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"It is the major station in the country; people do pay attention to SABC," Johnny says. "We sent an e-mail to them, which they actually opened. They heard a song, liked it, and gave it a shot. Then fans went crazy when they first heard 'I'm Only Joking,' and it just went out of control from there. This has probably messed up the rest of our lives, because events can't get any luckier than this."
Similarly, "Come with Me Now" got picked up in August 2011, with "Escape" following in January and spreading the Kongos brand into more adult contemporary and pop mainstream markets.
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While Rick and Ilsa will always have Paris, Kongos always will have Pretoria, against which all other good times will be measured — at least for some time to come.
"We also very quickly became spoiled little bitches, because we played our second show there. It was one of the best, because it was in a town called Pretoria, which is really where our main base is," explains Johnny. "It's kind of like the Detroit Rock City of the 1970s; everyone went nuts there. After that, we played shows we'd have been over the moon about how amazing they were, like selling out with 800 people in Capetown. And we were like 'The crowd was good, but it was no Pretoria.'"
Kongos will return to South Africa this fall and embark on their first full-scale U.S. tour upon their return stateside.
Peorias, Arizona and Illinois, are you listening? You're only two letters off from beating Pretoria, Georgia, as the next potential Kongos stronghold. And then cue the hipsters, because as Jesse greedily guarantees, "We will only sell out if it's for money!"
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