Homegrown band 'Overthrown' talks about 12-day European tour

2 November 2012 / 3 years 12 months ago

Source: The New PaperOverthrown: (From left) Bassist Fadhli Osman, vocalist Racthmad Zainal, guitarist Shahrizal Zainal and drummer Yusof Ismail.SINGAPORE - Remember Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe's seminal music film of the early Noughties?While chock-full of memorable moments, some of the movie's best scenes were the ones where its pseudo-fictional rock stars go on the road.If Almost Famous taught us anything, it would be that bonafide rockers travel by bus, not so much by air.Local veteran hardcore band Overthrown got a taste of that enthralling nomadic lifestyle when they embarked on their 12-day European tour earlier this month.Together with Belgian hardcore outfit A Strength Within, the home-grown quartet, which comprises vocalist Racthmad Zainal, 29, guitarist Shahrizal Zainal, 32, bassist Fadhli Osman and drummer Yusof Ismail, both 34, played in nine countries, including Holland, Austria, Croatia, Germany and Switzerland."After touching down at the Amsterdam airport on Oct 5, we rented a van with the guys from A Strength Within and just drove from one destination to another," Shahrizal told LOUD over the phone last week, when the band was back in Singapore."On average, we had to drive eight to nine hours at a stretch."It's not all that glamorous as one would imagine.Not only were there no Kate Hudson-like groupies - the only female among them was Overthrown's roadie - it was pretty much a DIY affair, as the musicians themselves had to lug around heavy equipment, such as their drum set and amplifiers."Touring in Europe is extremely different from touring in South-east Asia," said Shahrizal. "We've played in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia before and it was quite fuss-free for these cities...you turn up at your venue with your guitar and bass, plug in and play. In Europe, however, it's the norm for all bands to come prepared with amps and drums too."Despite it being more physically demanding than they had expected, he called the trip a "great experience" that was "eye-opening" in its own ways."We learnt that it would be foolish for us (Asians) to give it a go at moshing there," said Shahrizal, with a laugh.Moshing, body surfing and stage diving are distinctive trademarks of hardcore live shows."The people in Europe are two, three times bigger in size. We attempted to mosh once and we lasted all but one minute, after which we got punched in the face."There were also a couple of harrowing encounters."We got stopped at the Czech border, where burly customs officers took a look at our passports and asked us straight in the face if we had drugs," he recalled.Then, in Croatia, they were taken aback when they arrived at their performing venue - an old, abandoned medical building."Most of the venues we played at were clubs, pubs or auditoriums, so we were quite shocked," he said."It looked seriously haunted! Soon, we realised that the building was actually a thriving hub for artists and it also served as (a place for local) squatters."The band had hoped to stay a month in Europe, to include a few Scandinavian stops. "Eventually, we didn't, as we had no more leave to clear," he said.Full-time Jobs ElsewhereThe foursome hold full-time jobs away from the bright lights of the stage - Shahrizal is a nurse at Singapore General Hospital, Racthmad a fireman, Fadhli a senior technician and Yusof a technical officer.Overthrown were invited to Europe by Belgium-based concert promoter Perspective Bookings and Dutch promoters Stronger Bookings.Meals and accommodation were provided by the organisers, while the band paid for air tickets using their performing fees, as well as CD sales of their independently released album, As It Is."We sold all 70 copies of our album we brought over (to Europe)," said Shahrizal, with a tinge of pride in his voice."Initially, we were quite surprised that people actually recognised us. But as it turns out, many active hardcore punk fans had already checked out our stuff on the Internet and could sing along to most of our songs."Some of them even drove four hours from their house to attend our show, which shows how much they appreciate music."He added: "In comparison, I can't help but feel that a small group of hardcore fans in Singapore are rather spoilt. They complain when they have to travel from Yishun to Jurong to catch a gig!"

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