The early days

when i was a student many years ago, i remembered watching a band from sheffield performing at the imperial college malaysia nite. there was this kid named bode who shredded his way through joe satriani's surfing with the alien. little did i know then that a little music scene was burgeoning in england's fourth largest city. most of the older guitar-wielding malaysian sheffield alumni would remember the guys like bode, anwar, aleng and rizal banjar. those were the days when it all started.

i do not know any of these guys but i virtually bumped into bode last year on i-bands.net and he was kind enough to share some stories with me.

"...see it all started in 1988. I met Anwar (he played the outtro final guitar solo in Shyboy) who was a lonely guitarhead, and we started The Sheffield Music Coalition. At that time, 29 Filey St was THE musicians' hangout and where all the gear were. Other hangouts included Carlsbro retail (now Sound Control) and Big Deal!

"Rockers, R&B aficionados and jazz cats all lived together in peace and harmony, and would meet there. Life was beautiful. We even got people from other parts of the UK coming down to check out the musicians of 29 Filey St! The first band formed was Babyfish and it went through a few line up changes, but I wasn't happy with the band. The 1991 gig in Imperial College was the darkest time of my musical life. Our band, to me, was the WORST band that I've ever heard in my life...that night was a nightmare. The sound sucked (and the band almost didn't turn up for the sound check) and my equipment broke down 2 seconds before starting the gig. I had to borrow the other band's equipment and WE SUCKED ASS (I didn't think it was that bad! -Ed.). If I have the power to do it, I would track down every single copy of the videotape of that night's performance and DESTROY it. Hehe.

"Back in Sheffield at that time, my dear partner in crime and shredder extraordinaire, Anwar, the guy whom I started all this with, left home for Malaysia and I was left alone. And Sheffield was at that time risking losing it's status as the home of the best band ever (hehe). However, luck was on my side. I found a few new people who had the same firy passion for music and we rebuilt a new band from scratch called Moon. Lan Double Pedal (drums), Aleng (bass), Azwar (guitars, vocals, keyboards, drum...err..this guy is a musical genius) and Azman (guitars, keyboards, vocals). I remembered a performance at Keele University, where we performed Moon live (actually the only live performance of that song ever until now). We actually received a standing ovation from a 700+ audience and that nearly brought tears to my eyes.

"Moon disbanded after most of the other members left home for Malaysia and I rebuilt another outfit with Aleng. Our only live performance was probably of the video that you saw. I was banned a couple of hours after that gig from performing by the organising committee (you saw the video, so you know why). After that sour experience, I was never really in a band, just playing with different people I met. Rizal Banjar was passed down the responsibility to run The Sheffield Music Coalition and I went into my retirement, living like a hermit writing songs in my flat/studio while the rest of Sheffield didnt know of my existence at all."

then again, after bode left for malaysia in 1995, the music amongst the malaysian student community never really stopped.

bode is currently an ENT surgeon in KL who also does session guitar work in studios for high profile local and international artistes, and movie soundtracks. check his work out here.