Drummer realises dream
Three generations take East Londoners through hits from the past
Producing a show featuring hits by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Bee Gees has been a lifelong dream for former nightclub owner and drummer Warren Heyns who is about to tick his wish off his bucket list this weekend.
Heyns is 70, but age has not held him back from putting together and performing in Classics of the Decades, which will be staged at the Guild Theatre on Friday and Saturday night.
And, not only will he drum his way through 22 hits from the 1960s and 70s, he will also be sharing the stage with his daughter-in-law, Katy, 43, and granddaughter Lea, 15.
“To have three generations on stage is very special,” said Heyns, who has also roped in other accomplished East London artists including Kerry Hiles, Daniel Anderson and Jon Buitendag to perform in the already sold out show.
Having started drumming at the age of 12 when he was a member of a dance band in Pretoria, Heyns went on to start his own band “Mysty” when he was in his mid-20s.
“We ran for 15 years, playing the Beatles, Beach Boys, waltzes, foxtrots and country music at functions. We played every single weekend and we were booked three years in advance.
“Those were the days when people used to dance,” said Heyns, whose mother, Phyllis, was a South African ballroom champion in the early 1940s and whose father, Godfrey, was a classical pianist.
In the 1980s, Heyns progressed to co-owning a nightclub, Downstairs. He later opened Coconut Island in Pretoria in 1989.
After moving to East London, Heyns launched Club Cocobana in Gonubie in 2001 which became an iconic watering hole and karaoke hotspot. “We played all kinds of dance music and it was a very popular place.
“In 2006 I sold Cocobana and became a Christian and now I play in a church band on Sundays.
“I always said that if I reach the age of 70 I would put on a bucket list show of all the music that made an impression on me in the 60s, 70s and a bit of the 80s, so this is very nostalgic for me. And having Katy and Lea in it is absolutely amazing.”
Katy, who has appeared in shows such as On the Road Again and Beauty and the Beast, said her father-in-law was a brilliant drummer.
She said her daughter, who is in Grade 9 at Clarendon High School, had won the ultimate performer junior vocalist award in 2015 and graced the stage in Winnie the Pooh and Evita at the Guild Theatre.
“This show is going to be special. My father-in-law is a brilliant drummer and has been a muso for years. I don’t know many families who share the stage.”