Remember The Milestones? Revisiting one of the most unique bands of the ’90s
During the ‘90s there were a handful of TV channels that aired music videos. Since there were only a few bands and acts that actually made it to TV, you kept hearing the same stuff over and over again. As a kid growing up in that era, all those songs imprinted themselves into my memory. While I couldn’t make out the lyrics, I did manage to associate a feeling with the tracks, based on the melody and the imagery used in the video even as a kid.
There was one song I remember hearing when I was eight that used to creep me out
The song was called ‘Aag’ by The Milestones. Most of the video is fine, standard ’90s effects and zooms, daylight guitar solos, the usual. But the video ends with a completely random zoom-in zoom-out on a mannequin doll’s face.
You might not know this but in the early ‘90s The Milestones had quite the following. They were perhaps the only rock band at that time from Pakistan that had a female lead vocalist. But like most bands from that era, after a while, The Milestones simply vanished.
So I did a little research.
The Milestones was formed as a cover band back in 1990 by Guitarist Ziyad Gulzar
“It all started with a couple of school friends playing classic rock covers,” said Ziyad. “We mainly did early Eric Clapton and CREAM”. Ziyad recalls that at the time they didn’t even have proper instruments and everyone was just in the process of learning how to play. Initially, it was just Ziyyad Gulzar along with Carl Miranda on drums and Samar Salim on keys. “It was at one of our jams that Ali Tim along with his friends came over,” said Ziyad. Ali Tim who at the time was just learning how to play the bass was yearning to play in a band set up. I said well let’s all jam and see what happens”.
It was when female vocalist Candy Pereira joined the band that things actually began to pick up pace
“I remember that three girls used to come to our jams to sing,” said Ziyad ” But only Candy who used to lead a choir at a Church stood out”. Eventually, the other two vocalists stopped showing up altogether and the dynamic was complete.”
“She is the most amazing singer to come out of Pakistan” exclaimed Ziyad.
Ali Tim used to write the songs and I added layers to the melodies, ” said Ziyad. The band started to perform a variety of shows here and there.” We performed at a Christian Wedding and even a Parsi dance among many others” said Ziyad. Soon after the band started recording original stuff in Urdu and in 1993 their debut album Jadoo was released. However by the time the videos were released Carl and Samar had parted ways and it was the trio that was left.
The Milestones played a host of international tours during their peak
They played in the United States, Canada, and even Cyprus. Their journey came to an abrupt end which has been the norm with most Pakistani bands over the years. Candy left Pakistan for Canada and the band sort of ended there. “She is the most amazing singer to come out of Pakistan” exclaimed Ziyad. Following that Ziyad and Ali played with Ali Haider under the outfit Aatish for a while. Ziyad went on to form Rushk with songwriter Uns Mufti while also contributing to Ali Azmat’s debut solo album Social Circus.
In 2017, the band reunited after two decades of absence under The Milestones name minus Candy. With Sajjad Ali’s sister Roop Ali doing vocals the band recorded a new single called ‘Socha Na Tha’, a nostalgic poppy ballad full of reverbed guitars and Ali’s bittersweet vocals.
Let’s see what lies in store for the band in 2018 and if they can, after such a long hiatus, continue to create tracks that glued me to my TV in the ’90s, unable to take my eyes and ears off The Milestones.
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