How I Found Rock and Roll

"With the power of soul, Anything is possible; With the power of you, Anything you wanna do." - Jimi Hendrix.

I am listening to 'Jimi Hendrix' as I’m writing this.

I would possibly not be able to tell you what I think of Woodstock’ 69; all I can say is that I wish I was there to hear Hendrix play…

My introduction to pop music was through ‘Boney M’ and ‘Beatles’ – I liked their tunes – the groove, the melodies and the old school charm of the Beatles as well as the disco of Boney M. My now very old desire to experiment awakened me to some very rude surprises in my journey of musical enlightenment. I remember having bought my first metal album, a compilation album which I mistook for a ‘groovy’ album owing to a catchy cover. When ‘Side A’ opened to ‘Firehouse’, I felt dismayed at the unholy racket. I very hopingly flipped to the other side to see if there was anything more listenable, something calmer, something ‘pop-py’…

The hammering velocity and volume of ‘Alice In Chains’ greeted me on the other side, and I almost wept in frustration; fourty-five bucks wasted on this! I cursed myself. I dropped it there until my close friend and musical confidante, Kukil borrowed the tape from me – we were in the habit of tape-trading at that time – ah! good ol’ days…he told me that the tape was real cool and that he loved the howling guitars within. I gave the whole thing a re-listen, this time with serious intent because I really wanted to know what had made my buddy like it; and it’s been a long journey ever since.

I remember how I headbanged when I had first heard ‘Holy Wars…Punishment Due’ by ‘Megadeth’. I also remember how I headbang now to ‘Am I Evil’ by ‘Diamond Head’ – that is where the beauty of rock and roll and metal lies - in giving you a reason to pump your fist and say ‘Hell yeah! F**k yeah!’ no matter who, what or where you are. I got introduced to most of the bands through tapes. That’s how I got into the habit of collecting original stuff. I started liking the originality of the real deal – the cover arts, the artist credits, the equipment, the producers and the lyrics. I became an early fan of ‘Iron Maiden’ and heavy metal, and then the rest followed.

‘Black Sabbath’ were the first band that made me want to have a band. I had got myself a copy of the ‘Nativity in Black’ – A Tribute to Black Sabbath compilation; those of you who have a copy or have heard one – you know what I’m talking about. That album just blew a hole in my head with its heaviness; I liked the new noise, I liked the new mayhem. Metal had arrived and it wanted to take me with it, and I gladly followed…

But I never really let go of my love for melody – I kept listening to ‘alternative’, ‘progressive’ and ‘blues’ based sounds along with ‘metal’, to keep me in touch with the roots. Analog sound was changing over to digital at the time when we were growing up – cassettes gave way to CDs and very rapidly to mp3 – but I stayed stuck in tape buying. I got into mp3 for a while in college but could not lose my love for tapes which continued till I moved to CDs.

In Bangalore I met another ‘blues rock’ and ‘grunge’ dude who became my roommate, Anindya. A lot of ‘Zeppelin’, ‘The Doors’, ‘Sabbath’, ‘Hendrix’ and ‘Nirvana’ exploded around us – we became wiser in the 60s and 70s and re-discovered the 90s, I rediscovered grunge and we invented a whole lot of demented headbanging and moshing to let it rip on the music. We got blown away by Zeppelin’s enormous sound and sleazy lyric-writing. We had found the benchmark, the ultimate band – Led Zeppelin. We marveled at the raw power of the loud sound, the volume, the release…

Through this all rock and roll never stopped doing its part for me – saving me from the clutches of banality; it fed my every mood. Metal to ‘psychedelia’ – rock and roll will always do what it was meant to do. As Black Sabbath once said – “We sold our soul for rock and roll”; Devil, here I come…

And yes, I still think Jimi did us a favor by playing his music.

Siddharth Tanti
Eastern Fare
Eastern Fare

Eastern Fare is a music institute and a production house presently based in Guwahati with branches in Bangalore, Umiam, Umroi and other cities in India.

3 comments:

  1. This is simply straight from the heart, so its an amazing piece. For the way Sid plays with words,I simply lve and respect this man and his passion. He is one man who has helped many pursue rock and roll in its true formand I'm one of dem. For someone lik

    Samhita

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice read man. Write something on rockabilly. I like the sound of 50's. Blues with a country beat. Keep up Siddharth, like your posts.

    Himadri

    ReplyDelete

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