To quote Wikipedia, Thermal and a Quarter is a rock band based in BangaloreIndia, and is notable for their focus on original music at a time when the nascent Indian rock music industry focused on cover songs, and their innovative use of the Internet to reach out to new audiences. They were among the first groups in Asia to make their music available under a Creative Commons-like license. Their name is derived from the fact that when they started, three of the band members were of full Malayali descent and the fourth member was one-quarter Malayali, hence “Three Malayalis and a quarter Malayali”, which was later shortened to “Three Mals and a Quarter” and corrupted to “Thermal and a Quarter”

THERMAL AND A QUARTER is Bruce Lee Mani (guitars & vocals), Rajeev Rajagopal (drums) and Prakash K N (bass)

I did this interview quiet a while back but never got along publishing it, so here goes.

i2:TAAQ has been around for pretty long,how has the journey been so far?

TAAQ:You remember what the Eagles said when they reunited for the Hell Freezes Over tour? Don Henley said, “We never broke up, we just took a 14-year vacation.” The last 14 years for TAAQ have been extraordinary. We have had a few changes in the lineup, but the music has endured through all of it. And the fans have held us aloft through all of them. All thanks to them!

i2:How does it feel after your bassist Rzhude David left the band , I mean it’s been 10 years…

TAAQ:The Rzhude Decade — all eleven years of it — were very special to TAAQ. His departure from the band came at a time when we were poised for the next big thing. He has other plans and we respect his decision to move on and do justice to them. We played a most memorable farewell gig together at B Flat Bar. Our new bassist, Prakash, has been grooving well in the jam room and we can’t wait for the next show.

i2: I ask this question to all the musicians I interview, but here I wanna know this on a personal level, how did it all happen. . Give us the history of TAAQ..I know you guys hate being asked this…but…

TAAQ:Oh man, it’s been asked before and we’ve sung this like canaries over three thousand times at last count. But anyway, we’ll repeat it for you. In 1996, the Christ College A Team decided to play semi-pro, and we scrambled together a name from our very fertile, if coconut-oil and meen-moily-rich imagination. And thus was born Thermal And A Quarter.

i2:Well I think I know how the name thermal and a quarter came up. .But I wanna hear it from you guys. . How did you come up with the name.

TAAQ:It was a rare stellar occurrence — Sunil Chandy, Rajeev Rajagopal and Bruce Lee Mani having their off day all at once. The name was a byproduct of that. But we like it, and we gather a lot of people do too.

i2:You’ve inspired loads of musicians , how does it feel to be one of the best bands in the country today..a band which people look upto…

TAAQ:It’s just another day at the races, and a night at the opera. Seriously, it feels humbling. And it’s an incentive to keep at it.

i2:It wasn’t as easy as it is today for musicians who play rock music,what were the road bumps ,how did you overcome them.

TAAQ:One: The opposition to original music as opposed to covers. Two: Arm-twisting by record labels and promoters. Three: Lack of infrastructure for rock music performances, marketing and distribution in India.

We overcame all of the above by putting on our best pair of sneakers and just doing it

i2:Any tips ,you would like to give to young musicians out there.

TAAQ:Keep at it, work hard and never stop dreaming.

i2:Oh I forgot, always wanted to know what inspires TAAQ?

TAAQ:Life. Love. Music. And all the little grey areas in between.

i2:Okay, choose, playing a sellout concert or playing it out for a niche audience…

TAAQ:That’s a no-brainer, man. Niche audience any day, but we’d like to see that number grow to about 50,000 or so!

i2:What’s next for TAAQ.

TAAQ:The future. We made a pact to be present there.

TAAQ will be performing in Pune at the Hard Rock Cafe on 3rd February 2011.

Photo copyright Thermal And A Quarter (