Captain Stu

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Captain Stu
Origin Cape Town, South Africa
Genres Cape Town Ska
Years active 2002-present
Members James Klopper, Ryan McArthur, Jon Shaban, Matt Willis, Ryk Otto

Captain Stu is a South African ska band. The band has developed their style in the Cape Town ska scene, juxtaposing jazzy and reggae tones with South African influences to create an upbeat sound reflecting the Mother City's atmosphere.

Since their formation in 2002, the band has steadily built up a following across the country, releasing two full-length albums, and more recently an EP. In 2007, after 5 years of activity, they came under management from the UK.


The concept of Captain Stu was born in 2002 with two of the original members, initially called ‘Captain Stu and the Llamas’, however the name was later shortened. It wasn’t until 2004 that the band grew to seven members, and then back to six. As gigs became more frequent their reputation grew. They began to be recognised by some of the more prominent bands in Cape Town at the time, including Hog Hoggidy Hog and The Rudimentals, Captain Stu fast became their protégée band and were invited to play with them at gigs on numerous occasions. Lee Thompson and Ross McDonald from Hog Hoggidy Hog worked with them on the preproduction of their debut album 'The Untold Tales', released in July 2005. The album was a success, with the launch night attracting over 1300 fans (as well as local press and radio), and the music video being aired on MTV Base for a number of months.

The band spent the next few writing music for their new album and playing with a number of local and international groups, including opening for Skalladin on their worldwide tour. Their 2007 nationwide tour included stints at Uprisings Festival in Durban and with renowned group Fuzigish in Johannesburg, to great reviews.[1]

In 2008, Captain Stu entered the Virgin Mobile "Road To V" competition, which saw them doing valuable workshops with many of the industry’s top professionals and performing at various shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg, culminating in a performance at the Coca Cola Dome where they shared the stage with Maroon 5 and OneRepublic, amongst others.[2]

In February 2009, they released their second album, The Adventures of Captain Stu.

Their first single of the second album, The Journey, reached nr. 2 on the TUKSfm SA Top 10, as well as nr. 4 on the MK University Charts. The second single of the album, More Than Friends, was released in June 2009 to radio stations nationwide and reached nr. 1 on the TUKSfm SA Top 10. The music video was released single in July and reached nr. 5 on the MK Top 10 Music Video Chart. In July, Captain Stu invaded the north of SA for the third time and toured to JHB and PTA with appearances on Studio 1, UJFM and TUKSfm. The third single of their second album, Shake, was released in August 2009 and reached nr. 2 on the PUKSfm SA Top 10.

Captain Stu appeared on MK Celeb in October 2009 and MK Unplugged in January 2010.

Founding member and front man Nick Charlie Key left the band in October 2009 to pursue a career overseas. The now 5-piece group released an EP titled 'Free Music' in October 2010.


  • 2005: The Untold Tales
  • 2009: The Adventures of Captain Stu
  • 2010: Free Music (EP)

Festivals and tours[edit]

2005: Cape Town - Obz Fest; Stellenbosch - Gif Appel.

2006: Cape Town - Knifefight, Insanity Festival, Long Street Festival.

2007: Durban - Uprisings, The North; Darling - Rocking The Daisies; Johannesburg - The North; Cape Town - Obz Fest, New Year's Vortex.

2008: Underberg - Splashy Fen; Durban - Uprisings; Cape Town - Obz Fest; Jo'burg and Pretoria - The North.

2009: Northam - Oppikoppi; Grahamstown - Grahamstown Festival; Jo'burg and Pretoria - The North; Durban - East Coast; Darling - Rocking the Daisies; Bloemfontein - The North; Cape Town - New Year's Eve.

Plus the Coastal Tour - Mosselbay, Knysna, Port Elizabeth, Jeffreys Bay, Plettenberg Bay, and Hermanus.

2010: Durban - Splashy Fen.

2011: Sydney - Frolic at the Point.


  1. ^ , Blunt Magazine, August 2007 on the Uprisings Festival - ‘Captain Stu were really impressive – what a charismatic band’.
  2. ^ Cape Town Magazine Interview