In the year 1991 I first heard the song ‘Janie’s Got A Gun’ by Aerosmith in a compilation named ‘Pepsi Beat’ and it was amazing. Four years later found out from my cousin that it was a song from Aerosmith’s album Pump. I got hooked to that particular style of music. Wailing guitars, fierce vocals, massive drum sound and solid & heavy underlying bass lines. Since then my journey started listening to a genre called Rock. Trotting with Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden I graduated to Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Pantera and eventually got glued to Nirvana, RATM, Soundgarden, Bush, Greenday and what not. I was amazed that there is this music also being created and played by so many artists around the world while I was getting trained in Hindustani classical and Tagore songs, because that was the boundary of musical universe my parents had. My first introduction to western and English music was Mozart, Yehudi Menuhin along with ABBA and Carpenters around the age of 3 or 4. BonnyM and Michael Jackson came a lot later, around end of 80’s.
I got my first own cassette that I bought with my own pocket money was bought from HMV factory store at Dum Dum (used to be known as ‘Gramaphone gate’) is a ‘Best Of Scorpions’ in 1996. Before that I was not allowed to play or have my own cassette player. A typical middle class Indian family would not have that luxury in those days. After that first possession, it was a frenzy of buying cassettes even if it was at the cost of not having lunch at school or college. The urge for listening to more bands led me on a beautiful journey that I am still continuing. Now when I look back, I really feel proud of myself of being not only a collector, but being an avid eclectic listener. I listened to almost everything those days, however selectively, after having to taste some samples. In those days my only source of information was from an English monthly magazine named Teens Today. This was before I came to know about RSJ. I was a subscriber to Teens Today for a long time before I started subscribing to RSJ which ended in 2005. They reviewed anything in music, from Sonu Nigam’s solo album to Glenn Danzig’s solo project ‘Blackacidevil’. So when we used to buy cassettes its not only heresy, but some solid reviews that also helped us decide. It was not possible to get some samples all the time in those days. Also we had to choose before we buy, because resources were limited. In 1999 any international artist’s cassette would cost you around Rs. 125/- or more. In today’s price index it would be near about Rs. 800/-.
For all of us, back in those days, listening to music was costly, even if it was at the comfort of one’s own house. Because back in those days we didn’t have small portable players like we have today. So to listen to music we need to plug-in either our vinyl systems which already became obsolete by middle of 90’s or a Cassette player. A decent cassette player would be a proper consumer level music system which consumed a lot of electricity, cassettes cost like bomb, parents shouting at us for playing that kind of music and threatening at every other level to quit listening to it (at least my parents did). However, we still did it dedicatedly, because it was sheer love. It was no peer pressure or for maintaining our status quo. I remember we used to have music listening groups and hangouts at each other’s place. I used to have more than 500 cassettes by the year 2002, hence used to maintain a register like a library. I was good in repairing cassettes as well, hence used to do that as well for others. But that is all history. Its all seems like figments of imagination from another time and space now. I guess no one of you would be interested in that anymore.
The backstory is important only when we want to make a point nowadays about our heartache for the current situation of the music industry. No one cares about anything anymore. Everyone lost interest in making the other person smile. Now its all about flexing muscle and letting others know that I am better than you. When no one’s doing anything, this was the way to speak my mind, by doing something to underpin the music industry where non-film music is simultaneously created. I started Amuze Records. In order to do this I have sacrificed a lot of things. But have no regrets as I love listening to music and its an essential part of my cultural cultivation. The recent effort I have made to strengthen the Metal music culture in India is something I have only dreamt about. Metal Hack is a project through which I wish to support all those bands who are into this music and want to supply music to all those who still listen to this music. Its an open project for any interested metal bands who wish to promote their music, but not being able to find a proper channel or partner to do so. They can apply for getting included in this project here.
Last but not the least, the ones who are not happy with the name, they can wait for the next post from us or go for a rain check.