Rock band on a roll

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Fantastic four The band members of Nerverek
Fantastic four The band members of Nerverek

Music Chennai-based band Nerverek will open for the Scorpions concert at Bangalore this Sunday. Divya Kumar reports

When does a 28-hour train journey become fun? Well, when your band has just won Campus Rock Idols in Delhi and you’re travelling with your three utterly pumped-up band mates back to Chennai, the ride is likely to become one long party.

For Nerverek, the Chennai-based progressive metal band, it included convincing a fellow passenger that they have special mind powers and mercilessly teasing a junior they’d bumped into. The band recently became the first South Indian group to win the national inter-college contest, beating out seven other finalists from the North, South, East and West zones to get the cash prize of Rs. 75,000. The win also means Nerverek — composed of lead guitarist and singer Arjun ‘Chiq’ Dhanraj, bassist Krishnan ‘Kitha’ Swaminathan, keyboardist Rohit (nickname withheld on request) Abraham and drummer Ritesh (ditto) Dharmaraj — will be opening for the Scorpions concert at Palace Grounds, Bangalore this Sunday (it wasn’t part of their prize, but sponsors Hero Honda requested that they open).

“It’s our first time opening for an international band, so it feels good,” says Arjun.

As the Campus Rock Idols winner, Nerverek will also get to open for an international rock act sponsored by DNALive, and they’re really, really hoping that act will be Iron Maiden (they’ll be in Mumbai this February). “Hopefully it’ll happen — we haven’t yet heard anything about it after winning,” says Krishnan.

The band formed back in August 2003 as a three-man group, but except for founding member Arjun, none of the original band mates remain — Krishnan joined in end 2003, Rohit in mid-2006 and Ritesh in mid-2007.

“We’ve had a number of changes over the years, but I think the current line-up is the best we’ve ever had,” says Arjun. (“Yeah, because of me,” quips Rohit.)

It was Rohit’s idea that the band compete in Campus Rock Idols this year (a fact he’s unlikely to let them forget in a hurry) and they decided just three days before the auditions to participate. They didn’t really expect to get so far, what with the intermittent drama of Ritesh planning to go to Dubai before two of their performances (he decided not to go in the last moment both times, much to the regret of the replacement drummer who was all packed and ready) and trifling annoyances such as college and exams — Rohit and Krishnan are final year students of Visual Communications at Loyola and SRM College respectively, Ritesh is studying at the Maritime Foundation and Arjun is a post-graduate student of Visual Communications at SRM.

Up next, the band plans to cut their first record — “Forever Endeavour,” a concept album written by Arjun — in March or April 2008. But for now, they’re busy practising for the Bangalore gig, ensconced behind the sound-proof doors of their practice room (“the neighbours will kill us otherwise”). And, of course, there’s the on-going celebration of the Campus Rock Idols win…




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