Chaos-Heavier than Heaviest!  

Posted by Praveen

Watching something grow from nothingness to an all pervarding force over a period of time is a particularly rewarding experience. Watching Chaos, the heavy metal band from Kerala over the last 5 years, is one such experience for me. Back in 2004, I was there watching amused as 2 skinny lads came and asked my friend Raja, "Heard you bought an electric guitar. Can you play with us?" And there started their journey together. Nikhil, the skinniest of them, was playing the leads, barely pulling off the simple leads of songs like 'whiskey in the jar'. Pappu, as lazy as he's at present, was leaning on the bass and trying hard to keep up pace. JK, the vocalist with a 'tilak' on this forehead and mic in his hand looked nothing more than a petty ganamela singer. Raja, the rhythm guy was best described by the T shirt he wore which said, "A(Chord) B(Chord) C(Chord), Lets start a band". All he knew was 3 or 4 chords. And then there were the legion of drummers, which kept on changing in this band. And they started off with the worst possible drummer one can ever get anywhere. Luckily, they threw him out after one show. They were called 'aakrantham' back then. It was just another startup college band in an already crowded field. The level of crappiness can be gauged from the fact that the first original they tried to make was a developed version of the popular avenger bike ad song.

One year down the line, the deviations from the expected script were getting clearer. They were now winning competitions on the trot with almost perfect covers of songs like 'Sad but true' and 'seek and destroy'. And there was their sole original song 'coup d etat' which had the shades of their current brilliance. One more year down the line, they were covering perfectly even tougher songs like 'Cowboys from hell' and 'Lucretia'. They had morphed from a force to reckon with into an unconquerable force in the local rock circuit. The boundary walls of the state were ready to be struck down soon. They continued their winning habits outside too. And then came the long break. The reason being the rigours of everyday life and the boring corporate jobs. They were all in different places and the juggernaut came to a stop. Months passed on. You can't keep the passion to rock quiet for a long time. And as it happens in such cases, the universe conspired to bring them together again, for the comeback of the season, heavier, louder and faster than ever.

The mindblowing comeback gig happened this weekend in Manipal. Chaos were back at this energetic town for the 3rd time after 2 superb gigs last year. They were supposed to judge the rock competition and do the headlining act. Its so much fun to hang around with these guys with no rock star airs. On the contrary, they are the quintessential 'thara' malayalis cracking those legendary 'neeeglect' jokes and doing all sorts of goofy things. After a day of heavy drinking and smoking, sweating and judging, they strode on the stage to do what they know best. The skinny lads I mentioned at the start, Nikhil and Pappu, were as skinny as when the band started. Only thing, Pappu had longer hair and Nikhil had grown balder. And they didnot forget their usual habit of doing something crazy. This time, they removed their shirts with just the guitar strap to cover their upper body. JK looked not even like a distant cousin of his old 'tilak' clad ganamela self. His physique had grown heavier along with his vocals. Vibhas, the drummer of 'eccentric pendulum' was behind the drums. The blast started off with a cover of Slayer's 'Raining blood' transitioning smoothly into 'Seasons in the abyss'. The sleepy crowd suddenly came alive moshing and screaming for more. Then flowed their originals like 'game', the godhra riot protest song 'Merchant of death' and the short n heavy 'Violent redemption'. These were perfect examples of how much this band has changed in the last few years.

The sound of chaos had changed from heavy metal to 'heavier than the heaviest of metal'. JK's vocals with that extra bit of distortion and aggressiveness is one of the reasons behind this change. He's surely on the path to giving his idol Tom Araya a run for his money. The next reason for the transformation of this band is Nikhil's mindblowing guitaring. He has left behind the 'whiskey in the jar' days for sure. Having composed almost all their original compositions single handedly, this guy is the pillar of strength of this band. Just a listening of the tough but groovy riffs are enough to seal his brilliance. And added to that is the out of the world solo playing. Anybody with doubts on this would've been kicking themselves hard after that 3 minute solo he jammed at the end of Paranoid. His playing was so complete that we forgot the absence of a rhythm guitar. His stage act and attitude is an added advantage. I only had one word for him after the performance-'respect'!!! Pappu has also improved vastly on his bass playing. He certainly has put in a lot of effort to keep up with the frenetic pace of the new original songs. Vibhas, the drummer was a revelation. A self taught drummer, he never missed a beat behind the vessels. And the funny part is that he made it all look too easy. Mind you, its not an easy job drumming to these super tough songs.

Chaos is still on the rise. With rhythm guitarist Raja set to come back soon, they are sure to get heavier. And they still haven't unleashed their full reprtoire of originals. With the band set to take a giant leap soon, keep your eyes glued to this heavy juggernaut that is crushing everything in sight. And wait for the confirmed news on a big concert that is round the corner. This guys surely gonna take the Indian metal scene by storm....pretty soon!!!!

PS-Special mention must be made of Sabarish, the ever efficient manager of Chaos who ran around negotiating, organising, talking and doing everything imaginable by a manager. And the added attraction was his 'right round' dance steps. Another unmissable personality is 'grass balaji', high on grass round the clock but still staying sane. Worth mentioning is his grass making tips. The video will be provided on request.

MTV India:The birth, the downfall & the death  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

Year 1996
Indian satellite tv space populated by a handful of channels. It was bliss to be freed from the boring clutches of doordarshan. Then, out of nowhere, a channel burst on the scene much like an adolescent guy's first discovery of his own indigenous rocket launching capabilities. MTV India was a boon for the Indian youth and the Indian kids. And a bane for the Indian parent. You didnt have to rely on the radio or your cassette player anymore for your load of daily music. And you could hear it anytime you switched it on. And it was not Indian music alone. There was the occasional Michael Jackson and the rock numbers thrown in for good measure. It was also the channel where I waited for the repeat play of the 'awesomely-indescribable-pleasure-inducing' videos like 'Tanha Tanha' and 'hai Rama yeh kya hua'. Non stop hits meant literally that. Along came channel V and it was fun all around. You could throw away your remote after switching into one of these channels. It was when MTV still meant music television. And it was when we all had our devil horns up for \m/tv.

Year 2006
MTV's got a snazzier new logo. I switched it on in the morning on january 25. I waited. I waited. Days passed. weeks passed. Its february 25. Still I see no signs of music. I rechecked the channel number. I manually tuned it all again. Stil the same. All I get to see is a group of guys and gals sitting on beds and talking non stop nonsense. Some sissies with 'gabbar like' voice where hiding behind bedsheets. There was talk of voting someone out, pulling someone's pant down, pulling someone's 'some clothing accessory' up, beating the hell out of somebody else, twisting someone's arm, poking someone's eyes and what not. There's 'roadies' written on top. But there's no road and there are no bikes. All I get to see is the boring indoors and some utterly boring souls. And there is some bald lunatic screeching his throat out at them as if someone stole his wife on their first night just before the first touch and put a beep machine in his mouth. I also saw the spineless contestants tolerating the bald guy's lewd comments on their girlfriends in the name of stress interviews. I still kept on waiting for that one song played once in a month. One more year down. Now more of reality strikes. 'Splitsvilla' made me split my ass to spray my senses out. 'Where's the music, u morons??', I screamed at those skimpily clad non sense damsels running around 2 absolute losers. I wondered whether they have parents and are they real people. Hopes receded. The next song was heard in MTV after one more year.

Year 2009
MTV suddenly decides to play music. They decide to eat their share of the 'rising Indian rock' pie. And they start yet another reality show, this time 'rock music' is the casualty. Barring a few talented souls, it takes the cake for one of the worst music programmes in history. And there's the 'I know it all-I am cool-you suck-I rock' Nikhil Chinnappa using his DJing knowledge to judge rock music, not that there's anything worthy to be judged out there. And, thus we have the last thing we wanted, commercialisation of India rock music, which was luckily away from the prying eyes of the bollywood bandwagon till now. There were horrible rock reworkings of already pathetic anu malik and Himesh songs in MTV's 'rock on'. Pity on the other 2 learned well respected musicians who accepted the job of being judges in this. Thus was driven the last nail on MTV India's coffin. And yesterday comes the landmark announcement from MTV India- 'We are rubbing off 'music television' from our logo'. Yeah! Do it, now only you are left to do that. We did that some years back. And thats exactly when our proud devil horns changed into that single raised finger of contempt, of pity. I raise it up again to crass commercialisation, to the unreal reality shows, for the bosses at MTV and above all to the music less MTV. Thanks to all for killing the music in MTV.

Unrelated PS(Maybe fully related)- Lalit Modi's shameless idea to get more twitter followers-'Follow me and get Champions trophy final tickets' ! A raised finger to him too! Have some shame, man. Even an LKG kid would think twice before doing such self promotion...

your crusader Praveen

Never too old to Rock n Roll  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

Haven't you all heard of those 'rules' whereby we are supposed to behave in a certain way at a particular age? We are supposed to behave with an air of maturity the minute we cross 18 years and get our license to watch adult movies. People will start rolling their eyes if you show any traces of the kid in you. And what if you are married? The air of dignity should have double thickness. Its time to throw away your metal t shirts, cut your hair and be a model family man. What if everyone followed those rules? Would we have Iron Maiden and ACDC still playing with their almost 60 year old banf members? I dedicate this to all those spirited old rockers who din't care about 'what others might think'. This is for men like ACDC's 55 year old guitarist Angus young who still wears his school suit on stage and jumps and rolls like a kid. Yes..its never too old to rock n roll.

**************Never too old to rock n roll!************

A walking stick, an old hat
And an old man's boot to suit
A wrinkled face, a few fallen teeth
But am not too old to rock n roll!

Young men in fancy coats
Walking half dead at 8 O clock.
Young at heart and old at skin,
Here am not too old to rock n roll!

Lived my life, this bloody way
Wild at heart, free at mind.
Age mocked at me, I mocked at age
Cos am not too old to rock n roll!

Two hoots to fake maturity,
Raised finger to the lawless laws.
I still dance like a school kid
Cos am not too old to rock n roll.

Black tees, long hair
don't care ways, heady days,
Its now almost a haze
But am not too old to rock n roll!

Hearse may come, anytime soon
To take me to an unknown grave.
You'll hear me sing,' Highway to hell'
Cos am still alive enough to rock n roll.


PS- Off to Goa with fellow bloggers from our company...3 days of fun awaits us!!!!
Wish u all a happy weekend

your crusader Praveen