Introducing Kobus ‘”The Phoenix” Van Rooyen

It’s time to Meet The Grind Radio Crew, starting with Kobus “The Phoenix” van Rooyen. He grew up with a love for music in Louis Trichardt (a small town in the Limpopo province of South Africa) and this did not stop him from dreaming big. In 2006 he set out to make his dreams of being in the music industry a reality. He did everything from session drumming, building stages and setting up terrains for festivals before settling into a job as a tour manager and booking agent in 2008.


The Phoenix has worked on more than 750 shows and has travelled with the likes of Dan Patlansky, Prime Circle, aKING, Just Jinjer and Elvis Blue (to name but a few), but these days you’ll find him running around stages across Southern Africa – he is now part of Hilltop Live crew (yes folks, those awesome peeps that bring you Oppikoppi every year on that dusty farm near Northam).

Besides this he is also part of the magnificent team at The Grind Radio. I recently caught up with Kobus, this is what he had to say.

Not to sound too much like that guy in “Almost Famous”, but Kobus, what do you like the most about music?

I like that music can inspire. It can drag you out of the deepest chasm and it can make you feel like the possibilities in your life are endless. It can comfort you when there’s no one else around, and it can make you feel like there are people out there who you can understand and relate to exactly what you’re going through. Music heals.

Which bands / artists are on your list op the top 5 artists of all time and which ones are on your list of the 5 worst artists of all time and why?

Goodness, what a question. I love Led Zeppelin and Mike and The Mechanics more than I love any other band. I have many favourite artists and songs though, some of which are Bruce Springsteen, The Band, Joe Bonamassa, Ugly Kid Joe, Foreigner, Queen, Meatloaf, etc. I like my old school rock. I can tell you that the artist/album that stands out the most to me, is Mike and The Mechanics and their album, “The Living Years”. I love that album as all the songs on there are great and well produced and I love the title track as it reminds me of my dad and the time we spent together before he died.

As for the worst. Fuck me, there is a tonne of that going around these days. I hate any song that’s an earworm and that you know is kak, but you still jam along to it (like every Katy Perry song). The person I hate the most in “music” though, is fucking Kanye West. What an asshole. I’d beat him to death with a shovel and piss on his face and then he can tell me what “being a celebrity and the new Jesus” is all about… fucking twat.

Other people who are kak are 96.769% of people in the Afrikaans Music scene. The person there I’d like to necklace is this pseudo – lesbian amalgamation of everything shitty, called “Sussie Wie”. With “hits” like “Ring ka ting ting” (Whatever the fuck that means…) and “Generaal De La Blou” (don’t even go YouTube it, you’re better off overdosing on heroin) you know it’s going to be loads of fun (and by that I mean, not at all). There’s also Hans Drommedaris – that guy needs to die a slow, horrible, painful death. Preferably where I can see it and laugh.

Where does the whole “Phoenix” thing come from?

I’m very good at not dying. I’ve been stabbed, shot at, beaten up in massive fights, I’ve fallen off motorbikes, been chased by hippos, almost bitten by a Black Mamba, jumped off very high buildings and even fell off a mountain once… So some of my friends decided to nickname me “Phoenix” – apparently I rise from the ashes.

When you’re not doing shows on the Grind, what do you actually do for a living?

At this point I’m part of the Hilltop Live team and I stage manage events. We’re also quite the enterprising team at Grind Radio so keep an eye out for that and then next year I want to get back into tour management (something which I still do part time now).

What song are you currently listening to and what stands out about it for you?

I’m currently listening to “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. Cohen is also one of my favourites by the way and I think a very underrated songwriter of our time. “Hallelujah” is such a great song as it details the extent to which an abusive relationship can go. The phrasing of the words and the chords fit the melody beautifully and to me the song really shows that it’s hard to let go of things that are broken. If you don’t believe, have a listen

Which SA artists / bands would you say should not be missed at Oppikoppi this year and why?

The local line up is one of the best it’s ever been this year. Gareth Wilson and his team really did a stunning job. I’d say don’t miss Boargazm (because they’re bringing heavy metal back to the people), don’t miss Newtown Knife Gang (they are brilliant musicians and their songs are so well arranged), don’t miss The Fake Leather Blues Band (because they know how to start a party) and don’t miss Ollie Viljoen and Hugh Masakela (because those guys rock). Just see as many bands as you possibly can.

When can people listen to you on the Grind Radio?

You can listen to me Wednesdays from 17:00 to 19:00 with Henno Kruger on Drop It Like It Rocks, and then again from 19:00 to 21:00 when I play you all my favourite classics.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Kobus “The Phoenix” Van Rooyen for taking time to have a chat to me. You can follow him on Twitter via @phoenixmuso. Also keep an eye on what Kobus and his partner in crime (@RuanHaha) get up to by following @OntNugterd. If you really like talking about music, you can also add Kobus on Facebook.

Well, there you have it, the first installment in the Meet The Grind Radio Crew series on Running Wolf’s Rant. If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is Caring.

Watch this space for updates in the Interviews and Music categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone
Henno Kruger

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