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High Fibre Tunes

High Fibre Tunes

by Roger Young, images by Justin McGee / 05.01.2010

Fruit n Veggies are a Durban based ska influenced rock band fronted by Purity Mkhize, who sings and wails her way through their anthemic calls to not give a fuck. They are a one of a kind band, solid songs, a derisive attitide towards conventions, a blistering stage presence and a really deep commitment to living life to the full.

For the last half of 2009 Fruit n Veggies went through some tough times, tough for other people, as they caused chaos wherever they went, got banned from venues, lost managers, missed gigs and generally seemed like a band on the brink of self-destruct. After a particularly rough November, in which thier guitarist left, they took time to regroup, to find a replacement and to write new songs.

To get to the interview we have to follow them to their drummer, Sweet Lu’s parent’s house, where their band room is situated. We drive through some very deep suburbia and then pass through what seems like a jungle to come out in Yellowwood park and we follow them and pull up to a bottle store. Sweat Face McGee, who has photographed them before, notices Loopy the bassist, has shaved her head. “My mom paid me to” she says, “How much?” McGee asks. “She’s cheap” says Purity, “R280”, Loopy wails, “It’s a payment plan, she’s paying in installments, that was the first one”. Loopy then walks over to me and hands me one of her shorn dreadlocks, I thank her, “I am like a river to my people” she mock proclaims and goes in to help James, the new guitarist, buy quarts. McGee says “You know this interview isn’t going to make any sense.”

When we get to the rehearsal space, it turns out that Sweet Lu’s parents have been away and the house bears the aftermath of a protracted raping of a large liquor cabinet. It takes a while to get them to focus.

Fruit n Veg

Okay so you’ve been booked to support a few bands and you’ve started to pick up a reputation for not pitching, what bands have you missed supporting?
Loopy: I hate these questions
Sweet Lu: Um, Lark, Tidal Waves, some festival with Freshlyground, Karen Zoid
Loopy: Madonna. AC/DC. Vanilla Ice was gonna open for us.
[Degenerates into band members shouting different combinations of bands that were going to open for them]

Okay, the question is, is this deliberate, is it part of some elaborate plan?
Purity: No, No, That’s what everyone thinks
Winton: Everything is elaborately unplanned.
Purity: We just have really bad luck
Loopy: And we’re idiots.
Purity: Really bad luck.
Loopy: It’s a combination of bad luck, stupidity
Sweet Lu: Poor planning
Loopy: Bad genes, everything.

So how do you get it together to write songs?
[Loopy and Purity break out into laughter. Silence.]
Sweet Lu: We pick up a riff here, a beat there.
Loopy: Shut up! We right all our own songs. No, No, We love it.
Purity: How do we write songs?
Loopy: Jesus
Sweet Lu: Get dronk, have a jam, try remember.
Purity: Normally Darren will come up with a riff…
Loopy: Who? Who’s that?
Purity: Oh shit, sorry, I mean James, James comes up with a riff
Loopy: I came up with a riff once.

So, Purity, do you come up with the lyrics first or what?
Purity: Not really, like, plan it
Loopy: We talk about it, then we jam.
Sweet Lu: And try remember it after

So you haven’t performed extensively outside of Durban?
Purity: We have, we have, in Joburg
Loopy: Hah! Take that!
SL: It was some corporate gig.
Purity: At the Radium Beer Hall.
Sweet Lu: All I remember is that there was an open bar.
Purity: Open bar.
Loopy: I was giving tequila to hobo’s. I gave the car guard a six pack.

Okay, so mostly you perform in Durban, and the scene is not that big.
Loopy: We’ve made out with everyone.
Purity: There’s not really even a handful of venues

So over four months how many gigs can you play without running out of audience.
SL: Basically we play to the same eighty people.
[Loud laughing, James mumbles something, more laughter]

Is there a plan to release an album?
Purity: Since James has joined we’ve written new songs, we’re working on new stuff, we’ve got like twelve now.
Sweet Lu: There wasn’t much writing last year.
Purity: We have recorded some stuff. We recorded two songs and then we went to record a third and……
Sweet Lu: One day we’ll be a real band.
Loopy: We need a new drummer.
Purity: We’re going on tour with the Car Boot Vendors in February.
Loopy: We’ve been touring this town…..
Purity: I’m tryna talk! Matt from the Vendors will probably organize that.
Sweet Lu: Ja, Beard will do it all for us……
Purity: Just don’t tell him.
Loopy: We’re gonna organize our own tour one day, we’ve been touring Durban extensively

Explain your concept of “tour”
Loopy: Well the Durban tourism authority has been running a long time, only fat chicks allowed. [devolves into enthusiastic speed mumbles]
Purity: you’re not going to be able to make out a word she says….

I know.
Sweet Lu: We’re touring Yellowwood Park.
Loopy: We’re big in Yellowwood Park
Sweet Lu: We’re a household name, here. The neighbors have heard of us. Well they’ve heard us even if they don’t know who we are.

Okay, Okay, what are you’re um, influences, what genre, what would you call yourselves?
Loopy: I call them arsholes
Purity: We’ve got a lot of names actually.
James: Chilli boy
Sweet Lu: John Boyd, Jimi Hendrix
Purity: The Cure
Loopy: Look it doesn’t matter what you’ve read, its not what you know, its more of, like I’m more into the counter culture, that whole sixties thing, the dropping out part.
Purity: Le Cure
Sweet Lu: Rock n Roll
Purity: Beauty School drop out
[Loopy and Purity sing Beauty School Drop Out.]

[to James] So the last guitarist left because he says that Fruit n Veggies ruined his life, so is there any pressure
Purity: Ahhhh, Why! Why did you have to say that!
Loopy: The last guitarist left because he had herpes.
Purity: Syphilis.
James: I’m pretty stoked actually.
Sweet Lu: He doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. He arrived for his first rehearsal without equipment, late.
Loopy: He didn’t have equipment, late, no money for a taxi
James: I had been wearing the same clothes for two weeks.
Loopy: He smelt like a hobo
Sweet Lu: So he was perfectly qualified.

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RESPONSES (36)
  1. T. says:

    I love my misfits

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  2. agronomys says:

    Boooooring! Boooring!

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  3. frankly says:

    love it, get them to cape town please , brilliant writing

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  4. tara says:

    and then capetown will call up durban and say “please take them home now. the fridge is empty and there is no more clean bedding….send the cd next time”

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  5. HammerTime says:

    V&G is a weird band

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  6. panther says:

    i love these loose honeys too much 4 words!

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  7. Choobinya says:

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  8. tara says:

    …and then cape town will start to realise how sentimental its feeling and start wanting them to “come back fruits & veggies….come back, we’ve got more food in the fridge..and its ok, harleys sells beer til late at night….”.

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  9. similo says:

    these kids need to dress properly,go back to school, and respect theirelders. these are the young men and women of the future south africa they should not be encouraged to be drop outs and alcoholics, they should be brought closer to wordof god.

    shme on you all, stop drinkink so much and living like derilicts, you have a brighter future next jesus crist.

    like me.

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  10. similo says:

    come closer to jesus, but no touching

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  11. manik says:

    Come up to Joburg for a non-corperate jol this time!

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  12. Graeme Feltham says:

    Riding on the misfit wagon just is uh, just not enough. Charlatans, hypocrites, clowns, longhairs,spoonfed acolytes sucking ska’s dick while offering nothing. All neatly packaged by a journo (?) who is tone deaf. Wodja Wabbit’s appalling lack of even the grossest nuances of in-you-face-music kinda dongs a negative tone for Mahala as a publication.

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  13. Graeme Feltham says:

    And now Mahala in pop-up message form wants to dictate the speed of responses. Probably based on the abberant assumption that its group analytical processes are about as fast as . . . humbug, expedite the process and do not think to dictate to me to adopt the stoner mindset that would make it that much slower to respond. Hey, shoo, wow, know what I mean, hey?

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  14. Roger Young says:

    Feltham

    Just because I said your last album was below your usual excellent standard (WAAAAAYYYY BELOW) doesn’t mean you should strike out at the kids. They’re a good band, you haven’t heard them. If you were 18 again you’d love them. Oh wait, you were never 18.

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  15. Graeme Feltham says:

    Listen here Wodja Wabbit, forgive me for trying to elevate Mahala to more than just a mutual admiration club for all your buddies.
    As for my music you simply lack the Nuance of Grace to report on it. And so your critique is null and void – I wouldn’t say anything about other music that hinged on your abberant hearing.
    By the way, I have heard them and understand that they make you hark back to a space which was less filled by your rather alarming girth.

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  16. Callan says:

    Gra, stop being such a sour-puss.

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  17. Graeme Feltham says:

    Perhaps you should attend to the smoke-haze you can’t see through. Cut down a bit.
    The Need to be Nice feeds on an hypocracy that eventually renders everything of equal manurish value and so fosters mediocrity. And THEN how dare anyone step outside of that good-time-was-had-by-all party line. Gettit? Simple Simon morphs into stoned Stalin.

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  18. Roger Young says:

    Okay. A quick history lesson on Feltham, from my perspective.

    He was part of the brilliant Mud Ensemble, back in the early 90’s

    He once wrote and performed some music for a short film I made. The music was awesome. I was and still am very grateful.

    Shortly after that he borrowed one of my favorite shirts and used it as a wank rag.

    I lost contact with him for a couple of years, but he turned up in CT at my house while I was away, told my then girlfriend that he needed to talk to her about me, then refused to leave. At one point threatening her. I received a phone call at about 10 pm and had to send someone over to get him out. He had left before they arrived.

    Sometime in the early 00’s he wrote a dazzlingly misanthropic novel that I though was amazing when I discovered it in about ’07. At this point he was working for City Press.

    When I heard VBI, his collaboration with Martin Jacklin, I loved it, I reviewed it on this site. He started to ask me to comment on his City Press blog and so on.

    A few months ago VBI released another album, I didn’t love it. I wrote a review that Jacklin asked to see before we put it out, as there had been inaccuracies in the previous review. When Jacklin saw the review, he was fine with it but begged me not to put it up as he was afraid how Feltham would react. I sent it to Feltham who then started with the rage and threats.

    It’s been that way ever since.

    I love him

    But Graeme, here’s a pointer if you want to be taken seriously. Learn to either attack the subject or the person. Doing both at the same time makes it look like you have lost your critical facilities. I really don’t mind if the worst you can throw at me is cheap shots at my girth. It’s kinda cute. But please don’t allow your dislike of my writing style to be discredited by your own use of ad hominem and hyperbole.

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  19. Graeme Feltham says:

    Deary me, seem to have struck a deep chord.

    1) You should get your facts straight. I have never and will never stay where I am not welcome. There is defamation in this missive that can be construed otherwise. Suggest you apologise before legal action. I am not a home invader. Serious charge. Never threatened anyone. Recompense in order.

    2) It is neither here nor there whether you take me serious because – as I have often pointed out – you are tone deaf. Not your fault, still it begs the question as to the subjects you choose to pontificate on.

    3) Have always found your girth kinda cuddly. Wish you were here so that I could really hug you.

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  20. Graeme Feltham says:

    A note to the wise or otherwise:
    I am privy to your past criminal predilections and suggest you don’t again use Mahala as a forum again when your critical processes hit a spongeform blank wall.

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  21. Roger Young says:

    1, You hadn’t taken your meds, you didn’t even know who you were, let alone where.

    2. I thought you promised not to tell about the tone deaf thing.

    3. My girth, your spikes, both cuddly.

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  22. Graeme Feltham says:

    I accept your bald-faced apology, Rare Bit.

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  23. DR Pachanga says:

    you’ll a bunch of art fags!

    “NO GHOST”

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  24. Graeme Feltham says:

    Personally, I find “faggot” rolls off the tongue in my wide-open mouth more pleasantly.

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  25. johnson says:

    i agree with similo i say back to school for the lot of ye’s

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  26. manxtt says:

    regardless of “history” between Graeme and Roger, what he says is quite apt, i.e. “Riding on the misfit wagon just is uh, just not enough.”….
    this shit is old…

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  27. nora chetty says:

    perhaps the punk players will get this.
    this article doesnt give the feeling that the misfit wagon is the in thing.
    What comes through clearer is a public lesson, that the band is recognised, now maybe they should recognize that and begin to ride their musicianship as hard if not harder than the misfit wagon.

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  28. new leaf says:

    feltham, roger young is mahala.

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  29. Chilli says:

    i have no idea who Graeme Feltham is, but seriously guy, relax…

    You’re missing the point, nooone’s trying to get on any wagon, and i doubt you know anyone in the band even vaguely, so how can you say that they’re offering nothing?

    i think you’re offering nothing right now. I hope you can rid yourself of whatever it is that has made you so sour…
    You threw in numerous big words there, and i assume you know what they mean, so i’m sure you can put your brain to better use.

    So, whatever you’re trying to say, just let it go man, vengeance is rather childish.

    i LOVE this band
    they’re FUN
    they make me HAPPY.
    Hey Feltham, bet you don’t know what those words mean

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  30. T. says:

    Im trying to get Fruits & Veggies to jhb for Punk Does Beer Day… got a slot, got a park bench, we just need bus fare… anyone in jhb love them enough to sponsor?

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  31. kathpoodle says:

    I love them hard enough! but they usually sponsor me so . . . . .ya.
    miss u guys! come tour `auz! see y’all in may . . . oh, by the way, u ous ampt to play a gig at the anti-rag jol at tukkies? come freak out pretoria! i love u. peace!

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  32. heidi drew says:

    Have not been able to listen to these kids music – they are not to be found on YouTube, MySpace – or is it possible that we simply could not trace them…
    Anyway – James you should be in school – really kiddo – you guys send that baby back to school.
    Warren – do you have a manager – I believe that your band has possibilities- according to my source – so get serious – or get nowhere. Wishing you a great year filled with super gigs.
    Would have offered to put you up in Jhb – but have had some serious cleaning up to do after your last stay-over – the dagga was reluctant to be flushed down the loo…
    Stay well kids – looking forward to your first cd.

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  33. creepy says:

    i fucken hate this band……as the title suggests they are full of shit
    but despite the implication of getting enough fiber they are less than regular
    as i have said of their spin band the south coast squatters
    “maybe one day they could aspire to being Mediocre”
    trust me you don’t want these people in your city
    oh yea good luck with the album
    can’t wait for that e.p

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  34. over it still says:

    Mrs Drew… I have some tracks, send me your email address
    taryn.10@hotmail.com

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  35. ana says:

    amazing band with the sweetest ppl

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