Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Baby Experiment

I feel like my blog is turning into an obscenity filled rant-fest so I am going to try and tone things down a bit. December is a stressful month so I’ve been taking my frustrations out on the last couple of posts, so I promise less swearing, especially since the readership of this blog seems to be getting younger and younger…

So here is the woman in my life. My niece Dania! Many of you remember her from when she was born (Check her out here). Mashallah she is now a whole year old and is the most entertaining thing I have ever seen.

I’ve recently been performing musical experiments on her, to see what her tastes are. This is my playlist of music and these are her reactions.

1) Led Zeppelin - Good Times Bad Times

Looks at me with confused expression.

2) The Teddybears – Cobrastyle

A little smile. But not much else. Looks like she’s going to dance but then stops and tries to take off her socks.

3) Jeff Buckley – Lover You Should Have Come over
Sits on the floor and leans forward with mouth slightly open, Seems to be concentrating very hard. Looks guilty. Yep, she is definitely pooping.

4) Gloria – Van Morrison

Big smile! Starts bouncing up and down.

5) Black Sabbath – War Pigs

Ignore. Starts crawling away. I look around to make sure my sister doesn’t catch me playing Black Sabbath to her 1-year-old.

6) Kailash Kher – Kaise Mein Kahoon

Complete madness. She is swaying from side to side, flailing her arms up and down and grinning from ear to ear. If she weren’t a baby, I would definitely say she was on crack.

7) POMP up the jam (from that Govinda movie….’Partner’ I think)
Stands up and does cute little butt-shake. I am absolutely horrified.

So it appears that babygirl still has a long way to go before she appreciates rock’n’roll. I guess one has to go through teenage angst before any of that makes sense. But Govinda? Must shelter her from this.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Biggest Assholes of 2007

1) Saudis:
OK so maybe not Saudi people, but the Saudi government are definitely big on the list. These assholes are probably the only thing in the world Pakistanis and Americans can agree to collectively suck up too while they support terrorism and raise oil prices. Muslim brotherhood my ass. But that is not the sole reason for their asshole-ness. They recently "pardoned" a rape victim for getting raped. This is several months after they threw her in jail for getting raped in the first place, claiming she shouldn't have been alone with a non-relative male. Now they are acting all "look at us how merciful we are". Chootiay.

2) Expresso
This may be really petty, but it's my list and I'll do what I want. Now most of you in Karachi are familiar with Expresso the hoity toity cafe where the hoity toity people go. Now I have no problem with this. They also ban males-unaccompanied-by-women (aka mailas) after 7 pm, because apparently single guys will enter coffee shops after dark and attack the first thing with boobs they see. Doesn't matter if you are a respectable looking guy, who comes in there regularly with your decent educated friends, if you are male-without-girl, they assume you are going to jump in and wave your penis around.

With all this apartheid-esque policy, the waiters their have begun to slowly take their heads up their own asses. They now only respond to women.

As hard as this may be to believe, sometimes I cannot find a woman to go with me to Expresso, so I go there with my all-male best friends for brunch on a Sunday. We are a clean cut non-threatening party of 4. There is a rush, so we put ourselves on the waiting list and wait. As we wait we see three parties of hip-crowd type people go on upstairs with little or now wait. We tell ourselves maybe they were higher on the list. Then this gaggle of little teenage girlies who had arrived a good ten minutes after us go through. By this time my friend Sherry gets really irked and demands to see the list. The chubby asshole behind the counter says that those girls arrived before us. Sherry is barely able to control his rage, when he snatches the list and sees that people lower on the list have been crossed off before us. At this point I very politely ask CHUBS why he let people go before us. he starts stammering some excuse about seating arrangements while the other waiters gather around him in support like the Ninja Fucking Turtles.

At this point I should have kicked chubs in the left nut, but we decided we were too hungry and left. I made a vague vow of how I was gonna call up the owner but I havent yet.

Haven't seen CHUBS there recently, I think he got transferred. But I still go to Expresso. They have good coffee.

3) Younis Khan
OK let me make clear that I love Younis Khan, but sometimes he can be a real asshole. They offered him captaincy of the Pak Cricket Team. Twice. And twice he refused, pulling some serious Julius Caesar shit. Then he was forced to take it when everyone got sick. Then he said he doesn't want it because he wants to enjoy his cricket. Now he says he wants captaincy.
You know what Younis Khan? I would love it if you took the captaincy......right up your ass. Asshole.

4) People who have an I-Phone.
..........Just because.

5) Girls who are bitchy because they think skinny is beautiful.
I found this both tragic and asshole-ish. Especially when they bring down other girls for not being skinny. Let me clear this up right now, guys do not like girls who obsess about weight. It makes us feel like we are ogres who put unfair expectations on everyone.

Look, good food is inherently sexy. So a girl who enjoys good food is inherently sexy. And a girl you can enjoy good food with is golden.

BUT. It doesn't hurt to join a gym.

6) Omar Khalid, Imran Lodhi and me.
For picking on Yasir in every interview, TV appearance, blog post , social gathering, wedding, birthday party, concert, recording session, lunch, dinner, breakfast. And for also writing a song entitled, "Yasir, why don't you suck my balls".

7) Timbaland and Timberlake
Remember when pop music used to be good? Remember when songs had guitars and you would remember them forever and ever. In the old days we had Motown, The Monkees, The Beach Boys, Cliff Richards, Dusty Springfield. Then we had Michael Jackson and Madonna. Their songs were timeless and you could pop in “The Way You Make Me Feel” right now and still groove to it.

Now we have Timbaland and his asshole partners like Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado. We only have ourselves to blame because we keep playing his mind-numbingly hollow hits with his soulless electronic beats and his glorification of bad grammar. If that weren’t bad enough this asshole rubs it in our face reminding us how awesome he is and how much everyone else sucks and how he’s gonna be “banging bitches in the VIP while they still be aksing (not a typo) you fo’ ID”.

Can you imagine someone with real talent like Stevie Wonder pulling this kind of shit? So Justin Timberlake, you did not bring SexyBack, that stupid hat makes you look like a poof and Timbaland is nothing more than a glorified beat-boxer who makes a couple of clicks on his laptop and plagiarizes beats and tunes from other artists. But Nelly Furtado is hot and “promiscuous”, so she’s ok in my book.

8) Mobilink
Mobilink tried to buy everything this year. From phool-wallas to tourist spots to your grandmother, everything was branded with Indigo. If that weren't bad enough, we had to deal with their serialized television ads with Shaan and Vaneeza. This is actually a separate rant that you can read here.
Anyway, they forced The Jazz Budget single into all our collective consciousness and then they had a featurette showing "The Making Of" the stupid fucking Mobilink ads. ITS A TELEVISION COMMERCIAL. Unless it is a Victorias Secret Catalogue Shoot or something with extraordinary special effects I DO NOT WANT TO SEE HOW THEY MADE IT.

9) Journalists who can't stop writing about "Khuda Key Liay"
Look I know its a good movie. And we know your company funded it. But for fucks sake its been six months. Please shut the fuck up.

And finally, the award for the BIGGEST ASSHOLES OF 2007......
10) Music Channels, Telecom Companies and Artists who let Telecom Companies buy airtime to promote their video

Have you ever turned on the TV and seen a music video for a pretty mediocre song and then you switched the channel but that same video was playing. Then you switched again and that same video was playing. And again until you wanted to ram your head through the TV screen.

Artists these days are so insecure and make such crap music that they have to force their music video upon us by having their sponsor pay for airtime so that the video runs round the clock just like an ad. Where else in the world does this happen? It is almost equivalent to an artist paying somebody to come and watch him rather than the other way round.

Since our TV channels dont really care about quality or content or FUCKING entertaining programming, they gleefully accept the money and put the video on heavy rotation. Is anybody questioning them on this? They just shrug and say "Yaar we can't say no to a sponsor". Here is a list of asshole artists with their asshole sponsored videos.

1) Jal - Sajni (Warid)
2) Ali Zafar - Dekha (Lux)
3) Ali Zafar - Aasman (Telenor)
4) Ali Zafar - Masti (Telenor)
5) Overload - Dhamaal (Mobilink)
6) Strings - don't even know the fucking name (Mobilink)
7) Shehzad Roy - that abida parveen song, (Ufone). I don't care if its a public service message. You still paid top have it played every 5 mins on every channel.

I don't care if "artists need to eat too yaar" or whether you have good songs or not. All these people are true sell-outs without any justification. I am not against an artist being sponsored by a company or videos being funded by other companies. I am against these MUSIC videos being treated like advertisements.
Why should new artists even spend money on a music video? Unless you can pay music channels to play it, they wont put it in rotation. They wont even put it in their so called made up charts.
How is this country ever going to breed good musicians if the only ones who get on TV are the ones who can afford to pay for it? What kind of fucked up model is this? And who are the idiot audiences who are indulging TV channels in their mediocrity?
Hear me now. Music Channels are NOT promoting the music industry they are KILLING IT. Anyone who becomes successful is successful IN SPITE of them, not because of them.

To recap:
Artists who buy airtime = Insecure, spineless and unethical.
Music Channels = Inadequate, low quality and pandering.
Telecom Companies = Assholes.

If there are any assholes I have missed, please feel free to add to the list, am awaiting your comments.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Inspiring moments from the Show

1) Hoisting up our giant 15 foot “Aunty Disco” onto the stage backdrop. It was a really perilous affair but it was worth it. When it was lit up, it was a menacing and provocative image that seemed to be jumping out from the stage. Check out how it looked.(Pictures courtesy Ayesha Ahmad and Sara Memon)
2) Faraz Haider and his band. We couldn’t have asked for a better opening act. They were loud and energetic, they played a note perfect show and got through their set quickly and efficiently, really setting up a great atmosphere.
3) Us opening the show with “Sultanat”. People told me it was one of our best performances of the song. The sound was incredible, the drums were thunderous and the bass booming. When we came in with the signature opening riff, the crowd went wild. I nearly wept for joy when during the quiet part of the song, the entire audience sang the chorus back to me. It was a dream come true.
4) Yasir’s on-the-spot darbuka solo. He played the audience with his hands, going from a hypnotic belly dance rhythm to a quiet tapping and climaxing with a thunderous assault on the drumskin.
5) Imran singing “Is Tanhai Ko” with the audience singing along and swaying to the beat.
6) The mighty drumming of Omar Khalid. For a change OK didn’t drop the sticks once, and he was really on fire that night, pounding out the rhythms like a man possessed. The only glitch came when he suffered a cramp in the middle of “Black Dog” and stopped playing, much to our bemusement. But he didn’t drop the beat and got back into the song to give a great ending.

7) Our number one fan who Imran christened “little girl” (you know who you are!) who stood in the front row throughout but sadly had to leave before our last two songs. Just before I did “Nazar” she came running to the stage and asked me to sign her CD while the whole audience clapped and cheered

Funny/ Stupid Moments from the Show

1) A group of teenage girls who surrounded Omar Khalid and told him how much they loved him and his blog. This thoroughly confused OK, who then realized they had the wrong Omar. He nearly let loose a string of expletives, but mostly just called them “Jaali Fans” and walked off.
2) While putting up the backdrop, several of our stage team had to make a dangerous climb to the top of the PACC building. After an extremely tricky journey to the roof, they realized that they had in fact forgotten the rope.
3) After our performance of “With a Little Help From My Friends”, some dude in the front row exclaimed “Bauhat aala, kuch samajh nahin aya, leykin bauhat aala”. Guessing he wasn’t a Beatles fan.
4) The sound technician on the stage commented to Omar Khalid “Yeh to koi American concert lagta hae, tu gora hae aur mein kaala”. We still have no idea what he meant.
5) Our over-efficient ticketing staff refused entry to Omar Khalids family. Apparently there are lots of gatecrashers who pretend to be OK’s parents.


I guess that really is the best way to describe it. Our launch show was truly magical. For once, everything fell into place. No last minute glitches, no running around worrying about tickets, excellent sound, excellent stage, the perfect crowd and just the right amount of chilliness in the open air. There is a lot to be thankful for, but what really touched me the most was the presence of the beautiful people who are our real fans.

The crowd danced, cheered, laughed and sang along throughout the entire performance and I was overwhelmed by the love and warmth we were receiving. There were so many people who were seeing us for the first time who were enthralled, and then there were our die-hard fans who had been waiting for this show for a long time.

We threw ADP t-shirts into the audience, we signed CD’s and had an all round raucous time. So for all you people who showed up, you are all really special and we hold you very close to our hearts. I’m sorry if I sound emotional, I really am just trying to communicate the really electric emotion I was feeling when we took the stage that night.

P.S: All you people who didn’t come because of shaadi season, I know who you are and I know where you live.


Friday, December 14, 2007

8 hours to launch

I feel the worst I could possibly feel.

Lodhi and me are both down with a severe chest infection. I'd been fighting it off these last couple of days with cough medicine and anti-allergy pills but nothing is working. The stress is making it worse.

This morning I woke up feeling like someone took a hammer to the back of my throat and I am gasping for air. I hate Karachi. I hate this weather and I hate how I get sick before every show.

Tensions within the band are running high, i'm obviously feeling angry because I've been running around like a madman trying to get stuff that other people should have taken care of. And I know its this resentment and tension that gets me sick in the first place but I can't continue like this.

My parents are worried sick about me, and I am terrified of singing tonite. We've gotten so many messages of support from fellow musicians for what we are doing, it has suddenly put immense pressure to deliver on our reputation. Although, it really did warm my heart to get messages from Ali Zafar, Mekaal Hassan, Zeb and Haniya and Farhad Humayun from Overload.
Plus the boys from Mizraab and Mizmaar are turning up tonite.

I know if we screw-up, none of these guys will ever take us seriously again. You really only have one chance. I know I know, I shouldn't worry about impressing people and just worry about playing another show. Which is what this is at the end right? Just another show?

Pray for us.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Aunty Disco Project: Live and Dangerous!

I'm a real headcase right now. But in a good way. Everything is on course for us to put on an awesome show on Friday and debut our album for our fans.

We've received a lot of criticism for doing everything ourselves and with people saying we should have taken more time to do a proper release through a record label.

For us, it's always been more important to make music and get it out to the people. The songs we have on our album were written over two years ago. As time goes on, one begins to feel that they don't represent who we are any more. We are much improved and different band from 2 years ago. By not releasing this album, we would be holding ourselves back.

Either way, we are going to take the album to our fans and sell our self produced, designed and printed CD's at the show. I am truly excited. Yasir has been working really hard on the design of our album and it really looks good, I wish I could post it for you guys, but we have to keep things a surprise.

Not to say, there weren't issues. We still have to get the CD's printed, not to mention the merchandise we plan on selling. (Yep thats right Aunty Disco Project merchandise!!). All four of us fell ill with the flu that is ravaging Karachi right now. Samme was in Islamabad and Lahore for business so he couldnt handle half the stuff. However, we had some luck and we were finally able to get sponsors on our own. We've spared no expense on the concert itself, going for the best we can in terms of lights, stage and sound. While I know it is smack in the middle of shaadi season, I'm hoping people will turn up to hear a great rock show.

So I hope all you loyal blog readers who haven't seen us before turn up to this. . If we pull this show off and we sell enough CD's, we will have proved that you can make it on your own in the Pakistan music industry and hopefully we will pave the way for other underground bands wanting to go mainstream. I am so proud. And I only hope that everything goes well and we leave people feeling like they were part of something special, together with us.

For those about to rock. We salute you.

Saturday, December 01, 2007





My own flesh and blood...

Last night, the boys came over for a bit of practice so I took my guitar out of its case. I hadn't played it since the IBA gig, and I was a bit alarmed, but mostly exceedingly proud because I discovered little bits of dried blood smudges all across the strings....

Mama I'm finally a rockstar!

You see, ever since our K-Fest gig in July (with Mauj and Mizraab) I have taken to performing windmills on my guitar at the end of Sultanat. I picked it up from my idol Pete Townsend from The Who. It's just a spur-of-the-moment-rush-of-blood-thing and it feels incredibly exhilirating. It is however incredibly dangerous because with the arenalin rush, you barely realize you are crashing your fingers into six steel wires at high speed. As a result I usually have heavily bruised and bloodied hands, but I always wear it as a mark of a great show. Thats rock and roll right?
So this just goes to show how awesome the last IBA show was. I am proudly displaying my battle wounds. Check the pictures for posterity before I clean the guitar of little bits of flesh and blood....