Friday, October 18, 2013

The Perfect College Song

More than the ability to create magic out of nothing, I love musicians for their courage. Writing and painting are easy if you have even an ounce of talent. You can occupy a comfortable corner, express yourself, scratch the unmentionables, and create. You can erase, redo and improve all the time. But playing music in front of an audience! Wow, how tough is that. I can never imagine going on stage and remembering things like,

C, Followed by F Sharp. Maintain the tempo. Give me a flat. Look curiously at the monitor. Crack a private joke about the Sound Engineer. Back to C major.

There is just too much to remember for an easily distractible mind like mine.

And the audience. Don’t get me started on that.

You see, I have this recurring nightmare. I am in a rock band and since it is my dream, I am the lead guitarist, the vocalist and the man most likely to be objectified as a Greek god. We are playing in front of a college where the women say ‘Whatever’ at the end of every sentence and toss their hair 20 times per minute. 20 TOSSES PER MINUTE.

So, we are about to start and I am tuning my guitar and then the rhythm rolls his eyes and tells me about a problem with his G string. I look up and free fall into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. I am in distracted mode. I look at the audience. I forget the lyrics. I forget the song. I forget the language.

I start singing in Parseltongue about Sachin Tendulkar.

And they do not like it. Especially two tall Mallu dudes at the front. No, they came to watch a rock band (pronounced rok) in their jean pant with a crucifix around their wrist and I am going all mainstream on them.

“Let’s throw stuff at the stage”


“Because it is there”

“Ok, but what?”

“Snakes. Let’s throw snakes. Cobras, boa constrictors. Exotic species which even the Tam Brams can’t spell. That’s what Alice Cooper would do”

“Who the f is Alice?”

“Is that the only song you know? I swear Menon, next time you start singing that”

That’s how the dream ends. Always.

Returning to my fears, over years of attending many musical events, I have learned that the audience at a college gig is possibly the most dangerous. Dangerous as even at a musical concert, they are not the types to like anything musical. Half of them are only there to see the band mess up. Like faces pinned against a car window, all set to get off by looking at roadkill. Scientifically, they are Morons.

The other half are friends of the band. They first cheer when the band come on stage. Then they cheer when the band starts unpacking their gear like they know something amazing is about to happen.

“Wow. He has got his guitar. His GUITAR”

They would cheer even if the lead singer farts.

“Now that’s what I call a power ballad. Fruity, but powerful”

 So, I asked my musician friends on how they do it. How to survive the musical life. The drummer gave a drum roll before letting me into their world. And then he whispered, This is our secret. Go tell the world about our story.

·       Get angry

Musicians have to look sullen all the time.
Get crazy pissed Parab, man.
Be angry with a father figure if you play the leads, man.
Pretend someone sold you undersized undergarments, man.
And then it rained and they got wet. And you have this itch.
And you had to ride for a hundred kilometers, man.
With your hands in cuffs, man.

·        Act the part

This involves fist bumping everything that moves. (Except snakes, one of them added after giving me a faraway sort of look) You also have to say man at the end of every sentence. Learn the lingo. If you don’t like anything, say Not Cool. Say respect to everything that gives you joy.

If you see more than two men with pony tails together, shout group hug.
·        Avoid the girls.

Girls will sleep with you. Avoid them.

“That does not make sense” I had to say.

“Nothing makes sense, man. I am just helping you add more words to your column”

“Respect” I say. We fist-bump.

“Every time you see a good looking girl, quickly insert headphones


“That’s what headphones mean to musicians. We are like doctors with stethoscopes. Commies with manifestos. Professors with fountain pens. Lab assistants with Vernier Calipers”

“Respect, man” followed by more fist-bumps.

·        Always play the songs people know.

Listen carefully Parab, one friend said. You are a good kid. Remember what Russell Crowe said in Gladiator, if you want to have Lingerie thrown at you, play the songs people know. Win the crowd, win the thong.

“But that would be a long list of songs, right?”

“Yes. Zombie. Hotel California and Summer of 69”

And that was that. A few simple mantras to live the musician’s life. And to thank all my musical friends for the wisdom shared, I wrote the Perfect College Song. If this does not impress them fools in the crowd, I don’t know what will. I call this song 

The Perfect College Song.
or The California Based Zombie Who First Died in 69

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of
Zombie, Zombie Zombie
Rising up in the air.

Up ahead in the distance, I saw a simmering
Zombie Zombie Zombie
And then I thought I heard them say,
Welcome to the Hotel California.
Such a Lovely Place
Such a lovely face

So I called up the captain
Please bring me my wine
And he said,
We haven’t had that spirit here, since the Summer of 69.

And me and some guys from school
Had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit, and Jody Got married
To a Zombie Zombie Zombie

Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, dou, dou, dou, dou, dou...

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Anonymous said...

Keep them coming... :-)

ankit said...


Gaurav Parab said...

@anon - Feel free to join me on Facebook. Always helps to know where they are going, when someone says keep coming :)

@ankit - Go Share. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hell yeah GP.. :)