music

The untold story of Indian rock music, retold

The untold story of Indian rock music, retold

The history of Indian rock music is a largely untold one. This is a subculture that has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media though, it emerges, its antiquity in India dates back to the early 1960s when it attempted to sing in tune with the beat that swept the West. Sidharth Bhatia has authored a new book, India Psychedelic, on this theme, which comes close on the heels of Naresh Fernandes’ Taj Mahal Foxtrot, a history of India’s jazz scene. Though I found Bhatia’s book interesting, I felt it confined itself to a narrow era – the decades of the 1960s and 1970s – and just about pays lip services to the years thereafter. My interest, on the other hand, has been focused on the 1980s and particularly the 1990s, when Internet technology paved the way for musicians and artists to assert their right to be heard sans borders. It dwells, also, on my area of interest: the evolution of the Bangalore rock music scene beginning with the Bangalore Music Strip.

This article, written for Yahoo Originals, attempts to colour in the grey areas left by Bhatia’s book, as well as etch a fresh canvas of perspective.

Music and memories with Layla co-creator Bobby Whitlock

Music and memories with Layla co-creator Bobby Whitlock

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo India’s Bijoy Venugopal, Bobby Whitlock sweeps into glorious history and whirls back into the promising present, speaking of the making of “Layla”, his friendships with Clapton and Harrison, how drugs ruined and scattered the Dominos, and how CoCo Carmel breathed life back into his musical career. It’s a love story much like “Layla”, but one much warmer and happier and hopeful.

Norah Jones sang that?

Norah Jones sang that?

At 31, Norah Jones is no-questions-asked sublime. Ten Grammys (and seven nominations) make her a formidable presence commercially. Also critically – even that curmudgeon Robert Christgau acquiesced: “What’s not to like?” Her versatility makes her a coveted collaborator to artists, genre no bar. And so, as we listened to album after album that Jones has served up since her not-quite-jazz-but-getting-there-in-a-hurry début Come Away With Me, which swept eight Grammys in 2003, we may have overlooked her off-road excursions. …Featuring fixes that jig-saw bit back in place.

Before the beards – ZZ Top’s Fandango!

Before the beards – ZZ Top’s Fandango!

Walking a fine tightrope between the live and studio sounds, and maintaining continuity with the previous album, Fandango! became a watershed record in ZZ Top’s career. Bands with a big stage sound often betray themselves when they enter the studio but ZZ Top had figured their way around that. Fandango! also coincided with a time when the band’s trademark beards started to appear.