Think Floyd, the homegrown Pink Floyd tribute ensemble

New Delhi, May 23 (Calcutta Tube) Take four musicians from reputed local bands whose music harks back to the classical era, speaks the language of the gut and global angst in a tribute to the ultimate psychedelic rock icons, and you get Delhi’s unique Think Floyd.

Meet Chintan Kalra, Anindo Bose, Abhishek Mathur and Surajit Dev, the homegrown version of Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright – the original Pink Floyd quartet.

They make vintage Floyd music – cover versions and also a bit of improvisation – as a homage to the psychedelic rock icons who have inspired them to play original and meaningful music over the last decade.

The band is a cross between ‘retro pro and leisure’. The members say they have been jamming off and on for the last five years to put in place their Floyd repertoire with hired help on saxophone and rhythm guitars.

The musicians are full-time members of Parikrama, Advaita, Artists Unlimited and Them Clones – four well-known Delhi-based rock bands.

‘It is difficult to take time out of our regular concert schedule because the Western music scene in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore is vibrant. The number of concerts has shot up and bands are always in demand. Despite the packed calendar, we have managed to eke out time for practice,’ Chintan Kalra, the bass guitarist of Think Floyd, told IANS at a concert in the capital this week.

The concert marks the beginning of the fourth season of History Rocks, the Fox History and Entertainment channel’s popular ‘Rockumentary’ series on music.

The band played its tribute to the Floyd legends at the Hard Rock Cafe earlier this week.

Pink Floyd, named after two blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council by one of the band’s most famous founder (late) Syd Barrett, entered the musical hall of fame for its psychedelic and progressive rock in the 1960s and 70s.

Formed in 1965 by four British university students, the outfit stormed into the London underground music scene.

In 1968, guitarist-singer David Gilmour joined the band and Barrett, who was on LSD, gradually withdrew from public life. Roger Waters stepped into Barret’s shoes as songwriter – following which the band acquired cult status with concept albums like, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Animals’ and ‘The Wall’.

‘All four of us owe our careers in music to Pink Floyd because we were inspired by their music. Nearly five years ago, we – all Pink Floyd fans and practitioners of band’s music – decided to set up a tribute ensemble,’ Kalra said.

‘The idea had been germinating for a long time. But the prospect to host mega concerts, Floyd style, was daunting with just four members. Hence, we hired more professional Floyd followers from across the country and a saxophonist from France.’

‘Pink Floyd’s music is layered and we required four guitarists to capture the diverse layers of Floydian riffs on stage. Five technicians were employed to design the stage, record sound and create the psychedelic special effects. The first time we played on the stage in 2006 was frightening. It was an experimental gig and the memory still gives me the goosebumps. But the concert was a hit because Indian listeners identified easily with Pink Floyd’s music because of the universality of themes,’ Kalra said.

Since 2006, Think Floyd has honed its psychedelic act – setting the grooves on swing mode in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

‘The audience here love our rendering of ‘The Wall’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’. They can connect,’ said Kalra, known for his high-energy riffs.

The band cuts above the rest for its powerful percussion by Surajit Dev, the Clones drummer.

What draws the foursome to Floyd? ‘Their ideology, the issues they address through their music, cinematic appeal of the music, its originality, depth of music and the fact that all of us have grown up with Pink Floyd,’ Kalra said.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in)

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