As with the trajectory of the blues and rock ‘n roll tradition, revisiting comes with reshaping and maturing. “Second Chapter” is a homage to Piet Botha and Jack Hammer precisely in the way in which the band members affirm themselves and their own musical stylings.Jannike Bergh
“Second Chapter” by the Jack Hammer Band does what it says: without any pretences, the album blasts straight into the driving rock sound that has come to define the longest-standing South African rock band.
You immediately find yourself at a Jack Hammer gig, with Duke steady behind the kit, Bean towering over his black bass like a watchkeeper, and Johno and Jake Gunn wringing rock ’n roll out of their guitars as if their lives depended on it.
The album, co-written by Johnathan Martin, member of Jack Hammer since 1996, and Jake Gunn, who joined the ranks in the 2010s, was initially set out as an impulse to craft ten songs out of the kinship shared between the two. It soon became what had been called for: an album for Piet. The album’s path was led by an eleventh track – a reworked, never-before recorded version of ‘Diana’, a song Piet Botha left behind.
Raymond Smith, Piet’s brother-in-law, urged the band to write and record as Jack Hammer again and helped to bring it all together. He also wrote ‘One for the Angels’, a song inspired by one late-night party with Piet Botha.
Through songs shared and learned on stage, the band are creating a living archive, not only by telling Piet and Jack Hammer’s musings and stories in musical form, but also by revisiting undocumented material and channelling an immense discography.
Come celebrate the official album launch of “Second Chapter” on 11 November at the JARR Bar & Restaurant, Pretoria’s home of sound.
The Jack Hammer Band are: Johnathan Martin (vocals, guitars and piano), Tertius du Plessis (bass guitar), Paul Van de Waal (drums and percussion) and Jacques Groenewald (guitars, vocals, piano and harmonicas). Gerry Robinson, honorary band member (acoustic guitars).
~ Written by Jannike Bergh, 2022.