I found a missing puzzle piece when I first experienced the sweet soothing sounds of heavy metal, the day I heard Iron Maiden’s seminal Number Of The Beast on Top of The Pops in the UK back in 1982. Many people think metal is about aggression and I suppose it is but more out of a need to expel that deeply rooted screaming spirit some of us have rather than merely act out random fits of pointless rage.
So anyway, at the end of an academic year when Rio, the leader of the MSRMC band (the only competition to my college band), asked Roberto and me if we wanted to form a super group playing Iron Maiden covers, well, I never really thought about it and just said “cool”. It was just one more of those things you can’t be prepared for, you can’t be ready with an apropriate answer so you just go on instinct.
I have been the front man of that heavy metal band with 2 albums, an EP, 6 videos and hundreds of shows performed, for 28 years. We were the first Asian metal act ever to get our videos on MTV. Our albums actually sold 25,000 plus copies, not too many for those days but that was done only through video rotation on MTV and our gigs. I heard rumours that our first album “Millennium” was being sold as a bootleg in heavy metal heartland North Eastern India so when we played there in ’97 or so I went in search and sure enough, there it was, in a muisc shop cassette rack perched between Megadeth and Pantera, sweet. I never cared about that sort of thing, still don’t.
We performed everywhere from Shilong to Shimoga, from Mangalore to Mumbai, from Calicut to Kolkata. The shows varied dramatically but all were fun, all were special. Most times we were paid, not always but when we did get paid we got paid very well indeed. We made more than enough money to pay for our recordings, videos, promotions, equipment and publicity but we were remarkably clear, we would never make enough money to survive on metal alone and frankly, we never tried.
We did some strange gigs like the one for the surgeons’ conference where all the doctors, smashed out of their brains, stormed the stage and demanded bangra. Then there was the one where they could not pay us full in cash and gave us all (band, roadies and hangers-on), a holiday at a luxury resort in the hills. But also we had some super fun shows including the headlining gigs we did at Mood Indigo IIT Powai and the 5 or 6 I-Rock headliners. We performed support slots with Megadeth, Deep Purple, No Doubt and the amazing (though miming, badly) Shampoo. I was never more proud than when I represented Millennium, Indian Metal, Bangalore Metal and the Metal Army opening for Slayer in Bangalore in 2013.
Millennium was fun and maybe still will be, lets see…
These are some stories about Millennium