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Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa | INDIE

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa | INDIE
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Boo! for monkipunk
October 1, 2010

By Jason Curtis

It's been seven years since we last saw Chris Chameleon on stage in a dress and make-up, but thankfully for fans of Boo!, the band that coined the phrase "monkipunk" is back, and they're armed with 12 new reasons to love their cross-dressing brilliance all over again.

Hot on the heels of a whirlwind tour of Europe and the UK, Boo! bring their resurrected horns, bass, drums and Chameleon's six-octave vocal range to Die Boer for a three-night run from Wednesday to October 8, before heading off up the West Coast to perform at Rocking The Daisies on October 9 at 9pm.

Loved for their hit singles Stagefright and OOAA, the band promise to deliver new, as well as classic Chameleon-fronted tracks that will not only appease longtime loyalists but also usher in a whole new generation of fans.

"New Boo! fans are first prize for me," Chameleon says. "We're not doing this for the already devoted. The diehards are wonderful to have along for the ride, but many expect the new album to be more of what they first heard seven years ago, and that's most definitely not the case here. We've all grown as musicians and our sound reflects that."

Boo!'s original journey began in central Joburg in 1997. Over the next seven years original members Chameleon, Ampie Omo and Leon Retief took an exhausting trip that ended prematurely when, in September 2004, after six albums, Omo and Retief announced their resignation from the band, ending the manic pace Chameleon insisted that the band maintain.

At the height of Boo!'s success they were spending more time in Europe and the US than at home. Citing fatigue as the reason for the band's collapse, lead singer Chameleon took the unexpected divorce badly.

"We were trying to maintain an unhealthy pace," he admits. "I only really became aware of just how far we had pushed ourselves after everything ended. It was a massive shock at the time." Boo! performed their final show in December 2004, and from there Retief and Omo continued their respective careers in music, most notably of the two, Omo became a full-time member of ska outfit Fuzigish. Workaholic Chameleon amazed his original supporters by becoming one of |the best-selling and critically acclaimed artists in Afrikaans music, claiming 17 national awards in four years, including two Samas (SA Music Awards) as well as the prestigious Medal of Honour from the SA Academy of Science and Arts.

With The Three Of Us, the band's seventh audio adventure now available through Sheer Sound, the three members of Boo! are back on solid ground. Selling faster than half-price lingerie, the new album - filled with bass, drums, brass and percussion permutations of off-beat originality - is the ticket that's opening doors and affording the three the chance to reconnect with friends and fans at every new show.

Belgium and the Netherlands have always been two strongholds for the band. So much so that when consensus was reached to resurrect the legacy (sans Retief, who is replaced by Riaan van Rensburg on drums), the band quickly packed their instruments and make-up bags, and headed off to Amsterdam to plot their 12-track return.

The title track was, on the eve of the album's release this month, already getting strong radio airplay.

"Boo! has never been bent on formula," Chameleon says. "When we went in to record, we came away with something different to our last album (TNTLC, released in 2004).

"This time round things are a little less manic, but the next album might be more so - that's what's glorious about what Boo! does. You never know what we might serve up next and, right now, neither do we.

"This, like each of the collections before it, is an honest representation of where we are and what we have to say right now.

"The Three Of Us is the culmination, in song, of hopes and dreams revived. We all get to continue on this quirky crusade that, over the years, has seen us play our music all over the world. What more could a musician ask for?"

Before disbanding, the trio had notched up more than a thousand shows, played in 17 countries and 14 states in the US.

"Live is where we do our best work," Chameleon adds. "Albums are like a muso's children and each of our babies has a very different personality, something I'm very happy about. Progression is critical. Society has moved on since 1997, and so has our music."

With optimism, not expectation, Chameleon is cautious about just how well Boo!'s return will translate.

"It's hard not to get excited about the possibility of what holds The Three of Us."

"I'm aware that one should never look to flee from the past or run to the future. I'm always looking for new ways to express myself. There is something in each album we record that brings out the right blend of madness we all thrive on."

Fluid intuitiveness is what this band have and it's served them well. Always introspective and surprisingly introvert off stage, Chameleon has reconciled a broken marriage that live will reveal a happy, cohesive unit basking in the cathartic fortitude of monkipunk.

# For tickets (R120) to Die Boer, see or call 021 979 1911. The show starts at 8.30pm. Tickets to Rocking the Daisies are R465 for the weekend, or R395 for Saturday and Sunday. www.rockingthe, www. web
- Independent News and Media

Article by Neil Comfort
- Independent News and Media

Review by Henno Kruger: "After seeing them perform at RAMFest 2010 I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re also one of the best live acts in South Africa." - Running Wolf's Rant

Article by Nikita Ramkissoon
"And then the crowd went BOO! It’s been years since I’ve seen this band live and this got me amped. They did not disappoint. With pink tights and glitter, in came the Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Chris Chameleon, whether in drag or not, is always entertaining but Boo! is a band which has this infectious silliness which I love." - WhatsOnSA

Article by Jess Henson
Pages 64 & 65 - Delta SkyMagazine

Photos - Speakerboxx


"The Three of Us" CD (2010)
Released by Seed, a division of Sheer Sound (South Africa)
Single: "The Three of Us"

"TNTLC" CD (2003)

"Shooting Star" CD (2002)

"Naughties" CD (2000)

"The 3Boo?dists" CD (2000)

"Pynappl" CD (1999)

"Cherry Flava" VHS (1999)

"Banana Flava" Cassette (1998)




Boo! began in 1997 in the backstreets of dirty Brixton, Johannesburg, when its first members, Ampie Omo, Chris Chameleon and Leon Retief conspired to make musicthatwould go against most of the conventional wisdom of the time. Boo! became not only one of South Africa's favorite bands of all time, but also one of the country's proudest musical exports to both Europe and North America.

In 7 years Boo! acquired an enormous cult following worldwide by performing 800 gigs in 17 countries, including 14 states in the USA as well as countries such as Hungary and Croatia. Bradishing their self-styled genre of "monkipunk", Boo! performed at various European and American festivals with the likes of the White Stripes, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Franz Ferdinand, Smashing Pumpkins, and Coldplay amongst others. The band also received a South African Music Award (SAMA) in 2002 for 'Best Pop Album'.

The band's sound consisted of bass, drums, brass, keyboards and percussion; notably lacking guitar. In spite of this unusual orchestration, Boo! hit the number one position on the 5FM top 40 with "Stagefright" and a number two position with "OOAA" - testimony to frontman, bassist and occasional drag queen, Chris Chameleon's exceptional songwriting abilities.

In September 2004, Ampie Omo and Leon Retief announced their resignation from Boo! and performed their final show with the band on 14 September 2004. Leon Retief continued his career behind the scenes in the South African Music Industry while Ampie Omo continued his career as a member of ska-outfit Fuzigish and was the invited guest trombonist of the Violent Femmes when they played in South Africa in 2005 and 2007. Chris Chameleon surprised his punk pundits and cohorts by becoming one of the best-selling and critically acclaimed artists in the Afrikaans music landscape, notching up at total of 20 national awards in 6 years including two South African Music Awards (SAMA) and a Medal of Honor from the South African Academy of Arts and Sciences.

2010 saw Boo! emerge again with a change in wardrobe and drummers with Riaan van Rensburg picking up the sticks on drums. The band set up camp inAmsterdam,TheNetherlands early in the year to record the new album "THE THREE OF US". On their return, a limited edition run of albums was released for sale at gigs only. The album has since been completely remixed by Neal Snyman with audio approval of award-winning producer Theo Crous (Parlotones, Prime Circle, etc) and remastered by Jonathan Crossley.

Boo! won Suckfree Radio's "Greatest Unsigned Band in the World" competition in September 2010 just before signing to Seed, a division of Sheer Sound. The remixed and remastered "THE THREE OF US" album was released by Seed in South Africa in early October 2010 followed by a spectacular launch at Montecasino on October 15 2010. The album spawned a hit singles "The Three of Us", "Make me an Offer", "The Lonely Hearts Club", and "To Do Today", which climbed the charts across South African radio.

March 2011 delivered Boo!tiful news as Chris Chameleon reached the Semi-Finals of the 2010 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) for his songwriting excellence with the single "The Lonely Hearts Club". Boo!’s “The Three Of Us” album was entered into the AAA (Adult Album Alternative) category and “The Lonely Hearts Club” was a judges favourite. This is the second time Chris has reached the semi-finals in the ISC, the first time being back in 2006 when Chris was a Semi-Finalist for his song "Anywhere".

Boo! also received a SAMA nomination for “Best Alternative Music Album: English” in 2011!

2012 saw a great start to the year as Boo! on a European tour from the 29th of February till the 4th of March. Watch this space for more Boo! news to come!