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October 5th 2014 will remain a special night. It'll be remembered for a long long time. And here's why.

For people that know me, or even people who've read my blog, know how big a fan of motherjane I've been. It's hard to put to words the significance that they have on my life. I wouldn't be doing any of the things that I'm currently doing in the music industry if it weren't for them. Hell, I wouldn't even be listening to other Indian bands if it weren't for them. I've walked around proud for the last few years with nearly everyone forgetting what my real last name was and simply calling me "Hari Amajaniac" instead.

I'm fortunate enough to have worked in this industry now for three years, in whatever capacity. But my real journey into music started seven years back, with motherjane. I've been truly blessed to have caught 50+ gigs of the band(with the Maktub lineup). And trust me, when I say I'm truly blessed I do realize the weight of those words. And maybe, over the course of this blog I'll be able to explain why.

I've been able to spend a lot of special moments with them. Birthdays, surprises, big ass college festivals, meeting Opeth in their green rooms because of them, and a whole lot of other stuff. But when they went on stage, I never lingered by the side of the stage. I would paint my face. Ten minutes before they went on, I would always make it a point to run right to the front, from the other side. Touch the barricade. Hold any fan who was right next to me and start screaming along with them.


And then the smoke fills the stage, the intro music goes on, and with half painted faces, a few Gods step onto stage for us mere mortals to watch in awe. And Bang, Disillusioned would ring through the PA. The crowd would go wild. We would shout at the top of our lungs and completely lose ourselves for about ninety minutes. This was almost a ritual for me. Almost twice or thrice a month I got to perform this ritual, thanks to how incredibly popular they were. They were at the top. Easily, one of the best Indian bands there has ever been, to be politically correct. But to me, they were THE band. No other band mattered as much to me, Indian or International. And most likely, no other band ever will. 

And then, soon after I caught their acoustic show for the first time ever, Baiju departed from the band. The reasons didn't matter. But I knew it was the beginning of the end of something truly magical. I remember that I was helpless on the day that I heard the news, frantically calling everyone in the band, except Baiju, because I didn't know what I would say to him. I called every fan I knew and asked them to send me letters pleading with Baiju and the band to get back together and uploaded them all(http://amajaniac.tumblr.com/). Of course, it didn't really help. But I was helpless. It honestly felt like I had lost an uncle. A guiding light, if you will. But there wasn't anything that could be said or done to undo what had already been done. I was in mourning. There is no other way to put it. 

The band and Baiju moved on, and I still chose to stand by them. I still traveled for shows and even caught Baiju live with Wrenz, at what I think was the only live gig was their only gig with Baiju. It failed to evoke that same emotion, but I still stood by him. 

Soon, Suraj left too. Citing health reasons. He was back a year later, in his all new avatar as the Tattva Tripper. I was lucky enough to get a job as the tour manager for both, The Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate and Suraj Mani and the Tattva Trippers. I even mixed for the two, on two consecutive days and I remember feeling extremely nervous before the gig, but they both turned out pretty alright nonetheless. 

Everyone moved on. Except the fans, There were always a lot of fans that came to Baiju, during his gigs or workshops and asked about motherjane. The possibility of getting back. Interviews had questions about the same. It was just not quite the same seeing another band perform the same songs, whether the name of the band was motherjane India, or Suraj Mani and the Tattva Trippers or Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate. But, as fans, the least you can do is to stand by the artists, and that is what a lot of us did. Thankfully, my work allowed me to do that a little better and I immersed myself in it, trying hard not to think about the years gone by and everything. 

We got to do some kickass work, made a few excellent collaborations happen, helped Baiju play at huge festivals and at great colleges, and so on. Let the axeman run wild through the country. And it was quite something to watch. 

But as a fan, there was one collaboration that I really wanted to see happen again. It was a collaboration I was quite skeptical about, but it was something that the little janiac in me was dying to see. I wanted to see all these musicians on stage once again. But I always thought that it wouldn't be quite the same. That the spark wouldn't quite be there. 

October 3rd, I got word that Suraj and Baiju have mutually agreed to get on stage together at Sound Awake's Free Wheel Rolling 2. It was an exciting prospect to say the least and I couldn't quite wait for the show. 

Five bands played and then All The Fat Children went on, and there was suddenly a visual in my head, that I had to share. I went to Suraj and said, "Chetta, this reminds me of Autumn Muse, when ATFC opened for you. What a mad show that was. You guys killed it that night." and he played it down and just said, "Yeah, good times". I was quite bummed that he didn't share my excitement but then again, he had his own set to worry about and everything and I let it go. 

Suraj went up on stage next for his set. A peaceful acoustic singer/songwriter set, which is a perfect set for a man like Suraj, in his new avatar. I remember just two things during that set. One was going over to Baiju, embracing him, as I do before each show of his, and saying, "Chetta, I'm just glad I got to be here when this happened". And the second, was when Suraj asked the crowd for requests and some one screamed Broken and he simply said, "I have a feeling you'll hear that tonight". I was giggling and clapping like a little kid, just visualizing what was about to unfold. 

And then, came the Syndicate. And they played an incredibly tight set, and after a few songs in, Baiju signaled me on. I got up on stage, took the mic from Siby, the vocalist, and was quite literally trembling. I had done these introductions before. But none of them meant quite as much to me as this one did. I composed myself and was able to get through announcing Baiju's new crowd funding project for his latest music video, which you guys have hopefully contributed to (http://www.wishberry.in/campaign/kaithola). But as soon as I was through that, and as soon as the magnitude of what was about to happen hit me, I lost my composure. Professionalism flew out the door and I was screaming at the top of my lungs as I announced that "It is my immense fucking pleasure to call this man on stage. Give it up for SUUUUURAJ MANIIIIIIIII". I couldn't help but stick around stage long enough to tell the two how much it meant to me and embrace them together. "My favourite vocalist and my favourite guitarist on the stage together again. Over 2.5 years I've waited for this to happen. I think I just might cry tonight", I could hear myself say.

Broken was the first on the list, and I wasn't surprised when the crowd was louder than the band. Every word was echoing through the small venue and I remember feeling that exact same emotion that I felt five or six years back when these guys rocked the stage. I was overjoyed not just by the fact that these guys were back on stage again, but that I was able to share it with some of the biggest motherjane fans around, Munz and Ganesh from Down Troddence, Akhil from Heretic, Sangeeth, the organiser, Sachin, one of motherjanes yesteryear managers, and Dhruva, one of my closest friends from school. We went absolutely nuts. Headbanging. Screaming at the top of our lungs. I couldn't believe that this was really happening. I had missed this energy. I had missed this madness. 

They went on to sing Mindstreet and Chasing the Sun too. And Suraj made an extremely kind gesture of asking Siby, Baiju's vocalist, to join him on stage for Chasing the Sun. I remember embracing Suraj one last time on stage. And Suraj and Baiju did the same. That feeling of seeing those two long-lost brothers embrace again, will remain in our hearts for a long time. I remember walking away as soon as Chasing the Sun was done, with Sachin and Sangeeth. And just holding on to Sangeeth and crying my heart out. And I was inconsolable. Not many would understand, but I'm glad these people did. That feeling. I've been asked plenty of times, why motherjane means that much to me. And even how I am so deeply affected by the departure of just a band member. But to us, motherjane means a whole lot more. To bands like the Down Troddence and Heretic, they were the ones who led the way and paved a path for the incredible talent in Kerala. To me, they were the ones who showed me how much I really loved music. They were the ones that made me want to live my life, going from gig to gig helping artist after artist. 

Tears refused to stop flowing. It was an emotional day for us all. Suraj and Baiju were thoroughly professional about it, but didn't mind indulging me whenever I needed some comfort from either. Somewhere in between, Sachin just said that "The worst thing about everything is that good things have to come to an end". And I knew then that the night had ended for us. But it was a feeling that I didn't want to let go.

But looking back, it was easily one of the best night I've had in a long time. I can't thank Baiju and Suraj enough for making it happen. And who knows, one day maybe I'll get to see all my idols on stage again. 


As far as the past few days go, there's probably been only one major thing on my mind. Leaving a job that I held for the past two years. Now, I don't say job in the conventional sense. Since October 2012, I've been the tour manager for the Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate. And two years since, in October 2014, I've now decided to bid adieu to this role.

Now the reasons are many fold, and I'm not even going into them. After all, though it may be a real rarity in today's world, privacy is still something that everyone deserves. But as a passionate motherjane fan, I do remember that two years ago when I was asked to be the tour manager of the band, that it was easily one of the best days of my life. Granted, it's not the most glamorous job. But I got to help a man that I adored and really looked up and got to watch every single one of his shows from the best seat in the house, right next to him.

Now whether I was good at the job or bad at it, I'm not quite sure and it isn't for me to answer either. But I do know that I had a fantastic time all along.

That first gig at Bflat, the first workshop at Furtados, mixing for Baiju at Opus, the Mindstreet Tour, headlining college festivals, the catastrophic days that we turned into our own little victories, like Pilani and MEC, the Weekender, the GoMAD festival, the college competitions that I was asked to judge, solely because I was the manager, the workshops that he let me mix, letting me plan live collaborations like the ones with The Down Troddence, Bryden, Harish, and Warren. And a hell of a lot more.

There are a lot of memories that I take back from this journey. And I'm incredibly thankful for all the good times and I'm thankful for the bad ones too because they've helped me learn and helped me grow.

To all the organizers and sound vendors that I've worked with, I'm sorry if I was harsh, but I only did it to get the job done and bear no ill will whatsoever. Each and every one of you have been exceptionally supportive. It isn't said enough, but you guys are the real champions. Putting in the hard work every day and not even being seen by most crowds.

To my co-workers at HIJK, the passion you show towards helping our artists is incredible. The goal has always been clear, to help the artists that we've come to adore in whatever small way we can. No matter what our skill set was, HIJK always found a way to make us seem a little valuable.

To the members of the band(present and past), I do hope that I've served you well. I will definitely continue to help in whatever little way that I can. I can't wait to see you at the next show, it'll be a different view from the other side of the barricade, but it'll still be a good one I'm sure.

To Baiju Chetta, thank you ever so much for all the opportunities you've given me. I am humbled by the amount of confidence you had in me, both as a manager and a sound engineer. These days have been some of the best days of my life and hopefully one day we'll be able to work together again. In whatever capacity. But I really do hope that you once again reach the heights that you so richly deserve. And I can't wait to see you blaze up that stage again ..


It's been forever since I took to this page. Quite frankly, I don't even remember the last post I wrote. But a recent realization that I need to be slightly more productive with my life has led me back here. Whether blogging does add any amount of productivity to said life, I have no idea but it's a thought I'd like to pursue and see where it leads me. And as far as whether I'm going to go through with this or drop it half way like most of the other things, I'm not quite sure of that either. But hey it's a start. Let's see where that goes.

17 Years ago, a cultural head came up with a band just to fill in for a professional act that had backed out of his college fest. The band went on to cover a few songs and played their first live gig in a few days.

In a span of 17 years since then, they have seen the absolute peaks of the Indian Rock Scene to the gory depths. MOTHERJANE. One of India's premier rock acts turned 17 today and it was incredible to talk to John today. For two reasons, though he was extremely proud of the achievement of having survived in an industry as shaky as this one for such a long time, there was a tinge of nervousness. 17 years later, and John, a legend in his own right, at least in my eyes, still has doubts about where it will all go from here. Still challenging themselves to push the boundaries that may exist. It is easy for one to just settle or even call it quits. One might say that Maktub was their best period, and they've struggled post the departure of two of their lead members and that they should have called it quits before facing the crap that they've had to go through. But John and the other members, decided to move on, head held high. Come sunshine or rain.

It was a bold step indeed. Yes, they've had a few setbacks but to think that these guys have got the courage to move completely away from all previously existent frameworks to create something entirely new is a refreshing thought.

An entirely beginning after 17 long years. As was indicated by John tonight, there's a tinge of familiarity and a lot of uncertainty. But I know for sure, that irrespective of what happens, what has happened and what is happening right now, they will have my unanimous support forever, in any quest they wish to take up. Cuz these 5 men, and the people who were a part of them in any capacity, have created such a huge impact on me, I can honestly say they have largely shaped the person I am currently. Absolute role models each and every one of them.

Amajaniac! Will always be one. Cuz there aren't too many who deserve as much respect as this band does. I hope to see them back on the pedestal they once were on. It would be quite incredible.

Also, one day, Creative differences, personal issues, etc all aside, I would love to see all of these people come together one last time for a jam, orchestrated in heaven. 

There has always been a negative outlook towards Bollywood from most metal fans. Which is why Vishal from Penragram takes so much flak. But, I think its quite wrong. Yes, bollywood receives a helluva lot more attention but it doesn't mean that the musicians in that field have had it any easier than other musicians. They've had incredibly long journeys too and hard ones at that and that needs to be appreciated.

Today, I need to show my appreciation to three such musicians. Shankar Ehsaan and Loy. Watched them live at Saarang tonight and they were incredible. They played a set that was close to three hours and Shankar Mahadevan is just a vortex of constant energy.. Right from start to stop, there wasn't a single moment where the energy dropped and that is something that I found to be quite great.

I didn't know most of the songs but that didn't matter one bit. I found myself randomly grooving to various songs and gleefully clapping along to others. Something I haven't really done in a long while.

It wasn't just their energy that was unwavering, the energy of the entire 6000 odd people was at a high for the entire three hours and they were found dancing and partying all set long. This is in fact testament to Shankar Mahadevans incredible stage presence (its right up there with Vishal Dadlanis during a Pentagram show).

P.s. I do realise that I've used the word incredible quite a bit in this post, but I couldn't help myself. It was about the only word I could use to describe what happened tonight.

Also, kudos to IIT student body for pulling off something this spectacular. All three days went off incredibly well this time aroud. Congrats IIT. You've shown why Saarang is one of the best fests around.

About this blog

A true Janiac to the core, this is my opinion on the beauty that surround all of us :)

A Janiac, initially was defined as fan of the Indian Rock Band MOTHERJANE. But this word, for me, can be used to describe a man that listens to his heart and is filled with passion. I describe myself as one such Janiac!


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