The Sick-Leaves

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The Sick-Leaves
The Sick-Leaves performing live at Rocking the Daisies festival, Darling, Western Cape, South Africa. 9 October 2009.
Background information
Birth name Eksteen Jacobsz
Born (1979-01-15) 15 January 1979 (age 38)
Ermelo, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Genres Rock, Alternative rock, indie rock
Occupation(s) Singer-Songwriter, Guitarist
Instruments Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Years active 2004–present
Labels Independent
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul Standard
Gibson ES-336
Gibson ES-339
Fender Mexican Jazz Bass

The Sick-Leaves is an alternative rock artist originating from South Africa. The Sick-Leaves is the solo project of Eksteen Jacobsz who is the songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and bassist.

Life and career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Jacobsz, who grew up in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, South Africa had an interest in music from very early on in his life. It was not until much later that he actually started to find an interest in an instrument as such. His childhood memories are filled with the sounds of ABBA, Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley, Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc. Jacobsz started taking piano lessons when he was 11. However, his interest in piano did not last long and he stopped after a year. Jacobsz started playing guitar at the age of 17 while attending boarding school, inspired by The Beatles Anthology movie. Fortunate enough he had a room mate who had a guitar and he asked him whether he would teach him a few chords. The thought that the strings could be swapped around did not even occur to him back then, and today Jacobsz plays guitar right-handed although he is left-handed. The first songs he could play were standard pop and rock numbers of the day. Jacobsz prefers string based instruments and guitar is his primary instrument.

Initial band inceptions & songwriting[edit]

In 2002, after receiving a degree in Investment Management, Jacobsz left for the centre of the music scene, London. He met fellow band members – who ranged from a butcher to a member of the mafia - through music ads on Denmark Street, and together they formed the infamous rock band, The Infidels. The Infidels did not have a vocalist, so it is hard to believe that Jacobsz became one quite by accident. Jacobsz admits that it took him quite a long time to convince himself that he could actually sing. For the next two years, The Infidels roamed the clubs of London - there were good gigs and there were holocausts, all part of the trade - leaving Jacobsz with fond memories of "stage thrashing, audience abuse, outside club in-fighting, an unreliable van that had a habit of breaking down when it mattered most to be on time at a venue, late night rehearsals after work and the camaraderie of being in a rock'n'roll band after a good show." When his visa ran out after two years, Jacobsz came to the conclusion that he needed to become a better guitar player - he decided to come back to South Africa and start his own project where he had a bit more control over the songwriting.

Jacobsz formed The Sick-Leaves in 2005 after his return from the UK and to date has remained the face and mind behind The Sick-Leaves.


Tunnel Vision: 2006[edit]

The debut album, Tunnel Vision, was recorded in 2005 and produced by South African producer Matthew Fink and was released by Sheer Music and in 2007 his SA Music Award-nominated (for "Best Alternative Album" 2007) debut album – Tunnel Vision.

Jacobsz clearly showed that he was a force to be reckoned with when two singles on Tunnel Vision were play listed on 5FM: "All these foolish things (I’ve said)" and "Such a Waster", which went to number 11 on 5FM Top 40. Four singles were submitted to campus radio and all four reached the SA Top 10 chart on Tuks FM and all four reached the UJFM Top 20. "All These Foolish Things (I've said)", as well as "Such a Waster", became no. 1 on the TUKS FM SA Top 10. Tunnel Vision further went on to be nominated for "Best Album" for the South African skate boarding magazine Blunt 2006 Awards.

Tunnel Vision track listing:

  1. Coffee Break
  2. Kiss and Tell
  3. Tunnel Vision
  4. All these foolish things (I’ve said)
  5. Across the line
  6. Short Skirts
  7. Such a Waster
  8. The Usual Favours
  9. To Below and Above
  10. Tell you all
  11. Par Avion
  12. Overkill
  13. Do
  14. Articles from the Archives

Stone the Crow: 2008[edit]

In June 2008, Jacobsz did not disappoint anticipating fans when he took his own game to the next level and independently released the much awaited second Sick-Leaves album, Stone the Crow. Whereas Jacobsz showed South African rock that he is a force to be reckoned with after the release of Tunnel Vision, he now showed that he is here to stay. With his high pitched vocals and layered instrument approach, Jacobsz created a whole different dimension to rock‘n’roll in SA – making him not only the inventor of this game, but master of it as well.

Stone the Crow clearly sets Jacobsz aside in a league of his own, making it nearly impossible for any other SA artist to produce a masterpiece even remotely similar or with the same magnitude.[1]

Stone the Crow was released in July 2008, with singles off the album achieving top 10 and even several number one positions on the campus charts. A music video for "The Black Disciples" was released and is available for viewing on the YouTube profile.

Stone the Crow track listing:

  1. I’ll Follow You
  2. Valley Of The Dolls
  3. Kaizen
  4. Phantom Pain
  5. Foggy
  6. The Familiar Departed
  7. The Black Disciples
  8. Coppice Fire
  9. Lock ‘n Load
  10. Scotoma (Seein’ Ain’t Believin’)
  11. Hustle Honey
  12. Uncovered
  13. Torpedoed Lifeboat

Last Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy: 2010[edit]

In November 2009, The Sick-Leaves commenced recording of the third album, The Last Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy, at SABC RDF M5 with producer Darryl Torr.[2] Last Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy consists of eleven original songs with all instrumentation except for drums tracked by Eksteen Jacobsz. The album was released on 8 March 2010.[3]

The Sick-Leaves performed on 5FM's hour-long live performance show (Live)5 on 30 January with a successful media launch of the album in association with Jose Cuervo on Wednesday 24 November at a venue called Narina Trogon in Johannesburg which included interviews for MK, youth TV channel Vuzu, ETV's Showbiz Report amongst other radio & print media.[4] [5]

Track listing of Last Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy:

  1. All you want
  2. What are you waiting for?
  3. Coz you like it
  4. Run away
  5. Move faster than this
  6. Heartland
  7. K2
  8. Tell it like it is
  9. The Geisha Puppets
  10. Come & Go
  11. From where you came

Breaking Away: 2012[edit]

In January 2011, The Sick-Leaves commenced recording of the fourth album, Breaking Away, at SABC RDF M5 with producer Darryl Torr.[6] Breaking Away consists of 8 original songs with all instrumentation except for drums tracked by Eksteen Jacobsz. As on LDOTSF Wayne Kennith Pictor handled drum duties. Overdubbing of guitars were tracked with Matthew Fink, who also took over production duties. The album was released on 23 January 2012.[7] Muse Online magazine enthused It might be The Sick-Leaves’ most uncomplicated effort, but it’s also their best to date - See more at: The BlaBla Blog went on to say He has metaphorically and effectively ‘broken away’ from being tied down to a sound he thought people wanted him to play, and has instead delivered something that he’ll be rightfully proud of in time to come. [8]

Track listing of Breaking Away:

  1. The Other Way
  2. I Know Your Name
  3. Fanning The Flames
  4. Breaking Away
  5. Catfights In Bushes
  6. No Doubt About It
  7. Not Unlike You
  8. They Died With Their Boots On


Missing / Everything But The Girl

Release : September 2008

Crying / Roy Orbison

Release : April 2011

Missing by Everything but the Girl[edit]

In September 2008, The Sick-Leaves recorded a cover for "Missing" by Everything but the Girl to expand their coverage on national radio. The Sick-Leaves filmed a black and white music video for the rendition of "Missing", which was released in December 2008, with it being on rotation on MK, MTV BASE, SABC 1 & 2 with this being the first released music video from The Sick-Leaves. The single reached the number one position on regional radio stations Highveld & KFM's [9] local top ten chart, 'The Homebrew top ten' which is voted solely by the listeners.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Both Tunnel Vision and Stone The Crow were nominated for SA Music Awards in the category of Best Alternative Album: English, in the years 2007 & 2009 respectively.[10] The music video "All These Foolish Things (I've said)" was nominated in 2010 for a MK Award in the category of Best Animated Music video SFX.[11]

Blunt magazine nominated The Sick-Leaves for a Blunt Award for Best Rock Album in 2007.


Jacobsz, who has been musically compared to the likes of Suede, Kula Shaker and The Manic Street Preachers, is forging a unique sound. People he looks up to for inspiration and who were also influential in their time and genre are Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Johnny Marr, Noel Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Jack White, Roy Orbison and Bruce Springsteen. "Jacobsz has a distinctive guitar style which is heard on all four released albums with The Sick-Leaves sound being described as classic guitar driven rock & roll with high pitched vocals and strong bass lines" [12] The Sick-Leaves’ lyrics are mostly social commentary, ambiguous and full of hope in the face of adversity.[13]


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