Jesse Clegg chats about his summer tour and the emotional journey of joining his dad on stage

Cape Town – Jesse Clegg recently returned from a three-week tour in the US and Canada and has already kicked off his summer tour in SA.

During his visit to Cape Town to perform with his dad at Kirstenbosch, we sat down with the talented muso to chat about his upcoming tour, sharing the stage with his dad and more.

Check it out below:

You recently returned from the States… what was the tour like and what was a highlight?

It was a fantastic tour, it was five weeks, I’ve been to 15 cities and ended in Los Angeles where I stayed and played a number of shows. But it was great you know, I mean it was my third time in the States this year, just because I played South by Southwest festival in Austin Texas; I was there earlier in the year to do some other shows in LA, so ja I’ve been spending quite a large amount of time in the States for the last sort of period. It’s amazing to play to new audiences outside of your home country and some people are experiencing my music for the first time, which is, uh, it’s an interesting challenge. You have to win them over you know, but it’s awesome.

Do you get tired of travelling or are you tired of travelling yet?

I definitely am! I mean, I’m just tired right now to be honest. But uhm, look the travelling is the worst part for me. It’s nice to visit different cities and stuff. It’s just when you’re in transit, like when you’re on a bus, or you’re in a train or you’re at an airport, in a hotel, you know all those moments in between where you just have to kill hours and hours and hours; you have to keep yourself active, you have to keep your mind active, otherwise you can go a bit crazy. 

You’re going on a summer tour, how long are you going on tour for and where are you going?

We leave on the 13th of December and we get back in Joburg on the 8th of January. So it’s just under a month. Mostly Eastern Cape and Western Cape and then places in between. It’s an unplugged tour, it’s an acoustic tour and we do a variety of like festivals, theatres, outdoor venues and we also get to go to towns that we don’t really get to play throughout the year. You know, like when you’re doing the festivals and stuff you don’t often go to like Knysna or some of the smaller places. So, it’s cool to go and visit those towns again.

What are you looking forward to most about the summer tour?

I enjoy playing this acoustic set. It’s different to the full band, it’s like you’re trying to put as much energy out as possible, with this it’s a little more intimate, you can talk to the audience more. It’s me, my guitarist and my drummer. But he plays percussion on the acoustic sets, so it’s not like a full blown drumkit. 

We rearranged all the songs to kind of fit into an acoustic format. And it’s a really intimate show, you can really feel the connection with people. And I sort of talk a bit about the songs and give a bit more background to the albums and why some of the songs came out the way they did, how they came about. So, it’s a really cool sort of journey through my career. I mean we play songs from all three of my albums, we play new songs, so I enjoy the tour because it feels like we’re connecting with people on a more personal level than on like a festival stage. 

What has it been like to join your dad on stage for his Farewell Tour?

Ja, it’s amazing man... it’s our first time on stage together for this tour. We’ve done the show already like 30 times, but this tour is the first tour that I’ve performed with him on stage.

It’s his farewell tour, so it’s been wonderful you know. I mean I’ve spent a lot of time trying to almost disassociate myself with the expectation that people have when they hear my surname. And you know I make very different music to my dad, so it’s difficult to make a direct comparison. There’s always that, you know sometimes people come to my show with that preconception and so I spent a lot of time working against that.

And when my dad announced the farewell tour, you know, it just felt like, I knew that I wanted to do something with him, I mean we’re so close, you know he is my dad. So, musically and in my life he’s had a big influence on me. We’re very close and we hang out all the time, so we always kind of planned to do something together and it was something that we were just waiting for the right time. This sort of felt like the right time, I mean it’s now or never, because he’s retiring you know, so, and it’s really been a beautiful just emotional kind of journey. Very emotional and very, it’s weird like, we feel the gravity of being on stage together and we can feel in the audience that it’s translating, because they’re also like, ‘they’ve never done this, and now they’re doing it’. There’s a special moment that happens. 

Father and son take the stage. #JohnnyClegg #JesseClegg

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7 quick questions with Jesse:

Your favourite summer drink?
Maybe a mojito?

How would you spend a perfect summer’s evening?
Maybe having a braai with friends, outdoors on the beach or in a nice environment.

Beach or pool?

Boardshorts or speedos?

Favourite track for summer?
It’s kind of changing all the time. There’s a song by Portugal. The Man, Feel It Still. That's a great summer track.

Boerie or Burger?

What’s the one thing you never travel without?
Other than my phone and my laptop. Uhm my neck pillow for the plane. 

Catch Jesse live on his summer tour:

For more info like Jesse's Facebook page or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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