History hasn‟t been kind to his tribe.

But then, bass guitarists go unsung because they like to keep it low key. No flashy, flamboyant solos, no eccentric body language or loud costume because their performance isn‟t about lung-power or screaming showmanship, their role is to just be there rock-solid as the backbone of the band. Forty-five-year-old Keith Peters, arguably, is the best bass guitarist in the country. Many may argue that the more senior Peters, his Mumbai-based brother Karl, is better. But the competition stays in the family. Chennai-based Keith is a veteran of over five thousand live gigs, has played for over thousand songs and has worked with most music directors in the country, continuing to be A.R. Rahman‟s ever-dependable bass guitarist. Apparently, Rahman has never used another bass guitarist since the first time they collaborated for the Madras Ad Club Awards jingle way back in 1990. Far off from the city‟s din, the content Keith Peters lives in a quiet Perambur neighbourhood, using his free time to practice and teach his students. “I am still learning bass. There‟s so much to learn in music,” he says, when I meet him for an interview. Keith took to the guitar, quite early, hailing from a family of musicians. “Dad used to work in the Railways but he could play the guitar and violin. He used to play to amuse himself.” His brothers Karl and Max used to play the guitar in the evenings. “After finishing my higher secondary, I did my diploma in air-conditioning. And then, one day, watching Karl play, I started liking bass.” Working with Rahman After a brief stint in Delhi, he came back to Chennai in 1985 to play at Hotel Park Sheraton with Vijji and Anuradha Cheyyur‟s band. He went on play at the hotel for almost a decade, six days a week. It was around the late 1980s that he first met A.R. Rahman. “Rahman was playing with Ilaiyarajaa, setting up his studio, doing jingles and he had his band „Nemesis Avenue‟ while I was busy with the hotel. He used to come to the hotel and we started working together.” He remembers how he went home excitedly after playing for „Chinna Chinna Aasai.‟ “I couldn‟t sleep. I told my wife that this song would be the talk of the town. Two weeks later, when I played for „Kaadhal Rojave,‟ I knew he would make it big.” Rock was making a comeback once again in the early 1990s. “Around 1990, I met David Pascal and played for Juraavi, then with Jim Sathya for Burn and after the band broke up, Sudeen Prabhakar and I formed a band called Just Friends which is today called Roxygen and Rahman got increasingly busy.” He credits Rahman for his entry into the film industry. After having done jingles with Rahman for Berger Paints, Jayabharatham Furniture and subsequently for movies, “Roja” and “Puthiya Mugam”, Rahman told him it was time to quit his job and take the plunge. Hoping that between A.R. Rahman and his friend Sandeep Chowta who was starting out in Bollywood, he would have enough work, he quit after the New Year‟s Eve bash in 1994. “I quit my job because I thought I was stagnating. I was married and wondering if I would get a steady income to make ends meet? Everything went off well. My wife is so supportive.” Keith has been doing one hell of a balancing act. He played for films, he played for rock, he got into fusion and discovered his love for jazz. “My influences are Chick Corea, Weather Report and Jaco Pastorius who is also Karl‟s role model. I like R&B, Jazz and Funk.” “Film music had very little bass before Rahman came around and gave bass its prominence. He was the first to start crediting musicians in films and put their names on the album.” He catches up with his brothers at concerts around the world more than home. “Karl and I met at the Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta two weeks ago. He plays with Ranjit Barot. Max performs at the five-star circuit in Delhi.” With Karl‟s son being a drummer, he believes that a Peters project is in pipeline. Playing live is more satisfying, he says, but he also likes the challenge of studio recordings and deadlines. “Recently, when Rahman did a song for „Taj Mahal – Ek Mohabbat Hai‟, he called me and said I had five minutes because he had a plane to catch. I played it in one take and he said: Very good.”

A.” he laughs. It‟s plastic and it‟s affecting musicians.Pre-recorded samples and synthesiser sounds are putting a lot of musicians out of work. extremely friendly and a great musician. He can just hear a piece and tell you the complicated chords like it was a nursery rhyme… He‟s everyone‟s friend. RAHMAN Keith‟s humility disguises the musical battle tank that he is. Unassuming. I will live and die playing my bass. there won‟t be any good bass guitarist around. SWAROOP OOMEN. “There are advantages and disadvantages of using computer-generated sounds but at the end of the day. WHAT THEY SAY He is one of the few gems left. it‟s not the real thing. the main support of the song. Unwind Center . He can hear a car horn and tell you what note it is. Uncle Keith. R. If I get into programming or composing. Rock On.” Has he ever thought of getting into composing or switching fields to survive? “Bass is base.

2. I asked him what was this for. he had called me for doing jingles. 3. That was for Chinna Chinna Aasai ( Roja ) . Rahman was the cause behind me leaving the Hotel. Each person on the band improvises on a particular theme. I like little bit of Jazz. Even rahman loves that. Play for me". 6. He has always been a very quiet boy. 4. that Rahman used to tell him " You should wait more than you play ". and not to worry. Netru Illadha Matram ( Pudhiya Mugam ) . jazz. Its because you have to duplicate the same thing thats on the record. rock and of course for Rahman for Tamil Songs. he told me " leave the hotel. When did you meet ARR ?. when he was doing jingles. I met Rahman in 1988. like pop. I was working in a Five Star Hotel. He is a very great and good composer. I thank him a lot for getting me out of that hotel. It seems Keith's speed of playing is so much. for which he replied " I am doing a movie. 1. My experience has been a different experience playing for his concerts. we have to practise nicely and deliver 5. and hopefully it comes out well". Then came July Madham ( Pudhiya Mugam ) .Keith peters . What is your experience in doing Live Programs ?? They are totally different from recordings. has been a famous base guitarist and has been assosciated with ARR right from Roja till Sivaji. You have to be really alert especially for Rahman songs. Pudhu Vellai Mazhai. One night he called me and asked me to come and play for a song in 1991. and used to play base guitar every night. and hence each song is a unique experience. themes with Rahman. My kinf od Jazz is little modern. My base guitar was prominent in Kaadhal Rojave ( Roja ) and even Kadhal Sadugudu ( Alaipyudhey ) . What was your experience of working with Rahman during Roja ? Each song of Rahman is a different experience. when I was working for Music Director Raj Koti. Which are the programs that you have enjoyed a lot ? I play all different styles of music. Esp Chinna chinna Aasai. all songs I used to play in the night. At that time. We used to have lot of discussions about music. I have played a lot of ad jingles. which song of Rahman did you love playing ? All his songs are so beautiful. I told him that it would definitely be a hit. he was around 18 years old. What are the songs that you have played for Rahman ? First of all. In 1990.

Kannada. and I admire him for that. Just take and play. what are the different styles of Base Guitar ? The style that we play with fingers is called peeking style. I love working with Rahman. he is in Mumbai . and these two songs took the entire night for us. My father used to play any instrument. . Then is the slab style with the thumb and the forefinger. 13. But I can play for 10 songs in the same day. Carl plays for films. I used to play for 3 songs the same day. we do not think abt sleeep . 9. we are all Anglo Indians . So pleasing and he is open to ideas. How much are you religious ? I fear GOD. when Tamil.7. Daugther was learning some piano. and hence can't speak Tamil fluently. Then comes the walking base( swing pattern ) Swing Pattern :. I keep telling this to everybody. we played it . I am excited to do my best and make Rahman happy. How many Children ? MY wife is a housewife. I have two children. he was not full into music. But Rahman didn't like it . Before. he is also a guitarist. The song " Oh Maria Oh Maria " from Kadhalar Dhinam. when we are working with Rahman. Basically. My brothers are all musicians. and Telugu recording were done at the same place. 10. Good friend and for his level headedness. So we were trying different patterns. The other brother plays in Hotels. My son is learning rhthym guitar. Look at RAHMAN. What kind of relationship do you share with Rahman ? I respect him a lot as a good musician. Then we did Roja Roja from the same film. I thank God for all the blessings that he has showered on me. but stopped now . Have you ever thought why I am wasting my time and energy the entire night and my skills are getting minimised here ?? No.Kadhal Sadugudu ( Alaipayudhey ) 8. Is there any song which was recorded the entire night with Rahman ? Yes. I came home the next evening. 11. Its really wonderful to work with. I come from a family of musicians. My daugther is studying in her Final year in Stell Marrys ( Chennai ) and my son is in his eighth standard. But all the support for me comes from my wife. His name is Carl Peters. Is there any song that you have not played for rahman ? ( Laughs) That we have to ask him. He is so big but nothing has happened to his head.Kannum Kannum ( Thiruda Thiruda ) ( Fast running base ) Slab Base . One is a Base guitarist. 12. and the other one is in Delhi.

Take care ".14. I get the full feel of the song when I play. It synchronises well with his thought.Alaipayudhey . Its only because of Rahman. in 1990s. Has Rahman asked you for any new sounds anytimes ? Sometimes. Which are the songs which you feel has come out wonderfully with Rahman ? July Madham. that I have seen the whole world. Sridhar ( Rahman's Engineer ). country and the place. he has got his own reason. 18. Rahman revolutioned the Music sound. People have casted eyes on you. 19. Snegidhane . He lets me play and do whatver I want. there was a boy who was running all along the stadium telling that he was a fan of Keith. Thanks goes to Rahman. he always calls me last before he is going to mix the sound to the song. But he says No. Which praise can never be forgotten in your life ? Rahman has praised me by saying " God Bless your hands ". Why everybody calles you as UNCLE ? ( Fun part ) Because they are mad. My children are my best fans. First . Which place do you like in the world ? I like America a lot. How is the industry progressing ? I feel everybody is following Rahman's style. I buy Base Guitars in New York in Guitar Centre. Because he knows what he wants. and he gave a lot of importance to base guitar. Once in chicago. He used to play for Rahman at times. Once I hurt my thumb while recording. You have seen so many music directors come . and he knows best . Dubai. They keep praising me and telling me and my wife . he always says " Take it dry". the patterns. 15. Rahman goes a step ahead. Aiyoo Pathickicchi. When I showed my thumb to Rahman. he said " There are lot of evil eyes on you. I take a process. He is the man who comes with new sounds always. I like the US because of the music. New York Elley. It was he who brought this forward. He knows what he is doing. 17. Then it was continued by H. right from 1984 . I have travelled a lot with Rahman.Kadhal Sadugudu ( the initial guitar bit comes in front of the song ) Dil Se re song ( the pattern follows before ) . But even if anybody comes. generally. That time Rahman's incharge Samydurai had called me for recording. we went to Malayasia. and the entire team started calling me as Uncle 16. HE IS THE BOSS. I said I cant come. as introductions for songs. he likes whatver I play. Chaiyya Chaiyya. and then he processes it. There was this guitarist player called Johnny who started all this. For eg :.

Chaiyya Chaiyya ( there is a pattern ) Akkadu ( Indian ) He plays and shows all the patterns ) Kadhal Rojave ( roja ) chinna Chinna aasai ( Roja ) Rangeela ( Haire Haire pattern ) .

19) on: Mon Apr 12 05:25:48 EDT 2004 kadhal sadu gudu from AP had cool bass. ARR's bass guitar unmaayave unbelievable thaan.241.247. " koondal nezhivil.. Throughout the song....keith peters pottu poondhu velayadirupaaru songs like putham pudhu boomi vendum had gr8 bass lines. guys.charivu".247. IR is the lord of bass.  From: Guitar_lover (@ 61. without being biased please do visit the IR and the bass guitar thread also..241..notice the bass movement. the bass guitar is simply brilliant.. in the 2nd interlude...11.someone told me all that was programmed!!  From: Prasanna (@ 61...95.Responses:  From: Prasanna (@ 61. But esp..68) on: Mon Apr 12 04:46:59 EDT 2004 thats simple..128. athula sound # 63 is bass guitar.159.  From: shyam (@ 61.. hmmmmm.especially charanam. atha pottu vittu keyboard vassichaa pothum.101) on: Mon Apr 12 03:08:04 EDT 2004 I remember the song 'Snegithane' from Alaipayuthey. . casio keyboard la diff sounds irukku. Its UNBELIEVEBLE!  From: Maverick (@ 192.. when Shrinivas sings..80...101) on: Mon Apr 12 15:00:48 EDT 2004 even the song july matham vanthaal had some amazing bass lines. Rahman is just learning .134..211) on: Tue Apr 13 04:59:30 EDT 2004 ARR and the bass guitar .. Is this a 'rival thread' to the IR and the bass guitar thread??? Whatever it may be.

 From: dubya (@ 203.101.234) on: Tue Apr 13 10:52:16 EDT 2004 recently.--) (@ any reference/comparison to IR's work. Nee ennadana ippadi kaettutiye :-( . i liked the bass in jana gana mana of AE. sirikarathukku vasadhiya irukkum.49) on: Tue Apr 13 12:45:11 EDT 2004 Avaru paavam serious spelling theriyaama post pannikrukkar. Hats off ARR (this is coming from a HCIRFan)  From: Kaalam . From: Prasanna (@ 61. :)  From: C~P (@ 61.209) on: Tue Apr 13 07:01:23 EDT 2004 i completely agree that IR's usage of bass guitar is mind-boggling.. on: Tue Apr 13 11:16:14 EDT 2004 Are you referring to ARR' Guitar in his Bassment?  From: curses (@ 203. We are discussing ARR's bass guitar here.50) on: Tue Apr 13 12:41:04 EDT 2004 was that supposed to be a joke? munaadiye soleedunga.

..247...i cant believe how he came up with that..240. where the bass lines are carnatic in nature and still goes on well with the lead instrument/voice.keith peters is god! chk the line "i dont want to love"  From: Prasanna (@ 61..  From: shyam (@ 61..is dere any song..233....  From: gg (@ 219.??  From: MADDY (@ 203.65.119) on: Wed Apr 14 00:30:36 EDT 2004 ok..95.19) on: Tue Apr 13 23:47:28 EDT 2004 prasanna if ur talking abt "gamakkam" on bass.....209) on: Tue Apr 13 13:04:52 EDT 2004 hi guyz.....plz listen to that snegithane bit i referred to...241. the bass-guitar used in chaiyya chaiyya interlude is also too good..247..200) on: Tue Apr 13 14:44:19 EDT 2004 sa re ga me from boys what an example.juz curious..its juz mind-boggling! .thankyou:) but guyz.they can't digest pro-ARR threads..159.94.126) on: Tue Apr 13 13:55:40 EDT 2004 god save all these IR-fans. then the most recent ARR song that comes to mind is the dating song from boys...look how many have mushroomed to spoil the thread...134.. From: prasanna (@ 61...

Even if so he would have done it for only a few songs..IR always give notes for Bass playing and never expects the artists to play their own riffs.17.. Ilamanathu..17.awesome bass! BTW. all you IR and ARR fans.154.2) on: Wed Apr 14 17:46:30 EDT 2004 Kaadhal Sadugudu.14) on: Sun Apr 18 22:41:01 EDT 2004 For ARR Keith Peters who was the bassist for Usha Utup plays the bass. Shankar Mahadevan or HJ) having some decent bass guitar work? Did they give importance to bass at all? My take is that we have to go back to RD Burman's time to find some good bass work in Hindi film music! God save bollywood if MDs like ARR were to leave it!  From: Venki (@ 165. Keith himself a versatile player.1. The The Thithikkum (Thiruda Thiruda)... Notable bass riffs have been composed by IR. .160) on: Tue Apr 20 00:39:25 EDT 2004 I don’t think ARR uses keyboard bass for his songs..a lot to name...2) on: Wed Apr 14 18:24:19 EDT 2004 Just out of curiosity and strictly NOM to North Indians.ARR lets him do in his own style.. Sasi Plays the bass from IR's Day one in Film.. For IR. Vaan meethile. Dating.. Snegidhane.73. ARR.eg: Kodiyile.com (@ 61.201.  From: music-man (@ 61.21..even for percussion. Jana Gana Mana (check out the bass towards the end of the song) . From: karthik_pf@yahoo.73. are there any songs in Hindi (apart from those composed by IR. let's learn to live with two gods :)  From: karthik_pf (@ 61.

. After IR . 4)Kannalane-BOMBAY..Ennuyire..1.Rahman is the only one to have used the bass guitar more efficiently.. 2)Kadhal-same movie(watch out for the excellent slap bass) .58) on: Tue Apr 20 23:55:51 EDT 2004 Some of the other ARR songs that had a very good bass guitar work are: 1)Oorvasi-KADHALAN(good work in spite of being programmed).201.1.202.All the songs have excellent bassNenjinilae..  From: Vj (@ 203. 2)Kadhal-same movie(watch out for the excellent slap bass) 3)Tauba Tauba-Vande Mataram-very good bass work 4)Thee thithikum-THIRUDA^2 5)Jannal Kaatraaki Vaa-THENALI 6)Sonnalum Ketpahillai-KADHAL VIRUS  From: music-man (@ 61.Christy often and also had used Guy Pratt on a few compositions. is that acoustic guitar or bass guitar?  From: music-man (@ 61.Sandhosha Kannere. Some of his best bass guitar compositions are..MD:HJ) song opening immediately after the initial chorus (after "alli alli pogudhey" and the next "boom" kinda sound).He uses Keith Peters..104) on: Tue Apr 20 12:02:32 EDT 2004 Digression: the one that comes in "Ennai konjam maatri" (Kaakha kaakha... 1)Chinna Chinna aasai-ROJA 2)July Madham-PUTHIYA MUGAM 3)How can you guys miss the songs from UYIRE. 5)Mustafa Mustafa-KADHAL DESAM 6)Eh mituwa-LAGAAN and many more.170.196.122) on: Tue Apr 20 23:58:01 EDT 2004 Some of the other ARR songs that had a very good bass guitar work are: 1)Oorvasi-KADHALAN(good work in spite of being programmed)..

21...62.10) on: Mon Apr 26 02:28:29 EDT 2004 NO BODY WRITES NOTATION FOR BASS EXCEPT IR IN INDIAN FILM MUSIC. VIDYA SAGAR.2.. .I DO APPRECIATE THAT. But it is also possible to play it on the acoustic guitar.3)Tauba Tauba-Vande Mataram-very good bass work 4)Thee thithikum-THIRUDA^2 5)Jannal Kaatraaki Vaa-THENALI 6)Sonnalum Ketpahillai-KADHAL VIRUS  From: Venki (@ 165...  From: Srivatsan (@ 136.214) on: Tue Apr 27 16:04:44 EDT 2004 :-) @ Srivatsan. and there is bass accompanying it. BHARAT WAJ ALL LEAVE THE WORK TO THEIR ARRANGERS AND BASSISTS.148..222) on: Mon Apr 26 23:48:42 EDT 2004 Vj: That instrumental piece in Kaaka Kaaka song 'Ennai Knojam Maatri' is played with an electric guitar..154.182... Ive seen and heard one of my friends playing it on his Givson G150.THAT'S WHY IR'S BASS STANDS GREAT.ARR.  From: Vj (@ 216.BUT STILL IR'S WORKS ON BASS ARE THE BEST.

then the normal bass guitar sound in most parts of the song.One instrument that has fascinated me a lot is the bass guitar.. Rahman brought that change . Bass. You are the reason that I love bass guitar". That's because of just two people A. Keith shows his class throughout the song. This song is one of my all time favourites. Right from the start when he plays the bass by plucking the strings hard(right at the start). And.Rahman. Composers have been using bass guitars for decades. i'm not denying it. for many reasons. ri-sa). there was hardly any importance for bass guitar.. one of my top favourites of AR.Rahman and Keith Peters! I'm so very enamoured with Keith's talent that I exclaimed "Sir. when I met him at the TOI concert in April! In Indian music. and focus on Keith's work. September 02. 2008 at 10:28 PM 11 Comments Post Categories: A. it was more like it was pushed to the background. and here's the first one! The first song that comes to my mind is Thee Thee Thithikkum Thee (Thiruda Thiruda). and takes me to a different world every single time I listen to it. But. Everything in the song . thus Keith's extraordinary skills were exposed to the world.R. The song ends with another brilliant bass piece accompanying the jathi. Song . then the slap bass (during the swaras ma-pa-ni-sa. bass guitar being the most important reason! By Aravind on Tuesday. let us push everything else aside for now. The emhpatic fusion between Keith's bass and Naveen's flute (second interlude) is such a bliss.is out of the world! But. which is very unusal in Indian music.R.he made bass guitar an important part of his compositions.. and elevated him to such a level that he is arguably the most wanted Bass guitarist in the country! I'm planning to write about some of his exemplary work in Rahman's songs.. or Thumba Raja's powerful jathis or the sensuous voice of chinese girl Caroline or the innovative percussion . Bass Guitar is definitely one of the main pillars of this song.be it Naveen's flute.

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