Simla Beat

 

This is about as obscure as garage rock gets. For two years, 1970 and 1971, a cigarette company in India sponsored a battle-of-the-bands competition, with the winners going to Calcutta to record for compilations called Simla Beat.

Each year an album was released with no info about the bands other than their hometown. Also issued was this 45 with two of the better tracks and some silly liner notes on the back of the sleeve (detail here).

Some people think this is a hoax, or that the recordings came from somewhere other than India. It’s true that some bands have a similar sound, though this could be from sharing a studio and perhaps instruments as well. Also, the bands lean heavily on American rock of the time and show very little British influence.

The Confusions from Madras cut this amazing original, “Voice from the Inner Soul”. It has a tough, heavy sound with a rudimentary beat, sharp bluesy guitar fills, and an organ sound right out of 1966.

The Dinosaurs, from Bangalore, contribute a fine cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Sinister Purpose”, giving Fogerty writing credit, somewhat surprisingly given the usual global practice of song appropriation. This one has nice fuzz guitar and gravely vocals. I’d say it surpasses the original.

All my research so far turns up no other information about the groups on these releases. Hopefully someone associated with this project will come forward and fill us in on the story behind Simla Beat.

79 thoughts on “Simla Beat”

  1. Hi

    Yes, I remember the Silencers in Madras in the late 60s. They were the hottest band around, and their star was Frankie, who used to do drum solos, the highpoint being a blindfolded drum solo

    What did he do after that? Where is he now?

    1. yup i remember that ! the others were leo lawrence and desmond d sa who sang like tom jones . frankie was a whiz kid

      1. Hi Mehru
        not sure if we met all those many years ago. I travelled with the
        Silences in 69-71. I played giutar when Lawrence was too drunk and DJ at the clubs they got contracts to playing in delhi Cage, Wheels think their managers name was Peter. I was fresh out of school. It was the best time. If u have seen the Movie Spinal Tap, I have actually
        lived parts of that movie. The Yoko Onos, the fights . I introduced Desi Dsa to them we played at the Stay Longer Hotel In B’lore. Later Glen joined as lead singer .

  2. I was a kid of 8 years when my parents took me to see the Simla Beat Contests 70/71. If I remember correctly, they were held in SHANMUKHANANDA HALL in Bombay, a famous place for dramas, concerts, recitals at that time.

    In those days, India was starved for music. It was very hard to get Passports or USD for travel. There was only one show on the radio playing English music for an hour a week, and that was mostly pathetic pop ( Carpenters, Anka, Denver for example).

    Most music trickled down into India via Cassettes smuggled in by “My friends’s girlfriend who is an airhostess with AIR INDIA”

    Hence a chance to hear Psych, Rock was a godsend.

    This was my first exposure to the likes of CCR, Cream though I didnt know those names then and only realised 10 years later that Bayou was originally sung by CCR.

    My dad got hold of the LPs of Simla Beat Contest and we recorded them on our spool player. I remember listening to them very often ( Along with our recording of Woodstock)

    Recently, there was a tune playing over and over in my head and I realised I first heard it on the Simla Beat Contest LPs. I obtained the recording and I was immediately transported into my childhood.

    There it was, a raw recording of young kids, with their very live feeling, you can make out that the recording is not the greatest ( Its noisy and not well balanced) , the singing is slightly out of tune sometimes, but its pure raw live music. You can feel you are right there with the band in a practice session

    In many ways, Simla Beat contest was one of the reasons why I purchased a Guitar when I was 15 and have spend the last 30 years trying to play it !!!!

  3. Dear Friends,

    I have been curious about the Indian music scene. I was born in Malaysia and brought to Singapore. My parents were of Indian origin. I had a cousin who studied there between 1965 and 1972 and he told me about the scene there and about Indian bands.

    My wife’s cousin was in a band in India called Silencers. He was the drummer and his name was Frankie Suppiah. He was in a band called X-periments and his father decided to send him to India in 1969 so that he could look after the family business in India and do his university education there. He went on a condition. His father had to provide him with a couple of band instruments. They shipped a container.

    Frankie went with three other Singaporeans which made for a complete band. They performed in Madras and made a sensation because of their equipment. A guitar player with a band called Devil Beats who I met in New Delhi in 2002 told me about being at that concert. The curtain parted and they were playing White Room. That was weird enough but what caught his eye was their equipment. Ludwig drum set, Fender amps and Fender guitars. That was really far out. No one in India at that time had access to that sort of equipment. Silencers played New Delhi after that and was featured in some Indian films of that time. Maybe providing soundtrack. I have tried talking to my wife’s cousin to get more details about his band in India but he is reluctant to talk.

    Regards.

    Joseph.C.Pereira

    1. I remember the Silencers in New Delhi 1970. They played at a disco called The Cage. Then after that at Wheels at the Imperial Hotel. I knew them at that time. What a great band!

    2. Hi Guys
      I went on tour with the Silencers in early 70’s. they played at the Stay longer Hotel In Bangalore. I introduce desi dsa to the band. later
      they played in the Cage and Wheels in Delhi. I left to go to college in ’71.
      there was Leo, Lawrence, Frankie, Viji (genius on key boards) and Glen(lead singer) I think he moved to Germany. I forget the Bass players name.
      “Those were the days my friend” I remember going to Cellars in Delhi to hear Human Bondage. A friend of mine from school (lovedale) was youring with Human Bondage . Shyam Talreja.
      If any one has seen the Movie Spinal Tap, I have lived it. I would not trade that year for anything. If any one has any news of the persons I have mentioned pls let me know. I lost track after ’72.
      best wishes
      Micky

  4. Hell yeah, i was shocked as hell, when my uncle told me that there was a whole bunch of Indian garage bands back then! the scene had been stagnant since the late 80s till the early 2000s (lot of amazing bands coming out now, but that’s a different story). And yeah, access to non-commercial music in India is virtually non-existent. Psych, hard rock, punk, all we could get thanks to our uncles who would come from abroad.

    Oh yeah, the very first “punk rocker” group came from Gujarat (which is where most of the Indians living abroad hail from), called The Raj Put Down. I hope and pray someone else from the scene back then, could shed some light upon this band. I’m guessing late 70s…….

    Oh by the way, my band’s gonna cover “Voice From The Inner Soul”, whatta fuckin’ song! It’s time for Generation Y of India to learn about our great rock n’ roll heritage :).

  5. Hey Chas! Thanks for raking up the past! I have some vague memories of this. Was too young to have been for any of the shows, but my cousin’s band featured in one of the albums. They were called ‘The Gurus’ and that album also featured an original gem by another very seminal rock band from Calcutta, ‘Great Bear’. Can’t remember the names of their songs… Calcutta at that time had a very vibrant rock music scene with almost all the restaurants on Park Street featuring live music that included rock, jazz (Louis Banks, Braz Gonsalves, Pam Crain…), pop (Usha Uthup, previously Iyer), and Hindi/Bangla filmi pop. I believe the scene had moved way beyond garage band genre. I think the finals were once held in Calcutta at Kala Mandir which no longer permits rock music shows! In fact, apart from restaurants (and NOT pubs as it is today!), rock concerts were regularly held in auditoriums. The concept of college fests featuring live bands had yet to arrive.

    “Great Bear’ in a later avatar and a slightly different line-up became ‘High’ in the late 70s and early 80s with the late, great Dilip Balakrishnan at the helm. Saregama early this year (2009) released a remastered compilation of some their songs on CD and it is available in music stores in Calcutta but not sure about other places. It’s called “High Again” and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to know the shape of early original Indian rock music in English. It’s kick-ass stuff!

    There was even a JS-Cordel Beat Contest which became the successor to Simla Beat. JS being that pioneering, but now defunct, youth magazine from Calcutta – Junior Statesman. Cordel was the name of a suitings/shirtings fabric manufacturer. I think that too lasted for a couple of years. Those interested can get more information from The Statesman’s archives in Calcutta. Unfortunately, I doubt very much that they have digitized their JS archives because you won’t find it on their website.

    Anyway, there are a lot of musicians still around and performing in India who were very much part of the scene. Guys like Lew Hilt (now HFT/Great Society, then High), Nondon Bagchi (now Hip Pocket, then Great Bear/High), Lou Majaw (now solo/Great Society, then Blood & Thunder/Great Society) are still doing great performances and keeping live English rock music alive.

    Cheers!

  6. I have to laugh a bit. After checking out many of the California bands on your site I thought I would try some of the bands from other nations. India looked like a good start as there is currently (September 2009), only one entry. I was half expecting sitars and tablas like a George Harrison Beatles song. This being Garagehangover I should have known better. Actually the two Simla Beat tracks are cool. I too would love to hear an entire album. About the Confusions track “Voice from the Inner Soul”, I being 55 years old noticed that this song sounds remarkably like the Jefferson Airplane’s song “Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil” from their album After Bathing At Baxters. I guess the youth of India was influenced by the San Francisco sound.

    This is a great web site. I’ll have to tell a few friends about it. I might even want to make a contribution someday. I can think of one strange single I have that must have an interesting story behind it. It is not exactly “garage” style (ca. 1973-75), but it is rare and very odd. Interested?

  7. Simla Beat 70/71 is a collection of tracks from the All-India Simla Beat Contest, which was organized in the late-1960s by the India Tobacco Company. In an attempt to reach the youth market, the India Tobacco company billed itself as “the oldest cigarette company with a young heart” and tried to attach its brand name to rock music. The contest was first held in 1968 and became an annual event thereafter. As the contest grew, a subsidiary of EMI released the LP Simla Beat 70, which collected the winning tracks from the 1970 contest, and followed the next year with Simla Beat 71. A label ill-advisedly named Ten Little Indians reissued Simla Beat 70/71 as a double-LP in 1997, and Normal Records released this as a double-CD in 1999. Normal Records did a nice job of packaging the CD reissue of Simla Beat 70/71, but for some reason they chose not to add any information about the significance of the All-India Simla Beat Contest. This release includes the artwork and liner notes from the original LPs, but no further information. This is more than a little disappointing, as the original liner notes are not very informatiive, being more or less a commercial for the company that staged the event. From the information available, however, it’s clear that this was a major event in Indian rock & roll. All in all, 13 bands representing nine Indian cities are featured on these discs, and the music on Simla Beat 70/71 is surprisingly Western sounding. Anyone expecting sitars and tabla drums is in for a shock, as most of the tracks feature a guitar-bass-drums-vocals lineup, and a number of the tracks are covers of American songs. Simla Beat 70 contains two Creedence Clearwater Revival covers (“Sinister Purpose” by the Dinosaurs, who were from Bangalore, and “Born on the Bayou” by the X’Lents, who were from Ahmedabad—presumably they weren’t singing about the bayou in Ahmedabad!). Simla Beat 71 included a couple of blues covers, Skip James’s “I’m So Glad” is covered by the Velvette Fogg and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor”, performed by the Hipnotic Eye. More than likely the Indian bands who recorded these songs had only heard the versions recorded by popular rock artists. Cream included “I’m So Glad” on the 1966 album Fresh and “Killing Floor” was the debut single of the Electric Flag in 1968, not to mention that Jimi Hendrix had performed this song at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Other songs on Simla Beat 70/71 make specific reference to psychedelia (the X’Lents recorded a track called “Psychedelia” and the Brood of Vipers perform “Psychedelic Web”). Psychedelic titles and band names aside, these tracks by and large are straightforward garage rock. This is not a criticism, as the tracks here are inspired recordings with a refreshing guitar-bass-drums-vocals simplicity. Having said that, easily the best track in this collection is the most “eastern” sounding one, “Simla Beat Theme” by the Fentones. “Simla Beat Theme” is a hipnotic instrumental track that increases in tempo and in intensity over four transcendent minutes. It’s ironic that the Fentones achieved that “eastern” sound with a guitar-bass-drums arrangement that so many British and American bands were trying to achieve by adding a sitar to their sound. All in all, Simla Beat 70/71 is a good collection. The main criticism of the music here is that the Indian bands were perhaps trying to sound too American, but Simla Beat 70/71 is a fascinating release that is definitely worth searching for.

    Tracklist:

    01 – Confusion – Voice from the inner soul
    02 – Dinosaurs – You can’t beat it.
    05 – Dinosaurs – Sinister purpose.
    06 – Great bear – Mist.mp3
    07 – X’lents – Born on the bayou.
    08 – Innerlight – Baby baby please.
    09 – The fentones – Simla beat theme.
    10 – Nomads – Nothing is the same
    11 – Hypnotic eye – killing floor
    12 – Velvette fog – I’m so glad.
    13 – Black beats – The mod trade.
    14 – Brood of vipers – Psychedelic web.
    15 – Hypnotic eye – Aimless lady.
    16 – Pat farrell – Brand new baby.
    17 – The conductors – She said so.
    18 – Soul Generation – I can’t see you.
    19 – The couriers – Feelings.
    20 – Changing tymes – You make it hard.

  8. That track list is incorrect, I’ve seen it floating around the internet for some time. For one thing, the last five tracks you list are by U.S. groups and had absolutely nothing to do with the Simla Beat LPs.

    Correct track listings:

    Simla Beat ’70:

    Confusion – Voice from the Inner Soul
    Dinosaurs – You Can’t Beat It
    X’lents – Psychedelia
    Innerlite – Zorba’s Dance
    Genuine Spares – Proper Stranger
    Genuine Spares – What’s Going On
    Dinosaurs – Sinister Purpose
    Great Bear – Mist
    X’lents – Born on the Bayou
    Innerlight – Baby Baby Please

    Simla Beat ’71:

    The Fentones – Simla Beat Theme
    Nomads – Nothing Is the Same
    Hypnotic Eye – Killing Floor
    Mini Beats – Hey Gipsy Girl
    Velvette Fog – I’m So Glad
    The Black Beats – The Mod Trade
    The Eruptions – I Am Gonna Erupt
    The Fentones – Until the Dawn
    Brood of Vipers – Psychedelic Web
    The Eruptions – You Can’t Judge a Book
    Hypnotic Eye – Aimless Lady

  9. How right you are. The bands in India were very majorly influenced by the San Fran sound. I remember living in Calcutta in the late 70s and through the 80s. During that time, Grateful Dead albums were sold in shops at atrocious prices to collectors due to unavailability of the music. Gerry would have been real sad if he had known that his music was used for profit mongering. Janis, the Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Camel, the Charlatans, all of this music was very popular with the kids and HMV released most of this music on LPs at one time or the other – some collectors would have kept their copies I am sure. Also, the launch of the movie Woodstock converted a large number of musicians who wanted to become hippies. Many parts of India, like Goa was also a favourite destination for the San Fransisco hippies and so these musicians went there and there was definitely a huge counter culture happening unknown to the rest of the world. I have been a part of this in India and I can tell you they were beautiful times. I felt the strong airplane influence too in the track you mentioned…My friend had a band called ‘Temple Tramps’ and they were a garage band from Madurai, commonly known as the temple town of India – they played Simla Beat contest too and there was another one called Conga Beat Contest….

  10. Hi Tirtha,
    I was a member of the Kingsmen,among other bands of the 60’s and we played at the Simla Beat Contest-not sure which year,though.Would you share any music that you have by local bands of that era,along with the Simla Beat Contest,with me? I’d be much obliged.
    Thanks and regards,
    Vernon

  11. If this post is indeed from Joseph C. Pereira, I really enjoy your post here foremost. I just saw the the Yardbirds couple days ago. Since the Quests opened for the Yardbirds in Singapore in Jan’67 I have searched for any archival photos of that performance or any footage? perhaps from the audience?

    I have also been in touch with Nandu Bhende as you have been in communication/interview with him, specifically about Led Zeppelin.

    I do have suggestion for you very seriously. You and Nandoo Bhende must coauthor a book being pioneers of Rock in Eastern Part of the World. I see only scattered bits and pieces of the music scene of early 60’s and 70’s in India, UNFORTUNATE. It must be completely documented for future generations. I find it hearbreaking to see particularly, Led Zeppelin Visits ’71/’72 just so short of information. Truth is it was a real performance. Led Zeppelin actually performed at the Slip Disc. They stayed at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Prior to Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page visited India ’67 as Yardbirds tour concluded in India. He met with Ravi Shankar in India? For sure he has met Ravi Shankar in previous England Peformance.

    I hope you seriously will document the details above somehow in a book, or perhaps a 2-3 part article in Times of India. I am surprised that when Zeppelin visited in ’71/’72 no one took many photographs except just one that is floating around the internet? No video from any one, Bombay being a film town?

    Joseph, I hope that you will continue this thought with your writer/friend Nandu Bhende.

    If you can unearch any archival photos, etc. re. Zeppelin that would be beyond beautiful.

    …Please continue this passionate dedication for all the future generation to see. Your contribution will be beyond words…

    Jas
    Fan
    LedZeppelin

    Please email me..as provided…

  12. Excellent Sound..thanks so much for the story. I hope to see a book soon in pioneer Rock music in India.

    I am looking for any pictures of the venue Slip Disc (for posting on the Official Site of Zeppelin). I have been in touch with Guitarist Nandu Bhende, performed with Zep at Slip Disc ’72. It is too bad that no archival sound, photos or recording of that Zep Performance exists.

    Jas

  13. Just came across this site and enjoyed the comments. Two points–Led Zep played at Slip Disc in 1972 (0r 73) but it was an impromptu event; two members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant landed up and jammed. I doubt there is any recording of it. Simla used to take place at Shanamukhananda Hall, an odd venue since it was usually reserved for Carnatic music performances. One of the contests was won by a band from Ahmedabad. Nandu, who was with savage Encounter, played in the Elphinstone College social, which we thought was very cool.

  14. Hi, great that you responded. I have searched extensive archives for this visit. Nandu Bhende confirmed that as soon as Zeppelin left Slip Disc, an article and a photo appeared the very next day in Times of India. I have been out of touch with this famed writer/artist Nandu Bhende, I would like to obtain the article. The photo from Slip Disc is widely circulated on the internet Zepplin Bombay ’72.

    Led Zeppelin confirmed visit is 1972, 1st week of March (I am searching for exact date at Slip Disc/EMI Studios). Zeppelin concluded their ’72 Australia tour and stopped by Bombay 1st week of March’72. This is absolute confirmation. They also booked some time in late ’71 by visiting Bombay Briefly and returned in ’72.

    I am part of fan base who search passionately Zeppelin archives. For sure, Jimmy Page had a camera. He is pictured with movie camera in Bombay, just outside Taj Mahal Hotel with two street entertainers. You can see these photos widely circulated on the Official Site and also Richard Cole’s Stairway to Heaven Book, their Tour Manager.

    Second, Bombay is a film industry. The Ownder of Slip Disc is Ramzan, very much part of celebrity scene. I wonder if someone has any visual record.

    Here is the article by Nandy Bhende re. Zeppelin 1972 Bombay Visit

    http://nandu_bhende.tripod.com/articles/particle5.htm

    If anyone has any pictures of Slip Disc, (even if some Bombay Films are shot are there, please post)

    I will post the venue on the Official Site…

    tks.
    Jas

  15. Mr Anvar, sorry if this reply is rather late. I had forgotten about this website. Frankie was my wife’s first cousin. He returned to Singapore in 1971 after having been in India for three years. He joined a rock band called Fried Ice which featured an exceptional left handed guitar player called Ray Anthony. The description hard hitting described Frankie to a tee. He then rejoined Experiments. He was in this band before the he left for India. He played with them till 1983 and left the band then when they disbanded for good. He joined the family firm, Seashore Transportation and I believe still works in this firm. My wife do not have much contact with him and neither do I. Experiments did release one LP in 1979 called Chinatown Rock. Hope this information helps.

  16. Dear Jas,

    I am sorry that I am replying to your note rather late. I have just read it today. August 11, 2010. Your idea is good. It will be a monumental task though to write about Indian Sixties music. I am intrigued as well. My cousin studied in India for seven years and he told me about the scene when he returned in 1972. He mentioned Junior Statesmen magazine. I have been in touch with Nandu Bhende and we have talked about the Indian Sixties numerous times. I have thought of remastering Simla Beat. It came out on a German label but was not remastered. It sounds weak when played on a decent system. I have also contacted people like Ralph Pais of Savages and another friend who played in Bangalore’s Devil Beats. I also met a Singaporean who was in the band called Human Bondage from Bangalore. I realise that India is a big country and surely there must have been a lot of bands in every state in India during that decade. I found a single by the Mustangs from Madras at Moore Market.

    This project is interesting but getting information and getting leads of members of bands from that time is the hurdle. How to get them ?

    Still you have aroused my interest. Just for your information I authored one book on Singapore musicians called Legends of The Golden Venus and am finishing a second book on Singapore Sixties presently. I have also produced six cd releases of Singapore Sixties.

    If we could do the same for India. My e-mail is jpreynolds@pacific.net.sg

    I have a Facebook profile which you can access and see pictures of Singapore bands. Perhaps one could be created of Indian bands.

    Let us keep talking. This is interesting.

    Regards.

    Joseph.C.Pereira

    p.s I do have a faded picture of Jimmy Page playing the violin bow at the Yardbirds concert in Singapore in January 1967. It is on my Facebook profile pictures.

  17. Hello Mr. Pereira,

    Thanks for your reply…most appreciated for your kind reply. I have submitted some archival searches at the Official Site of Zeppelin re. The Yardbirds and Zeppelin of their Bombay Visit.

    I have noted your email, I will send you detailed email re. some archival searches/questions

    I am currently in touch with Nandu Bhende as well…will write to you more about this in the email..

    Jas
    ledzeppelin51@hotmail.com

    P.s. If anyone found any fascinating photos the Slip Disc (still) from Bombay ’72, please let me know…thank you

  18. I remember the night a long haired guy asked if he could use Jimmy Dorabji’s guitar and he said “fine” this was at the Slip Disc where my brother played off and on…Neel Chattopadhyaya of Atomic Forest and later “The People” we of course had no idea who the guy was until someone recognized him and the line around the block was SOOO long the next night of course Jimmy Page didnt show up! Neel remembers it better….

  19. There is definitely recording of Zep at Slip Disc but it is lost Madhu told me as he shared stage with Zep that night. According to Madhu There are also photos in the Junior Statesman. http://www.bigdooker.com/milestones.html

    Madhu cannot find the Recording or Junior Statesman. I will see how much I can do to find archives. Please let me know any leads on the Junior Statesman lost copies of newspaper – Zep would be the First Week of March’72. Any other copies of the Junior Statesman are appreciated. Finding the Lost Recording of the Mighty Zep would be more than DREAM come true…For all

    Sincerely appreciated
    Madhu/Jas

    my email:

    ledzeppelin51@hotmail.com

  20. Nina C. Menon, can you please get in touch with me? This is a serious inquiry re. Zeppelin Archival Search. I am presently in touch with all of the musicians who were present that night… I would love to find out much archival details as possible so we post at the Official Site of Led Zeppelin…I already have with much help of Nandu Bhende… This is extremely rare and fans would appreciate your insight or any leads to locate the lost recording that night, also photos if any from audience, but definitely there are more in the Junior Statesman…I would really like to hear from you…

    Here is video of Zeppelin ’72 in Bombay
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl6wqtI1T_Q

    Thank you,

    Jas
    ledzeppelin51@hotmail.com

  21. I received the following email from Ardeshir December 8th, 2010:

    “I will also write to you about the early years of the “beat groups” in Bombay and my own brief stint as the lead guitarist of the “Gnats”. Our three major gigs in 1963-1966 were at The Khalsa College, Matunga, The nair Dental College, Bombay Central, and the Wadia-Vatchha High School for Girls at Dadar Parsi Colony. There was only ONE photograph of the Gnats taken by our scout master at the Wadia-Vatcha School gig. But it is believed lost when the scout master passed on his photo collection to someone else.

    Image Courtesy:
    Ardeshir B. Damania of the Gnats, Bombay
    University of California, Davis

    bombay

  22. Hi Patrick,

    My name is Rajesh and I’m doing some research on the music scene of the 60s and 70s in India. Could you please get in touch with me via email (rajeshmehar AT gmail DOT com) or phone (it’s an Indian mobile number: nine eight four five four two seven zero four three)? I would love to chat with you.

    Regards,
    Rajesh.

  23. Hi guys,
    It was such a pleasant surprise coming across this page and reading about the great times.
    I was the lead singer for the FRUSTRATIONS AMALGAMATED , from Madras which won the All India Simla Beat Contest at Shanmukhananda Hall, Bombay in 1971. We won the Best Group Award, the Best Singer award and the Best Own Composiion award ,,,,, thrilling, just to remember those wonderful days !!
    Manu (Manohar Roberts, our Lead Guitarist, is in Chennai and still plays a mean lead guitar and is still in music. Ramji, our drummer was with the Abhaswaram and is in Chennai, still very much into music. Dumbu, our Bass guitarist is in the U.S.A. and we are trying to get into contact again.Lawrence,our Rhythm guitarist, is in Singapore and I believe, still in music.
    I am presently in Bangalore and very much in music. I had a group called the West Wind here but am presently singingwith my keyboard accompaniments and midis , along with a good guitarist Dominic.
    On winning the Simla Beat Contest we did do a recording at the Royal Gems studio, but nothing came out of it !!
    I have a couple of pics which I want to share with all of you but have no clue as to how to insert them here. Jaya Bhaduri gave the awards to us !!!!!
    Wonderful days, wonderful music and wonderful memories
    Hey guys it will be lovely to share the good memories and relive them
    Contact me at 91-9845225566 (Bangalore)
    Affectionately,
    Shyam

  24. Hi there Shyam, I’ve heard so much about you. I’m Dumbu’s wife and pretty delighted to see that you’ve posted here. A friend drew my attention to this site and I’m glad to know that Dumbu hasn’t exaggerated (!) about all those years of glory. I hope you all get a chance to reunite. Dumbu can be reached at 832 368 4012. I’ll get him to call you.He’ll be very happy to reconnect. By the way, Abe was here a couple of weeks ago. Abe Mammen? Stay well. Warmly, Kalyani.

    1. Hi Dumbo met you in Hyderabad FA-Sudeep Chaterji
      Later Madras for Wishbone ash concert
      Poor Mama Luz is sick in Hwai
      Poor Ganesha ModGun passed away
      Israel Bhooshi-Kodaikanal
      Now North Wales UK

  25. Hi Cyrus, I do have the sketch of the ‘Simla Beat’ LP , but its framed . My Dad Terence Michael was the drummer who played for the band ‘The Dinosaurs’ . I also have the ‘Simla 70’ LP but …as you know its of monumental value to him & me . He still lives in Bangalore and is retired now . He has a lot of stories about the music scene in the late sixties & seventies . However i don’t think you can get a T- Shirt but you can download the picture on the LP and print it on a T-shirt.

    Regards
    Andre Michael

  26. hi

    anyone has info on the simla beat contests do get in touch with me. just post your email here, i keep coming here all the time

    also looking for info on the cal music scene.
    thanks

  27. Then you must have remembered The Fentones. My Dad was leader of the Band . They won on that year ad took the prize from Randhir Kapoor.

  28. Get in contact with me there are allot of posers !! cause we cant verify them !! every ones every ones dad or uncle use to play with Led Zepp ….excuse the criticism …
    !! i have proof and will show you the LP and you can talk to my Dad but make it quick cause ….u know they are “The generation” and God knows when they will cease to exist !! I Have a Tape recording of them jamming at Holy Cross ..ST Marks rd ”
    “All India Radio Bangalore” before there manager “Chubby” left India.
    Andre Michael
    Email – andrevmichael@gmail.com

  29. Hi Vernon

    If you were a member of the Kingsmen from Bombay in the late 60’s then you would know my ex husband Jumbo Waller. He was the lead singer and I believe that Banu played lead guitar.
    If you are I am sure he would love to get in touch.
    Sharon Houlihan

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I would love to get in touch with you. I have been looking into my family history over the last year and have a lot of relatives from your time and location in India. I would love to love connect.

      Kris

    2. Hi Sharon

      I have been trying to track down my grandfathers tree through online research & your name appears – my grandfather was Roy Hunter Brian Houlihan. Any more information I’d be grateful to hear from you. I see my cousin Kris has also emailed
      Regards
      Vanessa

  30. I’m sure music lovers will remember the Mystiks who disbanded in 1971. I remember Jumbo Waller & his sister Susie extremely well, in fact we used to jam at his place when they were staying in the railway quarters in Matunga, Mumbai during our teething years. Nostalgic memories haunt me whenever I read such articles. There was also a group called the Combustibles who played their own composition “Quest Request” at the Simpla Beat Contest in 1968 I guess and dedicated this song to the Mystiks.

    1. was great reading and catching up with all old days .. Great music an funtimes . Whatever happened to the sillencers and the playboys ???!!! the best to all …. May .H.

  31. ive enjoyed this album, especialy song The Fentones – Until the Dawn. is it anything to do with shane fentone and the fentones? or just some obscure indian band.

  32. This is a blast from the past! I owned a single this had these 2 tracks on it. This page provides some awesome info about these tracks!

  33. Hi,

    Jumbo (handsome guy & a good singer) was a very close friend of mine and shared some delightful days together. He formed his group after we formed the Mystiks. In fact, the Mystiks took root at his place in 1962. We used to have wonderful parties at his place and jam sessions too. Where were you at that time? I’d love to know the whereabouts of Jumbo, could you please help? Ellis nathan

    1. Hi Ellis,
      I was reading your post after stumbling on this site and thought – hey I know you, I can still see your smiling face, sitting on the drums – so many years ago.
      How lovely to hear from you.
      I’m in Australia now, with my wife, son and daughter.
      What about you?
      Take care man,
      Jimmy

      1. Mr Dorabjee,

        Honour to write you. You are mentioned in a book about India music titled India Pyschedelic. Sure would like to hear from you about those times. Write me if it not too much a bother. jpreynolds@singnet.com.sg

        I live in Singapore.

        Regards.

        Joseph.C.Pereira

  34. I’m doing some research for a fictional project set in Bombay between 67-68 and I have enjoyed this web-site hugely. For my purposes I need to verify if there was a Simla Beat contest at Shanmukhananda Hall in either 67 or 68 and it what month? Also which were the bands involved and who won? if anyone has memory of that time any info much appreciated.

  35. Hi guys
    Mentioning the Silencers brings back the nostalgia of the late 60s and 70s bands from Madras now called Chennai! I do remember Frankie’s spectacular drumming and the brilliant keyboardist Viji Msnuel playing for them along with Leo and Lawrence. Apart from the awesome sound and display of Fenders they were a great bunch of musicians. Viji used to play a Farfissa electronic organ which was a rarity at that time! One of the gadgets they used a “Swissecho” was sold in the 70s to the band I played with. If functioned by a looped tape which would wear out or snap and then we’d have to replace it and if the splice was not done right it could cause embarraing sounds haha,The other band who had Fenders was The Missiles headed by lead guitarist Chabdraseker and Jayant Basker the singer who was quite a personality on stage! Then there was the Confusions,Spartans,Mustangs, Voodoos. Vital statistics,Livewires. Commandos,Pilgrims and later on Frustrations Amalgamated /Wild Angels . Those mentioned are the few I can recall other than the many more at that time! Madras also had its Anglo Indian dance bands like The Shades. Mascots.Shadooks,Phsycadelics. Then there were Hotel bands names of which I don’t recall but remember Mario Pinto at the O’ Papa restaurant and Dudley Medera
    Black Sheep from the early 70s a rock band featured the late Ian Harvey and the great bassist Karl Peters also Abe Mammen played in a band called the Void before moving on the Bombay. Quite a few members of the bands moved to Bangslore before moving on the Bombay and Delhi!
    Thanks to the website should be lots more contributions with fond memories of the 60s/70s era!
    Cheers!

  36. I was doing my PU in Loyola at the same time the Silencers started playing.They were really fantastic.All of them ere doing their PU at the time.They also had a crooner George Fernandez who was from Malayasia.He covered Statisfaction very well.They used to practice for College functions in a small room atop of Betram Hall and I used to be there.At that time they had a drummer named Maung not sure if I got the name right.Any ideal where all of them are now.
    There were also two brothers in Loyola at that time Surseh & Ramesh good musicians who later on formed Human Bondage in Bangalore.I think Viji played organ with them for a while

    Does anyone have any update on the Silencers and Human Bondage

    Cheers

    1. Dear Sir,

      Frankie of Silencers live in Singapore. Leo Samy migrated to Australia. No idea of Lawrence. The bass player of the first line up passed on.

      Regards.

      Joseph.C.Pereira

  37. Hi Nathan
    Jumbo Waller is alive and well and living in the UK with his second wife Leslie. I was married to him for many years and we have 3 children together and a number of grandchildren now. I still keep in touch with him and only saw him last weekend. If you want to give me your details I can ask him to get in touch. I remember the Mystiks and all the Bombay bands and the great times we all had.

  38. Hello Ellis

    Jumbo Waller is alive and well and living with his second wife Leslie in the UK. I am his first wife and we have three children and a number of grandchildren. We are still in touch and I saw him last weekend. If you would like to get in touch with him just let me know and I will give him your contact details

  39. I was the organist in a band called “Wafwot”. We played a number of gigs around Delhi in 1972 and 1973, won the 1972 JS Cordel contest in Delhi, and came out second to “The Great Bear” in Madras. In spite of this, I’m very surprised that there is hardly any mention of our group anywhere on the Net (though maybe it was because we weren’t together that long). However, when Wafwot disbanded in 1973, our singer, Ashwani Bali, went on to become quite well-known in the Indian scene for 3 years.
    Also, I think that if our band had remained intact for another few years, we might very well have made a significant impression on the scene at that time, since it was our idea to combine Indian elements with rock, which was quite radical back then. We had even completed a few tunes that blended Bhangra and Hindi film song elements with Western electric instruments and vocals in both English and Hindi. We even had a rock opera that was in the works, but it never saw the light of day. Oh well.

  40. There used to be the voodoos with suku nambiar and bro mohan then there was famous band with ebby sargunar haroun mohamed ana the great derrick norris on they were sax whose now in perth they re take on woolly bully was just awesomely amazing. .they wer the beat X. …. memory lane ……

    1. Then there was rudy (rudolph) and the great drum mer boy allwyn marsh who were the band at the madras gymkhana club

  41. Hi guys was young when my sis did occasional keyboards with genuine spares in Secunderabad. From memory the members ajit comfort , sudhir comfort, noel , Gary , percy on drums. The group were the hep crowd to be with . Their jam sessions at Kwalities opposite the old Plaza cinema on James street were always premium events and tickets much sought after. There was one groupie who followed them everywhere they travelled named Glenn Rodericks. As far as can be sure Ajit and Glenn are no more and Percy was last still doing drums in premier Australian Gospel rock. No news of noel and gary. Sudhir lives in secunderabad. The last time i heard them play was in circa 1977 at a “Beat group contest” in Gandhi bBhavan in Hyderabad. At this event one more brother joined them ie Vinod Comfort but i cannot remember very much more from that evening for various reasons !

    1. Hi M Satur
      Gandhi Bhavan concert was earlier then 1977
      I was there It was Vinod Mathews who joined.
      Good Friends Comfort Family, Glen ,Percy
      Saw them in Bombay too
      Israel Bhooshi

  42. Having all that said – where can I get the full cd’s?
    I have just this record of Simla Beat Theme and it is absolute master piece. Any way to get more of that group? Youtube is full of crap in regards or otherwise this was a one hit?

  43. Hi! Have you guys seen “Made In India” an autobiography by Biddu, the Lone Trojan? In the book he writes in detail about the early “Beat Group” scene in India and his own journey to England and stardom. It is a must read for guys like us. I can see myself in many of the thoughts he has mentioned in the book.

    Adi
    (of the once Bombay beat group “The Gnats”)

    1. Hi Adi,
      I knew Biddu Appiah while at the Trojans and later too. I played with a few groups, ending up with the Waterfront. Where can I buy a copy of the book? I now live in Melbourne, Australia.
      Sometime back a journalist from Mumbai Siddharth Bhatia contacted me for a book he was writing on the music scene of the 60s and 70s and it’s published now – do you know about it?
      I enjoy seeing the posts here, bring back visions of days so long long ago.
      Thanks
      Jimmy

  44. Hi,
    I’m a 20 year old college student from Bangalore. I love the music of the 60s and 70s and I’m currently doing a college project on the evolution of music in western music in India and it’s influence on the youth. I bought Siddharth Bhatia’s book too. It was a very very interesting read for me!

    If any of you have any stories from those times that you could share with me, I’d be extremely grateful!

    1. Hi Debayan. Couple of Bangalore celebs of that era are Anne Berbie and of course Biddu Appaya. Some families also were famous. Mrs Christine Colaco and Satur family. If Catholic Club has archives department of Talent Hour competitions circa 1963 to 1968 you will hit a gold mine of info. Happy hunting!

      1. Hi Michael…thanks a lot! I will definitely check it out!

        Apart from that are there any personal records or stories any of you can share to make my project more interesting to the other people of my age? (they do like music from the 60s like the Doors and all, but they refuse to take interest in the Indian rock music from that time)

  45. Does anyone have any information regarding the band group called “busy bees” apparently they won the Simla beat contest in 1970 or71.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated .

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