Sound Bites: Mali Sewell, The Reals

Drummer Mali Sewell, (second left) with The Reals and guest vocalist Marion Loudon (second right). Also pictured, from left, are bassist Jason Andrew, keyboardist Dawn Selby and guitarist Barry Thomson.

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BILLY SUTER with an occasional column in which he chats to popular musicians about their musical likes and dislikes. The spotlight is on Durban drummer MALI SEWELL of hit band The Reals.
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Latest news from you (gigs, album, TV appearances etc)? 

We are into our mini festival of shows at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof. Look out for our Rodriguez tribute and then our popular tribute to Woodstock. We are currently performing there with Neill Solomon and Dan Chiorboli, our last show planned for 2pm today, August 19. Neill had the band The Passengers. When I was with the band Brooklyn we took over from The Passengers at Durban’s Parade Hotel. Remember Easy Beat?

What is your favourite song right now? 

August Song by The Manic Street Preachers. 

The last album you bought? 

I haven’t bought albums for a while. I have so many on iTunes and am too busy doing shows.

Two of your favourite songs of all time? 

The Wizard by Uriah Heep and Beggar on a Beach of Gold by Mike and The Mechanics. 

Three of the finest albums ever? 

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Machine Head by Deep Purple and Demons and Wizards by Uriah Heep. I used to practise drums to all three albums when I was about 14 years old. The musicianship on all those albums is outstanding, not to mention the great songs and lyrics.

Song you hate the most right now? 

Any rap song. I don’t listen to the radio these days.

Worst song in history? 

Popcorn by Hot Butter, from the 1970s. 

Song you most associate with your teens?  

Focus 3 by Focus.

Song you most associate with your early childhood years? 

Jesamine by The Casuals.

The size of your music collection and the artists represented most there? 

Huge! It varies from Elvis to Abba and Train.

Favourite radio station and DJ? 

LM Radio on DStv. I have lost touch with DJs as I don’t listen to East Coast Radio or 5FM. In years gone by it would have been Barney Simpson and Chris Prior.

The local artists you most admire? 

The Black Lapels, Circle of Stone, Stone Palace, Calamity Jam, LMB and Braxton Hix.

Artists from abroad that you most admire? 

Rush, The Beatles, Deep Purple, Manic Street Preachers, Pink Floyd, the Bee Gees. Uriah Heep. Focus, Train, The Scorpions. And so many more…

Most over-rated people in the recording business?

The recording companies who rip off people.

Pet hate about the music scene in South Africa? 

No radio station being willing to play 100 percent local music.

The one music act you would give the world to see perform live? 

Paul McCartney.

Ever asked a music personality for an autograph?

Yes. A few.

Music acts you have seen live and loved? 

Mike and The Mechanics, Iron Maiden, Foreigner, Joe Cocker, Paul Rodgers, Tina Turner, Jan Ackerman Band, Chris de Burgh, Bread, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Nik Kershaw, Billy Ocean, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Ocean, Phil Collins, Queen, Bon Jovi, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Simple Minds, Rod Stewart, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash, Santana, Katrina and The Waves.

Best singing star ever? 

Freddie Mercury.

The greatest music star of all time? 

Elvis Presley.

Best band in history? 

The Beatles.

The styles of music you most enjoy – and least enjoy?

I love rock and funk. I hate rap.

The most embarrassing artist represented in your music collection – and why is it there? 

The Roots of Bob Dylan. The album was given to me and does not have any legendary songs on it.

The one song that will always be guaranteed to get you on to a dancefloor? 

You Should Be Dancing by the Bee Gees.

The musical teaming you would most like to see? 

Neil Peart on drums, John Farnham on vocals, Steve Lukather on guitar, Victor Wooten on bass, Thijs van Leer on keyboards.

Your choice of karaoke song? 

Angels by Robbie Williams – it has a great message.

The first song you ever performed for an audience? 

The Trini Lopez version of Yellow Bird. I was 10 when I performed it.

Guilty pleasure: a song you really feel you shouldn’t enjoy, but secretly do?  

These Boots Are Made For Walking by Nancy Sinatra.

Worst decade for music?

Anything from 2000 onwards.

Hottest-looking music celebs?

Sheryl Crow.

Instruments you can play? 

Drums and percussion.

The song you’d like to be played at your funeral? 

Send Me an Angel by The Scorpions.

The song you find the saddest (and why)? J

Jar of Hearts by Christina Perry. It tells of a heartbreaker.

Two dead music icons you’d most like to invite to dinner? 

Jeff Porcaro and John Bonham.


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