Sonic nirvana

do you play live music to indulge yourself or to please the crowd?

25 minutes of spinal tap's jazz odyssey for the love of the avant garde or a setlist of maroon 5's and linkin parks?

we were asked by james if we could play some music during dinner at the 2003 summer MASSOC ball. at this time, there was imran, firr, riki and myself left in sheffield. and as this was a formal evening, the setlist had to be mellowed down. way down.

so sod the belief in rock and throw in some R&B. we didn't go that far, to tell you the truth.

we called ourselves desperados, and believe it or not, not a single eagles song was included in the setlist. mellow? we included alice in chains' nutshell and pearl jam's sometimes. what a way to start off, especially when people are just tucking into their appetisers.

we practised for like two times if i can remember (i was doing a john lennon) at firr's house. whilst at yoko's, i practised on my own. since we've played together for so long now, we simply gelled on the first take. easy.

the formula for a good band, i must say, is the band in its entirety. every tom, dick and harry (and yours truly is indeed guilty of this) plays the guitar. it's fair enough as the guitar is an instrument that is piss easy to pick up and you can play it solo. drums are antisocially loud and expensive. the bass guitar gives out low boomy notes and not much else. and both instruments would sound so much better in a band. and how many people out there that are in bands? thus we see a smaller number of people who have interest in this unpopular yet important instruments.

the band won't sound good if the guitarist plays like eric johnson but the rhythm section can't keep the beat. nor would it be good if the instruments were played tight yet the vocals sound like a wailing hound from hell. all the band needs are the instruments to be in tune, played in time, and most importantly, to have the song to be sung well.

in my limited years of performing with friends, i have to say the gig we played as desperados was the best one i've ever experienced. both imran and riki sung superbly. this was the first band i was in that had vocal harmonies. the songs simple yet perfectly executed. without any stress. people say chemistry is rare and i daresay i now know what it feels like.

the mellowed down set, which included imagine, cloud number 9, in my place and imran's self-penned floodgates and transistors, was just a breeze. with people enjoying their food, we weren't under any pressure to perform. we just took our time. bliss.

we may have been paid a doner kebab with chips and coke each, and didn't have to play a million notes a second to impress, yet we found sonic nirwana.

have you
whilst not playing diagnostician, kudo plays bass in maniacs, eats noodles and fervently buys gear on e-Bay.


Of bad animals and a stupid mop

boo hoo productions and the malaysian society of newcastle university organised a gig in april 2003. at that time, only three members of suck were left in sheffield. liza at that time was on a hiatus with her medical exams and all. firr was in his final year and i was recuperating from an exam myself. riki was fortuitously back in sheffield and we thought it'd be great to hang out again like old times. when we were asked to play newcastle, we thought of doing stuff we never had the chance of playing. so, we did a setlist that covered old grunge anthems the likes of soundgarden's superunknown as well as new rockers like the foo's all my life. drumming duties was given to armijn who used to play for the then defunct spearmint. as a homage to the seattle scene, we named ourselves bad animals, after the recording studio.

we also met mure, a chap studying in newcastle, who was so into pearl jam. riki and i being pearl jam maniacs were then keen on the idea of doing a pearl jam tribute band, and we came up with the moniker stupidmop. amir was keen to play drums for us and we got dino, another spearmint alumnus and great bassist to boot, to join us. i had always wanted this as i had once played in a pearl jam tribute band called mookie and the one gig we played in loughborough university wasn't really one of my happy memories.

one thing about gigs (malaysian ones or otherwise) in the UK is the crowd. you need the right crowd. or a crowd that is musically open-minded. could you imagine playing a setlist of R&B tunes to a punk audience? unlike the previous gigs in sheffield or the ones that sheffield bands had played in, this one wasn't too receptive when it came to loud rocking tunes. it did affect bad animals' and stupidmop's performance to some extent, but rocked we did (we hoped).

the next time we played to an audience, we figured out an important (although not necessarily right) factor in choosing a setlist.

whilst not playing diagnostician, kudo plays bass in maniacs, eats noodles and fervently buys gear on e-Bay.