The beloved acoustic guitar of mine, with that round Palmolive sticker on top

I once belonged in a band.

Push that rewind button, back to some time when i was in primary school. My mom wanted me to take up an instrument and in an instant, i decided it had to be the guitar. It was at a time when Matchbox 20 was famous with their song "Push". But i couldn't read the notes, i can't manage the musical timing and in the end, i just can't get along with the lessons. The crotchets. The minims. Quavers and semiquavers. I just can't comprehend. I sucked. Fair and square.

But that didn't hinder my musical 'progress'. I entered secondary school with the hopes of reviving my musical 'career'. There was where i met some future rock stars of the Kuala Lumpur underground scene and they were the catalysts of my inclination to weird music. There was my land scout troop leader, Shaffiq Ahmad who went on to become the bassist of indie post rock band Sgt. Weener Arms. Firdaus Shah who held the slot of keyboardist/guitarist for Kuala Lumpur Post Harmonic Quintet (KLPHQ). And Piut, an in demand guitarist who was once part of KLPHQ and Killeur Calculateur. Later on i found out Aru Koffin Kanser is also from my school, Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid. Not bad for a school renowned for producing politicians and that transsexual guy Huzz who had a gossip column in 'Pancaindera'.

I had a band myself called 'Plum Blossom'. A lame name inspired by a cheap brand of toiletries. It was me, Fairuz Shah (younger brother of Firdaus Shah) and a few seniors of mine and we performed Butterfingers' "Girl Friday" at the school's audition for talent time. We didn't qualify for the finals.

Then it was me, Fairuz Shah (drummer) and Zakaria (Pakya) forming a three piece band. I was the lyricist and the vocalist for this incarnation of this band circa form 2. We wrote this song called "everyday', a love song which we played incessantly on each jamming session which i thought had a commercial value. Had we released it, we wud have become rock stars. and taste probably a short lasting 15 minutes of fame. And then i went on to write a few more political lyrics with this rhyming scheme ala Rage Against the Machine. But they never saw the light of the day.

Later on it was me, Syafiq Bakar, Syahrul Azman (Saru) and Fairuz Shah. We were called Bang Band, although the inception of this name occured few years after we played together.

We never clicked. We had this different ideas of how the band should sound like. Imagine mixing curry, sweet sour, black pepper and honey together. That was how weird and unproductive we were. I was into 311 and Incubus. Fairuz and Syafiq digged Deftones. Saru was a grunge boy at that time. But we all ended up playing System of a Down songs since they were easy to play. At one jamming session, we had almost 13 people crammed into one small room singing "Sugar" together.

Then we went on seperate ways. It was a crossroad of our lives. Saru went to MRSM Beseri, I accepted an offer to study at MRSM Langkawi, Fairuz to MRSM Kulim and Syafiq stayed on at KSAH. When we were still in form 4, we would try to get back together and play some songs whenever we had spare time. At MRSM Langkawi, i played mainly with Syazril (where art thou?) and he was really good at playing the guitar and taught me a lot of songs.

After SPM, me and my Alor Star dudes jammed together for a few nights at this old and smelly studio somewhere in the slumps of the old Alor Setar bus station until i got the offer for my prepatory course at INTEC.

At INTEC, where i was supposed to study Russian language, i spent my time playing guitar with the most significant guitar guru of my life. He taught me a lot about playing classical guitar with this soulful feel and the facial expressions. It was an honor to share the stage with him when we performed as representatives of the AUSMAT course.

As much as i love playing music, i saw only 2 concerts in my life. One was the Incubus concert in Bukit Kiara and the other was a free concert at Sunway College (KLPHQ, 7 Collar t-shirt, Love me Butch and Sgt. Weener Arms).

After few more performances with Nazrul (Joe) and Christopher in Volgograd in 2005, it was downward spiral from there onwards. I decided to slowly stop playing the guitar.

One of the main reasons i stopped was that i couldn't handle Metallica. Everyone was so into Metallica and i couldn't get used to that. My varied musical taste (Metallica not included) made it hard to find a solution of which songs that should be played with my friends. I hate Metallica. Darn it.

At times we didn't have any sort of musical direction. Me and my friends were still happy. We came out of the jamming room, smelly, sweaty and played rubbish but we were content. Which for me wasn't good, since i wanted so much to try my luck at writing songs but after few years i realized it was never going to be the direction of my life.

Playing music taught me a great deal of what being friends is all about. We had to share our money to rent a jamming room for one hour. Then inside, we had to decide which songs to be played. Mind you, we were never good at playing instruments. I still can't play a killer solo after years of playing guitar. But we learnt to accept the attributes of each other.

Before the facebooks and friendsters, this was the old school socializing network system. Nothing fussy, just pure face to face contact and teaching each other how to play some songs which was a in a sense, the real socializing tool.

Now that i feel old, i've stopped playing the guitar. Not that it's a waste of time (it actually stimulates the left and right brain together), just that i am trying to install that reading habit inside of me. There's a lot to catch up in life. And i've been listening to less music. My current favourites are Iron & Wine (lion's mane is the best song in the world), the Flaming Lips, Eddie Vedder, Dawud Wharnsby Ali and few others. Some folky tunes and that's it. No more musical endeavours and tryouts like i had before.

I had a noble cause to play the guitar. I wanted to make everyone happy when i play some songs on the guitar. But now i realize it is not what really makes people happy.

However, I will never regret playing the guitar, it was one of the experiences i treasure the most.

And the memory remains. Like it was yesterday.


Aiza Fareena said...

I understand the part when you mentioned that people like Matellica but you hate them, so much that you have stopped playing because you cannot seem to find people who play the same genre that you like and all. Meaning to say, when you're passionate about something yet no one to share that passion with. Yeah, that makes you feel lonely. And sometimes when you just want to remove the loneliness, you end up either by joining the bandwagon or worse, just stop doing what you love most. It hurts, really.
I'm in that kind of situation now but not because of guitar. Someone told me that I have to stop thinking about other people and start thinking about myself although it is selfish most of the time. But the thing is, I'm not trying to prevent you from arriving at your decision (i.e. to stop playing the guitar that i think you used to love much) but just make sure the reason behind the sacrifice is right and worthwhile.
Take care, lil bro =)

QifA said...

haha..that's so deep. its much more superficial than that. well it's not much of not being able to play the same music with my anyone, but i think i'm getting older. sheesh.

well stil everytime i see a guitar, there's always a feeling of picking it up and strumming a few songs.

Yopiscky said...

aku sangat faham perasaan bila bandmate punya influence tak sama..
afiq yang tak main gitar ialah afiq yang sangat nerd~!
cromox yang dah tua pn stil main muzik
jom jam lagu arctic monkeys?haha

Aiza Fareena said...

Hahah ... that is such a lame excuse ;p anyways, i thought your band was called Duck Weed? Just pick up the guitar and play ... BTW i wonder when your pal is gonna revert to you on where i can get a cool but affordable guitar for my small hands?

QifA said...

arctic monkeys? haha..baik men lagu acoustic lagi. x larat lagu berat2. tapi pon aku dah malas men gitar dah.hoho

well regarding that matter, i thoroughly think that anything around Rm100 is good enough a guitar.the branded ones will be much more expensive. but then again, r u sure ure not wasting ur money eja? Think wisely.RM100 is better spent feeding your hungry little brother when he gets back to malaysia

QifA said...

flooding my blog with my own comments. yea, duck weed was a name for quite some time. almost forgot about it. what a wonderful memory you have there eja.

angelus_izika said...

sheessshh!!! its a waste!! its a waste!! we had this talk before!!

some people (read : me) dreams of being able to play ANY instrument (alat2 genderang muzik darjah 3 tidak termasuk), to strum even a piece of string that can make sense if not sound musical at all..

so, I suggest while u instill that reading part of u, do pick up the guitar and play sometimes.

All people can read, SOME people can understand and grasp what they read, but less people than that can play guitar ...hahahahaa

I recall that facial expression u made when I played "where do they make balloons" for the XX-th time and still get the cord wrong.

p/s: only a view of my own

Kamal said...

dude, sell your iphone and get a telecaster for god sake!! haha.

QifA said...

Helmi it is more of not spending time with the guitar actually.I've had a great time doing it and it will always be part of me. And kanal,I am actually writing this comment through my iPhone and it is wonderful. By the way how did you know I like telecasters?

Kamal said...

aku dah bley main fluorescent adolescent. ko main guitar. pastu kita jamming nanti.. haha

Yopiscky said...

aku bawak drum dia ah?afiq..kembali la oi haha

QifA said...

aku baru dapat tau tu lagu arctic monkeys.

i dont like em. haha