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'Zero was always 10% of our lives'

Zero's band members will have a lot of memories to carry back after their last jig. Nikhil Taneja chats with Bobby and Rajiv.

music Updated: Sep 23, 2008 18:40 IST
Nikhil Taneja

Rajeev and Bobby Talwar on why Zero is disbanding, quizzed by Nikhil Taneja...

How did the last gig go?
Bobby: The crowd sang back our last song. It felt as if they were singing us a farewell song. So it was perfect in that sense.
Rajeev: It was very poignant because we ended where we started — at I Rock. We would have liked to play a little longer. The crowd was good, the sound was good, we were at I Rock and in Bombay. It was like being at home.

Did you have any specific expectations from the last gig?
Rajeev
: Not at all. In fact, I was supposed to leave even before it happened. We hadn’t planned on a ‘last gig’. But it fell in place.
Bobby: (Smiles) We never expect anything on stage — we just expect a stage. Everything else is a bonus. Everyone we love turned up. We didn’t want anything more.

You couldn’t finish your most popular song, PSP.
Rajeev: We’ve been waiting for a gig for the last four years where we wouldn’t have to play that song! But in a way, that was great. Because the song has a life of its own now. We didn’t sing it for the crowd, the crowd sang it back to us. So that was quite a fitting end to our journey.

Are you disbanding because you have achieved everything there was to or because your priorities have changed?
Bobby
: An English rock band in India has a niche audience. At some point of time, you need to make money. So we took a call. But we started 10 years ago, when the scene was different. If a band today has our career graph, 10 years from now, they’ll be playing all around the world.
Rajeev: Zero was never about making money or being popular. It was about having fun, but along the way, we became ‘big’. (Laughs) We are still surprised when people recognise us at gigs. But our priorities have changed. We need to support our families.

You must be satisfied that you have propagated original music to Indian bands.
Bobby: We shouldn’t be a benchmark for any upcoming band, because that would limit them to 200 odd gigs. Although, if even one band feels that they shouldn’t play covers because Zero didn’t, it would all have been worth it.
Rajeev: There were people who hated us, abused us, threw bottles at us, but we kept playing originals. Somehow, the fact that we didn’t care about their reactions connected with them. (Laughs) We’ve still been in more fights than any other band because of our insistence on originals.

Tell me about one of those fights.
Bobby: I remember one at Mood Indigo, the IIT fest. Someone in the crowd, who was standing 10 feet away, started throwing things at us, while others were cheering. Rajeev blew his fuse, jumped into the crowd and ran after that guy.
Rajeev: I’ve been banned from Xavier’s! Once, they stopped us in the middle of a song, so I broke their mike. I almost started a riot after that and was escorted out by security.

What is the one memory you will take away from it all?
Rajeev: I remember playing at Nagaland on a tour. The fact that we were in Nagaland was a high in itself, but they actually knew our songs! I never expected that.
Bobby: My best gig was on the last day of the last I-Rock at Rang Bhavan. We were the last band to play. It started raining during our act. But no one even moved. The entire audience stayed there for the music.

How will your lives be after this?
Rajeev: The same. I’m going to London, so I’ll try doing something related to music there. And when I am back here, I’ll just jam with these guys
Bobby: Zero was always 10 per cent of our lives. Like you keep space for dessert after food, this 10 percent is the dessert of our lives and will be reserved for music. Maybe I’ll experiment with a different musical instrument.

So is it the end, or is it a pause?
Bobby: We don’t know. If tomorrow, we all move down to London, we may decide to restart Zero in London. Never say never.