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Music for the soul

The city's veteran rock band, AlterEgoz, is working at their debut album, that is scheduled to hit the shelves shortly.

FAB FIVE: (clockwise) Badri, Vijay, Nauzer, Lokhi and Ajay.

THE SKIES resounded with thunder. The Deck reverberated with the soulful rendition of Cobain. What transpired out of the fusion was sheer rhapsody.

Party animals couldn't have had it better on Wednesday last. Drenched, they came in. Drenched, they went out. An hour and a half between times.

Only, the reason of getting sodden was different, one for the downpour and the latter being, sweat!

Underdeck in Taj Banjara was chock-a-block with connoisseurs of Rock Wednesday night vying for space.

The reason: the master's of Rock in Hyderabad were there - - the AlterEgoz, the oldest band in town. The crowd swayed and danced in all their zaniness.

The swank pub resonated with their vibrancy as they went on unplugging one number after the other, to the delight of the swarm.

IN TUNE: AlterEgoz performing at Under Deck.

With Bacchus' bequest to smoothen Carlos Santana's Smooth after the head-banging Black Magic Women, the water almost caught fire when Deep Purple was voiced and finally Nirvana was attained on clamouring request with such deft undistortion that would have even made Cobain acknowledge the finesse of the six-member band.

"Feel the ecstasy of the vibration and rate us accordingly, yourself," asserts bass guitarist and bandleader Lokhi, when asked about the band's quality over so many other pop groups teeming up every day.

That they are a band to be reckoned with goes without saying as members of all other groups, small-time or big-time, invariably turn up to hear the AlterEgoz play, at all their shows, apart from the scores of avid Rock buffs who flock in hordes.

They call themselves a progressive rock band, which means that their gigs have an element of pop, jazz, blues, country and reggae over and above the generous share of pulsating rock.

The members have earned the status of a veteran band as each of them has put in at least 15 years of performing experience.

"The band has had many re-incarnations in the past keeping in mind the trends of the contemporary times," Lokhi continues. AlterEgoz started as Katalog in 1986, reformed as Zeus in 1990, went on to become The 40-year Itch in 2000 until they assumed their present nomenclature in 2001.

"We treat AlterEgoz as a company and we call ourselves a corporate band as all of us are professionals in our own chosen careers. The only unifying factor that was there when we first met was our choice and taste of music. And it is only music that has kept us bonded together despite our separate vocations and today we have emerged as a great success in the field with years of well-seasoned maturity," says Badri, the drummer of the band.

Comprising of Lokhi on the five-stringed Yamaha Bass guitar, who teaches Mathematics in Chaitanya School, Badri on the customised drums, who is one of the Managing Directors in U-Foam industries, Vijay on his Washburn leads, who runs an ad agency - - Demiyurj, Nauzer Bengali on the keyboards, an employee of Thomas Cook, Ajay rendering the vocals, who works as a copywriter for Lintas media and Stan Kavoori, a music teacher by profession, AlterEgoz does represent a Corporate music band, in its entirety.

The band even has a sister duo - - Aarti and Shilpa - - rendering for them special numbers, which require female renditions. Both are students of Occupational Therapy in Manipal University.

How do the members manage to juggle between their tight-packed professional schedules, practise, perform and yet be one of the best bands in town?

"Passion, grit and professionalism," answers Vijay, "keeps us together for the four-hour practise session twice a week."

"And yes, we are practising harder these days to churn out our first album, which will be on the shelves by August 2003," quips in Ajay.

"About our plans?" "Well, we want that Hyderabad should be placed highest on the rock map of India," Nauzer and Stan declare in unison.

But how? "We shall start a music appreciation club shortly, where we shall introduce audiences to the Rock culture.

We shall treat them, at our own expense, with good music and cajole other bands to play for them so that they imbibe the spirit of Rock," Lokhi says.

Call it invasive or infective. But clubs are making their presence felt. From a laughing club to an orator's club to a club for gays to an exclusive beer-drinker's club to a club for French spewers and with so many others aplenty around, the brazen Hyderabadi populace has sure come within its folds.


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