(Photos by the Image Engineer)
“Do we look as good as we feel?” quips Steven Tyler and so the Kings of Chaos 2014 press conference kicks off.
The rock and roll all star team known as the Kings of Chaos are hitting South Africa for the second time ever, this time including Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Matt Sorum (The Cult, Guns ‘n Roses, Velvet Revolver), Duff McKagan (Guns ‘n Roses, Velvet Revolver), Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Gilby Clarke (Guns ‘n Roses) and Robin Zander (Cheap Trick).
A “dream team of dream teams,” as Matt Sorum points out during the presser in Cape Town. He should know as Matt is the mastermind behind the concept, getting legendary rockers together and compiling a setlist of the various artists’ hits including a couple of nods to other rock greats including The Beatles, Mott the Hoople, Bob Dylan and others.
For Matt, it was about a dream, a bucket list of bucket lists and a “celebration of rock and roll”. Says Matt: “We rehearsed back in LA. It’s a great thing for us to re-educate ourselves on the greatest rock and roll ever written. For me it’s an education again, I feel like a kid. I feel like I’m 20 years old and I am listening to music for the very first time and then I am tripping out when I am on stage with these guys.”
No wonder the eccentric Billy Gibbons prefers to call it “a collision of enthusiasm”. Continues Steven Tyler: “It’s about rock and roll and how it gets into your soul. It’s like dancing around tribal fires. There’s something about rock and roll, the backbeat, it’s infectious and you can’t deny it.”
(Little surprise that Matt calls Steven Tyler “a great cheerleader of rock and roll”. Indeed.)
In an interview a bit later I ask Matt, Duff and Nuno about their first rock and roll epiphany – that Damascus moment, normally when you’re quite young, when you switch on and realise that a rock song/ band/ album is crawling into your soul and moving you in ways you never knew about.
For Matt, “It was the Ed Sullivan Show, it was the Beatles. 1966. I was six years old and I pointed to the TV and I said to my mom ‘drummer!” (Cue Nuno and Duff’s disbelief that Matt was old enough to see the Beatles on TV.)
Queen was the band that did it for Nuno: “The album ‘Queen II’ just killed me. That was it. I was like ‘Wow!’ I just couldn’t believe the vocals and rock and composition and everything together could sound like it did.”
Duff grew up in a musical family, the youngest of 10, “so there were records everywhere, guitars, drums, bass, everything.”
Continues Matt: “Duff is a lot like me, he had older brothers and sisters turning him onto shit. I had two older brothers that gave me like Jimi Hendrix and The Cream and all these cool albums that they would bring home and I just became part of that listening experience.”
When I press Matt to reveal how much of the setlist are hits and how much are his personal favourites, he prefers to sidestep defiantly: “It’s all good shit. It’s great rock and roll. It’s a buffet if you will.”
A rock buffet for fans definitely, with choice cuts by these seasoned veterans of the business. These guys are not here to chase album sales, they are here to have fun, play each other’s songs, try new lineups, put on a show for the loyal fans, but also to “hang out together” as Matt says and just have a blast with classic rock songs.
Fitting then, to give the last words to the grizzly ZZ Top riffmaster Billy Gibbons: “It’s gonna be good, we’re ready to ROCK!”
Kings of Chaos will be performing their last show for 2014 tonight at the Grand Arena in Cape Town. A handful of tickets are still available at Computicket
(more images available on the Watkykjy Facebook page)