Bruce, Chandy and Rajeev
Sevenish. That Day This Morning. Potatoe Junkie. These are only some of the songs that Sunil Chandy, our bassist from 95 to 99, worked with us on. As one of the founding members of the band, his energy and style contributed to TAAQ’s distinctive sound, which is still evident today. Supplier of strong basslines, a trusty TVS 50 and the name Thermal and a Quarter, Chandy’s contribution to the band has been immeasurable. Here’s what he has to say as we celebrate #20YearsofTAAQ!
1. People have been trying to decode the name ‘Thermal and a Quarter’ for the last 20 years… I hear you’re the one who came up with it! Tell us the story?
Thermal and a Quarter. Say it fast a few times. Actually say if fast a lot of times and it sounds like one of Rajeev’s drum rolls (in 6/16 timing).
We needed a name. It was getting close to the registration deadline for our first gig as this semi-professional musical entity. At the time there were quite a few metal and grunge bands. We were neither. And with any naming process we asked ‘who are we?’ to try and get some ideas across. Now I’m no word-smith (that’s Bruce) but I can word-mangle. And I did. There were pained faces. I enjoy pained faces. This is where legend, myth and story get mixed up. In my memory the name wasn’t actually agreed upon but there was nothing else to put on the form. So on it went and it’s gone and lasted 20 years! Well I suppose it was better than ‘Bruce and party’.
2. What are your favourite memories of playing with the band? Rehearsals, practice sessions, college fests? Rajeev tells me that the both of you have carried amps and drum kits and what-not on one TVS 50 across Bangalore…
Well what’s come to me is a very funny sound at the end of one of our early recordings. It was a very serious metal-ish kind of song, dark and growly and ended with a guitar dive bombing. But I got it a bit wrong and some metal bit hit the string and rather high pitched loud PING came at the end of this deep and heavy song. That was such a laugh. Especially because we heard it much after the recording took place. So too late. Don’t know if it’s been edited out in the recent editions. But the laughs are the memories.
3. I hear there’s an interesting story about an egg puff without the egg, the consumption of which may have caused your bike to crash?! Tell us about it?
The egg puff without the egg. Hmmm that was a sign and a half. The most enjoyable bit about getting together to do whatever is the food at the end. post gig kebab, post church coffee, post meeting juice and post practice egg puff. Well except this egg puff didn’t have any egg in it. This caused us no end of philosophical inquiry. Like, ‘If there is no egg then is the egg now the puff?’ and ‘Could the chicken have arisen from the puff thereby solving the chicken and egg question?’ I was a bit cross as that was pretty much my dinner on the relatively meagre student budget but being the shy chap I was, I didn’t complain.
On the way back that night, an army truck crashed into me. It would have helped if I my light had been on. Or even that it actually worked. (It resigned without protest a few weeks before). A few tonnes of army truck versus 36.4 kg of Sunil + TVS even in the Ben Johnson steroid era is not a very even contest. Maybe it was the egg from the egg puff coming back to eat me.
Anyway miraculously I was barely hurt. The TVS looked like the letter L. And yet it gave another 10 years of service to various folk since!
4. You’ve played keyboards, guitar and bass for the band. Which did you enjoy most and why?
Bass. No doubt about it. Like a lot of bassists I started off on guitar and I just fell into bass playing. I enjoyed the harmonic and rhythmic variations it gave. I loved how it glued together various sounds of the band. OR maybe it was just because I was lazy and couldn’t bother playing more than a note at a time!
5. How would you say the band has grown over the years, and what’s your message to them on their 20th anniversary?
That’s a difficult question. They have definitely grown in their impact. The music is always evolving. There’s always a restlessness to do new stuff. At the same time there is a persistence and bloodymindedness in keeping this thing called TAAQ going. Getting those two things together is hard and these guys have done it. What do I say on the 20th anniversary? Guys, when we started I was as old as the band is now. (That will never happen again.) Add to that a few hundred songs and a thousand odd gigs you get a marvellous equation. I think it adds up to TAAQ. Much love and idiocy. Chandy.