The South African rock scene has been bleak for the longest time; few bands have emerged onto the scene. Most of these bands have failed to shake things up. Apart from TCIYF. It’s not because they are a group of black men making rock music in a scene dominated by white men. It is because their music will leave you amazed.
Pule (lead singer), Jazz (drummer), Sandile aka Tox (bassist) and Thula (guitarist) are The Cum in Your Face.
They started the band ‘for the fun of it and to have something to do when one can’t skate,’ says Thula. ‘We don’t have facilities for us to skate all the time, so you pick up your guitar and you make music.’ He seems to be the most open of the band members. The others are quieter.
The band found an audience for their punk sound at a time where punk was considered dead. The lyrical content is that of a twenty-something-year-old struggling to make it as a black artist. TCIYF wanted to create a heavy sound. One that was a reflection of the life they live. One that would also make you want to ‘bomb’ the steepest hill you could find.
‘You can’t listen to Coldplay while slamming a staircase,’ says Toxic, who seems to be the most timid of the team. Bassists usually are. ‘And that is not the sound we were going for.’
Pule’s voice reminds me of John Lydon of the punk band Sex Pistols. TCIYF is a bit like Green Day – in the early days. It’s hardcore punk that sounds as though it was recorded in a friend’s garage. The lyrics are fuelled by sex, politics and religion. So is their name. It embodies their spirit.
The band members are also part of the skate collective named Skate Society Soweto. When asked about the skate scene in South Africa, Thula talks about money. ‘You need to have channels of income. The dudes making money off skating right now aren’t really making it off skating alone.’
‘You need to be business minded,’ Jazz confirms. Thula continues: ‘There are a lot of people making money off the skaters but the skaters themselves aren’t making money because of their lack of business channels. The tricks alone will not get you the money.’
Toxic says the skate scene in South Africa is far behind the USA. ‘American skaters can buy homes off skating but SA skaters can’t even buy their own beers.’ There’s a lack of sponsorship in the country and South African skaters are not recognised enough. This not because SA’s skaters are any less better than American skaters.
The band has now played on stages as big as Oppie Koppie (South Africa’s largest rock festival) and Thrasher’s Skate Rock series. The band members live the rock star lifestyle with large amounts of alcohol and smoking coupled with the most carefree attitude.
They still manage to inspire the kids of Soweto whenever they take to the streets with the one skateboard they own. TCIYF lets the kids know that there are possibilities beyond living in the township of Soweto.
But it’s also about keeping it simple. ‘We just wanna skate and rock out.’