The band initially came about for two reasons, one is that Cashel O’Reilly, who plays lead guitar and is on vocals, had just left his band. The other fortuitous event is that the Komatipoort Prawn Festival had an open slot, and the natural progression was for Cash to get a few guys together and form an impromptu band.
That was three years ago, and Backstage has never looked back. Backed and firmly supported by manager Monique Lowther, the band is going places. Its second CD is in the pipeline, it is a regular Lowveld feature at a few well-known watering holes, and was a finalist in 2016’s Innibos Rock Rumoer concert. “These guys are brilliant! I am 100% behind them and firmly believe they are going to go big,” Monique laughs. Making up the rest of this rising star are drummer Henri Jansen van Vuuren, and rhythm guitarists Marinus Jansen van Vuuren and Sarel Botha.
The music is an amalgamation of sound and talent. Lead vocalist Hannes Eloff is a trained operatic tenor, who also plays in a quartet. Cash has been playing the guitar since he was 16, bassist John O’Reilly, Cash’s father, has been in the music industry for years. Indeed, Cash’s music background can be traced back to rather famous origins.
“My grandfather was the stage manager for The Beatles and The Stones, I can still remember when my mother used to tell stories about sitting on a high chair watching them play, a chair that was reserved especially for her!” he laughs. Cash got his love of music from his father and grandfather, and his musical career, and life as a musician stems from there. “I have two great loves in life,” he smiles. “My guitar, and martial arts.”
The band’s second CD promises to be an innovation. Consisting of rock music, some English, some Afrikaans, this one is the band’s original work, as opposed to the first CD which was consisted of cover versions. Its first single is also being released on iTunes. The sky’s the limit for these intrepid musos, touring both in South Africa and later abroad. “We believe there is a definite space in the SA market for our particular brand of music,” Cash smiles. Thought of as the unspoken motivator, he is often the one to smooth rough edges on songs, if the sound isn’t right, he’ll work on it until it is.
Hannes has also loosened up considerably since the band started performing. “He was always a bit nervous in the beginning, but now he gets into the swing of it and really lets loose. Standing up on stage in front of a lot of people takes a little getting used to, but the fact that Backstage plays so many gigs helps a lot, it’s a case of getting used to it!” he laughs.
The band members really are down-to- earth, normal guys, with the odd hidden talent, and of course a driving passion for music. It is very important to them that they perform their own songs, not just cover other artists’ work. These guys are in it for the long haul and want to make it big. Their first album featured the band members’ favourite songs. Each one chose a song and then the band reproduced it in its own style. “The main thing was making sure you chose a song that we couldn’t possibly butcher!” Laughs Cash, but the opposite is quite true. Old favourites like “Smoke on the Water” and “Don’t Stop Believing” are expertly rendered under these capable hands. “Repetition is key,” says Cashel. “We are constantly inspired and motivated by everyday life, and what happens around us.”
Also significant is the band’s dedication to charity work. These guys are a constant when it comes to the Toy Run, and a big drawcard in this year’s annual Rhino Run in conjunction with Dogs on the Run. Good music, from musos with big hearts, all right here on our doorstep.
Get in touch
082-808-0386 (Monique Lowther)