Interview with the Parlotones

Posted by Lisa Johnston on 12 October 2011

Finding the Parlotones at any given time is a bit like looking for a needle in the haystack. One moment they’re playing a corporate gig, the next they’re performing in Cape Town. Log onto their Facebook page and there’ll be a status update from Johnny Depp’s club, The Viper Room, in LA. One thing’s for sure: these guys get around.

Musicians Kahn Morbee (lead vocals and guitar), Paul Hodgson (guitar) Glenn Hodgson (bass and keyboards) and Neil Pauw (drums) have been hard at it since 2003 when they started playing in the kind of dingy bars journos like to frequent. Nowadays they’re one of South Africa’s biggest-selling bands and they’re making inroads overseas too.

What would be your ultimate road trip?
KM: I’d start somewhere in the bush, meander down to Kwa- Zulu-Natal through the Berg and down the South Coast. Then cut through the Transkei and the Garden Route to Cape Town. I’d mix up accommodation to include backpackers, camping and swanky hotels.
PH: I’d drive to Swakopmund, Namibia, making stops along the way. But the Eastern Cape is also rad [with] lots of cool places to stop and check out.
GH: South America, all across it.
NP: Dodge elk in Norway, twist up the Apennine roads in Italy, marvel at fairytale castles in Germany … there’s really no better trip than that.

What would the soundtrack be?
KM: Right now I’m really into The National, Band of Horses, The Decemberists and Bright Eyes, so a mixture.
PH: I’ve started checking out podcasts lately. I’m currently listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, which is very cool.
GH: Are We Human by The Killers on repeat.
NP: Bad sun by The Bravery.

What’s the dodgiest place you’ve stayed?
GH: There’ve been so many…
KM: Probably our not-so-airtight van in the coldest part of Scotland in the middle of winter, sleeping sitting up and inevitably having to wee in cold that almost froze my lil’ guy off.

What’s your favourite spot in Joburg to take overseas visitors?
KM: Roots Restaurant at Forum Homini and the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve. I also love Harties, so if they’re up to a bit of wakeboarding, it’s a very scenic trip there and a day in and on the water is amazing.
PH: Neil’s house, for one of his famous house parties.
GH: Reckon I would just hop in the car and drive them to random spots, pub-crawl style.

Worst meal you’ve had on an airplane?
KM: Someone told me if you asked for a special-requirements meal such as low sodium or low fat, you’d get your food fi rst which meant more movie and sleep time. But it’s clear that bad airline food is, in fact, masked with sauce. The special- requirement food may be healthy, but it tastes like arse.
GH: I once bit into a piece of chicken and it burst in my mouth. Like biting into a boil. That pretty much marked the beginning of my move to vegetarianism.
NP: I kind of like airplane food.

Most unique souvenir?
KM: A signed baseball caught in the stadium during a major league game.

How do you deal with the boredom of longdistance travel?
GH: Used to be a PSP, but I’ve recently bought a Kindle, which is amazing. Otherwise I sleep. Or drink. Or bang my head against the seat in front of me.
PH: “¦ sometimes, we even talk to one another!

Where would you rather be right now?
NP: Anywhere, as long as I’m travelling and touring the world, enjoying playing to everyone.
PH: I love just being at home with nothing to do, especially the mornings. By 09h00 I’ve dropped my daughter at school and my wife is at work so I have the house to myself. I read, have a little nap, play a little guitar.

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