“Music is to the soul what words are to the mind” goes a quote by American rock band, Modest Mouse, a sentiment with which Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ), the path-breaking band from Bangalore, clearly identifies.
TAAQ who describes their music as ‘Bangalore Rock’ makes music whose sound is as unique and layered as the fast-growing city of its birth. If that got you thinking there is more. Imagine a Phish-meets-Steely Dan-via-Mahavishnu-Orchestra vibe – if you can, well done! You understand the unique TAAQ vibe. The band features Bruce Lee Mani as guitarist and the lead vocalist, Leslie Charles on bass and backing vocals, Rajeev Rajagopal on drums and Tony Das on guitar and backing vocals.
“We started as the Christ College band in 1996,” recalls Rajeev. “Listening to the music heroes of that time inspired us hugely to play music ourselves. Once we got the hang of it, nothing could beat that high, so here we are, 23 years later, still going strong!” In their two decades of making music, TAAQ has played all over the world and released seven studio albums, with the eighth one out this year. They have supported legendary acts like Deep Purple, Jethro Tull and Guns ‘N’ Roses, won awards for individual achievement and as a band, for their overall contribution to ‘Indian rock’.
Incidentally, the band’s name was coined backstage, before St John’s Autumn Muse in October 1996, in a hasty but witty play on the ethnic origins of the then members of the band – three Malayalis and one quarter-Malayali! They always wrote original music, says Rajeev. “Our songs reflect the lives we lead here in Bengaluru. This city has transformed like no other in India. This extreme change and diversity that it brought with it made a huge impact on our sound and music. It could not be put under any one genre so we called it Bangalore Rock.” Their repertoire, which has over 100 songs, covers, says Rajeev, “every genre of our lives over these 23 years. The upcoming album is called A world gone mad. It’s one of our darkest albums yet and is a reflection on the craziness we have been seeing and experiencing around the world.”
This weekend, the band will perform ‘Fell On Grunge Days’ at Fandom. “Nirvana, Pear Jam, Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots - all the great bands from the Seattle grunge music scene. We played in Seattle a few years ago and the vibe of grunge music has always been close to our hearts. We are going to bring out some of our grungiest songs along with a few covers of these great artists at Fandom this weekend. Our music is not simple, repetitive, easy listening material, one needs to have the intent to dig deeper to understand and hopefully enjoy it.”
Looking ahead the band’s future plans are simple – “Compose, Record, Release, Tour and Repeat.” So if you are looking to Rock On you know where to head to this weekend....