14 years ago, on Jan 24th, yet another college band went up on stage as a cover up for a band that failed to keep its promise of playing in their college. No expectations whatsoever were around. Their drummer was the club secretary and they had to this show to get the crowd going. They had had just a week or so of practice and were on stage. Their sound check was at 12 at midnight. It went on till about 5 AM. Soon their drummer crashes at his home and leaves home in 2 hours. Everyone is sleep deprived. Yet they are all nervous as its their first show. I have no clue how that show went, but I have to say this band, in just 14 years, has done miracles that most other bands can only dream of. They’ve touched a billion hearts the world over and will always do so. They’re celebrities in their own right yet remain firmly rooted to the ground and have no air around them whatsoever. A band that has done everything from rocking the most unruly crowd to opening for major international acts like Megadeth to Opeth to rocking HIV positive kids. This band is one like no other. This band is MOTHERJANE!!!
Many people have asked me why on earth I’m so addicted to motherjane. My reply to them has always been “It is written” or “MAKTUB”. I don’t know why that is my reply and I will always keep wondering and never figure out an answer. But come to think of it I don’t think there can ever be a better reply. I’ve never pressurized anyone to listen to motherjane; I’ve only expressed my love out in public. But many a times, I’ve had many people come to me and asked for their music. They’ve come to me and said “Wow! This band is brilliant”. I’ve bonded with men from Java over motherjane, more notable people like Thoriq Arridlwan Aria and Ben Prasetyo. I’ve known these men only from facebook. But Thoriq is one man who was so touched by the music since they played the first note at Java Rockinland. Thoriq is one proud janiac, his display picture right now on facebook is that of him and his friend standing with John, the drummer and Suraj, the vocalist/lyricist. I’ve bonded with men and women and even kids my age, just a tad bit older, even a few younger and the only thing we have in common is our love for motherjane.
motherjane, motherjane, motherjane! It’s the only word that I chant all night and day. If I’m writing an exam, I’m superstitious enough to wear a motherjane t-shirt inside. I play the drums. I’ve learnt for just about a year or so. I dream of making a band and blah blah. And if I said that I don’t dream of becoming a band like motherjane I would be lying. BIG TIME! But I swear to God, everytime I play on a stage I’ll pray to God, yes, but I will definitely pray to JOHN THOMAS, my guru, to watch over me, in spirit, as I play my set. I’ll pray to SURAJ MANI, to be by my side, as I recall every word of his advice that I have been blessed to have. I’ll pray to CLYDE ROZARIO, pray so that I can get his temperament and loyalty to the music that flows through our bodies. I’ll pray to BAIJU DHARMAJAN, pray that I can be truthful to what I play and never forget the path that I have followed to reach the destinations that I hope to reach. I’ll pray to DEEPU SASIDHARAN, pray that not only do I play my instrument with as much love as he does but also that I can carry off an attitude like his on stage.
This band has produced some of the best sounding songs that has ever been made in India. And the most admirable quality about them is the fact that not only are they extremely patriotic, they are extremely proud to be patriotic. They end their set at every show with the words “Jaya He! Jaya He! Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya He!” from our national anthem. Baiju plays his rendition of Vande Mataram, admirably named Metal Mataram by few, during every gig. And each time (I have no clue about the notes mind you) it sounds so different in a way very motherjane. I hope that makes sense but its very true.
motherjane has brought out two albums and one EP in these 14 years. The EP got lost in the wilderness of Indian rock but there albums have been received with so much love and affection from people from all walks of life and their upcoming albums too shall be extremely well received. They brought out Insane Biography in 2003 with their ex-guitarist Rex, he currently plays for Avial which is also a super awesome band. They brought out Maktub in 2008. They released in a way no other band had. They had a web release! Their idea behind it was that they would be close to their fans on this very special day. They believed that this was the album that would give them the break that they deserve and my goodness, has it given them a super huge break or what? They’ve won the AVIMA and they’ve rubbed shoulders with Mr.BIG. They’ve extended their fan base from a few hundreds to many thousands or is it millions. They’ve grown from strength to strength and they shall always do so.
Their contract with Aum-I Artistes states that they must produce 5 albums in 5 years and they’ve produced 1 in 2 years. So we’ve got three years and four albums coming out! JANIACS I SWEAR TO YOU WE ARE IN FOR A HUGE TREAT!
Nelson Mandela once said that he dreamt of a while guy walking hand-in-hand with a black girl and vice versa. I don’t have such huge dreams. But I have one dream that many janiacs that I know will proudly support and stand up and say “Yes! I’ve dreamt of this too”. I dream that one day 5 men going by the names Suraj, John, Deepu, Baiju and Clyde will walk with head held high onto a stage and thousands of men stand up and clap in awe. They’ve just won the GRAMMY!!! They lift up their newest addition to their trophy case and then suddenly boys and girls in black t-shirts with motherjane written on them storm the hall and they sing out proud :-
YOU ARE THE BEAUTIFUL NOTE IN A SYMPHONY OF SPIRITS
A THREAD IN A TAPESTRY OF DREAMS
WHERE EVERY COLOUR BLENDS TOGETHER
LIKE THE DROPLETS, THE OCEANS, THE RIVERS AND STREAMS!!
motherjane is not just the first but the only band I know off that has composed haikus. They’re called the Odes to Life. And they seriously are! What John Keates did in Ode to Autumn in 3 stanzas, Suraj Mani did in the four lines on both tracks. The two odes to life talk about two faces of the same coin, LIFE and DEATH and yet both have a positive ending. I feel that one of the best things about motherjane, which other bands lack, is the fact that each one of their songs ends on a positive note. Take Broken, it switches from such a dire topic to a supremely positive note on the ability of humans to be courageous. I personally love that a lot about them.
No post on motherjane is complete these days without mentioning Eva Dowd, their online promoter. She has helped this band reached out to so many more people than motherjane personally ever dreamed off. Any post that involves me has the words “motherjanes no.1 fan”. I’ve thought of this tag. I’ve been called motherjanes biggest fan by so many people. But come to think of it honestly, I’m just one of them. There are so many out there who are as crazy about motherjane as I am maybe even crazier than me. I’ve had the honor of getting to know a few. Infact I actually want to take up this space to thank my cousin, Raja. He was the one who made me listen to my first motherjane song. Without him, who knows, maybe motherjane might have just sounded like a joke to me. There is one fan. RAJA! Then there is JABRI! There is NIKHIL! There is DAMIEN MARWEIN! (Very few named. Pardon me for omission of any names) There are ever so many and I have blessed with the company of only few of them but I am sure there are tons more out there who will give their life in support of this band. So to all the janiacs out there, here is yet another one of you, raising a toast to all of us who have proudly stood by our one true love – MOTHERJANE! And I’m sure I speak for all the janiacs out there when I say that we will always proudly stand by your side when all of us together CHASE THE SUN!
Here is wishing you a happy "anniversary" / "birthday" once again motherjane! May your songs dominate our souls in all the years that we may live.