Jun 10




A few weeks ago I wrote a blog entitled JONATHAN BUTLER PLAYED MY GUITAR. In case you haven’t read it, I tell the story of how I met Jonathan Butler at Youth Week 1982. Youth week is an anual event held by South Africa Youth for Christ. It is an event that brings together 800 to 1000 teens from all over Southern Africa. Apparently this year it is celebrating its 50th anniversary.


I visited youth Week 3 times. 1982,83 and 84, and those 3 weeks stand out as the absolute high-lights of my teenage years. YFC just know how to do things big, relevant and exciting. As I wrote in my Jonathan Butler blog, I was in music heaven. Meeting Jonathan was a life changing event.

In 1984 I started a band that was affiliated to Pretoria YFC. I was a little older than the other band members. I had finished school. There were 2 girls on vocals, Heidie and Nadine. Myself and Charl on guitars, and we had another member called Brandon who wasn’t too sure what he was at first. We decided we were short a bass guitarits, so Brandon went into his dads workshop, found some bits of wood and built a bass guitar. When he finished building this home-made bass guitar we realised Brandon had an amazing talent to build things. A few weeks later we realised too, Brandon also had a lot of musical talent as he was really getting on well playing the bass.
It wasn’t long before we  needed a sound system. We scraped together a few Rand between us, and then Brandon and I went into town in my 1967 VW station wagon. Brandon bought a few electrical components, and then once again raided his fathers wood supply. Hey presto we had a band.
After long discussions we decided to call ourselves ONE WAY OUT which was a typical clichéd name of any gospel band of the time. One day we were rehearsing at the Pretoria YFC office, and somebody walking past called me Pat the rat. From that day on the band was renamed PATS RATS.

We did a few gigs that year. We would pile all the gear into my green VW. Put Brandon in on top of the gear. The 2 girls and Charl would squeeze into the passenger seat, and off we went. I’m sure we never had any audiences more than 5 people.

And then we did our first REAL GIG. Oh what a night.

On the opening night of Youth week each year, each region has about 10 minutes to establish their theme for the week, introduce their mascot and reveal that years T shirt. This year Pretoria YFCs slogan was “Have you hugged a pet rock today” In the early eighties in South Africa there was a silly fad where people painted river stones bright colours, painted eyes on them, and kept them in their pocket. This was a pet rock. (Stupid!!)
Pats Rats played for the Pretoria presentation. We didn’t have a drummer so Loyd Martin the drummer for New Song, another YFC band played with us. We had never ever played with a drummer before, and now the number 1 rated drummer in South Africa was playing with us.
We opened with “Jailhouse Rock”. (Why?….. I have no Idea.) 1984 there was a hit song “Sunshine Reggae. …..Gimme gimme,  just a little smile”. We sang “just a little hug”, then “sunshine rocker” instead of Reggae. Our last song was also a hit that year for Stevie Wonder. “I Just Called To Say I Love You”.  At this point the whole Pretoria contingent removed their pet rock from their pockets, and waved their rocks at the audience singing the song.

Imagine this. The ultimate mediocre garage band, with the countries no 1 drummer sitting in with them. A captive audience of 1000 screaming dancing teenagers. No drugs could make you that high. Not one in the band slept a wink that night.

DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST GIG?  Why don’t you tell us about it?


First Gig,Youth week, Youth for Christ, Pretoria YFC,YFC band new song, drummer Loyd Martin,  pet rock, Jailhouse rock, sunshine reggae, I just called to say I love you, Stevie wonder

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