Saturday, February 06, 2021

Toto, Guns n Roses, Queen, David Bowie, Sting, Gino Vannelli, Tina Turner - Love Them All Say Youthful Megan Lye and Eunice Chua

Interviewed by both Eunice Chua [left] and Megan Lye [writer of this post] were Tony Ng and Andy Young.

It’s been a long time coming.
Guest contribution by MEGAN LYE.

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“The most important thing about music is that you must enjoy it,” is the first lesson my drum teacher had ever imparted to me. You would think that this is easy to do – I did, too – but 10 years of playing the drums had shown me otherwise.
 

Growing up, my taste in music was largely influenced by my dad, who played hits from the 60s all the way to the 90s. Toto, Guns n’ Roses, Queen, Bee Gees, David Bowie, Steely Dan, and the Beatles barely began to scratch the surface. However, that posed a problem – nobody else my age listened to those bands and artists. 

The next and only person I found who shared the same taste as me for the next 10 years was my drum teacher, and he began to introduce me to even more artists like Sting, Chick Corea, Gino Vannelli, Tina Turner, Deep Purple, Dream Theatre, and that only deepened my interest in the musicians who are said to have gone past their golden age. 

Forming and playing in a band once I reached university was easy – but the novelty of it quickly died off once the songs began revolving around what singers could sing, around the newer pop rock bands like Paramore and Green Day, and generally not being able to play the songs that I really liked. 

That’s not to put down any of these bands or any of the music tastes that my peers have, but having only had my dad and drum teacher with whom I could resonate with musically, it only added to the loneliness and distance I felt in my music journey and I began to understand and see how bands split up due to differences in musical direction and interests. 

Aside from the band I played with and the songs I listened to on my own, majority of my music exposure was with my drum teacher during our weekly lessons. I would ask him for songs that he loved, and he would humour me and grant me one song from his repertoire if I focused well enough that day. Many people listen to music as it plays in the background or while they’re doing something else, but when my teacher introduces me to a song, we sit and do nothing else but listen to it and enjoy the song together. It is a treasured experience to me that I haven’t had with anyone else in my life. 

Tony Ng, pianist, keyboardist, has been a music maker for many years. Thank you Tony for taking some time to participate in this interview by tertiary students, Megan and Eunice.



Guns n Roses, Queen and Gino Vannelli - Favourites of writer MEGAN LYE, who enjoys their music.

It was only when I met Andy and his friend, Tony, for a university final-year project I was working on with Eunice, did I realise that perhaps I had simply been looking to the wrong group of people all this while. As we sat down at the Coffee Bean at Novena and introduced ourselves, I was absolutely delighted to find that we had a common interest in many of these bands that I loved. 

Tony, a veteran in the music scene himself, regaled me with tales of his experiences playing in bars, various events, with various other accomplished musicians for a good hour of the time we were at the café. I couldn’t help but feel that I had made another friend in Tony and Andy. It’s not that there weren’t people who liked the same music as I did – I had just been looking in the wrong places. 

It’s only natural for the music scene to evolve as time passes, and I’m not begrudging anyone for their tastes, but I suppose it was silly of me not to look for the very people who would have experienced that golden era of music when it was at its prime. There’s something magical about witnessing how common interests can eliminate the age gaps between people. There’s got to be about 50 years difference between Andy and Tony, and Eunice and I, but we were able to sit together for over two hours just talking about music non-stop. I suppose that this is a lesson that age is just a number – put two people with common interests together, and that’s already one thread of human connection that transcends any age gap. 

When we part ways, Tony tells me that he’s happy to support me and my band in getting venues to play and perform at – and I’m deeply grateful just for the kind offer. He is a veteran, and he’s made a name for himself over the years. He hasn’t seen me play, I haven’t shown or proven my worth in any way beyond what I said in the past two and a half hours, but he’s offered his support nonetheless. 

If there’s something that music has given me, it would be the ability to connect to another person despite all our differences. We could be two people from the opposite ends of the world. We could be two people with 50 years between us. We could be two people with absolutely nothing in common but a love for music, and we’d still be able to come together for a brief moment and connect. 

Even though I originally sought out Andy with Eunice for our project, we ended up talking about things way beyond our project scope. There’s also another lesson I learnt – not to judge and assume things about people based on their outer appearances, or I might be closing all the windows of connection that are opening up for me.

Thank you, Andy and Tony, for spending those two hours with us. 

Written by MEGAN LYE.

TOTO with 'AFRICA' - one of Megan's choice groups in her selection of music from her dad. Thanks to TOTO for official video from YouTube.

[When Megan and Eunice requested that I ask along a senior music maker to join us for our second interview, I spoke to Tony Ng, an experienced, cheerful and positive-thinking friend to come along; he kindly agreed. The two tertiary students, from the journalism and business studies faculties, got to like him immediately and for two hours we connected well as the chat benefitted all four. Tony exclaimed, ''Intelligent and far-sighted; they are so young too.''

Thanks to Megan and Eunice for the interview. We learnt much from both of you.]

Images - Megan Lye, Eunice Chua, Google.

14 comments:

JIMMY YAP (SINGING AMBASSADOR) said...

ANDY ! When I read the first word TOTO followed by Guns n Roses the Sting , I cant help but to suspect u this article has to do with some Mafia connections.

Im so happy these young ladies hit the Jackpot ! No better persons than Tony Ng n you as Condidates for their story - I really enjoyed reading the article. Wished I could write n present it so well. Congrats !

May I suggest you post a video of Tony on Keys n Megan on drums asap

MS E. SUNG said...

Thanks for sharing! 😊 music does connect people!! 👍🏻

PERRY KOH (SINGER/MC) said...

I’m no rock fan but the one rock group that I enjoyed listening to was Toto. Their music arrangements, instrumentation and vocal harmony were tastefully and brilliantly done.

WAYNE CHOW (SINGER - ENGLISH/CHINESE) said...

It’s important to know the history of our musical heritage, but it is as - if not more, important - to chart our Singapore unique character to build our own musical identity. This falls flatly on the shoulders of our next few generations, but taking a leave from the old will certainly help them navigate the path to a diverse yet uniquely Singapore identity.

VICTOR LAM (THE MYSTERIANS - (VOCAL GROUP/RECORDING ARTISTES/DRUMMER) said...

Interesting! But did the girls write about 60s music?

HAPPY TAY (VANCOUVER’s ELVIS PRESLEY) said...

TQ Andy, awesome.
Have a great weekend my good friend👌🏻👍🏻🤗😷

WILLIAM LEONG (TORONTO/CANADA) said...

SUPER!

RUMINI (GIRL GROUP - TEEPEES/DRUMMER) said...

Thanks Andy.👍
Have a great weekend.
Take care and stay safe. 😘

MICHAEL LEE from SYDNEY AUSTRALIA said...

*The most important thing about music is that you must enjoy it,* as mentioned by Megan. Music is like anything you do in life, you must have a passion for it to succeed. Music is a very wide and in-depth topic. Not many people really understand what is music. What is important in music is the quality regardless of gender.

After some 65 years experience in music from North Pole to South and from East to West, traditional, classical to Metallica, I love them all if they are of excellent quality.
Cheerio this is my humble opinion.

Cedric Collars said...

I couldn't help but offer my comments to Megan. Music is something you feel and it leaves you feeling elated even after it's ended. The connection you had with Tony and Andy is the special musical link that join fellow artistes together. Just like a jam-session each grabs an instrument and music is made just as if they had rehearsed for it. This is what music and entertaining is all about and just for good measure it helps if you can play and or sing. Andy's blog has the right people to guide you by the comments and experience. I have been lucky that my father was in the musical field and I learnt and had the chance of meeting many of the music makers of our generation.

Jimmy Appudurai said...

Congrats to eunice and Megan. Its up to them to go out and catch as many local bands as possible in Singapore. Life of course. The music scene have changed worldwide.. The social media with its massive following in K pop and is almost addictive.... During my days with the Straydogs..we followed groups like john mayall, the yardbirds, deep purple. Peter green fleetwood mac, cream with jack Bruce, etic clapton and ginger Baker , spencer davies featuring Steve windwood. Who went on to form traffic and in between wad intrigued by pink Floyd from syed barret to David GILMOUR. and dark side of the moon. Still stands as one if my most favourite albums.. Yes Megan ans Eunice.. There is so much to listen to.. You will find your alma mata and shangri la. Like the amazing session mucicians toto.. Get together and form a super band and queen, until an indian singer joined the band, tue band was ordinary.. It always take a genuis to bring the band to another level. Unless you are the Beatles. John, paul and George. Three geniuses in one band. Good luck on your journalism journey but sonetimes do not be afraid to tjink out if the box. Much love. Jimmy

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I can only say that I'm grateful to readers and especially music friends like the above experienced folks who helped develop this blog into a useful vehicle to understand Singapore pop music and its influence from other sources in the world.

THANKS ALSO TO MEGAN AND EUNICE for opening another avenue to discuss pops.
'The road is long, with many a winding turn...'

CHEERS.

Eccw said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! We aren't writing about 60s music per se (Andy is the expert on that, he's unbeatable :D) but we're writing about older people with really unique expertise - which is why we interviewed Andy and Tony themselves. We wanted to write to readers from our age group that older folks are just like us - when we share the same mindset, we can chat for hours like old friends. It can be even more fulfilling than talking to someone of your own age. I've spoken to Jimmy too and he's one of my favourite people I've spoken to, he was so kind to mail me some signed Eric Clapton photo prints. Music lovers are truly a special kind. At the 2017 Guns N Roses concert in Singapore I never felt so connected to a crowd in my whole life. Rock on everyone, and let's hope that with time, young and old can get along. To quote Tony - "we must have been friends in a past life!"

J.D. [CANADA] said...

Hi Andy,
Received a message from Michal-J. in Alberta, thanking you for your good wishes and sending you their best wishes in return for a Happy New Year.