indian rock history (a tiny bit of it at least)

OH YEAH I have a blog.

I was going to write a long & hopefully erudite post about archiving and the constructedness of historical narrative, bringing in Foucault and genealogy and…yeah… stuff like that…

…but it’s too hot.  Why won’t it rain?

I’ll just ease back in here and post a few links and a few pictures of an early Indian band, Electric Plant, that I stole from the website Indiecision. Arjun (whose website it is) and Vijay from the promotions and everything else company Only Much Louder (an amazingly entrepreneurial duo and charming people to boot) told me lots of stories about the old days of rock music in Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore…but I didn’t have my voice recorder thingy with me, and anyway Hard Rock Cafe in Bangalore is like the loudest place in the world. But next time, guys!

Here is a really rather awesome looking band, Electric Plant, in 1983.  Best fashion ever?  I think so. If only I had a recording of them playing. I feel like they would sound like a combo of Deep Purple and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Electric Plant

Anyway, yeah….so….right, history.   Bryan, a journalist with whom I am acquainted wrote a wonderful article about the early days of the rock music scene in Bangalore and interviewed many musicians from the time. I suppose back then (70’s and 80’s) there weren’t as many available ways to record or preserve (unlike now when every fleeting thought and moment is recorded) and so the things he’s written about have the seductive quality of being like a secret history just waiting to be even more fully excavated.

I’ve been trying to make an archive of historical stuff and piece together what the history of rock looked like throughout the country, but it’s too much work for my time here.  Someone who lives here should do it! Go around to all the older guys and collect any media they might have like photos and recordings and flyers and all that stuff.

I do love collecting stories and sounds and pictures.  I’m a lover of other people’s old things and frequent thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales. I like the patina of old things, I like their nicks and scars, I like speculating about their provenances and previous owners.

Which leads me to my next thought, which is regarding the super-fetishization of vinyl garage rock from the last decades that every urban hipster in the world seems to be guilty of.  I do it myself!  I just love the sound of music that isn’t polished to a high, slick surface by one hundred producers and airbrushers and etc etc.  And I love the inserts, and the feeling of discovering something amazing in a pile of Crystal Gayle and other stuff.

simla beat album cover

So anyway, here’s the cover of the first (I think?) Indian rock band compilation, released as part of the 1970 Simla Beat competition. (Simla was a cigarette brand that sponsored a rock competition back in the day).

From website Garage Hangover, here’s the link for a song off the record by a group called The Confusions – the best band name ever too, jesus!

And for a cover verion of Creedence by The Dinosaurs – again with the perfect band name! – that in my opinion far exceeds the original.

simla beat back cover

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Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 12:52 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey! Very interesting blog and I am actually jealous that you’re able to do a project like this ;-).

    Could not find your name or a link with your email ID so here’s a comment and hope it gets a response.

    First of all for a piece of rock music history in India. The origins go waaaaay back. And that too in the 60’s!!! The first “ORIGINAL music” Indian rock band was a band called The Great Bear (1969.) This came from the city of Kolkata. Followed up by a band called High (1974.) Legendary and awe#&(some music. There’s a lot more on this out there on the net.

    About myself, I am a Bangalore based guitarist and composer. I released my debut album in Jan this year. You could check out the music at http://www.ashaanti.com

    If you like it would be great if you could review it as well.

    Thanks and hope this reaches you.


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