Friday, October 14, 2011

Duty Bound Hound - as featured on

Duty Bound Hound
Passion. It is ultimately what drives most humans. From hedonism to nihilism, our passions guide and dictate the world around us. I have a passion and its beautiful naked punk rock, goth and emo girls with tattoos and piercings and it’s my job – no, my duty – to find out more. The first stop on my journey led me to
The Suicide Girls began in 2001 in the North Western United States as a project of passion with a core goal – to celebrate the diverse and beautiful real women of our world, women who are smart, enthusiastic and are unapologetic about their approach to alternative culture and sexuality. In a few short years its soft core pin-up images have become a global phenomenon, being featured in everything from music videos to CNN. It would seem that mainstream culture can’t keep their grubby paws off these vixens.
Which brings us to another interesting fact : the average log on time on the website is 4 minutes, which strangely is the same amount of time that it takes the average man to jack off. Co-incidence? I think not.
Diaz Suicide
It must be said that my heart pretty much stopped when I discovered that I was on the roster to interview Diaz Suicide – South Africa’s first representative to the global Suicide Girls phenomenon. This is my chance – a Goddess given opportunity not only to meet an object of global desire but to also to drink copious amounts of tequila with her (and perhaps lure her back to my place for a “cultural exchange” of sorts).
To be perfectly honest, this will not be our first encounter. Diaz and I have crossed paths before. I remember the evening well – picture a hot sweaty club in the heart of Jozi, thumping to the voodoo vibes of Submachine (, from the stage I watch the dance floor pulse and twist in what I imagine a hurricane would build momentum. There right in the middle of the chaos was a small, unusually attractive girl. Now in most mosh-pits, a girl like that would have been swallowed whole but she stayed afloat with an almost Zen like calm. It was as if the dance floor was moving just for her, like puppets or the tools of an expert juggler.
I took a mental snap shot – she need a little more “investigation”.
We met again at the Rockford Indie Fest where the newly recruited Suicide Girls were strutting their stuff and then again on the set of Juggernaught’s “My Daddy’s Land” music video shoot. It became obvious that music and the night life were high on her agenda.
Spank you very much
So I manage to persuade the good folk at Mahala that they need an interview series with all the South African Suicide Girls. And I would be the best person to conduct these interviews. It’s a thankless task, drinking tequila with Goddesses and wantonly pursuing them for my own ulterior genetic imperatives and journalistic credibility but it all makes for good story!
The first thing I noticed while chatting to Diaz is her focus. When answering questions she barely deviates from eye contact. Her hazel eyes are piercing and sultry and bring forth thoughts that my mother would disown me for.
Her voice is clear and confidant. She feels no shame and her photo sets are testament to that. She has the classic pin up figure and occupies the camera frame with intimacy and grace.
I decide to start with the cheesy opening question and try not to stare down her shirt.
“What does the ethos behind Suicide Girls mean to You?”
“Coming from a fashion industry background I know how much pressure the media puts on young women in our society to be ‘skinnier’ ‘taller’ ‘blonder’. This idea of perfection that is unattainable for most people is such an unhealthy, unrealistic model. When I first saw SG I saw these strong, sexy, unashamed women who looked different, they look like the girl you see at a bar or the girl who was your neighbor growing up and she was proud of the way she looked – I knew right away I had to be a part of that.”
“Uh, what made you decide to start ‘modeling’?” (The thought of sexy unashamed woman sends a drop of sweat running down my back.)
“I never wanted to be a model; I wanted to be a Suicide Girl.”
“Ugh! What is your favorite Saturday night record?” (Here we go, baby…)
“Hmm… That is a tough one. I love a really wide variety of music. I’d say internationally I love to party to Rage Against the Machine, Locally there is nothing like the Vendetta Cartel to get the party going!”
Does my bum look big in this?
“What is your favorite Sunday morning record?” (My mind races with thoughts of Diaz in an over sized shirt, lounging around a soft couch, her tattooed skin peaking through as she wriggles for comfort – I swallow another tequila)
“Again, it changes depending on my mood. Today, I will say Porcupine Tree.”
“Are you involved with any, uh, other artistic projects?” (I stammer, sweat and tequila running down my face)
“Well I am featuring in a burlesque performance by Ella Fiend at the D-Tour Girls launch. That is really it for now, I am leaving the country very soon so I can’t really take on new projects.”
“What keeps you coming back to”
“BOOBS! No, kidding. Really it is such a great social network aside from all the hot ladies. The groups are vast and wide and you are sure to find a group dedicated to what ever your interests are (no matter how macabre) where you will find other people from all over the world who share the same passions as you.”
“How does it feel to be a sex symbol?” (or should I say how does a sex symbol feel?)
Hahaha, I don’t really think of myself that way.
“We sure do. Do you make friends easily or have you made any enemies on your path of hotness?”
“I am pretty social and I tend to make friends easily. Enemies? Not so much, I don’t really care enough about people I may have fallen out with to consider them enemies. They would just be people I don’t spend my time with anymore.”
“Outside of, what are your other passions?”
Tattoos!!! (I am getting a new one next week by Ryan Bolton from Spooky Tattoonz, verrry excited).
She pauses.
“Travel – I want to see as much of the world as I possibly can. I have a real hunger for travel.”
“Dogs, I can’t wait to settle down in Israel and get a dog. Either a Pug or a Pekinese.”
Nibbles on her pinky finger tip for a second.
“Music, I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than watching a great live band. Then there’s Family and friends of course, I couldn’t live without them.”
Reads him like a book
OK. “Do you have any highlights/lowlights with”
Lots of highlights, getting to be in Juggernaught music video was lots of fun. Working with Slashdogs at Red Carpet was awesome. Meeting the other SG’s and the lovely Talamia who have all become really important in my life. Getting another shoot purchased last week was great. Lots and lots of highlights.”
She pauses sucks the lemon rind atop her empty tequila shooter glass. “Lowlights, it is always hard when your shoots don’t get purchased (I have had three that weren’t) but you have to harden up and not take it personally.
There is only one new set a day, so its 365 a year. With over 2000 Suicide Girls and countless hopefuls it is getting harder and harder to get one of those slots.”
“Did anything “strange” ever happen to you because of your association with SG?”
“Not really, I mean of course you get the creepy messages but that is normal.”
“Is there a common theme with your photosets?”
“Me!!! hahaha. I am the only thing that is a common theme. I try to shake it up and make each one unique.”
“Do you have any advice for girls wanting to follow in your footsteps?”
“Get a membership on the site, even if it is just for a month. Check it out, feel your way around. A lot of girls say to me they want to be a SG but they don’t really know what that means.”
And with that the Jozi skies open and our conversation is cut short as we run for cover. Now how do I get her out of those we clothes?
Images © and courtesy, James Adey, Andrew Banister, Jacqui Van Staden, Alison Tu

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The quiet before Storm Awesome!!!

There was a wild monkey-like scream. Right below me a surging mass of sweat and tattoos begins to part and reveals a sinewy beast in it’s epicenter. He screamed again and then proceeded to beat three colours of shit out of a floor tom. I can remember the sharp taste of electricity and blood. Storm “Awesome” Thomas is not your average drummer.

“I believe one of the important things in life is to be open minded and have a wide perception,” he tells me in a recent internet conversation. “Funny enough, I remember sitting in my garage behind my drum kit about 10 years ago. We were having band practice and things seemed so different back then. Since that point I have played with so many bands, so many people and done so many shows.”
He’s been known to be one of the hardest working musicians in South Africa, once playing  7 shows in 3 days. “There have been late nights, fatigue and doubts, but when I look back on this road that I have traveled there isn't a thing that I would change. I feel fortunate and blessed that through hard work and perseverance, I finally got out of the garage.”
Persistence is the key, listening to the inner critic and learning not only from your influences but from yourself. In Storm’s words “Even when your mind says stop, never let your heart hear it.”
When it comes to keeping his skills in check he is not afraid to stretch into other styles and genres. “I am fortunate in the sense that I listen to a lot of different music and so when I approach a piece of music or my practice routine, I can approach it with an open mind and its good for building muscle memory by always challenging yourself with things you would normally never play. My drumming influences are mainly drummers who maintain a strong groove, play for the song, keep things original and fresh, portray their energy and feeling into what they are playing and are generally good guys that work hard.”
“I have been self taught for the most part of my drumming career. When I was 14 I learn't the basic 4/4 beat on a bongo drum. Two years later I moved onto the drum kit and watched endless concerts of my favorite bands on VHS. I studied the drummers I saw and learn't my instrument. It was only until this year that I enrolled in Georg Voros School of Drumming. I do feel that it made me a better player because I got to find my style first and now at this point in time, I am perfecting my style and with that, learning more in depth about my craft from an outside source.”
When it comes to his gear it seems that it’s the bigger the better. “I have always had a weakness for big drumkits. I also love a lot of percussion built into a kit. Timbales, roto-drums and a gong!!!”
And your closing message to all the young drummers out there?

“This music thing is hard and heavy at times and there will be days when you want to give it all up. On those days, that is when you have to work at it a little harder. This life ain't easy but it can rewarding if we work hard and persevere. And remember that in everything you do, you are Awesome!!!!”