If you’re in a rush …
Jet Pilot is a three-piece rock band from Pretoria whose music is gouging a niche within the alternative rock scene, with thought-provoking lyrics and gritty melodies. Their influences range from Foo Fighters and U2 to Bob Dylan. That said, Jet Pilot’s sound is different enough not be pegged to any other band. The different individual music tastes, although ‘rock-centered’, ensure a unique sound, from Dave on guitar and vocals, Francois on bass, and Sholto on drums.
Their debut studio EP opens with ‘Never Alone’, about someone who feels alone in their pain, followed by ‘What’s In A Moment?’, a commentary on our age’s tendency to be caught up in moments of satisfaction while ignoring the bigger picture of life. Finally, ‘Never Gonna Find’ tells of someone looking for answers in the wrong places.
…if you’ve got some more time on your hands
Jet pilot originally started when Dave, a guitarist, discovered that Francois, the brother of a good friend of his, had spent three years in Latin America playing bass guitar for some kind of group.
They chatted and then decided to start meeting on Thursday nights at Dave’s place to annoy the neighbours, drink tea and practice inserting and removing Francois’ huge base amp from the boot of his beat-up Golf.
The next challenge was finding a drummer. This was solved when Wynne, a friend from our local soccer club, happened to mention that he was playing drums for a school production. With a drummer on board, our Thursday night practices began in earnest.
Our first gig was planned as a “braai and listen” at Dave’s brother’s place. For want of a better name, we called ourselves “Tilt” (even though two of us felt the name was too “girly”.) The gig was a roaring success - if success could be measured by people attending. However the sound the band was aiming for left something to be desired. thankfully, all of the friends who attended where very nice about it.
Through various name changes, and a disastrous gig at a well-known Pretoria venue, the sound of the band continued to evolve. After the unhappy gig, Josh, a friend of Wynne’s, was brought in as a new vocalist/frontman. However, not long after, Wynne and Josh decided to pursue another opportunity.
During the same period Sholto, a drummer, who was part of the circle of friends we had left after the toxic gig, joined us for a jam.
Our first jam with Sholto proved to be rather interesting - specifically when he asked, “Don’t you guys play with ear plugs?” Dave and Francois looked at each other shrugged: “No. Why?” (as in ‘what a nancy question’). Thirty seconds later they had exited the band room and where standing with wads of toilet paper stuffed in their ears and a ringing that didn’t go away for a week.
Over December, Sholto, Francois and Dave went with some friends to mountain bike up and down the Sani Pass and spend time at the coast. A few wipe outs and some sun-burn later, it looked like “M.I.A” - as we were then known - had a new drummer.
We had a drummer, but the problem of a band name was still niggling. After a party at Dave’s place, where a brown paper exercise (sounds rather corporate doesn’t it?) was done to come up with band names, the name “Shallow Water Blackout” seemed to have merit. Apart from yet another band name, the exercise left Dave with pen marks on his walls as a souvenir.
Towards then end of 2005 the band started to gig a bit more seriously; some may remember us as “that band who didn’t really know what their name was”. After a couple of gigs it became evident that the name needed to change again. People kept asking, “Shallow what?”, which was not a terribly encouraging preamble for a world-class rock band! Eventually, after much debate among the band members, it was decided that the name “Shallow Water Blackout” was too long and wordy. The name “Jet Pilot” was settled on at last and the news broken to our friends. Of course, by this time all our erstwhile “Shallow Water Blackout” friends said that our new name was lame (We had to hear them out, seeing as they happened to be our entire fan base at the time).
Since then the sound of Jet Pilot has continued to evolve with the support and encouragement of friends who really, really, really WANTED to see the sound evolve.