Rock ‘n’ rail – An ode to Dubai Metro

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    Mohamad Kadry  www.khaleejtimes.com

    As I pace the service road alongside one of Dubai’s newest Metro stations, I patiently wait for a group of musicians who were supposed to be meeting me 45 minutes earlier.

    Punctuality for rock stars, it seems, is written in the traffic reports. But after finally arriving at the location, Nikhil Uzgare — founder and lead vocalist for the band Point of View — immediately goes on the defensive as he steps out of his vintage car.

    “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it on time, but if the metro was already running I would have just gotten onoff and met you sooner,” he quips.

    Band mate Murtaza Jafar isn’t far behind, as the two converge on the sandpit outside the Metro — guitar in hand — for a photo shoot revolving around Dubai’s newest mass transit system. The boys, you see, have penned a song in dedication for the 09/09/09 launch date, aptly named Blue Streak — in two versions, hard rock and R & B. a mix of hard rock chords and a feel good rhythm.

    Their ‘metro song’ was originally named Chainsaw, until Nikhil decided to cash in on the larger-than-life publicity train — quite literally — changing the

    lyrics from a hard-knock rock track to a more universal composition.

    “The song I was writing — Chainsaw — was an absolutely nonsensical song about living life on the edge. I just happened to see a lot of buzz about the metro, and began thinking about all the ways life in the city might change,” he said.

    “As for the lyrics, it was very simple. The way I relate the metro to my life is to avoid traffic and boredom,” he added, highlighting two of the main reasons he plans on using the mass transit system.

    The band is also made up of permanent members Yohann Dsouza and Sidiq Mohammed, as well as a revolving door of drummers. The latter two musicians, who failed to leave their offices in time for our meeting, have been contributing their musical prowess since 2005, when Point of View was originally formed. Keeping the group together, Nikhil says, has become increasingly difficult as band members continue to shift out of Dubai. But that hasn’t stopped their rock ’n’ roll aspirations, using music as an outlet from their otherwise mundane work lives.

    With successful careers in banking and marketing, the duo are hoping that the huge amount of publicity surrounding the metro might trickle off on them.

    “We will be putting the song on our upcoming album unless the Government of Dubai decides to buy it for a lot of money,” Nikhil says, only half-joking.

    With plans to perform their ‘ode to the Metro’ around the city on the numerically fascinating day – 09/09/09 – the band is working hard to maintain legitimacy.

    “It could have been corny,” Nikhil says, as a train rolls by in the backdrop, “but the track will go well because it’s a speed rock song.”

    While the title track Blue Streak mixes a combination of functional – albeit quirky – lyrics about how life might change once mass transit is implemented in the city, the song may notdoes not promise to go over well with all residents, mainly non-rock worshippersmetal heads and R &B lovers, who may find difficulty relating to the musicunderstanding the purpose of the dedication.

    “Goin’ for a ride on a blue streak, it’s a damn good ride for the mean streets,” reads one line of the song. But for composer Nikhil, there is only one Metro detail he hopes wont change.

    “I just hope they don’t change the colour of the train,” he joked, “because we’ll have to write a new song then.”

    In their mid-thirties, the two are juggling professional lives whilst chasing their dream of musical success. They are hoping this latest gimmick might give them the exposure they need to reach out to fans.

    “It’s a hobby which we take very seriously,” the two say in conjunction. “We would like it to go somewhere.”

    Their plight to release an album highlights a debilitating problem many musicians face in Dubai, a city know for its hyper-transitory reputation. As members come and go, it has become difficult to maintain the group’s original membership.

    “A musician who is really serious about music will not stop jamming,” the duo claim, commenting on the evolution of the music scene here.

    “In Dubai everyone comes here to start off on a new leaf. As a musician, you automatically end up finding musicians around if you are really serious about

    your music.”

    Influenced by 80’s glam rock as well as 60’s & 70’s progressive and punk, Point of View is hoping that residents merely ‘Get the Point’ to their metro soundtrack, if you will.

    “People who avoid weekend parties are going to use the metro now,” Nikhil says excitedly. “People are going to be out-and-about like a real city.”

    Theis interviewinterview currently being read, the one wherthe one both members arrived late due to rush-hour trafficwere so tardy for, took place inside Nikhil’s car just as sunset began and the sound of the Islamic call to prayer belted out from Mosque loudspeakers. But the sound of hammers and construction could also be heard in the distance, as another train whizzed by our stationary vehicle.

    The duo, ready to debut their musical contribution to the Metro, pass along some lyrics for my reference. While the songs concept might be lost on some, as we sait in the sweltering heat of his car, I couldn’tan’t help but wish we had scheduled our interview in the Blue Streak rather than his vintage caractually met inside the ‘Blue Streak’…rather than his beat-up pinto.


    Lyrics of Blue Streak written by Nikhil Uzgare

    Goin for a ride on a blue streak, it’s a damn good ride for the mean streets

    Gona zip thru the city in my blue streak.

    I’m gonna fly !

    Beating the traffic in my blue streak, gonna sweat no more in my old jeep

    Gona zip thru the city in my blue streak.

    Paradise !

    Some days are meant for boredom, doing your little nothing squatting flies

    Some days are not that bad, I hit my sack, just about in time

    Some days are made for speed, but the radars keep me back in line

    Some days are slow as hell, wish I had a jet to fly

    We’ve got damn strange occupations. Now am zipping thru my stations.

    And when I’m off the tracks. The blue streak brings me back!!

    Goin for a ride on a blue streak, it’s a damn good ride for the mean streets

    Gona zip thru the city in my blue streak.

    I’m gonna fly !

    Beating the traffic in my blue streak, gonna sweat no more in my old jeep

    Gona zip thru the city in my blue streak.

    Paradise !

    kadry@khaleejtimes.com