Arts and Entertainment
Nagas and rock music
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]HEN we were young, rock concerts were the biggest happenings in town. It came only once or twice a year. So you can imagine the anticipation and sparkle in the eyes of every boy. Never heard of MTV then and VH1 was not born yet. Our expectations and demands from the bands were simple, clear and raw. The lead vocalist should sing and sound exactly like the original singer; nothing more nothing less. So, great imitators became instant hit. But the ultimate award for best vocalist was reserved for the one who could sing the highest pitch. Only cover versions then. In fact we thought Nagas don’t compose ‘rock’ songs.
The lead guitarist was the next important member. Actually the fate of the band greatly rested on his fingers. Just as the vocalist, he should play exactly as we have heard on ‘tape’ records. Modifications and alterations were not allowed. If he misses, he has to wait for another concert to prove. Cruel huh! By the way we just assumed that there was no guitarist in Nagaland who could play Deep Purple’s Highway Star!
Next was the drummer! Well, there was only one criteria – the one who could play the fastest “rolling” (beats) was the ultimate hero. Our ears were not yet penetrated by the sounds of Tamas and Pearls. Just beat crazy.
However, the overall rating of the band was based on one last thing: stage movement (performance). Sadly to our dismay, there were not much stage movements. Maybe they were so scared to err coz we were damn good critics! Jokes aside, some of them were damn good; great talents even by today’s standard. No supporting gadgets and equipments like now. The sound was ‘organic’ – rustic, unrefined but beautiful. I tell you, there is nothing like the raw guitar sound and I’m still in love with it.
So the bands came and went leaving our young hearts wanting for more. Glad they came – we had something to talk about whole year round and keep us busy. Those who were lucky enough to catch our hearts were eulogized beyond their capacity. What to do – the other boys were not there at the concert and after all exaggeration is human nature.
Well, we had a band too, me and three friends. And let me make an honest confession: the most difficult lead break for our young fingers was Scorpion’s ‘Always Somewhere’. After much practice one of us was able to play it finally and we were all in awe. We thought all the girls would go gaga over him ha!
Those were the days of our lives, musically – Just a sneak peek. Queer and funny but that was it. Young and glee and breaking free! It’s all gone now but always afresh in my heart.
Now look, how far we have come! In fact when I compare then and now, my eyes get moist with joy. Our boys are on TV 24×7 and the whole world watching! We have internationally educated and trained musicians. We have guitarists who can move their fingers at almost invisible speed and drummers playing like machines. All glory and honour to God!
And lastly, wherever they are, I salute those pioneering bands who have laid the foundation. After all, every glory has a humble beginning. Thank you for the joys and funs you have brought into our lives when life was so dry. Thank you for the music!