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As one of South Africa's most successful and hard-working bands, we decided the time was right to introduce ourselves to the rest of the world. The most obvious choice for us as a contemporary rock band was the USA, and we will soon be setting up in Atlanta, GA.

This is how the story goes �

Johannesburg, South Africa, January 1998

Cliff (keyboards, vocals) and Neal (vocals), having gained some popularity with first cover band "Heartland", were looking to move forward with Alterstate. They decided to start focusing on their own creativity to mould Alterstate into an original band with a unique sound.

To further develop their sound, and with their current drummer Mike Barber becoming unsettled with the band's new direction, Cliff and Neal began searching for a new drummer. As you would expect, the auditions brought with them the well-groomed social elite, displaying the dislocated genius that you would associate with drummers. After the dust of the auditions had settled, there was no question who the drummer for Alterstate would be.

Patrick Winchester arrived perfectly on time, out of breath, and a little stressed: "Hi, I'm here for the audition � and I hit a curb so I'll need a tyre change." After a crash course in tyre maintenance 101 from Neal, Pat entered the Alterstate band room for the first time. He was shy, nervous and played way too soft in the audition, but he had the ideal balance of natural talent, feel, and technical ability.

Pat played his first gig on 18 May 1998

Original practice started in June 1998 with Bruce Hyland filling in on bass and Byron Kuntz on guitar. Byron then told the band that he was leaving for personal reasons but he would stay on until a replacement was found.

No. 2 on the audition list was a longhaired rock purist by the name of Jason Lureman, that would be me. I received a call from Pat, a good friend of mine since the age of 6, asking me if I'd be interested in auditioning. The funny thing was that I had already met the band back in '96 when they were Heartland. I was supposed to audition but decided not to because I wasn't ready at the time. This time would be different, my only obstacle would be getting around the awkward: "Hi, � remember me � I'm the guy who blah blah blah � ha ha ha!" They did remember me, but the audition went well and I was in.

Jason played his first gig on 03 September 1998

The core unit of Alterstate was now set, we spent the next three and a half years writing and fine tuning our sound, and playing many, many gigs all over South Africa. Bruce (bass) joined the band on a full time basis in April 1999, but it didn't work out and he left 3 months later.

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