HalfPrice emerged on the scene in 2001 and immediately stuck out as being one of the few bands that could put together a good song sustaining an impressive stage performance without ever compromising passion. They also became rapidly well known for their crazy antics and outrageous attitude towards life both on and off the stage.”
Pete and drummer #1 Gareth played together for a month or two before a chance meeting on the streets of Cape Town in May 2001 brought together founding members Pete and Markus (later to become the DFG). The main idea behind the band formation, besides their love of punk rock and ska music, was to create a platform where they could write creative entertaining music expressing their views about whatever issues they wanted to, be it offensive, completely ridiculous or plain light hearted content. At the same time they wanted to portray a 'not so serious' attitude towards life which they felt was sorely lacking in their everyday society and the local band circuit. In keeping with the idea of having as much fun as humanly possible, they deciding to call the band HALFPRICE.
After the early departure of drummer number 1 ,Gareth, drummer number 2 Brett joined and so began the legacy of drummers. Brett had just moved down from Jo-berg after leaving what was then called the Vendettas and he became their new drummer. Brett could not remember any of the songs. Markus would shout "slow" , "fast" , "stop" after 2 months of playing the same 4 songs. HALFPRICE’s future with Brett seemed bleak so hey stopped phoning him and he didn't seem to notice or care- Enter Drummer number 3 Geoff from Fungy Gone West and then LP Show. He was always meant to be temporary and only joined because HALFPRICE had a show booked (October 2001- Death of Pop) The organisers called them Bad Influence. Although people said they were pretty okay that night they enjoyed the show and Geoff stuck with them as a "permanent" drummer.
After much searching HALFPRICE secured more gigs at the whammy bar in Table view with My Latest Ex, every weekend for a month. Things seemed to be going well and Geoff had settled into the band nicely when one night at a show at the Purple Turtle (live venue in Cape Town), Geoff decided he didn’t want to play. Since HALFPRICE had organised the show and there was quite a good turnout they played a couple of songs with The Dirty Locals guitarist Steven on drums. Steve had never seen Halfprice play before let alone know their song, and the performance went down in history as the worst show ever.
The band seemed to be in its worst position yet and Pete didn't seem to care about anything anymore when out of the blue drummer number 1 Gareth decided to return. HALFPRICE was back on track and started writing new material. However, the return of Gareth ushered in an era of excessive drinking before, during and after shows, naked performances as well as swearing at underage kids and at each other.
It was during this period that Markus heard a crowd member say that HALFPRICE sucked and couldn't play their instruments because they were always so f*ucking drunk. This seemingly drunken outburst brought about a new era in HALFPRICE as they decided to prove people wrong.
This seemed to work well and HALFPRICE stuck to proving people wrong, playing some good shows, some free shows. The word started getting out and HALFPRICE started playing gigs with some of the bigger Cape Town bands like Hog Hoggidy Hog, New World Inside and The Rudimentals as well as touring bands from the Gauteng - Leek ATBU , Evil Eddies, Vendetta Cartell, Curb Dogs and Fuzigish.
At some stage during this period they "toured" Bloemfontein with Fuzigish and The Curb Dogs and experienced some exotic entertainment at the Eager Beaver. Details about the evening are still sketchy but the experience changed drummer Gareth's life forever. This led to the creation of the infamous "drunk punk" gigs.
Just as things seemed to be going really well for Halfprice and they had started to record an EP (BUSH, BIN LADEN and my MOM’S NOUGHT, Gareth (now drummer #4) got himself a job and went overseas leaving Pete and Markus with the task of finishing the EP. Enter drummer number 5 - Luke :things just didn't quite work out.
Enter drummer number 6 – Kyle he was only supposed to be temporary to help out finishing the EP and a show. After a dodgy first practice things started to sound good, in fact things were better than ever before. Kyle ,previously in a metal band, found that this punk vibe wasn't half bad and decided to stay on as a permanent drummer.
BUSH BIN LADEN AND MY MON’S NOUGHT (2002)
HalfPrice were back in action just in time to record the last two tracks for their upcoming EP and play their first gig with Hog Hoggidy Hog, New World Inside and the Rudimentals at the Mother City Alliance #3.
HalfPrice finished the EP production and released BUSH BIN LADEN AND MY MOM’S NOUGHT at a party at Dirty Dicks in Hout Bay. The EP is fast and furious and deals with drinking rather than studying or just being content to survive each day with a smile on the face and a beer in the hands, while bringing out HALFPRICE’s own brand of humour and satire and their ability to laugh at themselves. The music really began to develop and infamy started to grow. Around about this time, the band were offered a clothing sponsorship deal by local alternative lifestyle label Kartal Industry Ware.
The band took a few months to adapt to Kyle's metal drum slogs but emerged as a stronger unit and this relationship was cemented during the next couple of months as Kyle fitted in perfectly and a unique friendship formed between the members. The band gigged and toured as much as they could afford to around Cape town and the rest of South Africa.
THE NEW GUY
After about a year Halfprice looked into recruiting a four member, another guitarist and backup vocalist. Enter Mr Rene Traut.
When Rene joined the band, everything changed. The music seemed to finally make sense and the band really began to progress in terms of song writing and technical skill. His first show as a member of Halfprice was also his unveiling as BIG GAY RENE to the world at large at a punk and ska festival called "Riot in the Madhouse" at Oudemoulen village, Cape Town where he played 5 songs in his undies. This was thhttp://en. .org/skins-1.5/common/images/button_bold.png Bold texte final leg of the dirty underwear road trip where the band drove and gigged around South Africa in just their underwear.
TAKING LIFE SERIOUSLY
Halfprice began to plan to record a full length. It was around this stage that Halfprice launched a massive 10 day tour with Joburg band The Stevie Wonderfuls called "Under the Influence" playing shows in Cape Town, Durban, Joburg, Nelspruit, Pretoria etc.
After a frenzied rush to finish off the newer and latest songs the band headed up to Joburg to record "Taking Life Seriously". Finances were sorted out by the HUMAN WINKY who was kind enough to loan HALFPRICE some cash to finish the album. It was towards the end of the recording when a Johannesburg record label approached HALFPRICE.
HALFPRICE had been friends with legendary Joburg punkers Fuzigish for years. They were starting a record label and they wanted to sign Halfprice. TAKING LIFE SERIOUSLY was released on RED AMBULANCE records in September 2004. TAKING LIFE SERIOUSLY shows a more serious side to HALFPRICE with songs showing the pitfalls of excess and having to deal with the sometimes not so sunny side of South Africa. But through all of this, they still manage to maintain their characteristic sense of humour using satire and sarcasm to poke fun at the ambiguity of “serious” situations.
The launch party coincided with the release of their first music video “TAKING LIFE SERIOUSLY”. The next weekend saw Halfprice get interviewed by GO TV in Joburg where they went to release their CD, playing two rocking shows in Joburg and in Pretoria with the mighty Fuzigish Halfprice also launched a new website at this stage and fed up with the high prices bands were charging for gigs decided to throw a string of R10 shows to promote TAKING LIFE SERIOUSLY .
BANNED FROM SOUTH AFRICA
With the growth of HALFPRICE’s infamy more and more venues were open to them to play. However, not all of these venues were prepared for the kind of entertainment HALFPRICE had to offer. Soon venues and festivals refused to let HALFPRICE play because they were too loud or too rude. The culmination came when premier live venue The Jam (later The Mercury Live) banned HALFPRICE from playing.
With venues in South Africa locking doors, HALFPRICE ventured north into Namibia in June of 2005 playing a sellout show in Windhoek. Fueled by this ,HALFPRICE then embarked on BANNED FROM SOUTH AFRICA: EUROPE TOUR in December of 2005.
2006 involved some mad touring. The decision was made to put out a new album in September, so in preparation HALFPRICE toured like mad taking them up the coast for 10 days with LP Show and then the next 5 months involved touring to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Grahamstown, East London, Namibia, PE and pretty much any town they hadn’t played in before.
July 2006 was time to record and even during this process, HALFPRICE continued to play shows in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. At the end of a long 8 months of touring, HALFPRICE packed their bags again for a tour to Europe to promote the new album BANNED.
Taking a slight departure from their previous album BANNED show strong influences of Operation Ivy, Rancid, NOFX, Guttermouth, Terrorgruppe and AC/DC. The HALFRICE foursome had now been playing together for 3 years and BANNED was a cementing of a new era of songwriting for the band. The tour to Europe, although long and challenging, did showcase a tighter more professional HALFPRICE and this was seen at their inclusion in the Popkomm festival in Berlin, Germany.
The Launch of BANNED in Cape Town turned into 2 huge events. When the doors opened at the all ages launch, there was a 600 strong crowd waiting in the rain to tear the walls apart. The over 18 show saw the ban from The Mercury being lifted and the venue was packed.
New Years 2007
2007 Began with a bang. Halfprice were invited to play at the Amphies new years party in Swakopmund in Namibia. When Halfprice was finally about to start playing the crowd of well over a thousand was so excited that not much could have held them back. Singing along to every song dancing, moshing and just having a good time, it didn’t take much for them to break completely out of control. A simple “I wanna see you right here in front of me, BREAK DOWN THE BARRIERS” from Pete was enough to almost cause the mob to riot.
The stage managers and hired security then stopped the gig demanding the crowd to behave and go back behind the barriers. Reluctantly, the crowd replied as they still wanted the show to go on. At this point as the DFG took the microphone and said: “If you can’t come to me, I’ll come to you”. He proceeded to leap off the stage running around in the crowd and over the barriers. The security division was not impressed and told Halfprice they could only play one more song. As Halfprice started playing, fans went absolutely crazy. Half way through the song, the security, fearing that the barricades would be broken down again, began to deploy pepper spray and tear gassed the roaring riot.