Chatting to Shortstraw’s Gad de Combes

25 September 2020

Gad de Combes (keyboardist and vocalist for Shortstraw) is Adventure Man – a new moniker where he sometimes performs solo, and sometimes with a 5-piece band. The band has played at Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen, and loads more local festivals – now, Adventure Man is performing right in your living room via livestream.

Over the years, Gad has written a number of tunes about his pets, including Oh Sammy, Sorry Shaniqua and Dog Daze. Now he’s back with a new song about his gloriously fluffy cat, Boomer. Not only is the song perfectly in time for South Africa’s post-lockdown summer, all proceeds from the song are going to the Gauteng-based cat rescue, Cat Village.

We caught up with Gad to find out more about this new track, pets, and a cause close to his heart.

You have 4 pets (two collies, a pug, and a cat). How chaotic is it in the De Combes household?

There is actually a 5th as well! My mom has a very old sausage dog called Paris! It’s generally quite peaceful until someone rings the bell at the gate, then everyone has to see exactly what’s happening.

Your pets have hilarious names – how did you pick them?

Haha, thanks! Sammy was named after Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. from Everything is Illuminated, one of my favourite movies.

Bruno (as in Mars) was named by my mother!

Shaniqua was named by my buddy Russell on a drive to Splashy Fen one year.  I hadn’t even met her yet, but I knew she was gonna be a sassy girl, so she needed a name to suit her.

Boomer was named after comedian Marc Maron’s cat, who sadly ran away and never returned. He still signs off his podcasts with “Boomer Lives!”

How did your cat, Boomer, come into your life?

I never had a cat growing up, but I had to look after someone’s cat for a few months, and the concept definitely grew on me! I saw a friend had rescued some kittens, and instantly fell in love with one, who would become Boomer!

All proceeds from the song ‘Boomer’ are going to Cat Village. Can you tell us a bit more about Cat Village and what they do?

They’re an incredible organisation based in Gauteng, that houses hundreds of abandoned and lost kittens and cats. I found them when lockdown started. I realised all animal charities are losing out on all their funding, so I wanted to help as much as I could.

‘Boomer’ isn’t the first song you’ve written about one of your pets. You’ve also written ‘Sorry Shaniqua’, ‘Dog Daze’, and ‘Oh Sammy’. What is it about writing odes to your pets that appeals to you?

I was always told to write about what you know, and I don’t know anyone or anything better than the beautiful creatures I pretty much spend 24 hours with. I often take things I say to them (yes, I talk to them) and those often become the basis for my songs.

If you were a cat, what would a day in your life look like?

If I was a cat, I’d just watch what Boomer does, I truly am jealous of him. His dad buys him all sorts of expensive beds and toys, but he’s content lying on my clothes and playing with elastic bands. Sounds like a jol!

How, where, and when can people check out Adventure Man’s livestream performances?

My Facebook page is www.facebook.com/adventuremanmusic or search for “Adventure Man” and you can find links to my personal Facebook page where I stream from.

 

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