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Top musicians join forces in fund-raiser gig

Rudolf Dethu loves to party as much as he adores a bottle of cold beer. But if there is one thing he loves more than a glamorous party and cold beer combined together, it is organizing a party for a good cause.

"When you do it for a good cause, the energy is simply wonderful and, of course, the beer tasted better, much better," he is known to have once said.

Dethu is no stranger to good causes. A respected figure among the island's growing rock and punk subculture communities, Dethu has frequently used his influence to rally them into action.

In May 2006, for instance, Dethu mobilized the rock and punk communities to join the Balinese people's struggle against the controversial Anti-Pornography Bill.

The result was a vivacious cultural party-cum-public demonstration, during which the island's rock and punk musicians performed alongside traditional dancers and contemporary poets.

This week, he is busy preparing another party, but this time it would not be about a political bill and it would not involve a massive street rally.

"This time, the cause is more personal and intimate," he said. "We want to help a friend in need."

The friend he was referring to is the up-and-coming local band Ed Eddy & Residivis. Founded in early 2005, the band -- comprised of Ed Eddy (vocals), Igo (guitar), Goeguk (bass) and Dienor (drums) -- immediately created a wave on the scene with its unique blend of musical genres.

"Well, there's rock, melodic punk, reggae, ska and even swing jazz tunes in our songs," said Igo. "Our musical elements and inspirations are so diverse that, honestly speaking, we don't even know how we should call ourselves; a rock band or a reggae band?" he grinned.

Yet, it was the pointed lyrics of their songs that won them a growing fans base -- and eventually got them into trouble with local authorities.

"Most of our songs portrays the dark side of our society's daily life, particularly crime, thuggery, drugs, alcohol and juvenile delinquency. But, we wrap and present them in a humorous way, dark humor perhaps but still humorous nonetheless," Igo said.

The trouble started in mid-2006 when Ed Eddy & Residivis performed at a charity concert for the victims of the May 27 Yogyakarta earthquake. As the concert ended, a group of police officers approached the band members and later "escorted" them to the South Denpasar police station.

It turned out that the precinct station's head was deeply offended by a song the band had just performed.

Titled Anjing (Dog), the song portrays a street brawl in which a young man mistakes an undercover cop for a menacing thug. Upon realizing that the man he had battered into pulp was a cop, the young man screams in disbelief: "Dog! I thought (he was) a thug, it turns out (he is) a cop. Dog!"

In Indonesia, "dog" is considered a highly derogatory slur when used to refer to a human being.

The South Denpasar police accused the band of likening, in the context of this song, all police officers to a dog. Consequently, Ed Eddy and Igo spent long, excruciating hours in the station's interrogation room. Eventually, the police brought the case to court.

The ensuing, nine-month legal battle not only exhausted the band, but also shattered its dream of launching a debut album that year.

"Throughout the trial, the island's music communities had supported and comforted us continuously. But it consumed most of our attention that we weren't able to complete the album in time (for a 2006 release)," said Igo.

When the trial ended this March -- Ed Eddy and Igo each received 12 months' probation -- the band was determined to launch its album this year.

Unfortunately, Ed Eddy & Residivis didn't have the sufficient funds to complete the project. Enter Dethu, who was ready to make the album his next good cause.

"We will hold a three-day acoustic concert featuring Bali's top bands and musicians to mobilize support for Ed Eddy & Residivis' debut album," Dethu stated.

Called Big Blitzkrieg Break (BBB), the charity concert is set to take place at Suicide Glam's Beer Garden in the Renon area. Dethu is the founder and chief designer of Suicide Glam, arguably the hottest clothing line among the island's rock and punk fans.

Dethu hopes that the event would serve as a model for future cooperation among Bali's music communities.

"These communities follow different musical styles and pursue diverse aspiration. This kind of event will show that, regardless of those differences, they have mutual respect for each other and are willing to work together," he stressed.

The music communities have met the BBB concept with an unexpected, enthusiastic response. So far, seven bands -- Navicula, Kaimsasikun, Suicidal Sinatra, The Hydrant, Devil Dice, Lolot and Painful by Kisses -- and DJs Electronposts and Mamsa have agreed to perform for free at the concert.

Moreover, Ed Eddy & Residivis are slated to perform every day of the three-day event.

"Basically, it is a free-of-charge concert so there will be no entrance fees or tickets. A percentage from the sales of food, beer, Ed Eddy & Residivis MP3s and other merchandise, as well as discounted Suicide Glam products will go directly to the album," Dethu said.

For Ed Eddy & Residivis, BBB is more than just a musical event.

"It is an inspirational moment. We are blessed to have such a caring friends and fans," said Igo. "BBB is the testimony of our friendship. In this age of loneliness, it is a wondrous feeling to know that you have a lot of good friends."

Hopefully, that moment of inspiration would also provide them with enough money to produce their debut album. The self-titled album is to comprise eight original songs -- excepting Anjing.

Source: Jakarta Post

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