The Flames flare again in farewell gig

2014-10-27 00:00

JOHN McKenzie and hit sixties band The Flames members Edries Fredericks and Steve Fataar dusted off old guitars for one last rock-out session yesterday.

As the rain pummeled against the windows, the three sat down around an open fire in McKenzie’s home to reminisce about their lives and the journey of their band, The Flames.

The band was originally formed in 1963 by Fataar and was managed by McKenzie as they rose to stardom. They were “discovered” by the Beach Boys in 1969 while performing in London and have been described as one of the greatest bands in the history of South Africa.

Now, almost 50 years later, Fredericks and Fataar have come together to pay homage to McKenzie for his dedication to the band during their time in South Africa.

“I met these guys who started this band in their lounge in Mayflower Road all those years ago. I am seeing my friend Edries today after 40 years. They have come here to perform for me because I’m ill with cancer,” McKenzie said.

Fredericks recalled the day they were arrested in 1965 after performing in a record store in Port Elizabeth.

“There were hundreds of screaming girls outside the shop. They blocked the entire main road and we almost caused a riot that day before the secret police came to take us away,” he laughed.

Fataar said the highlight of his career was meeting The Shadows and the Rolling Stones band members in person. He said that he was glad that this reunion was not in a public sphere and he described it as “a nice intimate gathering between family and friends”.

“It has been a lifetime journey of music and it will never end for me. I want to thank John for everything he has done for us. We are here today for him,” Fataar said.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

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