It is very rare that in a class of 15 that you get four guys who have similar musical tastes and abilities. But that was the blessing that was ours.
…was the gory sounding name of this school band oddly suggested to us by a guy whom everyone picked on.
Paul, Amit, Plammoo and me. We loved the old gnr and metallica and much more besides. We would be sitting before a competition and jamming on ‘nothing else matters’, ‘fade to black’ or ‘welcome to the jungle’ and then perform in the competition a gospel number… acapella. Ostentatious. Supercilious. That’s what we were. We never realised the good fortune of being together.
Demagogue managed a few shows. None for money of course. That would’ve been a bit too much for us small towners from Kottayam, Kerala. But we did three gigs. One at a food festival, one at school and the grand stadium sell out in the living room of a 120 year old house. Considering the fact that only 2 of us owned any instruments it was a pretty neat achievement.
Paul the drummer had a 15 year old kit, and I was given a guitar by my generous father. When Paul rolled the kit it sounded like, ‘chakadaka, chakadaka dhish!’ My guitar was not too bad for the presidential (am bit of a republican to say princely) sum of Rs. 1000. But the interesting bit of my sound was the ‘fuswa’. The fuswa was what I got when I went to the music shop in Kochi and asked for a distortion unit. A red-eyed rolypoly man with a sweaty bald head replied with half open eyes ‘there is fuswa, fuswa, you want fuswa?’ And I came home proudly with this metal lunch box like thing which had a few knobs and a pedal on the top of it. There were three settings. ‘Fuzz’, ‘Wah’ and ‘Fuzz-Wah.’ Ahhh! Now I understood about the fuswa.
Well I tried it out and was very pleased with the ‘GSSSZHHZHHH’ I got out of it. And the pedal seemed to work. The batteries though seemed to be a little less than persistent but then hey 500 bucks can only get you so much.
At the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon I will have to use the cringy term ‘in those days.’ In those days I used to be the lead guitarist type of person. You know the guy who pretends ecstacys at the raising of a piece of wood coincidental with the speed or pitch of a few sounds.
Plammoo who’s name is actually Abraham but known in his home as Suresh was our lead vocalist who kept complaining that he couldn’t go as high as he used to. Useful rhythm guitarist too. The most spaced out guy in the world with apparent relational dysfunctionalities. Hasn’t yet figured out the way to his wife’s house. Don’t know whether that’s a deep desire or just his plain absent mindedness. One practice time we waited and waited and waited for plammoo to arrive. Finally the arrival was complete… or was it? Nope he’d forgotten his guitar. One would think that to have a music practice would mean that a musical instrument would have a place in it. On the beration he received, he gave that long suffering look of his through those thick glasses, ‘you don’t know what it is to live with me’. And plodded off to the hostel which was a good 10 minute walk to get the guitar. 10 + 10 mins should be 20 but an hour later Plammoo arrives with guitar. On opening the case to Plammoo’s utmost surprise and obscenities from the rest the guitar was absent from its abode. He then went on to National Law School and IIM.
Amit was in many senses the real genius of the band. Would figure out the song in 10 mins flat and it would take a lot of convincing from us for him to realise that he was actually quite wrong. (But he was always in hindsight right). The ultimate tragedian, since there was always something horribly wrong, or at least it felt like that. The mournful look was worn with such an ease akin to a …. ummmm… er… nope. No analogy works here. He was our moody bassist. Groovy and intelligent. And he sang. He top ranked in medicine and now fulfils the stereotype of the Indian doctor in ‘the UK’.
Paul was another genius. (See how lucky we were and all questions as to what I was doing in the band can be postponed thank you.) But his genius was more involved with his studies. But there was no classier drummer in the town of Kottayam. The other 2 were in nursery. Another wonderful groover who could sing. Has recorded stuff with a jazz band in France. (Don’t ask). Went on to IIT and IIM. Ya I wasn’t joking.
So the three geniuses and the dimwit somehow put together this very interesting experience. I’m the only one seriously still involved with music. hmmmm there is some lesson in that somewhere.
Here’s to Demagogue who made me realise that if I played for 2 hours with a low slung guitar, that my arm would hurt. Thanks guys.