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    Thursday, January 31, 2008

    I'm one of those people who say that I do not regret...blah blah blah. But then, things do happen in life that makes me circle in the neighbourhood of regret. (What the....)

    Loloq, one of the better lyricists/writers in Malaysia passed away this afternoon. I do not really know the man but I know his work. We have met a few times at industry events. When we see each other, we do that head nod thing and then find some other distraction so we can get on with our own business. We know each other exists but I do not think I'd be on his list of people to babysit his kids.

    Having said that, I do feel very sad. I hope that he knows that I have great respect and admiration for his work and style. And about the regret. I never worked with him. I was getting to it but it is one of those things we take for granted. That he will always be around.

    One of the reasons I feel, is that I am intimated by the man. I'm afraid that he would think my song is crap. (You put my song next to a M. Nasir or Aidit Alfian song, and you will just see what a shameless sell-out I am. And let me say it now, I am NOT saying this to fish for compliments to reinforce my songs or "talent.")

    But I did call him late last year to work on a song but he was busy. He was nice about it.

    So there. I lost my chance to work with a great lyricist. When they make a movie or documentary about Loloq one day, I won't be interviewed or Jack Black won't get to play me. If I do get interviewed, it would be because I'm the only idiot composer who never used Loloq's lyrics.

    The moral of the story here is not that life is fragile. Or that we should take advantage of each day. Screw that. Take as many naps as you can. But the moral of the story here is, if you are a composer, work with Loloq. (I think I am missing something here.)

    I don't really know the man and I miss him already.

    Aidit, if you need a hug, give me a call. ("Bukan nak ambil kesempatan la...")

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    So I went to the Anugerah Juara Lagu thing last night. Parking was a bitch. I spent over 40 mins in the parking lot and finally when I did find a spot, it was about a mile away from the stadium. Not fun when you have your 60-something year old mother with you.

    Anyway, I decided to go because I had wanted to show off my date. I had thought that, like in previous years, the composers and the lyricists would actually be introduced on stage before the song is performed. Unfortunately, this year, that didn't happen. (Who cares what the composers look like right?)

    But if that were to have happened, my date, Dr. Tahir would have gone up on stage in my place, with the lyricist. Yes, Faizal's dad attended. Can you believe it, Faizal was not given tickets. His dad had to ask me if he could go with me. And that was the reason why I decided to go. So you can imagine my disappointment when Dr Tahir didn't get to go up on stage.

    After that, the rest of the evening was pretty much a test of my endurance to stay awake.

    Now, for the record, I am not at all disappointed that "Mahakarya Cinta" did not win. I am very glad that Estranged won with "Itu Kamu." Honestly, I am just always glad whenever a ballad does not win...even if it is my own song. "Itu Kamu" and "Papa Jahat" by The Fabulous Cats were the two songs for me in 2007.

    I was also very impressed with Bob's performance of "Kasih Tercipta." His vocal control was, by far, the best. I look forward to working with him. Mawi was highly entertaining. And sitting in the front row will give you a tan.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    I have not yet decided which one of the following is the revelation:

    1. The Anugerah Juara Lagu is the centre of the entertainment universe in Malaysia.
    2. I have no clue as to what I have gotten myself into.
    3. Those in the Malaysian entertainment industry really ought to reevaluate what is important in their lives.

    Perhaps it’s a combination of the three.

    It’s Day 5 of the Faizal Tahir ban. And I am getting calls, SMSes, email, Facebook messages from friends, strangers, industry people, and from the one group that has me sitting at the edge of my seat just waiting for their call, the press.

    This here is my official statement. It should save you that phone call to me.

    Faizal Tahir is officially banned from performing for any live telecasts for the next three months. In other seemingly related news, 8TV is not allowed to do any live broadcasts for the next three months starting January 15.

    As of today, I do not know who will perform this Sunday at AJL. Faizal’s record label, Monkey Bone, is currently appealing to have Faizal perform just for AJL. TV3 may have other plans. There is no official word yet.

    I met with the producers at TV3 and with Monkey Bone this morning and my final position on this matter is that both TV3 and Monkey Bone duke it out and figure out who they want to have perform the song since the competition is pre-judged and the performance will not affect the outcome of the competition. In other words, it doesn’t matter who sings the song. And what that means for me is that I don’t really care who sings the song. It is more for the singer and the exposure he/she will get.

    So it boils down to TV3 having to put on a good show with a replacement for Faizal Tahir (Good luck with that!) and Monkey Bone not blowing this chance to showcase their artist and sell a few CDs in the process.

    To answer the highly original questions I’ve been getting....

    Yes, I am disappointed that Faizal Tahir would not be singing “Mahakarya Cinta”, which, by the way, is hidden track number 14 on Faizal Tahir’s debut album “Aku.Muzik.Kamu”.

    Who will be performing the song this Sunday? I don’t know at this point but I am sure who ever sings it will do a good job blah blah blah.... But seriously, Faizal Tahir’s new album, “Aku.Muzik.Kamu” is out in stores.

    Who would I like to have perform this song? Rumours have it that Fiq would be the one to sing it. And it’s the obvious choice since Fiq is a rocker whose debut album isn’t “Aku.Muzik.Kamu” since it is Faizal Tahir’s debut album which is available in stores now.

    But being one who hates the obvious choices, I have three options which are based on direction, rather than who is the better singer. I am torn between using known singers and presenting a new upcoming singer who could use the exposure.

    On using a known singer, it would be between Awie with a good old Malay rock arrangement...complete with the big canyon reverb on the snare drum and...on just about everthing else; AND Farah Asyikin to turn things on its head and have a female sing the song instead.

    On presenting a new talent, I’d go with Badri, the runner-up at LG MyStarz. This guy’s potential style is in between Faizal Tahir and Anuar Zain. I would tone down the guitars and bring up the orchestra and give it a more classical feel. And right after I remove the baton that Ramli MS have stabbed into my chest, I’d bring out the all-male choir at the last chorus along with the swans and fake snow.

    What am I doing to prepare for the replacement singer? Absolutely nothing at the moment.

    What advice would I give to the replacement singer? Sing well. Don’t embarrass yourself. If you have to remove your shirt, remove your pants as well.

    Are you going to the show this Sunday? Yes.

    But in your previous entry you said that you were not going? I changed my mind because I am representing Faizal Tahir. And also, I am bring my mom.

    In conclusion, if there is one thing I am reminded of is that there are more important things in life than this. To encapsulate my official response and my final word on this matter: BFD.

    Saturday, January 19, 2008

    Faizal Tahir is banned from TV appearances for six months. Which means he won't be performing at next weekend's Anugerah Juara Lagu. Personally, I would like to thank the Malay media for highlighting Faizal's wardrobe malfunction and making a big deal out of this. But I believe this will be for the better in the long run. At least now I do not have to go the darn thing. (Or so I think.)

    In other news, Aidit Alfian and I had a writing session today. Imagine Bob Dylan writing with P. Diddy. I am not sure what to make of it just yet.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Today at the press conference Faizal explains himself. He did it because he thought it was something fun to do. It was inspired by a "Smallville" moment where Clark Kent gets the Superman "S" on his chest. He didn't think it would become such a big deal. Since it has, he is truly sorry.

    Fair enough.

    Then we have some reporter asking (in Malay.)

    "Were you on drugs or alcohol?"

    Now if you think about that for a second, you will realise what a dumbfcuk question that is. What do you expect the guy to say?

    "Oh yes. I just snorted some cocaine before I got on stage."

    I had no idea it was so easy to amuse these reporters.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    In the late afternoon just now, I get a phone call from Faizal Tahir, the guy who sings "Mahakarya Cinta" and a few other songs that you can hear on my imeem page. He starts off with the weirdest opening line:

    "Dude. I just want to be the first to tell you...whatever happens, I am sorry."

    Well, since the label had already called me to tell me about the incident, I wasn't too surprised.

    You see...Faizal performed at this concert the night before, which was also televised live on 8TV. During his performance, he starts taking off his clothes and he ends up with his shoes and jeans. And so today, there is hell to pay. All this is coming from a guy who got so excited that he did a power slide on live TV when "Mahakarya Cinta" got into the finals of Juara Lagu. Evidently, there was hell to pay there as well.

    For the rest of the day, I get calls and SMS telling me about the strip job. One even suggested I plan for a back-up singer for "Mahakarya Cinta" because there was talk that Faizal will be banned from radio and TV. Well, to hell with that. Personally, if Faizal gets banned, I won't go to the finals of Juara Lagu as a sign of protest. I would go as far as to withdraw the song if the lyricist agrees. And I will tell you why.

    Because, ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a honest-to-goodness rock star!

    Yes people! Surprise surprise! In case you do not know what kind of species this is, Faizal Tahir is a rock star! It seems that with the endless surplus of ballad singers in this country, we have forgotten what a rock star looks like, their characteristics, and feeding schedule.

    If you cannot accept that, then you are the very reason why the Malaysian music industry is still in the stone-age. Therefore, it should come as no surprise if he takes his shirt off. It's all part of the act. Wait till he gets into videotaped orgies, starts wearing women's underwear and heels, and then changes his name into an unpronounceable symbol. But he is not weird. I don't think he'd go there because this guy is just fueled by honest and pure passion. And God knows, we need more of that in our business.

    Yesterday, Faizal Tahir rocked the boat.

    We cannot appreciate his form of expression. (And I am waiting for the critics to say it's un-Islamic because apparently, Muslims are not passionate people....well, not out in the open anyway.)

    As much as I love the whole "soft and gentle way of the Asian culture", we really just need someone to grab us by the balls and say "Hey! There is still some life yet in this scene." As a fan, I love it. I love it when there is some excitement in a performance. And when was the last time something like this happened?

    So tomorrow morning, Faizal and the label will be having a press conference. And I am sure the press cannot wait to ask that one question: WHY?

    And I am sure Faizal will give some stupid politically-correct answer like he (if) was (you) just (have) excited (to) and (ask) got (you) caught (will) up (never) with (know) the (you passionless nutsack!) crowd.

    Reporter: "Do you think this will affect your career?"
    Faizal: "I (only) leave (if) this (you) all (make) up (a) to (big) the (deal) fans (out) to (of) decide (this)!"

    So everybody, just mop it up and move on.

    By the way, go buy the CD. Faizal Tahir. Aku. Muzik. Kamu.

    Saturday, January 12, 2008

    Meet M.Zulkifli and his website.

    You wanna see some class? Then see what we had for lunch!
    I am not sure whether I want to feel sorry and compassionate for this person. Or should I just throw this person into a volcano? Since the nearest volcano requires air travel to get to, I will have to reluctantly settle for the first option.

    Anyway, I have decided to go into semi-retirement (in the same way Jay-Z went into retirement.)

    As a semi-closing note to Malay female singers, unless you are Ning Baizura, Dayang Nurfaizah, Farah Asyikin, or Adibah Noor, you should never ever sing in English, let alone record it. On that same note, if you are Chinese and you have recorded a Chinese album, you should also never ever sing or record in Malay no matter what Ramli MS tells you.

    Also, I humbly implore to all solo female singers in Malaysia to stop singing "When You Believe" should they need to do a duet with another female singer. If you have to, please don't. But if someone held a gun to your head and forced you to, please make sure you get the lyrics right and do not attempt to do Mariah Carey's part no matter how well-rested and confident you feel. Then pick an accent and stick to it.

    And for the chorus, it's "There can be miracles..."

    MIRACLES!

    Not MIRACLE.

    MIRACLES. That's MIRACLE with an S.

    For the love of God and in the name of all things sacred and pure, please don't do it on TV. C'mon woman! Have some pride.

    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    Despite what farmers and someone who lived through the Japanese occupation might tell you, it is almost always never a good idea to have meetings at 8 a.m. in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    I've been reunited with a flavour from the past: Marmite.

    If you ever feel the need for some yeast extract, go for Marmite. Accept no substitute. Ask no questions.

    Sunday, January 06, 2008

    Happy New Year!

    I am quite disappointed that I've only had 50 blog entries during the 365 days in 2007. You're thinking...how difficult is it to update a blog. Just write a load of crap. But I am telling you, it's a lot of work. The reason why I am making this entry is just so I can see 2008 in the archive list.

    I still have a lot to say but now I find myself having to be more politically correct and sensitive these days. I have to be nice. Which sucks. I can't say things like... "In 2008, I am not going to perpetuate all that I think is wrong with Malaysian music. Which means, if I get another 80s-style ballad for a demo, I will bury it and then perform an exorcism and get rid of the evil infliction on my ears."

    Anyway, I want to thank the nice people (thanks Zul!) at Gua.com.my for having me as one of the seven coolest Malaysians in 2007. It's strangely flattering but does this mean I will not be cool in 2008?