How often does one associate rock music with Indian bands? Let me put it another way. When someone asks you about rock music, the few bands that come to your mind are Nickelback, Greenday, Guns n Roses etc. It is, but natural to associate rock music to some crazy, wild foreign group. But, what about Indian bands? Indian bands haven’t fallen far behind in the rock world too! Acclaimed Indian rock bands are now making strides in the world of Rock, some of them start-ups while some of them proper established bands. Rock bands in India date back all the way to 1988! Hey, it wasn’t just the Rolling Stones then! 1988, is way too long back and Indian bands originating at that time is just phenomenal. Amongst the popular, rising Indian rock bands, here are a few of them you must know about.
Nicotine is a band that has originated from Indore. This band was formed in 2008 by a bunch of college going students. The vocals and guitar is handled by Digvijay Bhonsale. Aniruddha Gokhale handles the Lead Guitar while Shaleen Vyas handles the drums and Anuj Malkapukar handles the bass. The band initially ventured out by performing at college festivals across India. Amongst the many achievements they’ve managed, popular ones are the Unison 2010 and Campus Rock Idols 2009 wins. Although it’s still a band on the rise, and yet far away from a band of Indian Ocean’s stature, the Nicotine group have done well to establish themselves in a few cities across India. It’s no doubt that they are on the right track.
Silver is a Pune based band that specializes in alternative rock music. The band was formed in 2007 and comprises of vocalist Mahesh Niroula, bass player Rishi Rai, guitarist Savio Sebastian and Drummer Amit Godse. The band represented India in the Asian Beat held in Taiwan in 2008. They won the Yamaha Rock 2008 and the Independence Rock 2008. The band while it still looked to release its first album continued to create more and more single tracks for its fans. It is said that the band almost disappeared from the scene after they won the I-rock in 2008. However, in 2012 they returned to announce the release of their first album.
Soulmate, originating from Shillong, went on to become India’s first ever Blues Rock band. The band’s primary composition is Rudy Wallong who is the songwriter, guitarist and vocalist and Tipriti Kharbangar who is also the vocalist and guitarist. The duo seem to be more than a force as Tipriti is considered to be the best singer ever from Shillong while Rudy goes down undisputedly as the best blues guitarist in India. They played their first concert in 2003 and ever since has gone on to perform many concerts across India, Europe and the United States. Soulmate represented India in the 23rd International Blues Challenge organized by the Blues Foundation of America, thus becoming the first blues band ever to perform the task and in return gaining widespread recognition all across India. The band has released just the two albums, Shillong and Moving on, as they look to present themselves more in concerts worldwide.
There is the famous south Indian dish called Avial, and then there is the Band called Avial. Yes, this band was named after the famous dish when it was first formed in 2003. Avial originates from Kerela and deals with alternative rock music. The current Avial Band members are Rex Vijayan who plays the lead guitar, Mithun Putanveetil who operates behind the drums, Tony John who handles the vocals and Binny Isaac who works with the bass. Neha Nair is the band’s lone singer. This rock band basically dishes out a fusion between folk music and hard rock. The band’s first album was released in the year 2008 which was titled as Avial. Their second album was Anakallan in 2011. The band’s main menu consists of Malayalam songs mostly; a mix of Malayalam folklore with a blend of rock finesse.
6. Little Bambooshkas Grind:
Little Bambooshka’s Grind, or LBG is a Chennai based rock band that was formed in 1995. Its members are Aum Janakiram who handles the interactive media and guitar, Arjun Janakiram who is the songwriter and bass player, Praveen Heinrich who handles the lead vocals, Maynard Grant who is the drummer and Avneet Janakiram who is the guitarist and band administrator. The band started out by playing at college festivals in 1996, but later decided to venture into the rock industry all across India in 1999. The band also has the uniqueness of being backed by a professional communications agency. Its third album, Bad Children, was nominated as the Best Indian Rock Album of the year in 2007. On the social side, they performed at various charity shows to raise money for victims of natural disasters in India. One such example was the Tsunami attack in 2005. The band is loved for its authentic blend of rock music. It continues to grow as a rock band in India only and is looking to venture out into the world soon.
Fossils is a Bengali rock band originating from Kolkata and formed in the year 1998. In the band’s composition, Rupam Islam is the composer, acoustic guitarist and lead vocalist, Deep Das is the back-up vocalist, composer and guitarist, Allan Ao is the guitarist and backup vocalist, Chandra is the bass player, Tanmoy is the drummer and percussionist and Snehasish Das is the organist. Fossils primary mode of performing is in the Bengali language. They released their first album called Fossils in 2002 and followed it up with their second album Fossils 2 in 2004. The band’s popularity grew between 2004 and 2005 as it was majorily sponsored by Thumbs up. The band has gone on to perform at concerts in Las Vegas and Nashville in the USA. The band’s leading motive is to create a perfect blend of rock and psychedelia as they have so often done on numerous occasions. Fossils as a group continue to grow in the Bengali rock folklore. Don’t think there’s any stopping them.
4. Thermal and a Quarter:
Thermal and a Quarter, better known as TAAQ is a popular band that was formed during college days in 1996 in Bangalore. The band features guitarist and vocalist Bruce Lee Mani and drummer Rajeev Rajagopal alongwith Leslie Charles who works on the bass and Michael Dias with the guitar and vocals. Since it was formed, TAAQ has played in big cities all across India and has even toured the world, performing in the US, UK and China. The band has even associated itself with the famous rock band Guns n Roses, opening for GnR’s first venture in India. The award-winning show ‘The Dewarists’ even potrayed TAAQ in its second season on Star World. TAAQ has released five albums so far and has achieved laurels in its rock music journey. It remains the only band to have large number of ‘non-Indian’ music associations.
Parikrama is a rock band that was formed on June 17, 1991 in Delhi. The word Parikrama is latin for ‘Orbital Revolutions’. The band currently consists of Nitin Malik (lead vocalist), Sonam Sherpa (lead guitars), Saurabh Choudary (guitar), Subir Malik (Organist), Gaurav Balani (bass guitar) and Srijan Mahajan (drums). The band’s first concert performance was at Father Agnel school in 1991. Since then, they have notched up more than 3000 shows. The band also has under its belt the first AIDS awareness concert in 1992, which was called Ban”ne”d AIDS. Quite bizarrely, the band hasn’t released a single album till date. Instead, they believe in giving their music out for free. Most of the band’s recordings are done at live concerts unlike the usual studio recording. Quite an unorthodox band really! Parikrama have composed some famous songs that were a huge sensation amongst their fans, some of which are: Am I Dreaming, Tears of the Wizard, In the Middle, I believe etc. The band continues to be loved amongst the India rock zones, and as its name suggest, their orbital revolutions carry on!
2. Indian Ocean:
Considered to be the trend-setters of fusion rock music in India, this band was founded in Delhi as early as 1990. The band made its debut with Sushmit Sen, Asheem Chakravarthy, Rahul Ram and Amit Kalam as the members. However, Chakravarthy passed away in 2009 and Sushmit Sen quit the band in 2011. It all started off with Sushmit and Asheem meeting and jamming together as a duo, Sushmit with his guitar and Asheem with his table and drums. The band of two then grew bigger, with artists like Indrajit Dutta and Anirban Roy joining in. The band name, Indian Ocean, was interestingly suggested by Sushmit’s father. The Band’s first album, Indian Ocean, took a year to complete before it was released in 1993. It sold as many as 40,000 copies, making it the most by any Indian band at that time. The success story never stopped for the band, as it continued to rise. Sushmit and Asheem groomed a group of young musicians that became the band’s revelation. The band followed with their second album ‘Desert Rain’ in 1997. They even composed an album for the movie Swaraj in 2004. Indian Ocean has defined the essence of Indian Rock Fusion and there is no stopping their immense fan following.
Euphoria, the famous Indian rock band, was formed in 1988 by Dr. Palash Sen and his friends in Delhi. Their basic motive is to perform hindi songs with a pure rock fusion twist. Euphoria is India’s earliest rock band and is considered the soul of Indian pop and rock. ‘Dhoom Pichuk Dhoom’ was their first ever single track. Euphoria released their first album DHOOM in 1999. Since then, they have gone on to establish for the rock world 8 original albums! The band consists of lead vocalist-Palash Sen , bass player- Debajyoti Bhaduri, dholak and percussionist-Rakesh Bhardwaj, table and percussionist- Prashant Trivedi, drummer- Ashwani Verma, back-up vocalist- Vaishali Barua, back-up vocalist-Krutika Murlidharan, keyboard player-Vinayak Gupta, guitarist- Amborish Saikia, backup vocalist- Kamakshi Khanna- Back up and Kinshuk Sen- Back up Vocals. The group toured 10 major cities of USA to promote their 5th album ITEM in 2011. ITEM was the highest sold Indian album that year. It’s the euphoric manner in fusing rock music with hindi folklore that has earned Euphoria s many fans. It’s a band on the rise since a decade, and it has lived up to that fairytale fact.