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Skinny Alley set to create a difference
Kolkata: Skinny Alley is one of the most premier names in the rock scenario. They have twin objectives of creating new music and recreating the old ones.
SKINNY ALLEY IS a Kolkata-based band comprising of five talented musicians-Jayashree Singh, vocalist, Amit Datta, guitarist, Gyan Singh, bass guitarist, Jeffrey Menezes, keyboardist and Jeffrey Rikh, drummer and vocalist. The band started its performing career in March 2001. It was formed with a twofold objective to write and perform original music, drawing from its members’ considerable experiences and also to recreate well known and not-so-well-known tunes ranging from the rock and pop of the 1960s right down to the mainstream rock and alternative rock of the present day. Virgin Records India Private Limited released their album of original songs ‘Escape The Roar’ nationwide in 2003. This is Virgin’s first release of an English album by an Indian band. Every member brings in a wealth of experience that contributes richly to the character of the band.
 
All the band members have performed across the country and abroad playing music that spans over the decades and diverse genre ranging from rock and roll to reggae, from funk to fusion and from jazz - inflected pop to the blues. The original music of Skinny Alley reflects a unique character that incorporates the maturity, the skills, the influences and the experience of the five musicians.
 
Singh spoke exclusively with Sudipta Sengupta, a citizen journalist .
 
Classic rock, Metal rock, Post-rock and Jazz-rock, and Skinny Alley’s special ‘Eclectic rock’. How do you differentiate Eclectic rock from the others?               
Well, we call it eclectic for want of a better label. We are not too keen on labels anyway and this seemed to indicate that our music was a combination of so many things.
 
How was the group Skinny Alley formed?  
We had all played together in other bands over the years, and we basically came together to write and perform original music. 
 
Skinny Alley is band that has most experienced and versatile musicians in the country. How did you all come together? Were you childhood friends?
No, not childhood friends, but friends long enough to know that the chemistry would work.
 
When a number of talented persons come together differences crop up. As a result many of the band groups break away after one or two successful stints. How does Skinny Alley cope up with this?
Well, we do have our differences, of course, but somehow the music has been the most important thing for us. We do disagree on some points, but are ready to yield if it is going to help the music.
 
Everyone in the team has their own liabilities, dreams and responsibilities. How do you find time to practice, record and perform?
We are lucky in Kolkata, I guess. Commuting times are much shorter than they are in Delhi or Bombay, and we have been able to meet several times a week to play and rehearse over the years.
 
India never had its own version of The Beatles. Yet thousands of band groups get formed. What is the motivation?
Love for music. It has to be this, otherwise, there is nothing much for a rock musician.
 
How difficult is rock singer as a career, especially in India?
I think it is totally impossible to make a life by doing rock music alone. Most of the rock musicians are also doing other jobs, for instance, a day job, teach music or they are compose music for advertisements, films, etc.
 
Skinny Alley has performed not just in India but also in other countries, like Australia. Are there any differences in the audience?
I think people all over the world are the same under their skins. If the audience sees a band enjoying itself and giving off genuine energy, they get into it as well.
 
Do you think the rock band industry in India is set for a change in the coming days?
It is a good time for rock music in India. More and more kids are writing and performing original music. There cannot really be a valid industry until there is a substantial body of original work.

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