A Main Food Group On the Afro-Punk Scene
Name: Fruits & Veggies
Where They’re From: Durban, South Africa
Genre: afro-punk, reggae, ska
Most Similar: early No Doubt, Gogol Bordello
Sounds Like: You just quit a job you hated and want music to drink heavily to.
So we know their name sound like a PBS KIDS segment, but whatever you do, do NOT let children anywhere near Fruits & Veggies. After reading their Rolling Stone interview back in October, it was pretty clear that the horny, sleep-deprived and drug-friendly afro-punk band had none of the wholesome, nutritional value their name suggests. Luckily, we’re a music site, not a parenting magazine.
Emerging in February 2008 from what they affectionately call Durban Stone City for its abundant marijuana, the troublemaking lineup consists of frontwoman Purity, guitarist/keyboardist James, violinst Hezron, guitarist Cameron and drummer Big Bear. The ever-captivating Purity is remniscent of an early 90s Gwen Stefani, but not simply for her ska-punk punchy, dipping vocals. Like Gwen back in the day, Purity can do more than just hang as one of the boys — she’s running the show. And though she does the occasional shot of tequila or striptease on stage, it’s because she fucking wants to. Besides, her radiating confidence and unique pipes catch the crowd’s attention before any other crazy stunt does.
And the rest of the band members are no wallflowers either. From their straight random looks and dynamic personalities, it’s actually a wonder that these guys all found each other. But the self-proclaimed hobos stand on common ground where it really counts: their music. On tracks like “Taste of Love” and especially during live shows, you can just tell that they’re all feelin’ it. Expressive, raw lyrics paired with powerhouse, organic energy give the listener a rebellious surge compelling enough to get wild like one of the band members. And perhaps their hodgepodge group is what makes the band impossible to categorize. At times catchy enough for a pop hit, and sometimes too weird to be touched by anybody outside of the South African punk scene, the genre-bending blend is likely to leave you thinking, WTF? But for a band like Fruits & Veggies, that’s probably exactly the point.
Check their video for “A Clean Page” here: