Centrestage’s 27 Club
Centrestage introduces the talents of Kerry Hiles to Port Elizabeth audiences as the dynamic singer/bassist/actress fronts the new Centrestage production, playing the roles of Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse.
Backed by the seven piece Centrestage All-Star Band, the show pays tribute to the members of rock’s most tragic club - the surprisingly high number of famous musicians who died at the far too young age of 27.
Besides being among the biggest legends of all time, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain are also members of this large and sadly still growing fraternity.
Wayne Kallis will emulate the broody Doors front-man, as well as perform a number of celebrated Nirvana unplugged classics.
Bluesman Rob Thomson steps ably in the shoes of Hendrix and another 27 Club luminary, Crossroads blues pioneer Robert Johnson, and also plays the blues riff’s on some of the best loved Janis Joplin songs, whilst Hugo Kleinhans salutes founding Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones.
The rhythm section comprises of Andrew Warneke on bass, Kevin Mattheus on drums, and Gavin Grundlingh on the keyboard.
While the specifics of the untimely deaths of the members of the 27 Club obviously vary from case to case, the underlying story is often the same - the pressures of sudden fame, the stresses of a grueling life on the road and the seductive, deceptive escape of alcohol and drugs, now easily obtained due to new-found wealth, proved too much for these still very young people to handle.
Joplin, Hendrix and Winehouse all died after mixing alcohol with drugs, and the deaths of Morrison and Brian Jones are surrounded by some degree of mystery as they were found dead in a bathtub and a swimming pool respectively.
Most members of the 27 Club endured strikingly difficult childhoods which inspired them to express themselves through music and to turn to drugs and alcohol as an escape, bringing into question whether the almost limitless resources in adulthood can undo the impact of their adverse childhoods.
It could also be argued that the wealth obtained so early in these rockstar lives and the removal of much of the need to adhere to society’s standards of good responsible behavior, actually made these musicians much more susceptible to addiction and tragically early deaths.
Currently based in East London where she runs her own cheese production business, Kerry Hiles spent a number of years on the Barnyard circuit as bass player and lead singer. She has fronted many top theatre productions, travels regularly around the country with comedian Gino Fabbri and even did a two-year stint on Isidingo a while back.
The 27 Club features Janice Joplin classics such as Me and Bobby McGee, Ball and Chain, Summertime and Piece of My Heart, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, Rehab, You Know I’m No Good and Love is a Losing Game, Jim Morrison’s Light My Fire, Roadhouse Blues, Riders in the Storm and LA Woman, Hendrix’s Purple Haze, All Along the Watchtower and Little Wing, Nirvana’s unplugged The Man Who Sold the World, Where did you Sleep Last Night, Come As You Are and Smells Like Teen Spirit, amongst many others.