WONDERboom needs no introduction! After 22 years, nine albums, multiple awards and a lifetime of experiences behind them, they are still going strong as one of South Africa’s most legendary rock bands. Best-known for their fundamental rock sound, the band has surprised listeners over the years by experimenting with different genres, ranging from funk through to punk and even afro-dance, but it is their live performances that continue to captivate audiences. Now, fans can look forward to a surprise hat-trick from the band – a brand new single, music video and South African tour!
The recent release of their ninth album, Rising Sun, after a lengthy hiatus – it’s been seven years since the release of their last album – signalled the start of something very special, and WONDERboom is now set to unleash their brand new single, Praying Mantis. Penned by band members Cito and Martin Schofield, the song is about the fatality of falling for a femme fatale.
“We wanted to capture the tragedy of falling for a femme fatale, while also depicting her sadness. It’s about the realisation that your demise is inevitable and, although she must do it, she feels devastated about taking you out,” explains Cito.
The single, which forms part of a beautiful story weaved together throughout Rising Sun, is fresh territory for them.
“It is different from anything else on the album and anything WONDERboom has ever done,” says drummer Johnathan Bell. Bassist Wade Williams agrees: “As a musician, I think the greatest satisfaction comes from being part of something that listeners can relate to while pushing the boundaries into a place that is fresh and unusual.”
“The concept for this crazy fantasy tale about being heartbroken was initiated by Roger Williams, our resident artistic genius,” explains Schofield. “We wanted to do something dark but light-hearted, to show that you should never take yourself too seriously, even in dark times.”
WONDERboom was formed in 1996 and consists of Cito (main vocals/guitar), Martin Schofield (guitar/vocals) and Wade Williams (bass), founding members who have been writing songs and performing together for over 22 years, and Jonathan Bell (drums), who joined them after the death of their friend and drummer, Garth McLeod, in 2013. The band took their name from a road sign pointing to a small town outside Kroonstad. “We liked the idea that it means different things to different people and can be pronounced in different ways,” explains Cito.
As one of South Africa’s longest-standing rock bands, WONDERboom boasts an impressive resumé – they have headlined many major South African festivals and have been nominated for five Best Rock Album SAMA’s. They also won the South African leg of the 2004 Global Battle of the Bands and came second worldwide at the finals in the London Astoria. Asked about a career highlight, the band’s answer is unanimous – in December 2017, they travelled to Chengdu, China to represent South Africa at the Silk Road Indie Music Festival in a music performance competition and won gold! Other highlights include sharing the stage with Muse, Korn, Chris Cornell, Kaizer Chiefs, 30 Seconds To Mars, Good Charlotte and some amazing local bands at Cokefest in 2008.
To commemorate their remarkable journey to date, WONDERboom will be touring South Africa from August. Explaining the reason behind their The Best Side Story Tour, the band says: “Our usual performances are balls-to-the-wall rock production shows, where we make sure the crowd is exhilarated and stomping. This, however, is an unplugged, storytelling type of show that will let our fans in on our most intimate experiences. Sometimes the stories behind certain songs are not what people expect and to have the opportunity to share these stories is rare. With The Best Side Story Tour we hope that audiences will get to know us better; individually and as a band.” In addition, they add: “Touring is a fantastic way to go around the country and play to audiences and in venues that don’t usually get to see us perform.”