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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

South African Rockers, The Fismits, Release 'Halen' In Tribute To The 90's Band Live Jimi Presley And Its Late Frontman Marc 'Presley' Feltham

The Fismits

Photo Credit: Moon Over Aquarius.

Live Jimi Presley was a notable South African band from the 90s known for their energetic live performances and strong messages against the system. Their music defied conventional genres, and despite their relatively short career, they made a significant impact on the South African music scene with their bold defiance of norms and engagement with important socio-political issues. Marc 'Presley' Feltham, their charismatic frontman, passed away earlier this year, leaving behind a legacy remembered by fans and musicians for its bold and unapologetic stance against societal norms.


Mark Biagio, guitarist and vocalist for the South African band ‘The Fismits’, started as a fan of Live Jimi Presley and eventually worked with Marc 'Presley' Feltham on several projects in the 90s. Biagio recorded Live Jimi Presley and now, years later, set out to revive the song 'Halen' that was never released due to Feltham's dissatisfaction with his vocal delivery. Determined not to let this song gather dust, and as a tribute to Live Jimi Presley and its late frontman, Biagio has now recorded the song, blending its original spirit with The Fismits' unique sound.


“I have been around for a while now. Throughout my journey, I've had the awesome privilege of working with some amazing well-known artists and many lesser-known ones. Many songs simply vanish. It breaks my heart when I hear a song, or in many cases, multiple songs, that should have been heard, songs that should have been great, but for whatever reason, they never saw the light of day. ‘Halen’ is such a track.


I recorded what was possibly one of the best and most original 90s bands in South Africa at the time, called Live Jimi Presley. An extremely creative, edgy band that delivered powerful tracks, they were impossible to predict or pigeonhole. The Presleys entertained and delighted audiences, always ahead of their time. The track ‘Halen’ never made it onto their official album because Marc ‘Presley’ Feltham was not happy with his vocal delivery. Fair enough! This always frustrated me, as another track gathering dust, waiting to be heard.


In 2017, I picked up the guitar in my studio and smashed out a demo version in one take. I loved it and vowed to return to it. I revisited the track often but lacked the boldness to send it to Marc to ask what he thinks.


Let me back up. You see, I held The Presleys in high regard. When I was 19, I was in a band called The Mind Theatre and was still trying to figure out how to play a bar chord. The Presleys were on late-night radio and sounded so different. We played with them at a university event, and they did not disappoint. Fast forward three years, and my friend Leon Retief and I were trying to create a compilation album of unsigned artists. I said if we wanted this album to have credibility, we needed a band like Live Jimi Presley on it. Leon said, “I’ll get them!” And he did!


The day The Presleys arrived, I had to record them. I was so excited and yet absolutely scared. Nonetheless, it went well. ‘Soda Sex Fountain’ was released, and Marc and I became friends with mutual musical respect and connection. We worked together on a few projects in the 90s and stayed in touch, as I was never culled from his Facebook friends list! However, in my mind, he was still Marc Presley, and I never stopped being a fan.


Sadly, Marc passed away in 2024, and I vowed to rework the demo, added a grinder, played a tribute to the original Live Jimi Presley vibe, and attempted to channel a guitar solo as Marc would have played.


It feels good, and I like it. At its core is The Fismits' sound, a stubbornness and refusal to let a great track die. I hope ‘Halen’ tips its hat to the greatness that created it!”


The Fismits is the musical creative outlet for Mark Biagio. The Fismits started its existence in 2016 as an original three-piece alternative indie rock band from Midrand/Centurion (South Africa). However, life, love, and pandemics have weathered the band to its focused core - a single misfit. The essence and dreams remain. Songs that represent the roots, this life, delivered stubbornly, refuse to simply go away. Their debut EP titled 'Anywhere' was released in 2017, followed by their first full-length album 'Before the Hindsight' in 2020. A single, 'Halen'" has broken the silence in 2024.

The Fismits



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