Although grannysmith started out as a larger band with an additional guitarists and percussionists, it’s this line-up that is most well known.
[ read all about the former years on the Origins page ]
Their final two gigs [as a five piece] were on 27th March at "The 5fm Easter Rock Festival" at the Rand Easter Show, followed by the Boho Street Party in Melville later that same night. After that night a few things were to change! Not only to the line-up, but also to the style of music the band played.
During the months leading up to that night, tensions within the band were beginning to rise! Steve the drummer was not completely committed to the band, as he had a fastly developing career as a food technologist, and could not play full time. Richard the other guitarist, and one of the founding members, had plans to travel to the UK. These, amongst other problems including differences in song writing direction and involvement, caused the two other founding members Mike and Adrian to slam on the brakes and take stock.
Adrian and Mike decided a break was needed. Richard went to the UK. Steve followed on with his day job and Gil, the percussionist got on with other things.
Meanwhile, Adrian moved in with Mike and began working on some new material. They both agreed that if the band was going to get anywhere, they needed to be playing more "radio friendly" songs. Their past material was more self-indulgent funk-rock, and was struggling to get any serious record company attention. grannysmith had been in talks with BMG records and Scorpio music in the past [who had both put them in the studio], but nothing came out of that. It was realised that good, solid song writing was needed.
So, during the cold winter months of 1999, Adrian and Mike, accompanied by a "Japanese drummer", and a few bottles of red wine, knuckled down to some serious work. Then suddenly towards the end of June came two mountains of good news. First came the news that BMG was liking their new material. And then, Denholm from Just Jinger, a friend and fan of the band, introduced them to a friend of his. A drummer. A damn good one at that. And as anyone in the music industry knows- good drummers are like gold dust.
Riaan had been playing in a cover band, and when he heard the demos, realised that grannysmith was the band for him. It didn't hurt that BMG were interested either! The first jam session together went very well, and pretty soon he had joined the band. By the end of July BMG were interested in signing a deal. So the band went into BMG's demo studio for a few weeks just to get down a rough recording of all their new material with Riaan. In August the contract was signed, and the first single was decided. it was to be "Starlight".
Spring was in the air, and a new grannysmith was born!
The boys then went into the studio and recorded "Starlight" and "To you" which was released as a single. They then went on a small tour of South Africa to announce the new band. Playing at some of the top festivals and venues around the country. As the year drew to a close, the band went back into the studio for pre-production on the forthcoming album.
The year 2000 saw the band alternate between writing and touring until finally in autumn they finaly went back into the studio to record the full album, which was released in September. for more info on the recording click here
During the recording of the album they were called away to Sun City for the yearly S.A.M.A. [South African Music Awards], where they were nominated for best single of 1999. Unfortunately not winning though, as that honour went to Sugardrive for their song "Disco Lazarus"
On the day the album was released, the band played live and unplugged on 5FM- on Ian F's "music power half hour" show to around 6 million listeners, showcasing a few of the tracks from the album. The band then embarked on a tour of the country to promote the album. Joining them was session guitarist Deon Katz who played on the album.
Unfortunately during this tour tensions within the band got to a head. Differences in the way the band should be managed and the day to day pressures associated with touring eventually caused Mike to leave in late October. The band carried on nevertheless - recruiting various session bassists. In November Mike joined the band for one last gig at the Midmar festival where they played two nights. Not long after that the band were asked to open for Savage Garden and then for Westlife to packed out arena's.
Then, suddenly tragedy struck! One weekend in December Adrian's young son Shannon died in a drowning accident. Once again the brakes were applied! Adrian took a time out! This tragic event gave Adrian some time to think about his life. The conclusion he came to was that family is far more important than any band! So the band went their separate ways.
Adrian was still in love with songwriting and playing music however. It was in his bones. During this time he was still writing, and, inspired by what had happened wrote the song "My Angel" which he released as a solo artist. It was dedicated to his son, with all proceeds going to the drowning awareness campaign. He did very few live performances, and instead started playing and singing in his church. Adrian is now a devout family man, married to Claire and they have a young son Aiden. He still does the occasional performance and has recently recorded a new album.
www.myspace.com/adrianshannonmusic for more info on Adrian
Mike is now working as a Freelance Photographer and House Music Producer. Visit www.miketurner.co.za for more on what Mike is doing these days.