Let there be Rock

In an old overgrown bungalow,right in the midst of bustling Karol Bagh,five 40-somethings are hard at work,retuning their skills on a keyboard,guitar and the drums.

Written by Anushreemajumdar | Published: January 10, 2009 1:14 am

A college band reunites for a last gig this evening,turning on the nostalgia

In an old overgrown bungalow,right in the midst of bustling Karol Bagh,five 40-somethings are hard at work,retuning their skills on a keyboard,guitar and the drums. The sound pitch is occasionally off,but not the easy camaraderie. These are the members of White Fang,a popular rock band of Delhi University in the 1980s,who — in a story that is similar to the film Rock On!! — have reunited for a one-off concert at Magique tonight. “It feels great to play together again but since we parted,individually,our sense of music has evolved,” says Amitanshu Das,guitarist,currently a director at the University of Pennsylvania.

This rock story began simply,in 1980,when Das of Hansraj College went to meet a lanky bass player at St. Stephens’ College,Rahul Ram. Through other friends they traced drummer Sharad Tyagi of Delhi College of Engineering and a girl from Jesus and Mary College,Abe Meresh who sang pop with panache. Gautam Ghosh from Hindu was roped in as lead vocalist and,voila,White Fang was born. This is the band’s first performance together after 25 years.

“In the West,all these great,old bands are coming back to do shows. I wanted to do this just to celebrate all those great years we spent devoted to music,” says Das. The band survived on basic instruments. Tyagi’s drum set was crafted out of leather at Kashmere Gate and Meresh had brought back a Yamaha keyboard from the UK. Back in the day,White Fang played covers such as Deep Purple’s Black Night and Smoke on the Water,Ready for Love by Bad Company,Behind Blue Eyes by The Who and Roadhouse Blues by The Doors.

Once college was over,life happened and they went their separate ways. But two of them were destined to stay with music and Ram went on to form Indian Ocean and Ghosh,the Gautam Ghosh Collective. Now in the age of the Internet,they kept in touch and jumped on their feet at the sound of a reunion gig. “Things have changed,we have great equipment now. We’re not too old to rock and roll,” smiles Ram. Not everything has changed though,as Ram hollers for Ghosh to get back to the microphone,Meresh is reading chords perched atop her old white Yamaha and Das invites Deepak Castellino and Tony George from another 80s college band,Applied For,to the practice session. “Two other bands will join us,Applied For and Déjà vu. The reunion is not only for our band but our friends,people of our generation,” says Das. Tyagi has flown in from Mumbai for this gig,where he lives and works as a senior vice-president of the API branch of Dr. Reddy’s. Meresh,based in Delhi,is a pranic healer.

The song list should have rock fans of all ages hooting with nostalgia. “The first song on the list is still the same as it was when White Fang played the circuit,Fool for your Loving by Whitesnake,” says Ram. After the long chai break that was taken for our benefit ends,the band gets back to work. While we leave Ram is egging Ghosh to sing Black Night in Bengali for the main show,and other band members groan.

Reunion Rock Show this evening at Magique at the Garden of Five Senses. No Tickets,No free food or drink. Limited seating. Show starts at 7.30 pm.

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