, humour, approachability and appreciation of their friends and supporters. Their gigs were either free or carried a small entrance fee, they had merchandise available for sale which included ‘T’ shirts, caps, bumper stickers and, of course, CD’s. Persons who purchased band T-shirts were rewarded with free, or reduced, entrance at future gigs. The band thrived on audience participation and every gig saw the awarding of a “Party Animal Of The Day Award”, normally a bottle of good quality alcohol! As it turned out, competition for this awards became extremely fierce with gig-goers of all ages, shapes, sizes, genders and age regularly competing for the accolade. Every year the band produced an annual, full colour, calendar which was distributed through shops, and at gigs, free.
August 2002 saw the band collect an important accolade when they were the highest placed Namibian band (second) at a South African Breweries sponsored “Battle Of The Bands” competition at Keetmanshoop. This was a significant achievement as Mike Millad was not available for this gig so the band, in their usual style, took it on as a trio. It was also at this gig that the band had their first interview with Namibian Television which proved to be an unorthodox and hilarious event which the had no prior warning of. Having been celebrating their success for a few hours, they were definitely in somewhat of a “fluid state” which added to the fun and unpredictability of the occasion. The footage, somewhat edited by then, was subsequently screened on the ‘Tutaleni’ magazine programme.
Fired up by the success of their second album, the band immediately started writing and planning their next release which was duly given the title of SO, WHERE’S THE PARTY? Once again the prolific pen of Kenny Ramage contributed 9 of the album’s tracks and he also co-wrote “Yeah, Yeah”, with the band’s drummer, Eddie Heusdens. Pete Shout chipped in with 3 songs and, Mike Millard, 2. Pete, Mike and Eddie co-wrote another one of the songs, “Cliche”. This album was deliberately planned to be a solid, loud, driving, rock album with BIG guitars and plenty of tracks to boogie to. Striving to take another step up in the quality of their product, the band engaged the services of professional sound engineer, Neil Thain. With Neil’s assistance the album came to fruition and was recorded as “big” as was intended. Two of the album’s tracks were released as mp3 tracks – a Kenny Ramage composition called “Crowd Invasion” and a Pete Shout one entitled “What Crap Is That?”. “Crowd Invasion” duly marched into the mp3 Top 20 charts, following on the earlier success of “Rock ‘n Roll Man”.
The album was released at Oranjemund’s “La Cantina” pub on the night of 31 January, 2003. The CD included a 16-page full colour booklet of photographs, as well as the lyrics to the 16 songs on the release. The album cover (taken by Paul Wood) features the well known Namib desert archaeologist, Dr Dieter Noli, crawling across a desert pan with his handful of stolen diamond booty! Dieter, who was learning how to play the banjo at the time, later made a cameo ‘appearance’ on the track, “Tramp’s Song”, on the band’s later CD release, “Simplicity”, playing his instrument. Ironically, this was to be Mike Millard’s final gig with the band as he, too, had decided to take his leave of the community and move to greener climes in the Fairest Cape.
In March, 2003, the band were approached by a German television production team who asked whether they could film a live gig or, at worst, a rehearsal. As the crew were in town mid-week, their visit did not correspond with, either, any live gigs or full rehearsals. A compromise was reached, however, when, at short notice, the Bedrock trio assembled in the dining room of Pete Shout’s house and played for the purposes of being filmed! Never let it be said that Bedrock would ever hesitate to “make a plan”.
The search for a new band member resulted in a well known local musician, Dave MacMillan, coming into the ranks. On this occasion Dave wasn’t with the band for long, before departing the ranks and reducing the line-up to a trio once again! Nevertheless, the band was determined to soldier on. The first milestone they achieved was at their very first gig after Dave’s departure when the band celebrated their 100th gig! This was no mean achievement in a small town such as Oranjemund with the constant shifting of people and was fair testimony to their tenacity.
It was around about this time that the band were invited to participate in the Windhoek Rock Festival to be staged, for the first time, as part of the Windhoek Arts Festival week. The trio immediately accepted the invite and went into weeks of serious practice having decided to perform eight songs, seven of which would be Bedrock originals. On the night of Saturday, 1st November, 2003, the band had one of their finest hours – and played one of their best performances – on the Festival’s stage. They came very much as an unknown quantity to many of those present but quickly won the crowd over with their rocking sounds. It only took eight songs to transform themselves from something to an “unknown quantity” to something of a “revelation” on the local music scene.
It was at the beginning of 2004 that Kenny Ramage informed the band that he would be leaving the band, Company and community for a move to Cape Town. And so it was that Kenny’s contribution to the band came to an end, closing yet another chapter of the band’s history.
The Rebuilding Years
And, so, the quest for yet another new band member commenced and culminated in Rozanne Fichardt joining the band in June, 2004. Rozanne was a novice in terms of rock music, her previous music “history” being one of church activities. Nevertheless, her personality and enthusiasm offset these potential shortcomings and her outstanding keyboard skills were soon contributing to a whole new feel within the band. The band was still at three piece at that time when drummer, Eddie, suggested that his spouse, Solange, also join the line-up on percussion and vocals. This idea was accepted and so the band, for the first time in its history, had equal representation of the sexes – two young and youthful ladies and two old men!!
On the 26 November, 2004, the band made its debut with the revised line-up at – you guessed it! – “La Cantina”. Whilst their new, keyboard-based sound came as something of a surprise, many people found it a breath of fresh air and there was much enthusiasm. The band no longer possessed a strong guitarist such as Kenny, Mike or Pete Krog so looked to the “ivories” to compensate. Pete alternated between bass and electric acoustic and Solange added her weight to percussion and backing vocals. Just when things were looking up again, everything went down once more! The reason for this was that Rozanne had decided that she had other priorities to pursue and she, too, left amicably early in 2005. Having said that, in her short tenure with the band Rozanne had been a part of another Bedrock “first” when they played a Corporate function at the Oranjemund Little Theatre!
Just when Eddie, Pete and Solange were wondering what they had to do to find musicians who would stick around for a while former member, Dave MacMillan, contacted the band to offer his services. This led to his return to the fold with the promise of a long hoped for period of stability for the band.
In October, 2005, the band played one of their more memorable gigs when they joined by SA Country Music’s Hall-of-Famer, singer/songwriter, John Edmond. With no rehearsal before hand, the band easily fell in behind John to belt out a number of old time rock ‘n roll favourites which harked back to John’s “Bushcat” days. Nobody who was at ‘Op My Stoep Lodge’ could ever forget that day!
A few months later, Dave introduced a young male singer to the band – Heiko Doedens. Heiko’s arrival was great news for the band as none of them considered themselves to be lead vocalists in the true sense of the word. Heiko had a great voice, with a tinge of Paul Rogers to it, was far younger than the rest of the band’s members, and had the posture and appearance for a front man. And so it was that he became a member of the band.
In 2006 the band became the first music act to perform in the cavernous Oranjemund Power Station and followed that by playing in the inaugural Music Festival at the town’s Hockey Club. This was the first of a number of open air events which brought most, if not all, of the town’s folk together for an all-day (and late into the night) music fest.
In mid-2007 the band once again experienced the departure of Dave MacMillan. It was decided, after a band meeting, that the remaining members would push on and re-organise themselves until a replacement could be found. It was decided to press on with developing songs for another album, the recording of which commenced in January, 2008. To make things a little bit more interesting, the phenomenal jazz saxophonist, Dan Shout (who had played with the band on occasions as a scholar from the age of 14), contributed some great sax to 3 of the songs on the album: ‘You Don’t Know’, ‘Moon ‘n Dunes’ and ‘Miggie In My Whiskey’. In addition to that, well known Archaeologist and intrepid desert explorer, Dieter Noli, was roped in to showcase his banjo playing skills on ‘Tramp’s Song’. The album was subsequently given the title, SIMPLICITY, as suggested by Eddie Heusdens.
It was not all good news, however, as Heiko announced, during the final mixdown of the album, that he would shortly be taking his leave of the town and relocating to Windhoek. And this was to happen ahead of the CD’s official launch date! Matters seemed to have been partially addressed when Adri Henning, well known in the town for his piano and saxophone abilities, let on that she’d like to join the band. She didn’t have to say that more than once before she was formerly roped in. One snag was the fact that Adri would be required to play bass, an instrument she wasn’t familiar with. And so it was that Pete took Adri under his wing to teach her the rudiments of playing bass ahead of the album’s launch. With her prior knowledge of music and good ear, Adri was a quick learner and made solid progress in a short time. Despite numerous logistical challenges, ‘Simplicity’ was launched to much fanfare at Oranjemund’s Little Theatre on 10 May, 2008. Heiko Doedens returned from Windhoek for the occasion, Adri Henning made a successful debut on bass and Dan Shout graced the occasion with his presence having travelled from Cape Town to do so.
Unlike the band’s previous releases where Kenny Ramage had written most of the songs, Pete’s songwriting talents were required to reveal themselves in Kenny’s absence. Happily, the results were very positive and ‘Simplicity’ was well received from the outset with various tracks finding early favour with audiences and radio stations. The stand-out pop song, “My Girlfriend”, became a radio favourite over night, despite its length (4:49) and soon became the band’s most played song on commercial radio. Other popular songs off the album included “You Don’t Know”, “She’s A Lady” and “Flower Girl” (both amongst the band’s most popular downloads), “Moon ‘n Dunes” and “Miggie In My Whiskey”. As with their previous release, the CD’s cover features a local theme, that of one of the ghost houses in the isolated Bogenfels ghost town in the Speergebiet. The photograph was taken by the band’s Pete Shout.
As had become the tradition with BEDROCK, things were not to stay stable for long. Within days of the launch, Adri advised that she and her husband would be leaving town and heading off down the coast! By know these comings-and-goings had become such a part of the band’s culture that there was hardly any discussion about the remaining members continuing – they just did!
With the band’s reputation continuing to build solidly beyond the confines of their home town, they were drawing the attention of local radio stations. This led to a 30 minute interview with the band on Windhoek’s Radio Kudu which also saw the play listing of 6 Bedrock songs. The band also continued adopting ever improving music technologies, making all their music available as digital downloads via all leading, international, music vendors. These included CD Baby, Amazon, Napster, Spotify, Ruckus and Rhapsody. The band had also started posting videos onto YouTube.
In December the band played at the first Oranjemund Cultural Festival, keeping the rock ‘n roll flag flying on the musically diverse landscape. A special jam session occurred on the Friday evening prior to the Cultural Festival when the band were joined on stage at The Don by two legends of the Namibian music scene, Jackson Kaujeua and Killa B. This brought a whole new dimension to proceedings and created another unique Bedrock memory for all who were there. Jackson Kaujeua’s subsequent passing from illness was a sad moment for the band, as it was for the Namibian people as a whole.
The Years Of Constant Change
Whilst all this was going on, the town’s only other rock band, SNOBLIND, has broken up making some of their members redundant. This was great fortune as, in March 2009, Bedrock -after quite a bit of intense persuasion – convinced their bass player, Polla Pretorius, that BEDROCK was where he needed to be! With Polla’s arrival, the band started to enjoy some long sought after continuity and momentum.
For the next while the band enjoyed a bit of stability and recorded another album, DESERT ROCK, which they launched on 25 May, 2011. With Pete Shout having written all the songs on the album, the stand-out tracks proved to be “Band Song”, “On Her Own”, “Who You Are”, “Dust Town” and “Feelin’s Gone”. Irrespective of who was writing the songs, the band had always taken pride in their lyrics and the subtle sense of humour which is laced through all their recordings. Desert Rock, however, also started to see another slight shift in emphasis as the songwriting started to allude to local, Namibian, themes. This is particularly apparent in “Band Song”, which traces the band’s history, but more particularly in “Dust Town” which was inspired by the fate of so many of the Sperrgebiet’s abandoned towns and villages of yester-year. It is an appeal for other Namibian desert towns, such as Oranjemund, not to be allowed to join the collection of ghost towns. In keeping with their preference for local content, the cover features the picturesque Africa Rock in the south-eastern Sperrgebiet.
In December, 2012, the band opened for the annual Diamond Festival, fast becoming one of the most prestigious events on the Namibian social calendar. With an impressive line-up of some of the best that the Namibian music scene has to offer, Bedrock’s live act once again won them many new friends.
Things, however, would not remain in a “steady state” for long as Polla Pretorius decided to take his leave during the course of 2013 when he, too, chose to leave town in search of fresh career challenges. Although this was something of a setback, it wasn’t long before the band found an unlikely recruit in Gert Muller. Gert had been playing guitar in the privacy of his home for some years and, despite previous approaches, had resisted the temptation to step into the public domain. This time, however, the temptation was irresistible and Gert was soon filling in on the bass and became, for the record (excuse the pun!), the 16th member of Bedrock. Gert brought a fresh impetus, enthusiasm and energy with him and the band experienced a period of revival. This culminated in the band recording and releasing another album in 2014, SAND CIRCLE.
Once again, Pete Shout’s songwriting abilities are featured on ‘Sand Circle’ and he continued to built on themes local to Namibia. The album’s name is a reference to the ancient Rotor Kamm meteorite crater in the south-eastern extremity of the Namib desert. Another track which is “local” in flavour is “Everybody (Wants To Be In The Band Tonight)”, as is the rocking opening track, “She Said She Was (From Namibia)”. The cover photograph was taken by the band’s drummer, Eddie Heusdens, on a particularly hot and bumpy flight over the Sperrgebiet!
During the course of 2014, and having marked the 20th Anniversary of their formation, one of the two surviving founding members, Pete Shout, confirmed that he would be leaving town at the end of 2014. It was agreed that the BEDROCK name would “leave” with Pete and that he would continue to manage and sustain the band’s interests. Solange Heusdens also decided that she would quit her music activities. It is hoped that Eddie and Gert will keep active on the Oranjemund music scene.
2015/2016 – A New Era
The Bedrock Project continues to build on the band’s name and history. Our first bit of progress for 2016 has been the re-release of our 2008 album, SIMPLICITY. Now that this has been achieved, we’re pressing on with writing material for a new album which will be preceded with our first single release – watch this space!
There are a number of other BEDROCK projects in conceptual phase so, to all our existing friends and supporters, please hang in there as there is still much more to come from the BEDROCK stable! To our new friends, thanks for joining the circle and we look forward to seeing you sometime at our future gigs.