We were six boys, born and brought up in Bandra, Xavier villa, on Rebello road, near Supari talao. During weddings, while the other children, ran to the waiters for snacks, we would stand close to the stage , following the drummer. We could not afford the tickets during the Bandra fair for the good bands. We saw them for free during parish fairs/fetes.
Savage encounter/ bashir sheikh, waterfront/ ranjit barot, skye/Steve sequeira, the relations/ manu, Gemini 4+1/ursel, mystics, wild rangers/ Augoost. The list could go on.
I joined Don Bosco, lonavla, as a boarder as a 12 year old in std 8. Got a chance to play in the school band. I chose drums. Fr Eliseus Bianchi, an Italian, was the band master. For one month, I had to exercise my wrists. Hold one stick at the Center in each hand and with arms outstretched, move the wrists, so the sticks are circular.
Got my chance after a month to play the snare drum standing with a thick belt around the shoulder. The band played March pieces with drum music notation. The following year in std 9, I was the main drummer, and played the full drum set, called the jazz drum in those days. I requested to play the clarinet in the March band and played the Eb clarinet which was small as my fingers were small for the keys. I became a star player on the drum set and was given small solos to perform integrated in the songs.
I joined the Don Bosco order after std Xl, my interest for music, got me to be the band master in Don Bosco, lonavla, as a brother. I wrote the music for the band and made it easier for the boys to play. The instruments: French horns, trumpets, alto sax ,tenor sax, double bass, Bb clarinets, Eb clarinets, trombone, euphonium. Writing music for the band improved and opened a new world in music. In the beat group band, for the more experienced players, we used trumpet, alto sax, Guitar, organ/ Darryl Rodrigues and drums/ Cedric Gonsalves. We did the latest songs in those days: proud Mary/ccr, mrs.,Vanderbilt/Paul McCartney…etc. Darryl played the euphonium in the regular band.
Darryl and Cedric were good in their school days. Darryl is an accomplished, well sought after musician in Goa and Cedric played drums with Atomic Forest. In Poona, while studying at wadia college, with the permission of our understanding Rector, Fr Benedict Furtado, got to perform a musical play for the different schools: st Vincent, st Anne, ornella’s, and mt Carmel, lulanagar. I arranged the back up music for the guitar, bass guitar, 1st and 2nd alto sax and myself drums.
Because of Fr Benedict Furtado, Fr Aurelius Maschio’s, good friend, I did the choir of 100 boys from Don Bosco, lonavla accompanied by guitar, bass guitar, organ, 1st alto, 2nd alto and drums, for the ordination mass at the Don Bosco shrine in 76 and 77. Never in the history of the shrine, were instruments allowed. And Fr maschio loved it.
I turned professional only in June 78, when I joined the bonaventures, as I had no drum set. The lineup was: Bonny organ, Desmond Silveira, guitar, Michael noronha, bass, Brian, singer, curie, singer and myself, drums. Later Mildred marquis, from the famed marquis family joined the band. We played as a substitute band for one month at the rendezvous, taj, and I got a taste for hotel playing.
Later joined the Beatovens with Dicky, bass, Popsy, guitar, Ashley Furtado, lead, Robin, keyboard, Doris, singer. I got the best drummer prize for the beat contest. Of course I went from bandra to malad, just to practice by myself during the day.
I was fortunate, Benny soans, stayed on my road and would send me to substitute him at the hotels. It was a tremendous experience. At holiday inn, I got to play with Harold manning, bass, jusedon, guitar, Johnny Rodriguez, sax, Bonnie Remedios, piano, Eleanor, singer. At the centaur, airport, played with Kelly, bass, Benny Rosario,piano , Johnny Rodrigues, sax, Donald Pereira, guitar.
Atlast, could afford to buy a new drumkit for Rs 5000, golden/ yellow, with zildjian cymbals and a metal snare, from Arun, who played in the films and get the set from Singapore.
Now I was free to move around. Nandu Bhende, Donald Pereira, guitar, Charlie, bass and myself played regularly at Cleo’s disco. The band was Breeze. For the navy ball, we got Merlin to play the keyboard. At the holiday inn on off days, we got Mildred to sing.
Next joined the Shabaka band at the cafe royale, Oberoi.Colleen torcato, singer, Manuel, sax, Anaclete, piano, Bertie, bass and Leslie Lewis/ colonial cousins, guitar.
After 6 months, joined Johnny Fernandes, piano, Ursula, singer, cliffy, guitar, Dominic Fernandes, bass, at the sun N Sand.
Was introduced to Mario and mark, from dadar, teaching mark some beats. Mark bought my drumkit and I bought the Tama superstar, again from Arun. It was a heavy duty kit.Their father and mother, a teacher, introduced me to bro. Lenny, the principal of our lady of salvation and I did 2 plays for them. I taught the boys the individual parts and also the choir. We had a choir of 100. 50 on each side of the stage. To accompany the kids, I got professional musicians to lift up the performance . Joe monserate/ Bosco monserate, Trumpet, blasco monserate/ Hannibal Castro, trombone, Shyam Raj/ joe Pereira, tenor sax , Donald Pereira, guitar, Dominic Fernandes, bass, Jerry / Xavier, keyboard. We only used roger sound to get the best performance. I got a chance to write the parts for the instruments. I would charge high and promise the best musicians and pay them well. We did plays for Don Bosco, Matunga and St Anne, Marine lines.
Mario and mark and their friends would bring their band equipment to my house in bandra and in our front space have a good jam session. During the second jam the following year, dinshaw, sandhya, Bondo and Roy venkatraman joined us, playing avant-garde jazz. Those were the days when bandra was fun and nobody complained.
Alex pimenta, the organizer of the bandra fair was quite excited when I got atomic forest to play: Keith kanga, Richie, bass, jimmy, guitar and Cedric drums. Never in the bandra fair a top class band played. Next I played with Maurice concessio: Maurice, singer, Michael santos, singer, Ian, guitar, rosmond, singer, Ralph Paes, bass, Barry Murray, lead guitar.
At the parish fair in Parel, I heard Ronnie monserate and his band playing. I met Chris/ lambu, guitarist for crimson rage. He told me Ronnie wanted a drummer for the revolving at the sea rock hotel. He introduced me to Ronnie and I started at the sea rock. Ronnie, keyboard, Effie, singer, selwyn,bass, jimmy divecha, sax, jimmy, guitar.
On Saturday, around 12pm, we would play the doburg beer session , in the banquet hall, along with braz’s band. Those were fun sessions and Ronnie and I would let loose and bring the house down. I got a chance to do a show with the monserate brothers and usha iyer at the shanmukananda hall. One evening, while playing with Ronnie, Rex happened to come to hear us. In the break, I asked him if he could play with one hand. He played the session flawless, as he knew all the tunes. I requested him to play and I would look elsewhere. God was good to me and there was an opening at the supper club. Trini, the drummer was leaving. I joined George and the soft rock revolution, at the supper club, Oberoi.
This was the place to be for me. You play soft and later let loose during the dancing session. The place was huge. Special place for the drummer. Mildred sang on a cruise ship to Singapore. I told her to buy me concerts toms- 4 and a China boy cymbal with a stand from swie lee. Now my set was complete. Regular drumkit with 2 toms and a floor , ride, crash and China boy , with 4 concert toms. Supper club gave me the opportunity to use the entire kit in the whole night. We played from 9pm-1 am. George, grand piano, Walter/Andre, singer, Daphne/fauzia, pascal/ Allen, guitar, Desmond/ Michael, bass, Shyam Raj/ seby Dias/joe Pereira.
George gave all of us a chance to sing including our dear Allen. It was a complete band. George singing the standards, Andre, Neil diamond, Michael, englebert, Desmond, country, Walter, Tom Jones and going to the crowd, Daphne, carpenters, fauzia, various and myself doing the dance session with toto/Susanna, Tarzan boy, new kid in town, lady in red, always on my mind, mountain music, Alabama…etc..etc. I played with a lot of girl singers, fauzia was one who could sing harmony.
Hats off to George, he was the king of nightclub. I played from 82-89, before me, he was at supper club maybe 10 years or more. The band had a varied repertoire. During the Christmas time, we would get acts from different countries to perform and we would accompany them. Sometimes I would bring them home in the day, if they were a couple to see our place in bandra and have drinks and a meal. One time boney M, came and were supposed to come home. Their schedule changed and they left early. Imagine boney M in bandra.
September, 89, I joined the braz Gonsalves band at the centaur, juhu. Braz, sax, Yvonne, singer, Xavier, keyboard, Bruce, bass and Connie, Guitar/ singer. April, 89, We, as a family got a chance to come to NY and did not look back . I played off and on with various local bands just to keep in touch. I played on bleecker st: Kenny’s castaways, the red lion . East village: Arlene’s grocery, fat baby, Columbia college fest and summer 2019, Goa day- Canada.
I love the sound and feel of regular drums. That’s why I preferred the concert toms to the roto toms. Like a pianist loves the sound of the grand piano , the drums and me become one while playing. I keep my hopes alive to play good music with a good band.
Whether you play classical, pop, rock, jazz, anything, just sing or play.
Music is You. You are the artist. Nobody can do what you do .