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Tell us some tales from your days at the Slip-Disc and Blow Up. Led Zeppelin visited Slip-Disc. Did you jam with them?

MD: Slip-Disc was a very small venue, about thirty feet deep by eighteen feet wide. No tables, nothing. The ceiling height might have been about fourteen feet maybe. I used to climb on the speakers, touch the ceiling and jump off the top of them. The atmosphere was always very dark with psychedelic lava lamps, strobes and UV lights. The ideal place for teenagers to come in and neck as much as they wanted without being recognized.

I was at Slip-Disc one evening, just hanging out. I was not on contract to perform there. It was nothing out of the ordinary until three gentlemen walked in. Some of their faces seemed unbelievably familiar. It was Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and another guy who I later learnt was Richard Cole.

Amanda Barokh speaks to Madhukar Dhas of jamming with Led Zeppelin

Ramzan [owner of Slip-Disc] was one of the shrewdest businessmen I knew. But he had no clue who Led Zep were. I can recall him snapping his fingers at Jimmy and calling him Plant. "Come on Plant, Plant, Plant, have another drink.” The beer was pretty bad. It was called "Bombay Beer", when you opened a bottle it had no head. It looked more like soap bubbles. Nevertheless Plant and Page had quite a few and got tipsy.

I was commanded by Ramzan to go and talk to them. My feet were colder than ice but I did it. I looked like a total geek. I was introduced to Plant as India's No. 1 rock singer. Plant asked me. "What kind of music do you do?" And I went,"Hummana... hummanaa... hummanaaa... we try to copy you." Clearly Plant was not impressed. His next question to me was, "Where are the chicks man?" I promised that a few would show.

Ramzan's next command to me was, "Sing."

Amanda Barokh speaks to Madhukar Dhas of jamming with Led Zeppelin

Not being under contract, and also with such cold feet, I refused. He dug his fingers into my left ribs, commanding me, "Go sing, you bastard!" And I did. I sang ‘Honky Tonk Women'. Robert Plant was sittings about ten feet away from me. When I was done, he gave me a thumbs-up. That image is forever etched in my mind and perhaps why I will never stop singing.

Amanda Barokh speaks to Madhukar Dhas of jamming with Led Zeppelin

I have a faint feeling I enthused Plant and Page to get up and jam with the band after my cover rendition. Plant went into a wild ad-lib and after a ten-minute ramble, went into ‘Whole Lotta Love'. Jamal who was drumming and Xerxes were very familiar with the song and did a great job backing them. Keith Kanga's rented equipment was very inadequate for the power of the Zep. Richard Cole fed one amp into another and managed to get a pretty good sound. I used a guitar amp to sing through, a Fender Super-Reverb and my mic was Indian made and had to be screwed on to the stand. Not the kind where one could whisk the hand-held off the stand. Towards the end of that song, Plant tried to do so and realized it was screwed on and began to spin it off the stand, wrapping the mike cord around the stand. The soldering broke loose and just as he was doing his famous "Loooooooooooooooooove" it started cutting off. I wish I could vocally express how it went, but in type, more like "Looo" I went to his rescue and held the mic wire to the mike to keep it from cutting out. I was shoulder to shoulder with Plant and wished someone had taken a photograph. I even tried to get the attention of the photographer, but he was looking the other way.

The evening ended weirdly. I think Plant and Page had quite a bit of booze. This also ended my 'hero-worshipping' them. They went upstairs to a whore-joint where then you could get a dozen women for a few bucks. I waited outside for a few hours. Richard was talking to me. I was asking him if they would ever consider playing in India. His answer to me was, "Fuck man, the Government of India cannot afford us." I felt let down and went home because I also had to be at work at my advertising job in four hours.

The next night Rumzan capitalized on the incident. Slip-Disc was packed to capacity and beyond. Plant and Page had promised to show and eventually did but I think they were hugely disappointed. The first night was so tranquil and innocent. The second night was a fiasco. Girls were trying to sit next to them. I remember Plant shoving a few off his row. Plant threw a glass of beer into a photographer's camera and both of them left in a huff.

From: The Quietus


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