Ifthekar Sikder, aka “The Iron Man”. One of the pioneers of the Bangladesh’s Metal Scene. He and his band Waves have introduced metal along with other pioneers in this country during the time when they were branded as a bunch of hoodlums. And now, he is going to tell us the story of his band, his life and some untold events that he have faced in his lifetime in this three part series.
Well, first of all I have many things that I can share about our band, music, influences, gears & dirty politics of our cultural & intellectual groups in BD in the 80’s. We formed Waves in Germany with my friend Mahmud and Mithu. We used to play mostly songs from three or four piece bands like ZZ Top, Rush, Hendrix, Sabbath, Cream etc. because we were three guys playing two guitars and drums so I switch over to bass and vocal, Mahmud on guitar and Mithu played the drums. We were pretty good as a live band. In 1983 we decided to go back to Bangladesh to promote Rock music in Bangla.
We never talked Heavy Metal back then. It was Classic Rock or Hard Rock over the time people started to come up with more and more definitions, classifications and varities of genre of music. So we were in Dhaka got in touch with Kamal (don’t get confused with Ibrahim Ahmed Kamal of Warfaze), our friend from Germany, on vocal, keyboards, guitar and Minu, a highly smart, good looking girl who grew up in Sweden and studied music there on vocal and keyboards. Being the pioneer of Heavy Metal Revolution of Bangladesh, I feel proud, lucky that I had the opportunity to start the fire but credit goes to my band mates too, I’m just one them.
We, members of original & classic Waves worked together to make it happen. We all sacrificed our social and family lives for the sake of music. It makes me upset that living abroad, I miss many of those metal acts currently happening there & I’m not a part of them. Bands can perform English cover songs on TVs nowadays. We didn’t have that opportunity in the 80’s. Songs must be in Bangla, melodious, not distorted, dress code, hair code, there were many codes left and right that prevented us from going public. We did couple of songs in a BTV show called Rojoni Gondha. We called them Bangla Hard Rock but our so-called intellectual groups called them “Oposhonkskrity (anti culture)”. We lost the deal with BTV but public reaction was surprisingly over whelming. Weekly Robbar had a cover story on Waves. Younger generation in particular started looking for us.
We had a huge place for practice with our own 32 channel recording studio, a security guard on the door. We did our own recordings there. Many famous people used to come to see our gears, our practice. We had a complete album of our own songs that we wrote, recorded and went to those guys who used to release albums back in those days in cassette format. None of them seemed interested to release them, asking for something sounds like Souls, another famous band from the country. I was a fan of them myself, especially the vocalist but the music we loved to do is totally different so it didn’t work out right for us. Few of them demanded money too. Months later, we got another offer from BTV to perform 3 songs for upcoming Eid show. We did some real Bangla Metal this time. I did vocal on 2 songs and Minu had 1. We finished the VTR. Everything went just fine but I saw the BTV’s GM was looking at me and Minu while loading our gears on a truck.
I knew something’s gonna be wrong. Everyone waiting to see Waves on that night but there was nothing. Waves didn’t make it to the air. I called Mahmud and decided to launch the investigation by some people we knew in BTV. We got the report next day and it was very, very reliable that the GM had a meeting with the producer and some other employees. The producer said, “OK Sir, let them be (Waves) on AIR. They have a hot girl in the band”. And the GM said, “No, there is a JONGLI (Bengali for wild man which they thought of me) too.”
So, that was the end of our BTV show. Waves introduced the best musical instruments & recording equipments in Bangladesh in the early 80’s. We had many world class guitars. Gibson, Fender, Ibanez. We had Marshall, Fender & Peavey amps/cabinets, Tama drums, 32 channel mixing console with complete EV PA system. We were the first band to use separate microphones for each and every instruments and running through a mixing board to PA system. We’ve modernized the band music and its sound system in Bangladesh. It’s not only the equipment that helped us to rock real hard but it’s also the power we played with. We always looked for rich, punchy and heavy sound. I have a big list of bands, musicians that I love & admire & listen to. From Hendrix to Robin Trower to EVH, Motörhead to Pantera. If I was influenced by them 10%, rest 90% credit goes to Ozzy & Co. That means total Black Sabbath music. Ozzy, Dio. Iommi, Rhoads, Jack Lee, Wylde & so on… whoever came in touch with that Prince of Darkness by any means have influenced me.
Wishing you guys the best of luck.
Keep Rocking with ideas but do not compromise!
Thanks for the lession in history. Someday, everyone will realize what you guys did at that time. Rock On!