Article 14

Rock On

Rock Memorabilia

(Published in Times of India, Pune on8th September, 2001)

T he intensity of the passion, which people feel for Rock music, has always been a source of great amazement to me. This may seem surprising for a person who has adopted it as a career and a lifelong quest, but the enthusiasm and the drive of these devoted fans can be truly overwhelming! It was all brought into focus the other day, when I was talking to my good friend Jaidev Modi after my recent concert in Mumbai.

Jaidev and I had lost touch with each other for a couple of years. I was busy setting up my Audio studio, INSYNC in Juhu while Jaidev, as Director of Piramyd, was busy with the launch of Crossroads, the mega mall in Mumbai. Jaidev has always been a great fan of Rock and we were college buddies. His ambitions of becoming a drummer in a Rock and Roll band had not been totally realized. Yet Rock has played such an important role in his life that he has chosen to surround himself with it, in as many ways as possible. Jaidev is a horse race enthusiast/owner and has named his horses after Classic Rock Acts like Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Simply Red, Deep Purple and King Crimson. Not only are they are some of the biggest Rock bands ever, each one is a different color! What a fabulous way to surround yourself with what you love, in more ways than one. I'm sure he will not have to face the uproar that greeted Bush when he named his cat after India, as the Rock Bands know a good thing when they see one. Probably just a letter from their lawyers requesting money for the use of their Brand name! I'm sure naming of the Mall "Crossroads" is also subconsciously influenced by its likeness to the famous "Cream" blues and Jaidev leaves no opportunity to surround himself with memories of Rock, a device that's obviously an incredibly invigorating experience that has served to vitalize his challenging lifestyle.

Another example of the Rock Memorabilia obsession is the recent auction by Christie's of John Lennon's letter, discussing his fall out with Paul McCartney of the Beatles. The world's headlines were splashed with this news, a clear indication of this insatiable appetite! The fans have greatly profited from this demand, a fact so many have realized when they have found their old Rock concert tickets and posters fetch such good prices from die-hard fans who just can't seem to get enough. The bands too are raking it in and every Music personality today has a burgeoning trade in brochures, T-shirts, tour jackets, watches etc. at concerts and through mail order. It has been said that the income from the merchandising at the Pink Floyd Wall concerts had by far exceeded the income from ticket sales, in spite of the exorbitant ticket rates!

The increase in Rock Memorabilia collectors has resulted in many collectors' shops all over the western world catering to this very fascination. The Japanese especially seem to have a great fascination and they spend millions of dollars every year on this. There is a shop in a fancy small shopping center by the ocean in South Maui, Hawaii called Celebrities and it features one-of-a-kind collectors items from famous personalities. The items are mostly from the rock world, stuff like signed records, autographed guitars (e.g. from the Stones, Jerry Garcia, the Who, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young etc) each of these ranging from $2,500 to $5000 each! There is a section of John Lennon's paintings and sketches, as well as the originals of some of his Beatles and later lyrics and lots of paintings and sketches by Ronnie Wood of the Stones. There is also a huge framed gold record of Sgt. Pepper's with a lithograph of the cover art alongside the gold plated record. Below that there is a large photo of the Beatles taken together at the time of the release of that record and under the photo are the original autographs of each of the Beatles, all in great shape. This piece was later sold to a Japanese gentleman...for $19,500!!!

Reminded me of my brush with the Japanese on my trip to the States last year. I was standing in the queue at Universal Studios, Los Angeles for the Water World ride when I got talking to some Japanese ladies. I could not help noticing the appreciating glances the lady was giving the watch I was wearing that day. It was an original official Beatles watch that was released during the Anthology series, a few years back. It did not take very long for her to ask me whether I would be interested in selling the watch to her! I was shocked and naturally refused. If only I knew then about the high prices that these things command, especially when it becomes rare and difficult to find. I still have that watch with me today and am wearing it as I write this article. I would have made a killing selling it her that day. Yet there was no way I could have ever done such a thing! The joy that the Beatles have given me is priceless and it can never be replaced. I would always want to have something of theirs with me for all times.

Rock on!

Nandu Bhende











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