HISTORY

Here’s an interesting angle on the history of Metakix in the words of the band’s frontman, Zomb.

 
 
Kailash, Abhi & Zomb

I have been a vocalist since a very early age. If memory serves me right, I think the first singing competition that I took part in and also won the first prize for was way back in the 1st grade. As a child I would listen to late 70s rock and early 80s new wave pop. My dad would get tapes of such artistes which I could not get enuff of. Somewhere in the 11th grade, I was introduced to rock/metal music. Around that time there were some killer albums that were released by greats like Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. This one friend of mine was into this kinda stuff since a long time and finally got me hooked onto it. I would listen to more and more metal every day and newer bands every week. Soon I was a believer. This guy and some other buddies from college came up with the idea of starting a band. It never took off.

Zomb, George & Kailash

However, at the end of it all, I decided to start with the guitar. I would go to gigs and watch other bands and try the stuff they did on stage at home on my guitar. It took me some time and a lot of hiccups to teach myself. In about 6 months time, I could play decent rhythm sections. Finally I got a break as a vocalist/rhythm guitarist in a band. The band had three different names in its four-month life. Things were going nowhere and I decided to quit. They did replace me with a guitarist and vocalist and did one gig after ages. Have never seen or heard of those chaps ever since. I was bandless for two years hence. I decided to utilize that time to write my own songs. Most of which I wouldn't touch now. Cos they were just rookie attempts at songwriting. Then came this band called Plasma that was looking for a rhythm guitarist. They already had a vocalist and the lead guy wouldn't let me sing a note. So I just went ahead with the flow. We had a killer set list then. This was like 1994 or so. We would cover songs like “One”, “Hangar 18”, “Peace Sells”, “Seasons in the Abyss” and so on. Yes, all out thrash metal. One fine day, these guys gave me the boots! A week later they came back and asked me to rejoin. Guess it was too late cos I was already sick of living up to other people's whims and fancies. The idea of Metakix was just round the corner of my mind and I really wanted to make it work.

Kailash, JP, Zomb & Samar

In Jan 1995, Metakix was finally born! (Meta signifies change, Kix signifies almost everything one likes to indulge in). Yes, just like a child... a brainchild! On bass I got this chap called Ramesh who was quite ok and on drums I had the ex-Plasma drummer Abhi. We got together and would jam at my place, much to the neighbours' discomfort. I wanted our first jam to be real special and that's when I wrote “High”. I think I wrote it in some 15 mins flat. It was the first song I ever wrote and to date, it surprises me! We did just a coupla gigs and soon were looking for another bassist.

This guy, Kail, who used to live in the same housing society as I, was quite keen on playing. But he didn't have a guitar and didn't know guitaring at all. I arranged for a bass guitar from somewhere and started giving him lessons. Within a month's time, Kail was picking up songs fairly well. With this lineup too we didn't do many gigs. Then Abhi temporarily quit the band.

Holy, JP & Zomb

We had a makeshift jazz drummer for sometime by the name Rohan. With him we recorded a four-song demo called “The First Impression” which got aired on Times FM, making us the first underground band to be aired on AIR. We got a fairly decent response and decided to pass on as many tapes as we could to the few people who were interested in Metakix.

Soon Abhi was back and we had around 10 original compositions that we were set with. Kail came up with the idea of recording them all at his family's studio. (You see, we had some false hopes of launching an album :-D.) This was somewhere in 1998. However, due to shoddy production and real crap playing we couldn't take it further. We'd called it Fragments of My Life. It sounded worse than our demo and was shelved right from the word 'Go'!!

In 1999, we got George to play drums for us. Abhi was absconding and not reachable. We had to get someone in to keep the music alive. George was with me in graduation college. George, Kail and I were really set! However, Georgy felt we should get in a second guitarist to make the sound whole. In came Samar, the stud dude from Churchgate, Mumbai! The four of us were quite compact, but would not last long enuff to do more than one show.

Zomb, JP, Raj & Viresh

That same year we got JP in the band. JP had absolutely no clue whatsoever as to how he was supposed to play drums. But the man had phenomenal beat sense. We gave him a week's time and he was ready to play whatever track we told him. Lacking finesse, of course. But in the course of time, he improved by leaps and bounds! This was the tightest line-up Metakix had until then. We did a few competitions and just got a lot of chicks responding. No prize money, or musical recognition whatsoever. By the time it was mid 2000, both Samar and Kail were out. With Samar it was the musical direction we were taking that put him off. He was later part of bands John Doe and Aryan Venture. With Kail it was a whole lotta other problems.

Holy would come for our jam sessions and trip. He also knew a bit of acoustic guitar playing. He was obviously our next option. I repeated the same thing with Holy as I had done with Kail. He was set to play in a coupla months’ time. And soon the longest ever line-up of Metakix was commenced upon. We grew more and more closer to each other. I've known JP since 8th grade and Holy since graduation college. We really gelled well. We had that 'magic' factor when we would play together. 2000 to early 2003, Metakix came up from being a nobody's band to a headlining act. With every gig we did, we were pulling in more and more crowd. We were getting better media coverage as well. BBC zeroed in on us to do a 40-minute documentary which they later aired in the US and UK. During this period, we managed to get a slot on Throatlatch Records’ debut release Deep Throat. We recorded “She's The Incubus" for that compilation. Based on the feedback from the listeners, Throatlatch short-listed a few bands to sign-up for a full album release. On Friday the 13th, 2002 Metakix launched its debut album Headlines. We did a whole lotta gigs promoting the album. The gigs got bigger and bigger and we were playing more outstation gigs than ever before. Somewhere during this time, the Metakix equation went wrong. Holy, JP and I were under a whole lotta stress, managing our personal and musical lives. The only people we could lash out at were each other. It ended with Holy being asked to quit.

It was a bad phase for JP and me. We would have arguments between ourselves very often. Music seemed to be the only common level on which we could communicate. So we decided to take it forth. We started the process of auditioning players for the bass guitarist slot. Around that time the band Groundead was gathering a similar reputation as what we had a coupla years back. Shubham, the guy managing Mumbai's Sceptre told us, about Viresh and Raj's willingness to be part of Metakix. After an audition, we finalised on them. April 2003, Metakix had Raj on bass, Viresh on lead guitar, JP and me. We did very few gigs with this line-up. However, all of them were top-notch venues and experiences! Just when things were getting comfortable, personal life intruded into the music once again. Raj became more and more of an introvert and over a period of time totally lost touch with us. JP on the other hand, got real busy with his family and despite his will decided to call it a day.

Viresh, Zomb, Nicky & Sheldon

It's really sad that life can bring you to a juncture where you have to make such a decision. All those years of struggle and sacrifice that we had put into achieving a common goal was finally beginning to pay-off. But there was nobody in Metakix willing to claim it.

JP's exit was in phases. For a long time I believed that the music was over. I’d think there ain't gonna be no Metakix no more. Cos the very guys with whom I had made this dream a reality were not by my side to enjoy it. (I still am in touch with JP and Holy. Both of them are not doing anything in music.). I would force myself to stay away from music. It would work for a coupla days. But my instinct would put me back in the jam room. I'd end up playing the guitar despite all my efforts at not doing so.

Viresh and I got real close. His pep-talk and zeal would make me see things in a positive light. And then there were the fans who would meet me once in a while or take the pains to call me and enquire about the band, always showering us with praises. I realised that, this was no more some figment of my imagination. This is for real and I have to keep the music alive. Could not imagine putting down so many people who cared for Metakix... our music. We thought, we'd give enuff time to JP for rethinking his decision and maybe coming back to play. But after almost a year it didn't seem likely. Any case, he would always ask me to continue with the music. To go forth, with or without him.

This was a highly emotional phase for me. I channelised all of that into writing music. The end result was the new sound I was yearning for. Something that has enuff punch and is packed with melody. Something that is not a sound engineering wonder! Instead is very natural and simple. Something real! I would play the songs to Viresh and other friends. Their initial reactions were quite pleasing.

After much persuasion from all quarters, Viresh and I decided to get this baby rolling again! We were back to looking for musicians. We now needed a decent drummer (if not another JP) and an equally good bassist. Viresh came up with the idea of putting an online ad on a popular Indian rock site called Gigpad.com. Thru that we got in touch with a very promising bassist, Nicky and a talented drummer (also saxophone player) Sheldon. Both these guys were thrilled to have been considered for Metakix. The story ends here.

The 2004 line-up of Metakix, comprising Viresh (Lead & Rhythm Guitar/Backing Vocals), Sheldy (Drums & Percussion/Backing Vocals), Nicky (Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals) and me (Lead Vocals/Lead & Rhythm Guitar), is currently working on a set list. Let's wait and find out if Metakix will make more history for me to write about here!

Cheers!
Z O M B

(As written on one hectic afternoon around 13th August, 2004 Since this article was written - Metakix with Sheldy, Viresh, Nicky and Zomb - have played several major live gigs, have released singles and a full length album (Connect & Inspire, 2006), to crtical acclaim worldwide, been showcased in books, magazines, radio shows and TV programs across the world. The band is in the process of working on a 3rd album.)