And So It Is ...
It's official! Fuzon is over. Well, the original line-up anyway. In a recent press statement sent to Instep (along with the entire media brigade) by guitarist Shallum Xavier, it was revealed that Fuzon is coming back with a new album and a new vocalist, Rameez Mukhtar. Yes, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan has been replaced. Furthermore, there was no mention of Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan in the press release (one of the founding members of the band), no reason given for his departure and even now, one still doesn't know (after 5 years of release of "Saagar") when the next new Fuzon album will be out.
Shallum and Imran aka Emu were unavailable for comment but Instep tracked down Shafqat Amanat Ali and here's what he had to say:
"I was unaware of this email but if they (Shallum and Emu) are coming back with a new line-up, they cannot use the 'Fuzon' name. Even though, there was no legal contract between us, it was always understood that if we ever called it off as a band, we would not cash in on the name as individuals. I will take away my compositions and they can form new melodies." When asked how he felt about this press statement that did not even acknowledge him, Shafqat said, "Shallum can sometimes be childish. He gets up and suddenly decides, 'Today, I want to do this' but it doesn't work that way in the real world. Fuzon was a unit. That's how I saw it but it seems that's not the case anymore. All I can say is they cannot use the name. Otherwise, it'll be messy and I need sometime to sort these things out."
Bands break up all over the world. But how many have been able to make a comeback once the vocalist is out? After Jim Morrison's demise, The Doors did release an album but it failed even though the music was still the sound of The Doors.
If one looks at local bands, the biggest example is Atif. After he left Jal, the band was never the same. This does not mean that they aren't good but when it comes to commercial standing and popularity, Jal are simply not a patch on Atif's success. The reason is crystal clear: a vocalist is not someone who just sings, he is also the face of the band.
Another great example is Junoon. After Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmed went separate ways, Ali Azmat has managed to make a strong position for himself in the music circuit. On the other hand, even as Salman is performing all across US of A as well as other places, he has no real standing in our music market.
The way Fuzon has come to a stop is not a pretty picture. A while back when Emu was interviewed by Instep, he openly confessed that Fuzon's idea was founded by him and Shafqat first. In the press statement, its Shallum and Emu. The fact that Shafqat has not even been acknowledged only goes to show how wrongly the other members have handled this breakdown.
The big question: Will the new Fuzon still work? Probably. In Pakistan, even as the scene has grown tremendously in the past few years, it is still relatively small. With more and more channels coming out, there isn't enough good music out there. And one will give credit to Shallum and Emu, both of whom are tremendously talented musicians. But will Fuzon work to the same degree as it did when Shafqat was a part of it? It's highly unlikely and that's because Shafqat Amanat Ali appealed to the masses of this country. He comes from a prominent gharana and brings with him generations of music knowledge that really very few vocalists possess.
One can say Rameez Mukhtar, who is the new frontman of Fuzon also has classical ethos. No one doubts his ability. But can he match Shafqat? That is the real question. And if he is as good as Shafqat then chances are that he too will be lured by Bollywood biggies like Shafqat was.
Fuzon reached unprecedented level of success with one album. But it wasn't just the album that made them one of the biggest musical sensations of the decade, it was the tight live sets they put up on stage, it was the soft sweet melodies that Shafqat brought with him, and the mighty Shallum who shook it up with his guitars and Emu, who added subtle notes with his keyboards. It takes time for a band to accomplish that.
As talented as the new vocalist maybe and as well known as Emu and Shallum maybe, can they repeat the same success as Fuzon, once again? And finally, will people accept Rameez in place of Shafqat and not draw comparisons? These are the questions that remain to be answered.
Right now, we don't know where any of the band members go from here but what we can definitely say is that it is truly a very sad day for music.
The Shocking Press Release
The biggest musical sensation is ready to hit the scenes for 2007!
The biggest musical sensation to revolutionize Pakistan's music scene in the past five years; Fuzon has broken boundaries & records at home & abroad. Their first album 'Saagar' has been winning awards at every level & has been a blockbuster appealing to audiences of every age. The brainchild of lead guitarist Shallum Xavier & producer Imran Momina aka Emu, the band based its roots on experimentation & collaboration between different sound scapes & musical disciplines, hence the name 'Fuzon'.
The year 2007 is going to be big for the band. Fuzon will hit the studio again to finalize their much-awaited second album. The new lineup will include vocalist Rameez Mukhtar, a seasoned artist surrounded by much hype at home. The Band has always been in pursuit of fresh & innovative experimentation in their sound & Rameez's involvement has brought a reinvention of the Fuzon sound that will be exciting & new to their fans all over the world.
Meet the members
Imran, Shallum & Rameez
Emu is a multi-dimensional pianist, who has been playing since the age of 13. His flair for arranging his own music & experimenting with melodies made him set up his own recording & mixing studio - and this is where the jam sessions take place. Technically proficient, self-tutored Fuzoneer, Emu has a universe of possibilities at his disposal.
Imran aka 'Emu' is a charismatic keyboard exponent & is a fine studio tactician whose feeling-based work has been making sweeping statements for over a decade. Emu has an uncanny knack for orchestrating memorable music, which is dominant in Fuzon's gilt-edged tracks.
Shallum, the guitar guru harbors the kind of passion that sets him apart from guitar god's pack. His work encompasses tones in the direction of blues, rock, jazz, classical & everything in between. All his influences are focused towards creation of exhilarating, infectious but most of all moving slipstream music. Shallum is undoubtedly a studio artist of first water. His art on the debut album dazzles in sonic inventiveness. Shallum has been producing new talent & upcoming bands/artists in his studio. He has also been collaborating with a Norwegian band Fryd & has been performing at several music festivals all over the globe.
Rameez, the new face, has been working with Emu & Shallum for the past 10 years & is well known in Pakistan for providing vocals to background tracks covering TV & Radio. Furthermore, he has been working with a famous music channel & is currently Head of Marketing & Sales for that channel. The range of his vocals cover a vast spectrum & he is fully trained in eastern classical singing that will be clearly visible in the new Fuzon album. Shallum & Emu have always been in pursuit of fresh & innovative experimentation in their sound & involvement of the new addition has brought a reinvention of the Fuzon sound that will be exciting & new to their fans all over the world.Maheen Sabeeh