May 23, 2014

I know I maybe overreacting...

but last night i had an excruciating tummy ache, started sweating more than i'm used to, and puked and stood under the shower while puking...then i slipped, whacked my elbow  against the sink, fell flat on my puke, and bruised my ass too

But before that, I had three pints of Miller's Life on a more or less empty stomach.

i don't like's disgusting. I've seen enough of mine and Madhatter's to know that i hate vomit. i can't stand the smell, the texture, the idea.

But i was lying in/on my vomit, with the shower on, cooling my bones off, and i fell asleep. I remember wishing i could simply sleep off this  pain, and I my vomit.

I woke up feeling reborn, picked up the chunky pieces of vomit and flushed it down my toilet. Then i cleaned up the floor. Then I put on the geyser, and had myself a long, soapy shower.

Then i got in bed, thanked the universe, for giving me my bed and my privacy in moments such as these, stared at the fan and fell asleep.

It feels like a new low. It perhaps is, and yes, the thought did cross my mind...that maybe this is alcohol poisoning, that maybe I have been on painkillers, and my body is reacting badly, and if this is alcohol reacting with my meds, I could die. But I woke up my vomit.

I felt sorry for myself. I felt excited that I could call up Madhatter and recount the gory tales of the night before. Tell him how if i hadn't woken up, I could have continued lying in my puke, naked on the bathroom floor for days with noone knowing or caring.

He wasn't in a mood to pay attention. It is perhaps commonplace for him.

Well. I wonder whats in store next. Look forward to it.

February 13, 2013

That silly worry

Woke up to Chok-A-Block-Avenue playing on loop on my iPad, throat dry, head heavy, and heart beating hard. Left my job, put my love at risk and lost my love, left a city life with a bank account and everything convenient in August and came off to Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music. 

I'm not sure if it was finally courage, or utter distaste for the alter life, or just a pure love for music, or pure desperation that got me here. Now it's  February, I've hardly played three gigs in the time, I turned 27 in October, and today, I am scared.

It's all great and rosy. All I know and can do is what I do already. But will it save me? I am not sure.

And now, I looked up universities in Berlin, etc etc ... one option is to study something like journalism and then play gigs during my free time. But that is bullshit, I haven't time to waste. I don't want to be a journalist again, an editor, or anything that sounds impressive. I just  need to write and play more music. But once I've written, I don't know what's going to happen to me. I know I'll forget this feeling as the day progresses, but it's there. 

November 6, 2012

Green Room Talkies: Jordan Rudess

By age nine, he was at The Juilliard School studying classical music – an academic journey that lasted a decade! Fast forward to a time when he’s ripping it on stage with one of the most well-known progressive metal bands in the world. Having spent over 12 years as the keyboardist of Dream Theater, there is hardly a regular day in the life of Jordan Rudess. When he isn’t touring, which he is most part of the year, he’s a music app innovator for Apple and Android devices. While his love for progressive rock remains untarnished, when alone Rudess gravitates towards music that is “gentle on the spirit”. He is all about exploring the sonic landscape of the world (of music). And I managed to steal him into one of the piano rooms at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music during his one-week workshop last month, and ask a bunch of questions. Completely at ease by a grand piano, he often let his fingers do the talking.

What inspired that beard?

The hair doesn’t grow as well on the top of my head! I used to have really long hair. I don’t know.  It’s gone through different stages – first it started to grow a little, then I went through sideburns and moustache and this and that. But yeah, finally, the beard just started to grow, and I thought this is pretty cool. And that’s it.

(If) and when you’re down and blue, what do you listen to?

I would play the blues (haha)! I generally like to listen to things that are kind of more mellow than what I play with Dream Theater (DT). I like going back and listening to Michael Hedges, and more recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Sigur Rós (they’re awesome). But I’m a big progressive rock fan. I always like to listen to Genesis and Yes and Pink Floyd. I like electronic music too – things like Aphex Twin. I love Porcupine Tree and the offshoot that I actually played in for a while – Blackfield.

How has your taste evolved over the time you’ve been playing with DT?

I am interested in what’s happening sonically in the world – things that are pushing the envelope a little bit, a bit more progressive-minded. I’ve always liked spacey music, but there was a movement that happened over the last few years with electronic music right…that was very progressive, very cool. There are so many different types of genres, but they’re called IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) or Glitchy – and now there’s the whole Skrillex kind of thing. It’s interesting.

Do you play a lot of what you listen to?

I’m totally the opposite. I don’t like to listen to a lot of hard rock and stuff. It’s funny, but I like to listen to things that are more gentle on my spirit. I love what I do. I love going out with DT and playing things that are…intense, progressive, heavy and wild. But when I’m in my own space, I tend to gravitate towards things that are a little bit more calm, and I’m interested in sounds. You know … I’m a synthesist. So I want to hear cool sounds, the different timbres…I get that when I listen to Sigur Rós – they are so conscious of all the sonic elements.

The success of DT…

I think the style of DT is an interesting one because we can go into that direction where it’s technical and advanced and cerebral at many levels. But the reality is, if you look at the people in the group – like the kind of things I’m telling you and the kind of person John Petrucci is, and since we’re the main writers of the group – we love things that are melodic. So I think what separates DT from the rest of the bands and the reason we have had a career all around the world is because we’re not afraid to be melodic … it’s this interesting combination of musicians for whom the academic side of what we’re doing comes very easily and naturally. It’s not forced, it’s just what we enjoy at that level, but at the same time we love melody, emotions … and I think that’s what the people around the world respond to.

Do you compose music keeping an audience in mind?

Well, first of all the music has to make us feel right you know. If it is something that we can relate to – if it is cool, trippy, adventurous or emotional –then that’s the beginning. Then we think ‘what will our fans think of this,’ because with DT, we make a living playing for people around the world, and there’s a lot of people very invested in what we do, and we want them to be happy as well.

Does being in DT give you complete musical freedom personally?

DT is a very large window of stylistic possibilities … for sure I can do all kinds of stuff. But since my whole life is really all about music, I mean that’s all I really do … and there’s so many different kinds of music and if I want to play real spacey electronic music, that’s not going to happen in a DT format.  If I want to play something extremely hypnotic and mellow or something really jazzy, that won’t happen in the DT format either. The only thing that might happen is a little break in the song with those styles. I can do a lot of things but I have other outlets for that … like Liquid Tension Experiment. When we did that album, it was basically three of the guys from DT (the main writers) with Mike Portnoy at the time and Tony Levin, a wonderful bass-player. But the music is really very different, and that was because we were coming into something that was a totally new thing. And we had no expectations on anybody’s part … like the fan’s part – they didn’t know there was a new group – or for the musicians.

Your most memorable collaborations.

Oh I love collaborating. You know I don’t have that much time, but when I do, I search out and welcome the opportunity to play with new people, because it’s just so interesting. I’ve collaborated a little with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, I love his musicality and whenever we  have a chance to do  something together I welcome that because I can relate to where he’s coming from musically, and I think about that sometimes when I’m playing by myself. You know, I’m a classically trained musician from Juilliard, but I was always interested in improvising and things that were natural as well. But Steven is someone who is totally coming at it naturally and I’m fascinated with that, because music – the core of it is really just a natural experience. And since we’re here (SAM) right now, I just had  my first little jam with Prasanna today and I was like, wow this is so cool, because he’s coming from such a different space that there’s a lot I can learn from, and that to me is really exciting.

How important is music education?

It is incredibly important. I feel like people around the world almost think like, with great musicians it’s almost like magic or something. That they’re all of sudden able to do things, create great leads in all kinds of parts, but the reality is to play an instrument, be it a piano, guitar, trombone, voice, or even to use your computer effectively to make music, you need to have the developed skill. It doesn’t just “happen”.  Anything that you hear in your head, there’s a technique to controlling the notes. It’s got to be clean and precise, and these things on a physical instrument like a piano or guitar, are like sports – that is what I keep telling the kids here – because you have to really develop the muscles. Your fingers need to have strength. I remember once, the drummer of Motley Crue walked into a room where I was playing and told me “Your fingers are like little machine guns!” Hahaha that was really funny.  But yeah, it comes from a lot of practising. But I always try to practise in creative ways.

Describe a regular day in your life.

It’s never regular, because I’m on the road for most part of the year with the band...but when I’m at home, I’m often playing catch-up with a life that I’ve missed while I’ve been away. It could include driving my girls. The older one’s in college but the younger one still needs to  be driven to her various activities. Or I’ll be working on a project. I have a company called Wizdom Music that makes apps for iPhones and Android devices, etc … so I spend a lot of time doing that too…I’m really busy you know, so when I sit with my synthesizer, I try to really make my time there mean as much as it can. I stay focused and try working my fingers so they really mean something.

When did you start developing music apps?

A few years ago I got my iPhone, and I remember there was very preliminary kind of piano on the iPhone, and I was just playing it. It didn’t do really anything, but it really triggered some creative ideas. I thought ‘wow I could do some amazing things with this’.  And I was sitting on the couch in my living room, and my wife saw me and said “What are you doing? We have a beautiful Steinway Grand in the other room. What are you doing with that?” And I said “No, no. No, it’s okay. I got something in mind here. It’s something cool, so let me do this.” She looked at me like I was crazy or something. Haha. So I got into really looking at some of the creative things people were doing on that platform, and I began to reach out to different developers and talk about some of my ideas, and I found one guy whose name is Kevin Chartier who is a brilliant programmer. We decided to work together and we decided early on that we’d split it 50-50 but let’s just do it! And that was the beginning of Wizdom Music. Now we have about six apps. The first one was called MorphWiz which is my favourite. It enabled me to look into and work on this concept to show how these devices like iPads etc can be actually an expressive musical instrument…

How has your experience in India been?

I was in India about 16 years ago, doing a clinic in Chennai back then, but my experience this time has been really (really) cool. It’s a little bit of a culture shock here. Although I’ve been all around the world, usually I go into the big cities, and if pass rural areas, I’m just driving right through them, but I’ve never driven through anything like what I did to come here (SAM) – with goats and cows over the road – it was a crazy wild scene. I was like whoa!  But once you’re here, it’s such a nice environment. Everyone’s in a different headspace, they really want to learn and they’re respectful … so it’s been a real pleasure.

December 21, 2011

Green Room Talkies: Imogen Heap

Two years I worked as a business journalist. Then one weekend, I packed my bag, headed home (Poona), flicked my dad's videocam and headed for the much-talked about NH7 Weekender Music Fest. Had been planning to write something equities-unrelated for a long time, and this was high-point at Reuters.

Everyone loves you when you're media. Though I'd have been much happier being on some small stage somewhere playing music, this was a memorable 13 minutes (which I've compressed somehow for your viewing pleasure) with Imogen Heap.

The previous night, she'd performed at the Dewarists Stage, bouncing about in a Black and White Satya Paul saree. I'm not sure I paid much attention to her performance, most of it I watched on the stupid little screen of my camera, but it's always overwhelming when there's a huge crowd and celebrated anticipation.

Then the next day, the kindhearted Bacardi gang granted me a one-on-one. I was ecstatic...happily devising ways to include this in my CV.
Well, she was warm, funny, animated and quite open and clearly still thrilled about last night's performance...what can I say, I's media!

November 11, 2011

Lianne La Havas

Lianne La Havas | No Room For Doubt | A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

La Blogotheque aka the Take Away Show is full of sweet surprises.
A month ago, they put up a session with Lianna La Havas, this 22-year-old from south London, with her singing her song "No Room For Doubt" on the streets of Paris.

Sweet melancholic lyrics, dreamy guitar playing, and a marshmellow voice -- aaaah, here I go sinking...into the fluffy down of a young Peyroux-esque dream.

Chryde & Vincent Moon's Take Away is, as I said, full of surprise artists, and the sessions are warm and spontaneous. Can't comment on the cinematography, but all I can say is, I love what I see -- fuzzy and feel good.

Here's another song from the Black Cab Sessions by Ms. Havas.

Lianne La Havas from Black Cab Sessions on Vimeo.

Havas is currently working on her debut album due 2012, and is signed to Warner Bros Records, with a host of "sold-out" concerts scheduled for Nov-March. For more about her, you know what to do (psst...G****E)....ummm...or just go here

October 5, 2011

Gumboot Dancers

Just bought myself a pair of shocking pink gumboots from a snooty little shop - they were selling it on discount, and then, quite belatedly stumbled upon the Gumboot Dancers of South Africa.

Wiki says "Gumboot dancing was conceived by black miners in South Africa as an alternative to drumming—which authorities restricted. The boots were a solution to a problem of often flooded gold mines in which men otherwise stood in knee-deep water toiling at their work stations."

Found a popular video on Youtube.
Pretty cool, their raw and spontaneous performance.

And checked out some gigs by Black Umfolosi, a popular acapella and dance group from Zimbabwe. Guess they get their name from the Umfolozi River in KwaZulu-Natal, a province of South Africa.

Very endearing and warm sounds, and somehow melancholic too.

Aye! But i still love my new shocking pink boots!


October 3, 2011

Songs and Tutus

Weekend was busy busy busy.
These million little things I had to get done, then a song which I had to get out of my system, and then, I had to had to had to somehow quell my tutu thirst.
I have been obsessing with Tutus, and it's all over the Internet. Tempting D.I.Y instructions on how to make a beeeyoooteefool net/tulle tutu.

So I set out with afro-haired partner-in-crime from downstairs on a tutu cloth hunt. After a day and a half of extensive search, found net fabric in Commercial Street at Subbaya and Sons, a wholesale cloth wasn't THAT wholesale anyhow. Never knew cloth was this expensive!

The cloth was priced between Rs. 65-90 per meter with my bargaining prowess (or the lack of it), and an adult tutu, a real puffed up one, might take about 12 meters.

Tutu essentials:
1) Lots and lots of net fabric - at least 12 meters. If you find Tulle fabric, even better. But it's not easily available in Bangalore.
2) Elastic - Deduct about 2 inches off your waist size from the elastic strip, and stitch it up nice and tight.
3) Scissors - a steady pair can make a world of difference
4) Needle and thread, to stitch up your elastic

1) Now, I used up nearly 10 meters of my fabric.
2) First cut 10 meters of your cloth into 5 equal squarish/rectangularish sheets.
3) Roll up each sheet like you'd roll up posters.
4) Once rolled, slice up the rolls into 3-4 inch wide strips.
5) The strips should be about double the length you want on your skirt.
6) Place your elastic over a fat roll of tissue paper, or something circular, like a small plastic flower pot, or whatever. I used the back-rest of a chair, but that's bad for your elastic.
7) Now, take a strip, fold it in half, and place the folded part over your elastic. With the fold held over the elastic, bring together the end of your strips from behind the elastic in through the fold and pull it down nice and tight. Basically, tie the strip in a knot against the waistband.
Here's a diagram I found on the internet. You should knot your strips the way it's shown below.

8) Knot all your strips right next to each other, till your waistband is entirely covered. Make sure when you stretch out the tutu, no gaps are seen. It should be ALL COVERED.

9) Now, trim the edges of your tutu to whatever length you choose.
10) Voila! Your TUTU is ready to be worn!

I chose a turquoise green net fabric, and a black satin ribbon to tie around the waist. Will upload pics soon, but if you're eagerschmeager to see how it looks, I've posted a song video, and I'm wearing the tutu in the video. Couldn't resist.
Now for the song.

The song that sounds like another/Tutu song

Well, what can I say about this song that's not obvious?
It was shot in my dining room by Madhatter

Perhaps lyrics.

And, the flowers are all falling
And, the warm, summer breeze is gone,
I, I kissed a stranger,
Until, another...came along

Keep living in circles, yeah
but it's the same old same old same old same and

I took the road
less travelled as you told
me to
I walked a mile
Wondered why
feeling lonely
like I do

Look over yonder
I see you
Hand in hand

Living, laughing, loving
with a shadow
I left

Keep living in circles, yeah
but it's the same old same old same old same and

Next up. Balloon skirt, no sew, no trouble.

September 14, 2011

Jukebox Ani & Grateful G

Saturday at BFlat was quite something.

Soundcheck, I met Arnab SenGupta, a musician from the city.
Woody Walden acoustic, elastic vocals, and Ninja for seasoning, a refreshing and infectious brew of George Michaels, Led Zepps, Billy Joels with original compositions.
I know all of us (me and cronies/cronies and I) thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then monkey and I went home, and then it rained, and when it rains for me, it pours...then scuttled about looking for rickshaws, then reached just a little after my scheduled time to perform.

So monkey, aka Jukebox Ani aka Anirudh, decided to join me for a few songs. We wrote a song on Friday night, Siamese Cat, quite impromptu, quite sudden, and quite my current favourite.

I forgot the lyrics to some of my older songs, but not this one, this one went smooth as butter.

Oooh that reminds me. Forgetting lyrics to songs is my new gimmick, helps me connect with other flawed creatures, makes them feel better...I works.

So Ani is a quirky songwriter, and his songs The Creature/Goblin Song, Caffeine Woman, and Mister Sunshine, should soon be up somewhere on the internet, and when they do debut somewhere on the internet, I'll make sure I share them with you.

His songs are funky and very stickable. I keep humming them long after the moment has passed.

And finally, I played a longish instrumental of mine -- Eclipse -- whose video I shall borrow from a friend and upload soonly. Typical response. Forks, spoons, plates, clunkaclunketyclunk, and yabababayabachompiddychomp.

But I expected that.

So the next day at Sunday Soul Sante on Palace Grounds -- a huge hippieish market with colourful, whimsical stalls n all, but I don't know why they call themselves a 'flea' market, nothing's really that cheap, but like I said, the things on sale were colourful, whimsical and delicious to look at -- Ani and I played again, at the CounterCulture stage.

And this little girl became my no.1 Fan. She danced, she hugged, she kissed, she laughed...I loved her for loving me.

And there was Kavyanjali with Piyush, Meenakshi and Arpita from work, who made it even more memorable.

And three cameras for the four of them. Will seek Kavy's permission and send you links to her images, she's quite the clicker.

The gig itself was wishy otherwise good sound was ruptured by the neighbouring Udaya award ceremony...but was fun having Jukebox Ani play with me.

Hang in there for his songs...they're on their way...

July 18, 2011

Im Juli (Saturday, 9th)

I always get a kick out of jamming with Stefan and gang. By the time I reached Stefan's cozy lil hole in Green Park, Tony, Stef and Nikhil were rehearsing with the raspy-voiced Suguna Sridhar (yes, the littler but just as powerful version of the incredibly sexy Suman Sridhar), and Aditi -- she plays the saxophone, and has a singing voice so sweet and free-flowing that...anyhow -- while I bummed around.

No, actually, I just sat and felt my nerves do a lil tap dance beneath my skin, reminding me of a voice which could once sing, but weathered with smoke and what not, prefers now to speak...rhythmically.

Then we jammed, I forced Stefan to stay put on his precious keyboard stool, while we worked on a couple of songs, for the show in the evening at Zook, Saket.

Zook is your regular club-slash-venue promoting yadayadayada.

What I liked about Zook was its space, just right to make a small crowd look gargantuan. And you are allowed to smoke indoor.

And I liked the guy doing the sound. I have a lot of respect for live music venues that don't just yap, but actually invest in sound. There's only so much a musician can do in delivering the art, but if the setting's right, and the artist is aware of this glorious setting, the performance just escalates into something far more intimate and warm...and that happened at Zook.

And I loved the lil poster outside the loo...kinda pleased the voyeur in me. Will upload pics of that poster, as soon as I take them. It's everything you oughta fear while going to pee/poop/pose in the restroom of a public! The loo itself wasn't particularly...ummm... impressive.

The best thing about Delhi is, after so many years, someone from the past always shows up, and this time, two of my school friends and my cronies from Mumbai were there, and then i had that feeling...that ass kickin' feeling!

So the Jass B'stards, I love their energy, Stefan's over-the-top quirkiness, Tony's goofaloof bassplaying, and drummer Nikhil's manic AND understated (yes, it's AND, and not YET or BUT) playing...they are just a lot of fun, and let's not forget, flexible, versatile, technically sound...very sound, and mad.

So I won't say much more about that gig. Instead, just watch the videos. One was a feature on the Jass B'stards, and accidentally, I fell into the video's true...almost....and I made a complete spazzo fool of myself...but chalta hai.

Above's a song about monkeys and mangoes, but i don't actually say the word Monkey. Kinda messy, but now that it's out there, might as well share it with my abundant blog audience.

And one of my guilt-trip faves called Disclaimer.


June 17, 2011

Hole in the Wall Café

A spread of sausages, bacon, fried eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans, and a basket of bread and butter – all for Rs 150—makes this little hole in the wall a home away from home.

All the fuzzy homeliness at this tiny, couple-run brekker joint comes from the simplicity of its prices and menu, which also features waffles with homemade syrup, a choice of egg omelets and fresh fruit juice.

Watching Galeej Gurus’ vocalist Nathan Lee Harris and partner-in-crime Lynn D’Costa whisk and toss the contents of your would-be spread in the open kitchen, while two helpers scuttle about with dirty dishes and orders, could tease the voyeur in you on a not-so-crowded weekday.

But on a sunny Sunday morning, with limited seating space and a rushed stream of orders, you’ve got to keep a close watch on what’s missing on your plate, as the couple tends to get forgetful.

The sausages are juicy and well-cooked, and unless specified, the eggs tend to be runny.
You can amuse yourself with an array of board games, music, and a wall crowded with messages and artwork from loyal customers, while you wait to be fed.

The smoker’s space, which overlooks the street, has limited tables, and hence, is ideal for a coffee and perhaps, a brownie. But a breakfast over coffee and cigarettes could get messy.

Nestled amidst the staccato bungalows of Koramangla, it is easy to miss the Hole in the Wall, but it’s better if you didn’t.

# 61, 1st 'A' Main, S.T. Bed,
Koramangala 4th Block,