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Monday, February 06, 2012
Decibels: 1965-1970 A Band In The Making Part 2
Decibels drummer Jimmy Chng shares his experience as a band boy in this final episode:
Our very first gig was at someone's birthday party held in an HDB flat in Jalan Bahagia and we were paid $30. Through friends' recommendation and word of mouth, we did get quite a lot of gigs, especially on weekends. These were usually birthday parties, Dinner & Dance parties, festive occasions, Tea-Dances, etc.
We even had an opportunity to play at the Lido cinema, providing background music to models strutting on stage in Maidenform lingerie. This was in conjunction with the screening of the movie, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (image 2).
.As the local music scene matured, the demand for bands with singers ensued. We first had a friend who would sing mostly Johnny Lion's hits. He sang with our band for less than a year. Then Evelyn Tan (image 1) sang with Decibels for a brief period too. She later joined The Siglap Five and made some records under Evey Lyn with The Siglap Five.
Our very first taste of competition was at the Battle Of Guitars (organised by ACE Enterprises) which was held at the National Theatre. We performed well enough to get into the finals but did not win. Our second and last competition which was organised by Rediffusion, was held at the Odeon Cinema. Again, we entered the final but did not win.
We got a 2 month contract to play at Toby's Paradise Bar in Anson Road. We were recommended by The Vigilantes as their contract there had ended and they got a better paying contract at West Point Niteclub in Pasir Panjang. Incidentally, most of the original Vigilantes band members were my classmates in Queenstown Secondary Technical School.
The original Decibels lasted till around 1969 or 1970. We disbanded partly due to waning interest and partly due to fewer engagements coming our way. Charles, our bassist subsequently joined The Tones whilst Steven and Patrick concentrated on their job careers.
My memories of the later stages are not too clear. After some months, I continued the Decibels band with some members from D'Quivers. We had a one month contract at Toby's Paradise Bar this time.
After the contract, the lead guitarist left. We looked for a replacement and managed to find a lead guitarist by the name of Bernard Chua. He had a friend named Samad, who had a very good and powerful voice and we invited him to join us too. He could belt out Tom Jones numbers with ease. I can't remember how long this chapter of Decibels lasted but when we finally disbanded, Bernard went on the join The Hi-jacks.
Image 1/Original Article: Jimmy Chng Collection. All Rights Reserved.