What happens when the unstoppable hits the unmovable; when the inorganic hits the organic? Stone Theory asks large questions in their debut album, The Final Stand, which will be launched at Drostdy Theatre in Stellenbosch on Saturday 4 November.
Stone Theory, a progressive rock band from the Boland, includes Tertius van der Merwe on lead guitar and vocals, Lyndon Dunbar on bass and Adrian Melema on drums. This philosophical trio are no strangers to hard work. All three members are sound engineers, who decided to produce their first offering in their home studio.
The concept behind The Final Stand is “innate nature overcoming mental attitudes, which separates us from each other and from our planet. The invading alien cube of horrors on the album cover, which threatens the organic Zen floating island, is transformed into a honeycomb of flowers - which symbolises a functional ecology and mutual respect,” says Van der Merwe about the inspiration behind the songs and album artwork.
Stone Theory’s sound is organic, rhythmically complex and at times haunting, but always very melodic. Their lyrics range from everyday human experiences such as love and war, to the archetypical and the absurd.
Like many bands before them, Stone Theory has had its share of member upsets. In a previous format, the band has performed at venues such as Bertie’s Mooring, and has appeared at festivals such as The Winter Wonderland Festival in Tulbagh, The Little-Known Blues Festival and the Knysna Blues Festival.
The Final Stand is a concept album which is also expressed as a live theatre production. “This is a theoretical rock well worth exploring,” says Van der Merwe who has taken most, but not all, of the composition responsibilities on his shoulders. The arrangements and production has been a group effort. Dunbar added lyrical content to the album and Melema has made keyboard, guitar and vocal contributions.
Stone Theory’s musical roots reach deep. Van der Merwe sites his main influences to be old school blues rock players such as the two Jimmies (Hendrix and Page) and David Gilmour. But he also lists Peter Hamill and surprisingly Ali Farka Toure, as major influences. He admits that he favours emotion over technique, and this approach to his instrument translates into primordial riffs and provocative melodic solos.
Van der Merwe started piano and vocal training as an extra school subject, and launched his music career in the Youngsfield Army Brass Band, where he played bass tuba. But his main love has always been guitar, and throughout his career he has been part of all kinds of different types of bands. Rock, jazz and blues music are the major styles he has worked in. He used to play bass for Soft Landing Jazz Band and lead guitar for Slow Boat.
Dunbar’s early influences are the 70s rock super-groups such as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd. Later influences have been George Benson, Grover Washington (Jr), Cassiopeia and Robin Ford. His bass style is home-grown, intricate and filled with counterpoint themes.
Dunbar started in school as a guitarist and switched to bass soon after learning to play cello. He is a sound engineer with a vast amount of experience, and has played bass for Shrooms and Cannon, later called The Beautiful Losers.
Melema’s main drumming influence is Buddy Rich and as guitarist, JJ Cale. His drumming style is innovative and he has perfected the balance between advanced technique and a great feel. His style ranges from jazz, reggae, old-school rock from the 60’s, Afrikaans, Country to current music.
Melema started playing drums in a Church environment early on, and went on to play in jazz bands and clubs all over the Cape Peninsula, with the likes of Basil Moses, Monty Weber and the Dias Brothers. Being inspired by them, he eventually branched out into every other genre he could, with local bands such as 3D, Acoustica and The Deep Purple Tribute Band.
Stone Theory launches their debut album, The Final Stand, on Saturday 4 November at Drostdy Theatre in Stellenbosch. The show starts at 20:15. Tickets cost R100 per person and can be booked at firstname.lastname@example.org, 087 942 2459. For more information visit www.drostdyteater.co.za
Tertius van der Merwe (Band Leader, Lead Guitar) 082 429 2009 – email@example.com
Lyndon Dunbar (Bass, Technical, Sound Engineer) 082 789 4880 – firstname.lastname@example.org
4 November 2017
R100 per ticket
Bookings at: email@example.com or 087 943 2459