The Indian Rock Star - A long way to come

Discussion in 'Music Talk' started by Asmodeus, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. Asmodeus

    Asmodeus New Member

    Hey people, here's an article I wrote for our college's Sociology magazine... it's realted to glocalization. All I'm askin from you is, correct any facts which are wrong here, and tell me how you like it...
  2. Asmodeus

    Asmodeus New Member

    The Indian Rockstar… still a long time away!

    India is a land of much diversity. Many consider it to be the most stratified land in the whole world, with differences drawn not only amongst the obvious class and caste barriers, but also amongst what seems to many as the trivial things in life. These include the arts and culture and by art, I mean literature, canvas-art, sculpture and music.

    Music… due to the effects of globalization, western forms of music have made a firm inset into the country. The western classical have a quite remarkable following in the land of Rabindro Sangeet, bhajans and Ragas. The invention of recorded music brought to the country western sounds, ranging from the early blues, to the true pop days. Abba and Boney M were recognized easily by the collegians of the 70’s while The Police drew quite a crowd when they performed at the Rang Bhavan. The late 80’s saw the invasion of rock music as a whole, with bands like Aerosmith, Twisted Sisters, Ratt, Motley Crue, KISS, Black Sabbath and Metallica being listened to with more interest from the youth, especially in the metropolitan city of Mumbai (then called Bombay). The rock industry in India (if we can call it that) saw its emergence, with local bands like Rock Machine and Witch Hammer. Independence Rock started out in 1985 and twenty years on, in the new millennium, what was expected from the Indian Rock community came to be seen as only dreams. Nothing much has changed from the 80’s…

    Rock music still remains more of a “taboo” music form in the country today. This maybe due to the anger and violence which is rampant amongst the style of music and the English lyrics, or it maybe due to the rampage of the lifestyle of “***, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll”, or due to the fact that no common man understands the “Angrezi” lyrics. Thus, rock has always been viewed as music for a niche audience, which includes mostly college goers and a few old “English” uncles…

    Now let’s consider the rock scene in our neighboring country, Pakistan. The scene has been readily accepted amongst the commoners there. You can actually call the rock community there an industry, with new bands being formed daily, and the “aam junta” actually listening to the bands, evaluating them, and actually singing along to the hard and heavy songs. The autorickshaw-walas know their bands, and about Rock Music! To strengthen the fact, just check any Pakistani music forum on the net.

    So, here’s the question… what’s the difference between the two countries? And why is it that rock music is flourishing in the land of the five rivers? The answer is simple… The effective localization of rock. Some may call it fusion, however, this can be viewed as a direct offshoot of glocalization. Taking something, which is totally alien to a society, and modifying it so that it blends right in, thereby making it acceptableAnd that has happened in Pakistan… Way back in the late 80s saw the emergence of the currently most famous rock band from Pakistan, Junoon. They blended the traditional Sufi music with the heavy punch of rock and gave the world the brand new taste of Sufi Rock. The result? Junoon quickly climbed it’s way to the top of the Pakistani charts, and their popularity soared. The album was classified under “ROCK” and thus, people became aware of this new genre of music, which previously seemed a total waste of time. Later on, Junoon went on to release the album in India, which saw the release of their most popular song to date, “Sayonee” on MTV India. As in Pakistan, Junoon captivated the Indian audience with their new blend of music and paved the way for such projects. However, the impact greatly remained in Pakistan.

    After Junoon’s popularity, the sky seemed the limit for Pakistani rock. Glocalisation was the name of the game, with lyrics being written in the lingua franca, Urdu. The song structures remained vaguely western, and “influences” from leading international rock acts such as Iron Maiden and Guns N’ Roses were common. Almost everyone wanted to be part of this dynamic new music revolution. Out came Strings, who released their first album, with songs like “Anjaane” and “Duur” proving to be huge hits within days of it’s release in Pakistan. Mekaal Hassan, who is considered by many as the “Slash of Pakistan” shot to popularity, as finally, the masses accepted his long locks and amazing guitar prowess. Strings and Junoon did to the Pakistan Rock Music what Black Sabbath did to Thrash Metal… they discovered a new sound, a sound which pleased the masses and set in them a pride for localized rock, with lyrics even a layman could understand.

    From there, there was no looking back, and now, Pakistan rock has become one of the most powerful forces to reckon with in the sub-continent. Leaving Strings behind are the new faces of bands like Jal, Fuzon, and Aaroh. Nu-Metal has also arrived, again, glocalized, with the conception of Entity Paradigm (whose video has recently been aired on MTV India). Record companies have been instrumental in the success of such acts, thanks to the cheap pricing of the albums, and because they see the tremendous market for rock music. And now, thanks to this effective music style, the rock community can be easily termed an Industry.

    Here lies the eminent question… what of the Indian Rock scene? Well, in order to get more listeners, the obvious solution would be to glocalize rock music in our country too. We need more bands that’ll play Hindi music, with lyrics everyone can understand, so that the channels do not get changed when distorted riffs are heard over the radio. Such experiments have already begun, and some of them have been hugely popular too. Take the example of the Bengali rock scene, where every kid’s dream is now to form a “Bangla Band” of his or her own. The Bangla bands have taken things the Pakistani way, with songs being written in Bengali, and with added traditional instruments, such as the ek-tara and the dholak. In Kolkatta, even the local chana wala has a favorite band, which maybe the hard-rockers Fossils, Cactus, Chandrabindoo, Parashpathor, LJB, or the folk-rock band Bhoomi, which has been in existence for well over a decade! The rocker attitude has been well portrayed, and instead of being ridiculed at, longhaired guitarists now find themselves playing to crowds who respect them with the same respect shown to greats such as Mark Knopfler.

    The same is slowly happening in the Hindi segment as well. Rock Machine in its last years came to be known as Indus Creed, and they introduced the Indian perspective onto the scene. Their tabla-based song, “Pretty Child” has come to be regarded as one of the best Indian Rock tracks ever. Later on, an offshoot of the band, Alms For Shanti continued on this path, which saw the release of “Kashmakash”, the video being declared a hit in due time of it’s release. Bands like Indian Ocean came into existence, with their own rock-based adaptations of traditional folk songs and usage of traditional instruments such as the duk-duki, which is a modified ek-tara. Even Pentagram, the most successful Indian band overseas, tried their hands at fusion with a collaboration with Shankar Mahadevan and Javed Akhtar, which saw the release of their single, “The Price of Bullets”. But sadly, none of these bands have been able to do what Bhoomi did for the Bangla rock scene…

    So, therein lies the answer to the problem of rock music in India. We need more bands with simple Hindi lyrics; we need bands to use more of dhols… Imagine a longhaired man freaking out the dancing audience at the next Ganpati or Durga visarjan, with accompanying dhol-beats. These steps will truly open up the vast genre of Rock music to the nation, and show the people the hard work it takes to make such kind of music. This is the only way to get into people’s minds, and make them accept Rock as just as any other form of music, and nothing “special”.

    It may seem very vague and very superficial, but glocalisation is the way to take the suffering Indian Rock scene out from it’s torn down hut and on the way of becoming a true Industry!
    vikramk likes this.
  3. sridhar11_2

    sridhar11_2 Instrumental guitarist

    Great article man!! :nw:

    You're absolutely right.

    I guess we must rock on with hindi lyrics :rock:
  4. the_wizard

    the_wizard Omega == God

    nice one man...

    i seriously agree with experimenting new sounds and inclusion of traditional instruments (like tabla in "pretty child") in some of our music.
  5. sridhar11_2

    sridhar11_2 Instrumental guitarist

    Yup if Zeppelin used Tabla , Satriani,Vai and a lot of people used Sitar . Why not Indians use them for a change.
  6. sixstringsin

    sixstringsin ||||||

    Thot-provoking article ..nice one!
    @Asmodeus: "So, here’s the question… what’s the difference between the two countries? And why is it that rock music is flourishing in the land of the five rivers? The answer is simple… The effective localization of rock."

    One reason I can think of is that India is a land of so much diversity...there are Indian states like nagaland where the official language is English ..for that matter 7 NE states share a similar culture.... Identifying onself more with western music/instruments/language also depends on ones' own identification.

    Aslo, I heard in Chennai people have trouble conversin in Hindi and stuff .... a rikshawala in calcutta might prefer listening to some bangla kind of rock-flavor and one in bihar might prefer rock with the dhol-effect. We know of regional experimants in rock where Indian instruments are used ...but yes their scope is limited. Zubin Garg is one Assamese rock artist whoz invited to perform in festivals like Bihu in assam. There are others in the queue as well targetting regional audience .
    Agree that we need bands to come up with simple hindi lyrics.........
  7. aysh

    aysh -|h3 ori9in4| (ui!aris-|-

    u know what , demonbhai actually lookes down upon fuzon/strings/junoon and the likes ( any hindi/urdu rock music for that matter) .. in his words , its "average low life music" .. thats the general perception in the indian rock community .. ppl preferring eliticism to mass appeal ..

    i think there have to be more lyrics writers who cn write 'good' hindi/urdu lyrics .. its not so easy .. but that is the backbone of all good songs i guess
  8. dennis

    dennis The Bhangra King


    ..this is the problem with indian bands...ego!!
  9. Asmodeus

    Asmodeus New Member

    That is the problem with any band....
  10. rocking_devil

    rocking_devil Banned

    nice article dude! somewhat in some way its revolting as well!
    so basically what you meant was you were comparing the indian rock scene with the others provided our present immorality of the country and justyfying that rock music in our country is long time backward or sumthing?

    @dennis - yeah, the indian band love sharing ego!:RollLol:
  11. shsnawada

    shsnawada Cyborgs & Pasta

    Having the indian flavour is a good idea and can get far and awesome. But that doesnt mean that indian bands which sound like "western" ones cant make it. Take sweden's example: Most of the bands there, have their lyrics in english and very few have incorporated "traditional" music (that would be folk music in their case), but still have produced really good bands.
    But putting in tabla tracks or something of that sort can make stuff awesome and interesting too... :beer:
    Strange that i didnt notice this thread before
  12. taxyse

    taxyse t3h.

    ah yes...all we need is some hindi rock....
  13. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    Will you not be guilty of "manufacturing" music if you incorporate certain aspects for sheer sake of popularity?

    Just curious....since that would probably be sacrilage.
  14. shsnawada

    shsnawada Cyborgs & Pasta

    ^^ I think selling out for a start is not that much of a problem. if they like a sellout band, they have chaces of liking a band which plays the similar style but one that is better and less its better in a way.
  15. *+*neel_pori*+*

    *+*neel_pori*+* Double Poster

    I Too Agree We Do Need Sum Hindi Rock
  16. abhijitnath

    abhijitnath Fighting GAS frantically

    Excellent article:).
    A few factual errors:
    Twisted Sister, not Sisters.
    Some mention of rock in the North East would be nice.
    Wytch Hammer I think, not Witch Hammer.
    Black Sabbath did to thrash metal???? Thrash is a much later development than Sabbath.
    The instrument played by Indian Ocean is the gub-gubi not duk-duki, and it is nothing like the ektara.
    But intent and direction were very good, not to mention writing style!
  17. morse_pankha

    morse_pankha Banned

    to use indian instruments jst for the sake of sounding indian is pretty stupid.
    rock music evolved form a diff culture...if indian bands with indian origin play an original which sounds like them..its indian enough for me.
  18. Shash_delhi

    Shash_delhi New Member

    Indian rockstar a Long way to come

    nice article. however heer are my two cents :

    i feel , that in india we go have some really neat rock bands but i guess almost evrybdy is busy playing covers.. on he other hand, there are some bands who have some original english rock songs.. but then again they dont have a mass appeal..

    however , i am of firm beleif that there is no dearth of talent in india.. we r one of the best in teh world as far as music is cocnerned ( and thats not limited to rock only.. the deifinion of music)... just that we are taking time to align ourselves with something called as a "hindi rock "

    i guess a begining has already been made.. i have heard a lot of good ( but unknown bands and artists in india) soft rock ( hindi) songs by indians..

    i myself am into vocals, music compo, lyrics and guitaring..and relatively unknown too i guess :). watch this thread for my soft rock compo :

    then there was also a relase of an nline hindi rock album..some of the songs r very neat i wud say.. :

    and here are so many others tht iam sure iam missing and are much much more talented than me or others that i have mentioned..

    all in all.. its only a matter of time.. i can tell u that.. !
  19. paranoid13rohan

    paranoid13rohan .: iNDiaN iDioT 3.0 :.

    nice article.

    i'd like to correct a fact or two -

    1) it's LRB (Love Runs Blind) and not LJB.

    2) Bhoomi is purely a folk band, not folk-rock ... and they have been in existance since 1999 (so still not a decade).

    ... and 1 more thing that i'd like to add here is that the most popular bangla rock band till now - fossils has never used any indian instruments, nor are their lyrics simple (it's actually tough) ... but their music has variety (hard rock to punk rock) and lyrics are of great quality and thought-provoking.

    why am i saying this ???

    because i feel these are the two basic things which can take the suffering Indian Rock scene out from it’s torn down hut.
  20. Shash_delhi

    Shash_delhi New Member

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