Fokofpolisiekar in Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 2011
|Also known as||Polisiekar, Die Bende, Fokof.|
|Origin||Bellville, South Africa|
|Associated acts||Van Coke Kartel
Die Heuwels Fantasties
Johnny de Ridder
|Past members||Justin Kruger|
Fokofpolisiekar (English: Fuckoffpolicecar) is an Afrikaans alternative rock band from Bellville, near Cape Town, South Africa. Due to the obscenity in the name, they are also commonly known simply as Polisiekar ("Police car") or FPK.
The band was formed in April 2003, initially as a joke to shock the mostly conservative Afrikaner community with its name and also the notion of an Afrikaans alternative band. All the members were well known in local underground music circles from their work in the bands New World Inside, 7th Breed and 22 Stars. They released their first EP, As Jy Met Vuur Speel Sal Jy Brand (If You Play With Fire You Will Get Burned) soon after forming, and one of its tracks, Hemel op die Platteland (Heaven in the Countryside) made history when it became the first Afrikaans song to be officially playlisted on national radio station 5FM. At that stage their EP was available only at their shows or sold in secret, one of these secret places was the renowned Do Re Me Music instrument shop and music school in Somerset West where De-Wet Nagel sold their first EP to spread the music among students and musos. Their first complete album, Lugsteuring, produced by John Paul De Stefani, was released in 2004, followed in 2005 with another EP, Monoloog In Stereo (Monologue in Stereo). In 2006 they released both an EP, Brand Suid-Afrika (Burn South Africa), and, a new album Swanesang (Swan Song), that included the hit single "Brand Suid-Afrika".
In late 2005, drummer Jaco Venter jumped out of a moving vehicle while the band was touring through South Africa. He suffered multiple injuries and was replaced by Justin Kruger, who was previously the drummer for ultra-conservative Christian band, Neshamah. He ended up working on their Brand Suid-Afrika album, as well as some tracks on the band's latest album, Swanesang.
After their first EP As Jy Met Vuur Speel Sal Jy Brand, and an even more popular full-length album, Lugsteuring, the following album Monoloog In Stereo went in a more acoustic rock direction, contrasting the alternative rock feel of their first album. Brand Suid-Afrika had the band return to their roots. Swanesang, their last full-length album, with more predominant acoustic elements, featuring less controversial lyrics than their previous albums. They have also recorded a cover version of Depeche Mode's Shake the Disease for the South African Depeche Mode tribute album Mode of Obscurity. In September 2008 the band released an EP/DVD entitled Antibiotika, which was recorded at Belville Studios in Cape Town. The EP features 4 new tracks, as well as a DVD featuring all of the band's music videos and a behind-the-scenes look at an upcoming documentary based on the band.
In 2009, a documentary about the band was released. "Fokofpolisiekar: Forgive Them for They Know Not What They Do" premiered at the 2009 Encounters International Documentary Film Festival in July, where it won the "Audience Award". It was released nationwide in theatres across South Africa on 23 October 2009.
In March 2011, Protea Boekhuis published an authorised biography of the band entitled "Biografie Van 'n Bende" (Biography of a gang). Written by author Annie Klopper, it explores the history of the band, their lifestyle and their attack on the mainstream Afrikaans music scene of the day.
Fokofpolisiekar have performed at various venues throughout South Africa, and in October 2005 the band toured the United Kingdom. They also toured Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom during November 2006.
- Francois "Van Coke" Badenhorst – vocals
- Johnny de Ridder – lead guitar
- Hunter Kennedy – back-up vocals and rhythm guitar
- Wynand Myburgh – bass
- Jaco "Snakehead" Venter – drums
- Justin Kruger – Touring drummer
Even though the band has a unique sound, especially when compared to other Afrikaans bands, their more recent albums have hinted at being inspired by bands such as Queens of the Stone Age. The band's earlier material is widely regarded as heavily influenced by bands such as Alkaline Trio. At the Stellenbosch launch of the "Monoloog in Stereo" EP, Francois Van Coke commented that they were very impressed with a Queens of the Stone Age DVD that they watched earlier that day.
The band mostly performs music that can be classified as alternative rock, varying somewhat between albums and songs. A common theme throughout their music is commentary on all aspects of South African life, but in particular the socio-political situation Afrikaans-speaking South Africans currently find themselves in. The band also delves into the issue of religion and whether it still has any place left in Afrikaans culture, with songs ranging from what some might consider blasphemous, to introspective songs wherein the band question their own views on religion.
They have matured musically with every album released, with their early albums being very raw, to the release of "Swanesang" which was a more alternative rock-styled delivery. Songs like "Heiden Heiland", "Prioritiseer", "Brand Suid-Afrika" and "Backstage" off Swanesang displayed a more mature style of songwriting, as well as more complex studio production (such as the use of a vocoder to fill out Van Coke's singing). Swanesang was recorded at B-Sharp Studio's in Boksburg, South Africa and was co-produced by Johnny De Ridder. The album was released in September 2006.
The EP/DVD Antibiotika is a progression on the sounds the band explored with Swanesang while also hinting at the strong influence other projects like aKing and Van Coke Kartel have brought to the Fokofpolisiekar sound. The EP was recorded at Belville Studio's in Cape Town, South Africa and as with Swanesang was co-produced by Johnny De Ridder.
The band has been embroiled in controversy since its inception. Initially, radio stations were hesitant to play the band's tracks because of the profane "Fokof" ("fuck off") in the band's name. The nickname Polisiekar ("police car") was soon adopted by that part of the mainstream media who did not want to pronounce the full name in fear of objection from the public.
Much outrage has also been expressed by the Christian community in South-Africa over the use of allegedly "anti-religious" lyrics in many of the band's songs. Lyrics such as "Kan iemand dalk 'n god bel/En vir hom sê ons het hom nie meer nodig nie," directly translated as "Could somebody phone a god/And tell him we don't need him anymore," (from their hit song "Hemel Op Die Platteland") has been met with some resistance from Christian groups.
In 2004 the band were involved in a bar fight when a group of men recognized them and insulted Van Coke, calling him a "faggot". Since then the band has earned a reputation for fistfights that often break out at their CD launches and gigs. Another example is the CD launch of Lugsteuring, where the band had to jump off the stage to help stop a fight.
Controversy surrounding the band peaked in April 2006, when bass guitarist Myburgh wrote the words "fok god" ("fuck god") on the wallet of a fan while they were discussing religion. This occurred in the early hours of the morning when he was intoxicated after a show. Religious leaders from all over South-Africa used various media (including radio interviews and letters to newspapers) to express their disapproval of the band's religious sentiment. This almost resulted in the band being excluded from the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival. In the end the band was allowed to play on the condition that the words "fok god" not be sung in any of their songs. The band later asked the public to forgive them, as that would be "...what Jesus would have done".
Yet despite the controversy surrounding their music (and to some extent because of it) the band remains highly popular in South Africa, drawing large crowds wherever they perform. They are also one of the most requested bands on the South African music television channel MK.
On 13 March 2007, Myburgh announced the hiatus of Fokofpolisiekar in the Afrikaans newspaper Rapport, saying, "All of us want to do our own thing, such as Johnny who wants to start producing, and Francois and myself who are doing our own solo projects."
Van Coke began performing acoustic sets in Stellenbosch under his own name in the last half of 2007, alongside Laudo Liebenberg, before they both set out on their own new bands.
Wynand Myburgh and Francois van Coke began a new endeavor, Van Coke Kartel with drummer Justin Kruger. Their self-titled debut album Van Coke Kartel was released in December 2007, with the follow-up album Waaksaam & Wakker being released in September 2008.
Jaco Venter and Hunter Kennedy have formed a new band, aKING, along with Hennie van Halen and Laudo Liebenberg who performed with Van Coke on his acoustic sets. Their debut album, Dutch Courage, was released in February 2008 and has gone on to be arguably the most successful of all the Fokofpolisiekar off shoot bands.
Hunter Kennedy, Johnny De Ridder and Pierre Greeff have formed a new group, Die Heuwels Fantasties, which has an electronic sound in the vein of The Postal Service. In December 2007 they announced plans to release their first EP through their own label, Supra Familias. Johnny De Ridder is also the producer. They released a self-titled full length album in March 2009 under their Supra Familias Label.
Fokofpolisiekar still regularly perform at various concerts and festivals normally on the same bill as aKING and Van Coke Kartel. In September 2008 the band released an EP of new material after originally toying with the idea of releasing a "greatest hits" compilation. A lot of fans have questioned if the band are still on a hiatus or rather just being selective over the amount of shows and press they do.
In September 2009, their vocalist Francois Van Coke had an interview with HeadbangToday.com in which he said: "We're not on a break anymore. We are doing 2-5 shows a month, but more festivals and bigger shows. After the release of ‘Antibiotika’, we would really like to do another full length album, probably next year."
Since the release of Swanesang, Fokofpolisiekar has released two new singles.
- Studio Albums
- Extended Plays
- As Jy Met Vuur Speel Sal Jy Brand EP (2003)
- Monoloog In Stereo EP (2005)
- Brand Suid-Afrika EP (2006)
- Antibiotika EP (2008)
- Compilation Albums
- Live Albums
- Fred de Vries, "Biografie van 'n Bende", Biografie van 'n Bende, 2011-06-14
- "Fokofpolisiekar European Tour November 2006". Rhythm Records. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
- "News24: 'Boers' rev up Fokofpolisiekar".
- "News24: Fistfight at CD launch".
- "IOL: Punk Afrikaans band suffers Christians' wrath".
- "IOL: Controversial band can play at KKNK".
- "Review: VanFokKingTasties – Self-titled | MusicReview.co.za - South Africa's largest independent music site". Wayde Flowerday(user). MusicReview.co.za. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
- "Fokofpolisiekar Releases New Song, "Paranoia" | MusicReview.co.za - South Africa's largest independent music site". Wayde Flowerday(user). MusicReview.co.za. Retrieved August 15, 2014.