Being Plush After Chas

2007-12-01 00:00

Branded Rory Eliot and the Reason for the better part of 2007, lead guitarist and singer Rory Eliot, bass player Emelio Gassibe and drummer Ben Peters are about to launch their comeback as Plush. The band, which started out as Plush, included Chas Smit, who was killed outside Crowded House in 2005.

“It’s all been a process since Chas died,” says Eliot. “Plush was the inevitable choice — the long, almost lost dream. It was all a matter of timing … besides, Rory Eliot and The Reason is a mouthful.”

The trio has recently returned from a sell-out tour of the UK, their first foray into the international market. “It was great in terms of the support,” says Eliot. “We really didn’t expect to see so many people coming out to see us play …”

However, London was not all that Plush imagined. “In terms of the venue standard and the other bands that we saw, it was surprisingly average. We thought London would host some of the best venues in the world and being London we imagined the competition to be enormous and therefore the standard of bands to be exceptional … Well, let’s just say South Africa competes with the best in the world.”

After a busy schedule, there are two gigs in the year that really stand out for Eliot. “Splashy Fen this year was awesome and the Half Moon in Putney. Both shows left the crowd and ourselves changed forever.”

Eliot and his bandmates have just finished recording Plush’s comeback album Rage On, which will be released to the public this month and will hit South African shelves in January 2008. The first single off the upcoming album, When Grace Grew Tall, has already enjoyed chart success with number one status on a number of stations, including 5fm.

Eliot is pleased with how the album has turned out. “It’s some of the most mature writing I’ve done. It was my first shot at producing and I feel proud of the work we’ve done. I can’t wait to see how the fans respond to it. I trust it’ll leave them deeply moved and uplifted. The album also captures Chas’s finest song, Last Breath, something he recorded in one take just before he passed away … a beautiful song and a haunting premonition of what was to come.”

Things have certainly changed since Eliot and Smit were an acoustic guitar duo. “It’s hard to compare. I love and loved both experiences for different reasons,” reflects Eliot. “I loved those days because of the day to day carefreeness in which we lived and I love today because I’m that much closer to where I want to be.

“We … are more serious about this dream now. In fact, I wrote a song about this topic on our latest album, where I try to explain to my wife why I talk so much about the old days when Chas was alive. I know it hurts her sometimes because I think she feels that our first few years of marriage have not been as wonderful as my time then. So I replied with a line that goes: “I don’t mean to compare those days to these cause these are the best days I’ve ever had, just in the middle of the hardest years”.

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