Transkei Cowboys
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Transkei Cowboys

Band Rock Reggae


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Full length Album - born and bred
EP - Transkei Cowboys

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The Transkei Cowboys are Dylan, Phil, Nico and Ginger. They’re an old-fashioned rock and roll band like you don’t get anymore; not since the music industry took an ugly turn around the end of the seventies and rock music became something to sell, something to buy, and not the soundtrack to an unapologetic lifestyle. Like it’s supposed to be.

Rock music used to be scary to parents. And rightly so – real rock and roll is dangerous. It puts the youth at risk of being swept into a world of casual sex and irresponsible drug use. Recently, however, rock, or “alternative”, bands puts their fans at risk of nothing more than being exposed to bad make-up and pseudo-gothic, angst-ridden lyrics about crying in the goddamn rain.

The Cowboys’ music, nay, their very life, is an attempt to stand against these disturbingly pandering elements entering the rock music scene. They feel called to drive the rock scene back to its roots. Its manly roots. Its dirty, sweaty, balls-to-the-floor roots, typified by Jim Morrison, Jimmy Page, Johnny Cash, Keith Richards and Keith Moon. And Nick Cave.

Ah, what rock music used to be. What it should be. The anti-establishment raging against an unfair world (or, sometimes the “machine”); the poetic expression of a burning desire to drink too much and make messy love to dirty German tourists on the beach. These are things that lie very close to The Transkei Cowboys’ hearts.These are values the Cowboys firmly believe in and strive to impart to their ever-increasing South African following.

And ever-increasing it is. Since the Cowboys saddled up [ahem] four years ago, playing gigs in the local crappy bars to stupid, apathetic small-town audiences (god, how I hate those audiences), they have amassed a teeming sea of devoted fans, both in South Africa and internationally.

People know that when the Cowboys ride into their town, a party is hot on their heels. Parents know to lock up their daughters and cover their impressionable teenage sons’ ears. But somehow they always get out and get to the gig.

In 2007, The Transkei Cowboys opened the South African Woodstock 8 festival where they proceeded to carve their names in stone. Literally… There were stones there. The same year saw them play to a crowd of 15 000 alternately enthralled and tripping-out people in the middle of Johannesburg, warming the stage for some of the biggest acts in South Africa.

They’re also the regular band in the Kei Mouth New Year’s celebration, one of SA’s biggest annual parties. They’re always invited back, in spite of regularly getting too drunk to be polite to the sponsors. The people always want them back. And you can’t disappoint the people. About two years ago the organisers decided to go with another, more sponsor-friendly band, and there was a riot. We’re not kidding. An actual riot. People got hurt. Property was destroyed. Pathic wails of “Where are the Cowboys?!” filled the night sky. The sponsors decided that, corporate risks notwithstanding, they didn’t want blood on their hands again, and the following year, the Cowboys were back, and all was well.

The cowboys are…

Dylan Mugabe – Frontman, vocalist, lyricist and sex god Dylan Mugabe bears no relation to the despot. In fact, he claims Bob stole the name from him.

Phil “Shango” Wilkinson – Bassist Phil is the backbone of the band and, along with Mugabe, is one of the only two surviving members of the Cowboys. And by surviving, I don’t mean “remaining”, or “original”. I mean surviving. The other members met their tragic ends in an unexplained accident involving a catering-sized jar of mayonnaise, a bicycle pump and two women who both claimed to be Nico’s cousin. That’s all we’re allowed to say.

Ginger (AKA “The Red Herring”) – The Cowboys’ drummer is known from coast to South African coast and beyond for the rock-steady beats that underpin their music. In fact, he carries the band, and the others are grateful to him. Marius also handles the band’s bio-writing.

Nico and the Cardigan of Chaos – Nico, also known as Snicko, Emo Shnick, Flash and That Guy Shouting Profanities at My Daughter, plays the guitar, and he does it well. Which is lucky for him, because he’s a bit of a douchebag.