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Fokofpolisiekar in Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 2011.
|Also known as|
|Origin||Bellville, South Africa|
Fokofpolisiekar (Afrikaans: [ˈfɔkɔf puˈlisiˌkɑːr], 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 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.
In late 2003 they released their first EP, As Jy Met Vuur Speel Sal Jy Brand (If You Play With Fire You Will Burn) 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.
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 February 2006, drummer Jaco Venter jumped out the band's tour van while on tour in Witbank, shattering his elbow and breaking his hip. Justin Kruger, who was previously the drummer for Christian band, Neshamah, filled in for Venter while he was recovering. Kruger ended up playing drums on the Brand Suid-Afrika EP a week after joining the group. Some songs from this studio session also later appeared on 2006's Swanesang album - the remaining songs were played by Venter later that year after his recovery and subsequent reunion with Fokofpolisiekar.
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.
In 2018 they released an EP, Droom Hoog.
To celebrate the band's 16th birthday, they had a 2-hour show with a career-spanning setlist on 23 July 2019, at Loftus D Field, in Pretoria. They recorderd the show and released it as a live album in 2020. For their 17th birthday they did another 2-hour show, with the exception of it being online. (due to the Covid-19 Pandemic).
Most recently, they performed procedures on a new EP, titled Kajuitkoors, which released in October 2020.
- 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
The band has a unique sound compared to other Afrikaans bands. Their material can be compared to bands such as Alkaline Trio. At the Stellenbosch launch of the "Monoloog in Stereo" EP, Francois Van Coke referenced a Queens of the Stone Age DVD they watched earlier that day.
The band mostly performs music that can be classified as alternative rock, varying somewhat between albums and songs. Their music provide commentary on all aspects of South African life, and in particular the socio-political milieu of Afrikaans-speaking South Africans. They provide various commentary on religion in South Africa, ranging from blasphemous references to subjective experiences of disbelief.
They changed musically with every album released, from a raw sounding EPs to more mature "Swanesang" with rock music influence. Songs like "Heiden Heiland", "Prioritiseer", "Brand Suid-Afrika" and "Backstage" off Swanesang displayed a more mature style of songwriting, as well as better 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 and influences from other projects such as aKing and Van Coke Kartel. 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 profanity "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 recognised 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 friend of Afrikaans singer Bobby van Jaarsveld  who asked for an autograph. 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 popular in South Africa, drawing large crowds wherever they perform. They were 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 offshoot 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 album in March 2009 under their Supra Familias Label.
Francois Van Coke also published a self-titled solo album in 2015 under the 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 number of shows and amount of 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.
They also released a new album labeled Selfmedikasie in 2017. A new EP, Droom hoog, was released in November 2018.
Craft beer brand
In 2014 the band announced that they would be launching their own range of craft beer named after their own songs, Dag Dronk, Antibiotika, Hemel op die Platteland and Skyn Heilig.
- Studio albums
- As Jy Met Vuur Speel Sal Jy Brand EP (2003)
- Monoloog In Stereo EP (2005)
- Brand Suid-Afrika EP (2006)
- Antibiotika EP (2008)
- Droom Hoog EP (2018)
- Kajuitkoors EP (2020)
- Compilation albums
- Live albums
- Forgive Them For They Suck K*k (2013)
- Sweet 16 (2020)
- "Biografie van 'n bende: Fokof, we'll piss where we want". LitNet.co.za. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
- "Fokofpolisiekar European Tour November 2006". Rhythmrecords.co.za. Retrieved 10 October 2006.
- [dead link]
- "News24: 'Boers' rev up Fokofpolisiekar". Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2006.
- "News24: Fistfight at CD launch". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2006.
- "Ten years of crazy fokken rock". Mg.co.za. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
- "IOL: Punk Afrikaans band suffers Christians' wrath". Iol.co.za.
- "IOL: Controversial band can play at KKNK". Iol.co.za.
- [dead link]
- "Review: VanFokKingTasties – Self-titled | MusicReview.co.za - South Africa's largest independent music site". MusicReview.co.za. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "Fokofpolisiekar Releases New Song, "Paranoia" | MusicReview.co.za - South Africa's largest independent music site". MusicReview.co.za. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- "Channel 24: And now it's time for an ice cold Fokof Lager". Channel24.co.za.