Back in the early ’90s, the fledgling independent music scene saw much-needed support from a man living in an unlikely town. Late musician Amit Saigal started the first rock music magazine, Rock Street Journal (RSJ), from his hometown Allahabad in 1993, which later shifted base to Delhi. It wasn’t long before the publication became a one-stop destination for news, updates and everything else related to India’s rock circuit.
Fondly called Papa Rock by his peers, Saigal was the one who gave India its first music festival, the iconic Great Indian Rock (GIR). So, on his upcoming birth anniversary, it is only fitting that nine bands from across the country will be coming together for a gig tonight (July 4) that will celebrate his contribution to music. While the Mumbai edition of the tribute gig will feature bands Workshop, ViceVersa, Hipnotribe, Zygnema and Orange Street, the Delhi leg will have Frame/Frame, Jayant, Ez Riser/Tarqeeb and Tapan Raj (Midival Punditz) coming together on a common stage.
“I knew Amit since the time I got into the rock scene. He pushed the original music movement like no one else did. With GIR, he put local bands on the same stage as international acts. He also got Orange Street a proper international tour,” says Sahil Makhija, vocalist, Workshop. The metal band will be the first in the line-up at the gig at Blue Frog. “We’re playing a unique set, the details of which I won’t divulge. I’d say it will set the mood for the other bands that will follow,” he says.
Adds Rohit ‘P-Man’ Pereira of the electronica outfit ViceVersa, “I remember during my college days, I used to hunt for copies of RSJ. Amit really helped us out in music.” This gig in the city also promises multiple collaborations among artistes on stage. “We are playing a full live band set. Sidd Coutto (singer) will be joining us on vocals. Ox7gen will also be jamming with us. And there’s Dinakar Dwivedi aka Bone Broke, who will be playing guitar on one of the songs,” says Pereira.