Gad de Combes is Adventure Man’s founder/frontman, and also a big fan of Crash Test Dummies. So much that he campaigned for his band to get an opening slot on the Canadian group’s upcoming Pretoria show. But where does this all come from? What exactly is his relationship to the band? And can he even name three of their albums?“Haha! Personally the first 3 albums are my favourites. God Shuffled His Feet is my no 1, then The Ghosts that Haunt Me. A Worm’s Life took me the longest to get into, but it is an incredible album.”
“I was in a band in high school called 3 Speed,” Gad answers, as the first step in his relationship with Crash Test Dummies. “Our singer had a very eclectic music taste, and we would often do covers of The Eels, REM, and Crash Test Dummies. Afternoons & Coffeespoons was actually one of the first covers we attempted, and I listened to God Shuffled His Feet throughout high school. After school I found copies of the other albums at second hand CD shops, and they very seldom left my car.”
For years I’ve been trying to convince Gareth Wilson (booking agent for Oppikoppi and one of the founders of concert promoter Melos) to let me do a Crash Test Dummies tribute show called Gad Shuffled His Feet and we’d often reminisce over our favourite songs, so he always knew I was a massive fan.”
“On the day the show got announced, I got a very vague message from Gareth in the morning telling me he’s going to make me a very happy man. I was slightly puzzled, but I knew it could only mean something good. Later that day he tagged me in the announcement post and I lost my mind. For me, hearing that Crash Test Dummies was coming to South Africa to perform was good enough news – but then my day got even better. I received a voice note from Gareth where he told me he wanted Adventure Man to play. I was finished. It might have been the greatest day of my life.”
“We decided to have a bit of fun with my announcement campaign. I did a CTD cover at High Seas Studios, which Jacque Du Plessis recorded and Tom Revington shot, and the aim was to get 500 likes on the post. With the help of all my friends, and a solid marketing strategy, I hit over 500 likes in just over 3 days. I don’t think there’s too many people in Joburg who don’t know the event is happening!”
“I would often play Crash Test Dummies covers when I had writers block when writing my new album. I Think I’ll Disappear Now has always resonated with me with its ingenious lyrics and incredible melodies, and I felt it suited my voice the best of all their songs.”
But Adventure Man should primarily be noticed for their original music. They released a second album, Dog Daze, last year in March.
“It was such a special album for me to create,” Gad says. “I got my brother and a whole lot of friends involved, and I truly believed we made something special. Phantom Babies is the latest single, and I’m still looking at releasing the collab track with Grassy Spark, called Sublime, as another one, from around March.”
“As a lead up to the show with Crash Test Dummies, I have been running the #10weeksofdogdaze campaign on social media. My very talented friend and artist Pierre Marais has designed a cover for all 10 tracks, and every week since December last year, I have focused on a track a week, giving some insight into where they came from. The last post will be released just before the Crash Test Dummies show. (Go check out the hashtag – there’s prizes to be won!)”
Over the next 10 weeks I’ll be revealing the backstories to the music behind my second album, Dog Daze, under the hashtag #10weeksofdogdaze. I’d like to get you involved! Every week I’ll be sharing the story behind a song, and I’d like you to join in my adventure by sharing something related that brings you joy. After 10 weeks, I’ll give away a hamper including a CD, handmade vinyl and limited edition T-shirt. The person who participates in the most original and fun way wins! The first song ‘Dog Daze’ is about all the amazing things dogs do. They only live for a relatively short time, but have such an enormous impact on us. To get involved, share a pic of you and your favourite pooch and tell me how much they mean or meant to you. Dogs are such an important part of my life and I know how much they mean to everyone else. Please use the hashtag #10weeksofdogdaze so I’ll be able to find your post 😊 Huge thanks to Pierre Marais (@thatlonehand) for designing the artwork to accompany the posts I’ll be sharing and also the T-shirt (which is based on this pic!)
“I have been working on some new songs, but don’t have definitive idea for an album just yet…”
Gad also plays keyboards for Shortstraw, who’s decided to take a bit of a break this year after a very busy 2017. “It’s quite tough juggling two bands, and after Crash Test Dummies, I’m going to be looking at booking some interesting shows. Adventure Man is very different from Shortstraw, and I love the idea of playing in a theatre, so expect some of those kinds of shows…”
But first up, mark 18 February on your calendar. In addition to a 17 Feb show in Cape Town (where Adventure Man won’t be playing), this is the other half of Crash Test Dummies’ South African visit. Wonderboom, AKING, and Bed on Bricks will complete the lineup, and tickets for both shows are available here.
Adventure Man will be playing a selection of songs from both their albums, “and hopefully at least one new song. We have been toying with the idea of dressing up as Jedi, but if not that, it will be something equally as silly. We love making people laugh. We want to do something everyone will remember.”