Mitesh and I first met in 1983 when we started our FYJC (First Year of Junior College, or more simply, 11th grade) at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. As is typical in a first year at a new school or college, friendships and groups formed around common interests. We were part of the ‘music snob’ group. Unified by a disgust of the current pop music scene and a love of Rock n Roll we skipped class and hung out in ‘The Arches’ talking music. Soon some of us stopped just talking about it and formed a band to play the music we thought was ‘real’ and enjoyed. Obscure as well as more popular tracks from the ‘50s,‘60s and ‘70s as well as newer music by bands like The Police and Dire Straits.
“If you were on the North Pole and someone asked you the time, what would you say?”
“Have you ever seen a Chakk’s Funeral?”
A classmate had a penchant for asking weird but thought provoking questions. The second of these questions was so spectacular that we named our band after it.
Mitesh played bass and I played guitar. The fantastic Lester Menezes was on piano. We didn't appreciate how much more music knowledge Lester had compared to us, but even back then it was very clear he was a unique talent. Drums, rhythm guitar and a classically trained vocalist rounded out the band. Mitesh took over lead vocals out of necessity when our singer, who was more crooner than rocker, split.
After a couple of fun years practicing and performing at various college festivals and talent shows we all drifted off to further studies and careers … some in India some overseas, and eventually lost touch with each other.
Fast forward to 2020: stuck at home during the Covid pandemic I started recording in my ‘home studio’. The first project. ‘Masking Tape’ turned out well enough that Anu just had to share it with Mitesh. With some help from Google, she was able to track him down to Pittsburgh where he now lives. Over 30 years after Chakk’s Funeral and more than 20 years after we had last met, Mitesh and I quite easily picked up again where we had left off. We had both continued to play our instruments, both had sons now (who were better musicians than us) and most importantly still loved making music. So an old collaboration was Resurrected.
This collection is a result of our remote collaboration over the past several months. It consists of many classic tunes from the original Chakk’s Funeral setlist (played with more finesse but far less energy) mixed in with other songs we love to play and sing.
Parthiv played bass and drums on a few songs and continued with his constructive criticism that helps make my guitar playing and our musicianship better. Anu pitched in with harmonies on most songs. Chris Karn mastered all the songs and was incredibly helpful with subtle but important EQ suggestions. Plus a cameo from the inimitable Jyoti Prakash Mistry who contributed tablas to a few of the tracks.