By Marley

As a teenager, I had dreams of becoming a radio jock or a game ranger. Instead, I chose writing about music and musicians, which I love as well. When I was 18, Blue Moon opened up my world to music and bands. One of the bands that really played a role was Cutting Jade.

Cutting Jade was formed in 1998 and released their first EP that pretty much went to number 1 on Tuks FM in a very short time. They grew in popularity on radio and on stage. In 2000 they released their first studio album “So There We Were” and in 2001 under the David Gresham Record Company they released their second album “Between Two Lives” and their song “Ten Seconds” was released as the 1st single. Let’s just say the rest is rock ‘n roll history. You didn’t walk into a house party, night club, Blue Moon, festival without hearing “Ten Seconds”. The second single “Look At Me Now” was just as successful. I miss the days when 5FM played proper music like theirs.

Now, 19 years later since I first heard Cutting Jade I had the freaking privilege to have an interview with Andrew Duggan. The original vocalist of Cutting Jade. A dream come true.

STM: Cutting Jade is one of the legendary SA bands that so many people know and love. What has Cutting Jade been up to the last decade or so?

AD: Well, we have been playing some select shows when the opportunity presents itself, we have also had quite a few stop-start recording sessions over the last 10 years that somehow have not translated into any finished, marketable products. Whenever we seem to build up any nice head of steam, something will pop up like a new baby or a new job opportunity and then things will come to a screeching halt.

STM: For the kids that don’t know who is Cutting Jade is, can you tell us shortly where it all began for you, with the band?

AD: Well, I was studying music and was in Pretoria and went to watch Cutting Jade at a venue called Strange Daze. I was playing in a prog-rock band called Final Clearance at the time. Shortly thereafter a friend told me that Cutting Jade was looking for a singer and I met up with the guys and girl on a Tuesday night I sang “Let it be” (by The Beatles) to them and we had our first gig at Tequila Sunrise in Hatfield that Friday so it was a rush from thereon.

STM: For many years, you guys played on the Blue Moon stage here in Nelspruit. Do you have any favourite memories that stand out?

AD: For me personally I can say that out of all the places we have played in South Africa, each time at Blue Moon has been really special in its own right. But the one year it really stood out to me was 2003 because I locked my keys in my car. Haha! I absolutely love the place.

Andrew Duggan of Cutting Jade at STRAB 2016. Photo by Small Town Music Blog
Andrew Duggan at STRAB
(Photo credit Small Town Music Blog)

STM: You live now in Nelspruit with your family, how is the vibe here for you?

AD: It is very different visiting a place to actually living in it, we are still in our first year and are adjusting to being totally on our own here away from family and our core group of friends. We are slowly learning the ways of the Lowveld, but honestly, we are pretty happy here so far.

STM: Which artist/band was your teenage hero that influenced you as an artist later on?

AD: There are many but off the top of my like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Collective Soul, Counting Crows, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden. So it’s hard to single one out LOL

STM: “Ten Seconds” was a number 1 on the 5FM Top 40 back in the day. It was also the ONE song you had to play at any good house party. Do you ever feel nostalgic when you hear this or perform the song?

AD: It was the song that shot us into a lot of people’s lives and it was one of those songs that we could never get away with not playing. Now when we perform it, it does sort of catch in the back of my throat when I think of what could have happened had things worked out a little differently with Cutting Jade and the record company we were with at that time. It’s a great song and we love to play it.

STM: When you hear the crowd sing back the songs to you guys on stage, how does make you feel? I’ve always wondered because I always have goosebumps when I hear a crowd respond like that.

AD: Yeah that feeling is one of those impossible things to explain. You realise at that moment that everybody is connected somehow and the music is the common denominator. All I can tell you is it’s very humbling.

Andrew Duggan of Cutting Jade. Photo credit Small Town Music Blog
Andrew Duggan
(Photo by Small Town Music Blog)

STM: Is there any favourite Cutting Jade songs for you personally or you like to perform?

AD: I love singing “Never get used“. It’s a simple, relatable track and it lets me just let go vocally. I don’t think I have ever performed it the same way twice.

STM: Since the heydays of South African rock music to now, do you think our rock music will ever play again on radios? And make the impact on a new generation of kids as it did on all of us?

AD: Sadly I do not, well let me clarify, not the way it was back then. That was an explosion in some ways of people realizing that it is ok to be South African and to enjoy our own music and radio was on board. Even though the sound recordings were pretty bad back then (cos there was never enough budget), we as a group of bands to name a few like, the Springbok Nude Girls, Amersham, Wonderboom, Sugardrive, Squeal, Arapaho, Saron Gas, Tree 63 and so many more amazing bands, felt like we were all part of something big.

Now? I don’t know, music has evolved, things change, look rock will never die, it just changes with the times and every few years there will be a big song that will captivate people and rock will blow up again, so who knows? Certainly not me lol I just think people have also evolved into making their own decisions as to what music they enjoy and they no longer rely on radio to be told what to listen to so I think that radio as a medium is not as powerful anymore. It all comes down to the live shows again and that really is where the magic happens.

STM: Woodcrock is on at the end of August that features so many good names in the industry. Are there any bands you looking forward to seeing over the weekend?

AD: I am really looking forward to watching The Xpierreience and Jonathan Peyper and pretty much everyone on the bill. I think it’s going to be fantastic!

STM: There is a LOT of Cutting Jade fans out there, do you have a message for them?

AD: Well yeah, thank you for all the great memories, thank you for listening to our songs and being a part of our journey. We still have some music in us so don’t be surprised if we release something in the next few years. Better late than never I guess 😊 Keep it real, be good to each other.

Catch Cutting Jade along with other acts like Crimson House, Southern Gypsey Queen, Jack Hammer Band, The Black Cat Bones and a lot more at Woodcrock 13.1 over the weekend of 30 August – 01 September at Blue Moon, Nelspruit. Tickets available via Quicket at R200 or at the gates for R250. Thank you, Olaf Berg and Belgarvia for making this possible.

Marley is the founder and owner of Small Town Music. Born and bred in Nelspruit aka Nelsparta. Marley loves music (rock being a firm favourite), tattoos, festivals, animals and South Africa. Self-taught photographer and writer.