We’ve never had a bad performance: Ministry of Blues

November 30, 2015 03:33 pm | Updated 03:33 pm IST



Three musicians — drummer Deepak Keshavan, guitarist Philipe Haydon and bass guitarist Vinoo Mathew — played together for so long (since 1993, to be precise), that it was, by their own admittance, like being married. They played together as part of the band Aftermath, disbanded, and then renewed their vows in 2005, when they met Rauf Abdul (keys), to form Ministry of Blues.

Since then, the band has lost Deepak to a heart attack, found a replacement in David Boon, who “brings down the average age of the band” and yet, retained the “deep, deep groove” that the founders set for the band.

“We mourn the loss of every band member who has left us. But the show will go on,” they say. Excerpts from an email interview.

What is the story you tell through your music?

No story. No grandstanding. We play it the way we feel it.

The band’s got an interesting name. What’s the story there?

Deepak came up with the name (and the musical basis of the band too). He liked the name and the abbreviation — MoB. Many people told him there were other, very famous, musical entities with similar names, but he didn’t care. We're ploughing the same furrow.

Does the name restrict the genres you play? 

We’ve never felt a restriction, artistically speaking. Our own songs are influenced by all the musical genres that matter to us. In addition, we take old Blues standards and turn them into our own, and we could do that to any song we like. But we’ve never considered taking a Justin Beiber or Miley Cyrus song and doing it our way. If that's a restriction, then we’re glad we are where we are.

Most of you have been in the independent music scene for over two decades now. How has it changed?

It has changed vastly for the better. There were almost no opportunities then. We’re from Bangalore, so to give you an example of how things are in this city: if we were to play once a week, one by one, in all the venues that support live bands and musicians, it would take us at least six months to cover all of them. How would you rate it as a career option — has being a full-time musician become lucrative now?  

Two of us are full-time musicians and two aren’t. Rauf decided to be a full-time musician very recently, after resigning from his family business. So, that does prove that being a full-time musician can now be a viable option. But if “lucrative” is what you are looking for, then be a banker.

Your best performance?

All of them. We’ve never had a bad performance. Really. Maybe the law of averages will go against us sometime. But we're not holding our breath in the meantime.

Ministry of Blues performed in Chennai last weekend, as part of the Himalayan Blues Festival at Phoenix MarketCity.

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