When I was small and taking the first baby steps into the world of popular music, it was a few vinyls that one of my uncles played on which I cut my teeth. Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley… he even had a Nana Mouskouri album. I actually remember the Nat King Cole album that he had—a 10-inch LP named Nat King Cole Sings For Two in Love (the slightly tattered cover—it was released in the early1950—didn’t show King Cole but a white couple who seemed to be out on a date). The eight or ten songs on that album, as on most of my uncle’s vinyls, were about love. I was seven or eight when I heard those records and quite possibly didn’t know what the heck they were about but they were an introduction to pop songs, jazz, blues and all of what shaped my later taste in music. Read more

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There is something infectious about Dhaval Mudgal and his band, Half Step Down. When they perform on stage, they have great fun and that spreads quickly to the audience, sceptics included. After a none-too-great experience at a live gig by another one of Delhi’s rock bands, I was coaxed into dropping by at the city’s Hard Rock Café to see Mudgal and his band. I didn’t regret it. What I did regret though was why I hadn’t bothered to seek out this fine five-year-old band before. Read more

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Usually, for me, a gig is a great way to unwind, a panacea even for a week fraught with stress, muggy weather and other discomforts. The problem is I hardly manage to get to see bands performing live. So last week, when I read that a local band would be playing on the weekend at a venue around the corner from where I live, I was quite happy. I hadn’t heard of the band before and I didn’t know anything about the sort of music they play but I thought what the heck, how bad could a gig be? Guitars, drums, some loud vocals and the boisterous ambience of a gig crowd are almost always an exhilarating experience. Read more

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Alright, I’ll get straight to the point. Here’s a shameless plug for the plush, quarterly version of this magazine. If you haven’t seen Brunch Quarterly, I’d urge you to pick up its second issue, which came out last week and may still be on the stands (if, and I am sure I am wrong, it hasn’t sold out). When you get hold of your copy, flip quickly to a story on new fitness techniques and you’ll encounter three fellows who specialise in instructing three new regimens—CrossFit, TRX and Muay Thai. Instructing is the wrong word. Punishing is more like it. Here’s a disclaimer: I know two of these fellows a bit more intimately than I should have. They trained (or, rather, punished me) and one of them continues to do so, for at least four times a week. After every session, I am nearly dead, wrung out and, sometimes, close to tears. But I go back for more. It’s a strange addiction. Read more

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You are unlikely to find a rock musician who works harder than Warren Haynes. The 51-year-old lead guitarist and singer works in three bands – Gov’t Mule, which he fronts, The Allman Brothers Band where he plays the lead guitar along with, Derek Trucks, his own solo projects, as well as occasional stints with Phil Lesh & Friends. How the man manages to do all of that for outfits that tour like maniacs – most of these bands mainly play live gigs (sometimes more than a 100 shows a year) and record very few studio albums – is a mystery. Yet Haynes, who was featured at No. 23 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, powers on, shuffling his dates between bands and, as he did recently, makes time to record studio albums as well. Read more

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