Tuesday, January 16, 2007

More Bass on the Drum Monitor (The rambling saga of a mediocre band)

Apologies for cross-posting from Riff Cafe

Warning: Random

The Strawberry Fields crew had an award, we called it the NL Mitra Award (after our then Director). That was to be 'awarded' to the first band to speak those immortal words through the microphone...."er...Mike/Sidney/Dinakar.....could we have some more bass on the drum monitor please."

In those days we were not cool, and didn't play in bands, and didn't know that, as a matter of fact, rock bands always need more bass on the drum monitor. Heck you need more bass on every monitor, more important than anything, the bass is the fucking foundation, the bass gives you the rhythm, as well as the melodic (chordic?) base (ahem). I needed more bass on the monitors because the lead guitarist (apart from being a genuine maestro of the guitar) believed in the philosophy that rhythm guitarists were to be seen and not heard, and rhythm guitarists definitely did not deserve to hear anything but the virtuoso sound of the lead guitar.

And when we had the sound exactly as he wanted, we'd all merrily fuck up, because we couldn't hear anything except him playing. Yes we even managed to fuck up 'Breaking the Law.' I want to hear the bass and drums dammit, I can do without hearing the lead guitar and the vocals.

And once, when the sound guys (god bless you Shanthala Musicals) 'messed up' and we could hear everything on the monitors, the band ripped the place apart (okay, exaggeration there, the band concluded its set without any major faux pas). JD and I even pulled off our short twin-lead rather nicely. So the moral of the story is that we all need more bass on the drum monitor.

If we'd spent as much time on practising, as we spent on arguing about the name of the band, and various other even pettier issues, we might have been a decent band. But we didn't and so we weren't. We were called Grade Point. Ya, sucky name.

After immense amounts of cajoling, and applying liberal doses of maska on a certain Prof called Smiley, we got a storage room emptied of most of its contents (we still had to share it with a Godrej cupboard and some old CPUs and monitors), and converted it into a jam room. LLM classes were conducted above the storage room, and therefore we could not make noise while classes were going on, which, on account of our collective carelessness, we once did and got shouted at for.

I will not talk of the relative merits of the various members because, except for JD on lead guitars, we all pretty much sucked at what we did. Which did not stop us from doing covers of incredibly complex songs like 'Breaking the Law.' (if i hear that riff one more time, I will kill someone). But in our more inspired moments, we've jammed on bits of Iron Maiden's 'Revelations' and Ugly Kid Joe's 'Everything About You.' We covered CCR's 'Proud Mary' in which we sometimes even managed (gasp!) the harmony vocals. We helped Nair reach his feminine side by doing a cover of Tracy Chapman's 'Give Me One Reason.' Somewhere along the way, mostly thanks to JD, we even had a few original compositions, one of which was actually rather good.

We played a show at St.Johns where I opted out because I hadn't had time to jam with the band at all. That day I got to handle the console for the band, because Dinakar had to go to the loo. I felt incredibly powerful, and I moved the sliders and knobs around, even when it wasn't necessary. And the band loved the sound I gave them. Okay fine, the sound that Dinakar gave them, and I did nothing to spoil.

I think I mentioned the twin-lead before, hmmm, ya JD and I played a twin-lead interlude before the bridge on our OC 'light of my life' (yup, we were very original and groundbreaking when it came to naming songs). It was nice, I could step away from my mic, and JD would step away from his, and by the time we walked towards each other, the twin-lead would be over. But it felt good to be playing lead, instead of crummy rhythm. Second fiddle. Thoo.

I could bore you more right away, but maybe I'll save it for another instalment, or, if I am feeling especially benevolent, I'll lock it up and throw away the key.


Siddharth Nair said...

Ah... memories.

Young Thos. said...

Hey, I had to be subjected to Smiley and his waxing eloquent on classical music in order to get that letter signed for the music room.

I was as invested in that place as you were. Playing in the common room is just not the same.

Asasia said...

People should read this.