Autumn is known as a vibrant season in Bangladesh, but the autumn of 2018 was not so colorful. It was welcoming, but only to a sudden and catastrophic death that stopped a dedicated maestro of Bangladeshi rock music- who worked to elevate the band culture in the country. The prolific singer also had the ability to lend his voice into songs with different flavors- from the melodious, soft rock ‘Shei Tumi’ to the high octave, devotional ‘Ammajan Ammajan’ and he had the ability to mesmerize everyone. On October 18, 2018, the rock maestro Ayub Bachchu- the legendary singer, guitarist, composer, songwriter, musician and the founding frontman of popular band LRB- lost the battle of life and suddenly left the earth due to a tragic heart attack- and shocked everyone.
Born on August 16, 1962, in Patiya, Chittagong to Ishaque Chowdhury and Nurjahan Begum, Bachchu graduated from Government Muslim High School in 1975. During his teenage, Bachchu understood and decided that he wants to be a musician. Though at first his family was adamant not to permit him to pursue his passion- they had to surrender to his dream because of his talents. Unlike his most popular contemporary rockstar James, another rock legend of the country- Bachchu’s family did not abandon him, instead agreed to support him to grow as a musician. That support eventually led him to become a great family man and father, later in his life after he married the love of his life Ferdous Ayub Chandana on January 31, 1991 and became the father of daughter Fairuz Saffra Ayub and son Ahnaf Tazwar Ayub- whom many of the LRB and Ayub Bachchu fans are hoping to see as the future frontman of the team.
Ayub Bachchu started his music career with the band ‘Feelings’ in 1977, where he played as the lead guitarist along with James for the next two years. James often reminisced about the incident that he just randomly discovered Bachchu at a tea stall in Chittagong, playing guitar profoundly- which he learned at a very young age and continued till his death. James offered him to play along with him, an invitation that Bachchu later turned as a lifelong friendship and collaborated in future projects as well. Feeling that chilling sensation to imagine James and Ayub Bachchu playing side-by-side as band teammates?
If so, then also do the honor to Kumar Bishwajit as well- his lifelong friend and vocal of their school-days band ‘Golden Boys’ (later changed to ’Ugly Boys’). And also to ‘Renaissance’s Naqib Khan and singer Tapan Chowdhury, who rediscovered him through a club event in Chittagong at a time when they were the leading members of country’s legendary band ‘Souls’. So many unbelievable collaborations, right? Yes, that was truly a historic and glorious timeline in Band culture of Bangladesh.
He continued for the super melodious ‘Souls’ as their lead guitarist from 1980 to 1990 and a year later, he finally formed his own, full-fledged rock-themed band ‘LRB’ (Love Runs Blind). The reason behind the departure was pretty simple- he listened to his inner voice screaming for more rock-based contents. LRB started pretty strong by a surprise release of their first venture as a double album ‘LRB-I’ and ‘LRB-II’. Songs like “Ghum vanga shohore”, “Shesh Chithi”, ‘Madhobi” shook up the youth, and soon LRB started to become popular for their tunes and presentations with balanced lyrics- more specifically, guitar based lyrics. Although started as a hard rock band, LRB soon became known for their experiment with genres such as blues rock, soft rock, and psychedelic rock; and cemented their legacy as one of the pioneering heavy metal bands in Bangladesh. LRB released 14 critically acclaimed albums and "Ferari Mon: Unplugged Live", which was the first live album in Bangladesh; performed over 1,000 concerts that have included extensive performances in Bangladesh as well as tours in Asia, Europe, Australia and the United States and became the only Bangladeshi band to perform at the prestigious Madison Square Garden in New York. Altogether, LRB changed the landscape in Bangladeshi band culture.
Here comes the question- was Ayub Bachchu only a rockstar and exclusively dedicated to the heavy metals and occasional blues? He actually answered the doubters from the very beginning- started with his extremely successful solo ventures ‘Rokto Golap’ (1986), ‘Moyna’ (1988) and a king’s comeback after seven years with his extremely popular album ‘Koshto’ (1995). That album came after seven long years as Bachchu was busy with LRB, which denotes his passion to the band- but he never really forgot his potentials.
A total of 16 solo albums, a full-fledged studio-turned production house named ‘AB Kitchen’, numerous super hit playbacks such as ‘‘Ammajaan’’, ‘’Sagorika”, “Ononto Prem”, “Ami to preme porini” and many other scores in Bangladeshi commercial movies, Blockbuster hit singles and band scores such as “Koshto pete valobashi”, ‘‘Shei Tumi Keno Eto Ochena Hole’’, ‘’Ferari Ei Monta Amar’’, ‘’Ekdin Ghum bhanga Shohore’’, ‘‘Cholo Bodle Jai’’, ‘’Ekhon Onek Raat’’, ‘‘Hashte Dekho Gaite Dekho’’ and a lot more, supporting young upcoming stars through television reality programmes such as Djuice presented ‘D-Rockstar’, inspiring guitar enthusiasts and popular artists in both Bangladesh and West Bengal and last but not the least, nurturing-adoring his 65 guitars. Ayub Bachchu truly proved himself as the jack and master of all trades. His last status on Facebook was on October 14, right after his last show held in Rangpur.
A lot of musicians have paved their respectful tributes to the legend after his departure, and credited him as the inspiring figure behind the guitar. His every finger-stroke on the strings of his beloveds, whether it was his stage-companion Marshall JCM2000 amp or Ibanez’s Carvan or his favorite artist’s signatured, Steve Vai JEM Junior White guitar- always felt surreal because of his dedication and love. He dedicated his whole life admiring beauty of the six-stringed fret board- and that actually defined him within his heavy metal soul and poetic mind. To honor him, the Chattogram City Corporation established a sculpture of an 18-feet tall guitar at the Probortok intersection, which resembles his true identity and did some proper poetic justice on the lyrics of his acclaimed song “Rupali Guitar’’. Although there been other promises to keep up his legacy. Those promises now reside in parts unknown and fans do not know who to blame.
Since acquiring independence in 1971, Bangladesh welcomed almost every genre of arts and culture and became a progressive nation with cultural diversity. Still, the walkway of band and rock music was not truly spike-free smooth by any means. Prominent personalities have often described how hard it was back then to nurture and perform band music in Bangladesh- and one of the pathfinders was the legendary Ayub Bachchu, the founder of the country's legendary rock band Love Runs Blind, popularly known as LRB. The country would never been able to taste the flavor that the great AB channeled through his iconic voice, tunes, lyrics, and obviously- through his guitars. The colors might not be silver or gray unlike he mentioned in his song, but his guitars draw the beautiful silver lining for sure in the cloudy music industry of Bangladesh.