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|Wednesday, 06 January 2010 11:47|
The Music Debut
Jerry’s first attempt to playing on a “real drum kit” was at the audition of this band of musicians which would soon be known as The Little Falcons. “I was horrified at the debut”, Jerry recalled during a recording session for this solo album. His horror quickly turned to relief when he later heard his Uncle Victor tell his wife, Ruth: “Give that boy a few months and he’ll be better than his Uncle Joe”.
Music education at that time came from the family and Jerry remembers that the same people who sung the praise of his talents would also render no quarter when it came to perfecting his craft. Some of the punishment would have put paid to anyone else’s enthusiasm and determination, but not in this case. “I suffered through it all because I loved the drums! There would be no other career for me”.
The sacrifice soon paid off. The Falcons made their first public appearances at events which the Hawaiian Rhythmics starred, playing whatever they could when the senior Felixes took a break. It was sound education because The Falcons soon become the envy of their peers in school and other youngsters in the budding music industry, and beyond their wildest dreams, eventually became the highest paid and most sought-after band of its time.
The 60s saw the quartet cut its teeth in Malaysian waters and were the first local band to star on television when it was first introduced in 1964, cutting their first records with CBS/Life, thus becoming the first Malaysian act to sign a record deal with a major record label. The Falcons also recorded with EMI and other local private labels. The songs made quite an impression in the country and two songs Nightmare and Baby Barefoot Walk (both originals) – stormed the Music City Hit Parade in 1965, taking the two top positions, with Baby Barefoot Walk getting valuable mentions in foreign music magazines.
Falcons in Flight
It was just the break The Falcons needed in 1969 when they headed (like Bob Hope, they proudly acclaim) to Vietnam to entertain American GIs based there. “It was crazy and frightening, sometimes playing music to ecstatic crowds of soldiers and Vietnamese, then huddling together in underground bunkers with bombs exploding above”, Jerry grimaces at the memory. In the late 60s and early 70s, the Falcons in their various line ups (original: Brian, Jerry, Ventura, Frankie and Ronnie Felix) played at the best nightspots in Malaysia and Singapore, including the Tin Mine, Tomorrow Disco, Shindig, Pink Pussycat and Tropicana. Some of the musician that also performed as a Falcon were Gren, Shah, Carles Fond and Aziz.
It was at The Gypsy Caravan in Penang, where famous pop orchestra leader James Last saw them perform and suggested they consider furthering their career in Germany. In 1978, the Falcons flew to Europe and for the next 10 years made quite a name for themselves. The lineup at this time boasted the talents of Desmond Gomis on keyboards, Andy Peterson on bass, Frankie on guitar, with Jerry Ventura having developed his skills to include horn, woodwind and percussions to the bend’s rhythm section.
Jerrym, by now was known to everyone as ‘The Animal’ for his hard-hitting style. The Malaysian band took Europe by storm and were soon the doyen of the continent, playing gigs in the most popular nightclubs and being sought after to back top international artistes like the Chirelles, opening act fro the Chi-Lites, Coasters, Platters, Sister Sledge and Percy Sledge. But bad paymasters got into the picture, and because of this Jerry left the band after two years in Europe, choosing to freelance and do sessions with other European outfits, playing rock, reggae and commercial pop hits. Among the notable bands that Jerry played with during his solo years was Rockane and Kris. An original number from this period, “Look, Don’t Touch” is featured on this album.
Back to the Nest
After a hectic 10 years in Europe, Jerry returned and reunited with Jerry Ventura to form The Falcons again and performed at Petaling Jaya’s hotspot, Piccadilly, before leaving to form the seminal Made In Malaysia, a truly outstanding R & B outfit that featured Paul,m Allen, Sunny and Daniel. Next came the powerhouse, S.T.O.R.M. (Slight Touch Of Rock Music), a name conjured by Andy Peterson. This hard rocking group featured Andy, Richard, Din “Cikgu” Desi and the unforgettable Connie. Storm brought the house down during their stint at the Hard Rock Café at Bangkok. More recently he was the leader of Chili Padi and now currently lead his own band.
Jerry was the lead drummer for the Benson and Hedges Light Tones series of shows and albums that included many local talents (Man Kidal, Jay Jay, Wah Idris) and international starts like Rex Goh (Air Supply), Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash), Chuck Sabo (Elton John) and Victor Rounds (Paul McCartney). As an endorsee for Yamaha Drums and Sabian Cymbals, he has done drum clinics with Akira Jimbo and Lewis Pragasam. Jerry plays the Yamaha Recording Custom and Stage Customs series. He is also a regular guest star on the albums and concerts of several Malaysia artistes, including Ziana Zain, Seha, Shima, Aishah, Amy Mastura and Search lead vocalist Amy. With such an awesome amount of experience, it is no wonder that Jerry Felix has made his name in the Malaysia Book of Records as the Longest Playing Drummer in the Malaysian music industry.
The Solo Album
This album is a testimony to the career of drummer Jerry Felix. It has been his dream for many years to put on record for posterity the several talented Malaysian artistes he had worked with. “These are the artistes who have contributed to the 40 most enriching years of my life”, Jerry acknowledges. “This is my tribute to the Malaysian stars who have shared my journey in rock music.” In his own family he had inspired other to follow his example, including brothers Charles and Tony, cousin Noel Holmes and son Kevin, who is featured on this album.
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