Apo Kobondo Eh?!

NOTIFIKASI : Apa yang ada kat sini adalah untuk level-level beginner ataupun level skolah tadika, taska, pra sekolah dan yang sewaktu dengannya...Bagi yang dah level pertengahan...sini bukan tempat anda untuk cari ilmu...apatah lagi yang bergelar profesyenel...Malu la saya...Tapi korang amat dialu-alukan mengkomen apa yang ada kat sini wokeh...Selamat Maju Jaya...Cuba Hingga Jaya...Walaupun Kena Jalan Kaki Sampai Ke Putrajaya...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Interview With The Metal Legend : Karl of Cromok (Part Two)

An exclusive email interview with The Metal Legend : KARL of CROMOK

What are your favourite gears, what were your firsts, and what are your dream gears?

First guitar (acoustic) when I was 15 years old – Kapuk guitar tong RM90.

First Electric Guitar – in Australia, AUD$99 Rokkoman – same design as Les Paul. Black – I was into Black Sabbath and I like the guitarist at that time.

My current gears are:

Electric Guitars:
- Charvel Jackson Model 3 Guitar of the Year in 1988.
- Hammer Sustainiac – it has this switch that can create sustain as long as the battery lasts – till next morning….

Acoustic Guitars:

- Elite steel strings semi acoustics fiberglass body with piezoelectric pickup (looked like Ovation)
- Elite nylon string semi acoustics fiberglass body with piezoelectric pickup


- Sold my whole professional rack to Hillary (Ang).
- Currently using Rocktron Voodo Valve effects: distortion, reverb, delay, chorus, compressors, etc..
- Behringer FC100 Midi footcontroller.


- 2 x Marshall MG15. I run stereo in my living hall.
- 1 x Ross 15W guitar amp – FOR SALE RM250 – hardly used, like new.

My Dream Guitar (would be) Paul Reed Smith – tested 1 in Mahogany Guitars in SS2 PJ and fell in live with it. Played there for 4 hours. Cost about RM12K! I don’t mind giving up both my electric guitar to get that guitar!

Anyone interested?

Dream Guitar Gadgets:

- Mesa Boogie TriAxis valve midi preamp.
- Mesa Boogie Abacus footswitch.
- Mesa Boogie 2 channel valve power amps – can drive 8 units of 4×12” cabinets.
- Mesa Boogie 4 x 12” speaker cabinets.
- Lexicon effects – for reverb, delays.
- TC Electronics effects – for harmonizers, chorus.
- Hush noise reduction unit.
- Drawmer compressors.
- Klark Teknik 31 band graphic equalizers.

It took me 2 years (in Australia) to find the right combination of equipment to get the guitar sound that I wanted. The equipment that I have used include:

- Charvel Jackson Model 3 Guitar of the Year in 1988.
- Mesa Boogie Simulclass 295 valve power amp.
- Mesa Boogie Studio valve preamp (non Midi).
- ADA Midi guitar preamp.
- Rocktron Pro G.A.P. midi guitar preamp.
- Roland FC100 Midi Foot controller.
- Boss Distortion.
- Boss Digital delay.
- Boss Graphic Equalizer.
- Marshall vintage 4×12” speaker cabinet.
- Marshall vintage 2×12” speaker cabinet but same cabinet size with 4×12” but with 2 speakers only. It has more bass.

The best combination was highlighted in red above.

What was your first ever guitar lesson? Did you go to formal guitar classes to learn the guitar, or did you learn in from friends?

Believe it or not I had my first guitar lesson from a girl. She was my neighbour and had a pretty girl friend. I learnt from her coz I want to be close to her girl friend and guess what? I succeeded and her friend eventually becomes my childhood sweetheart.

When I was 12 years old, I was in the school angklung club – imagine that! I played the pianica, which is a small keyboard 30-40 keys which you blow with your mouth using a pipe connected to it to produce the sound. My father wanted to send me to a proper music class but I declined coz I knew at that time that my parents didn’t have much money.

When I was 16 and 17, I was in the school Brass Band playing trumpet and also the School Band Guitarist. Learnt a little about music in the brass band but didn’t really learn much. Mostly learning through ears. I don’t know how to read music till today.

My learning methods:

70% Self taught – painstakingly rewind/forward songs to figure out the solos, chords.

20% From friends – they showed me how to play certain solo or rhythms.

10% From books & videos – bought some books with tablature.

Who were / are your influences and stimulated your interest in playing guitar?

As per the story above – the motivation to learn is to get a girlfriend.

In school, rock was THE music in that era. Sweet Charity was THE band. We played all their songs and jammed quite often in Do Re Mi jamming studio at Pertama Complex.

My friend told me that there was this guitarist that played with his teeth! I was so curious and went to see the band in a pub called RED ROOSTER in Medan Tuanku KL in 1983. We sat at the front row and saw Man Kidal on guitar and Amy on vocals. This was before Search was established with an album. Man Kidal was amazing and he played with his teeth!

Then came SEARCH and LEFTHANDED – Hillary and Man Kidal were my idols.

I was into Hard Rock likes Dio, Black Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne etc and then it gets heavier into Metallica, Helloween, Megadeth etc.

A friend introduces me to Malmsteen and the rest is history.

Favorite Guitarist:

- Yngwie Malmsteen.
- Joe Satriani.
- Dio’s guitarist (cant remember his name but I remembered his face till today).
- Randy Rhoads – Ozzy Osbourne.
- Gary Moore.
- Tommy Emmanuelle - Jazz

What’s your favourite solo lick, other than CROMOK’s songs?

It has to be the song called ‘Crying’ by Malmsteen.

What techniques did you use to become the guitar player you are today? How long is your practice time a day?

In boarding school – I only had 30 minutes from 10.30pm – 11pm till lights out on weekday.
In university – 4hrs/day.


With Cromok – 8hrs/session, 3 times a week.
With Ella – 8hrs/session, 5 times a week.
Individually – 2-4 hrs daily.


Weekdays – 15 to 30minutes daily.
Weekends – 1-2 hours.


- Use this gadget that has springs for your 4 fingers to press. I don’t know what it is called but it helps to strengthen your finger muscle.
- Practice exercise – 1 finger 1 fret, sidewards, upwards, downwards.
- Practise, practice, practice…..

What’s your favourite scale? Melodic Descending E Minor? You played that a lot in CROMOK’s songs.

The only scale that I know is Harmonic minor which Malmsteen uses a lot. I don’t know anything about other scales but what you hear in Cromok album is what I like. Didn’t know it was Melodic Descending E Minor.

What are the elements of a great guitar solo like you have been producing, particularly in Forever in Time?

The key to great solo are:

First of, IT HAS TO COMPLEMENT THE SONG – Each song has a story and the solo is a part of the story. A lot of guitarists tend to ‘show off’ what they can do during the solo. In the end the song suffers because the solo does not compliment the song.

Second of, CONTINUITY – solo intro and outro must have smooth transition. Combination of choices of notes, mood and feel is important so that the story continues smoothly.

Third of, FEEL – each note played must have a feel. Feel is what differentiate good guitarist and a talented one. One can be very good technically but if it lacks feel, the solo wouldn’t sound great. To create a great solo, feel is 70%, technique is 30%. Guitarists like Malmsteen and Joe Satriani have mastered the technique and because they have great feel, they became megastars.

Speaking of Forever in Time, Could you please tell us a little bit about the history of “I don’t Belong Here” and “Another You”. I mean, what were the songs all about and how did you come up with the ideas for the songs?

I Don’t Belong Here:

We were in Australia from 1985 – 1992. We mixed with the locals and after a while I realized that the mat salleh lifestyle was not for me. Typically, Mat Salleh will work during the weekdays and then have a good time on weekends by going to the pubs, clubs, bbq etc. 7 years in Australia was a bloody long time and I was home sick. I long for the “Malaysian” culture. The last time I went back home was in 1986. In addition to that, Asians like us will never be truly accepted as the citizens of Australia no matter how hard we try. Therefore, I don’t belong here …… In Australia.

Another You:

There is no lyric in this song. There is a reason for it. It is up to your own interpretation whatever story that suits you.

My stories:

HEARTBROKEN – this song is dedicated to a girl that I really loved. I can’t find another girl like her. How and where can I find another girl like her?

HOME SICK – Malaysia, tanah tumpah darah ku. Hujan emas di negeri orang, hujan batu di negeri sendiri, lebih baik negeri sendiri. I had a tough life to survive in Australia. I had to work very hard and no one cares about you there. Your student friends are all in the same position as you. They cant help you. Your mat salleh friend are superficial. They wont help you when you are in trouble compared to your relatives or even other Malaysian. Here in Malaysia, you will never be starved. If you asked for food, I am sure anyone regardless of race will buy you a meal. In Australia, you are on your own! There is no other country like your very own. I love Malaysia!

If you could do a once-off album project with any guitarist in the world, who would it be?

(1) Malmsteen – dare not, too big of an idol for me. I’ll froze!
(2) Lita Ford – will do it 15 years ago, now she might be a grandmother right?
(3) Randy Rhoads – if he is still alive.
(4) Prince – good for marketing, capturing new audience.
(5) Vixen – if the band is still around, they are gorgeous.
(6) Joe Satriani – yes.
(7) Santana – yes.

..and finally, what is your advice to the readers of the blog, especially to those who wants to keep improving their skills?

Study music coz it gives you the knowledge that you need to be a professional. You can play any type of music once you know how to read music. All megastars have formal music education.

Learn the proper techniques. I am stuck with what I have now and cant go further coz my technique was not right. I can’t play faster due to wrong fingering and picking technique and the way I hold my guitar.

Don’t focus on speed alone, feel what you play. A few notes with feel are much nicer to listen to than hundreds of notes without feel. One of the key ingredients to feel is vibrato. Listen to other guitarists and practice the vibrato feel.

Techniques to create feel:

(1) Hard and soft picking between notes creates mood – angry, calm.
(2) Harmonics – excited, energetic.
(3) Hammering – mellow/sad.
(4) Sliding – mellow/sad.
(5) Slow licks – sad, mellow.
(6) Fast licks – angry, energetic.
(7) Acoustics – mellow.
(8) Distortion - angry, energetic, sofet and mellow depends on choices of notes.
(9) Strum near the bridge – harder sound, strum further away from bridge – mellow sound.
(10) Use bridge pickup (near the end) to have more mid and high sound. It gives you a more harder sound.
(11) Use pickup near the neck to have a mellow sound (merdu).

Try combinations of the above. You will be surprise!

Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice makes perfect

THE END..................

*This interview originally published in Gelanggang Gitar - Revolusi Gitaris Malaysia

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Interview With The Metal Legend : Karl of Cromok (Part One)

An exclusive email interview with The Metal Legend : KARL of CROMOK

How and when did you guys meet? How long had you known each other before forming CROMOK?

Sam, Miji and I were in the same school (Sek Men Sains Dungun, Terengganu) in 1984 doing the English course (TOEFL) after SPM for sponsored students going for overseas. It was a stupid move by the govt to send students to Dungun to learn English coz no one speaks English there. We ended up learning Trengganu dialect instead!

Sam and I were housemates when we were in Crows Nest Boys High School in Sydney in 1985. What a waste – no chicks there! And Miji was sent to Brisbane, Queensland in 1985. In 1986/1987 (I think) Miji got a place in Wollongong University together with me and Sam. Din was our Senior by one year in Wollongong University.Miji and Sam were housemates in Wollongong together with Din. They converted their house garage into a jamming place.

Cromok was created here and before cromok was established, another Guitarist named “Mat Puck” or “Pucky” played with the group. The line up was Sam, Miji, Pucky and Din. Cromok played in clubs with this line up. All of this is during 1988-1989.

In 1990 the group was not happy with Pucky’s performance so they asked me if I want to join Cromok.actually I had my own band called ‘KERAZ’ at that time playing in clubs as well and Keraz were the 2nd best band in Wollongong at that time. We played more towards hard rock stuff with my line up consisting of 3 Australians, 1 Greek, and 1 Philippino.

I told Sam, Miji and Din that I will only join Cromok if they are very serious about the band. I do not want to be just another garage band. We should try our very best to ‘make it to the top’. My conditions of joining was:

- Cut a proper demo with album cover, cassette duplication just like a real album.

- Approach recording companies with the demo to promote the band.

- Invest in better equipment – the drum set at that time was horrible – they used a house floor lighting stand as cymbal stand!

- Be professional – regular practice

They eventually agreed and we spent around AUD$1,000 to record the demo in a garage studio. Miji bought a brand new 8-piece double base Pearl drum set. Our friend named Wak Turau created the logo and another friend of mine draw the black and white visual of the original unicorn (not released in Malaysia – I have a few more copies of this original demo with me).

With the released of the demo titled Image of Purity in 1990 Cromok was then officially established with Sam, Miji, Din and Karl. We then played in various clubs until Cromok was voted the best band in Sydney by the Hot Metal Magazine in 1990.

At the same time our friend Jig who studied with us in Australia went back to Malaysia. We asked him to approach all the record companies in Malaysia and 6 months later, we signed under Valentine Sound Production and released the Image of Purity version in Malaysia. The album cover was design by Wak Turau.

How did the name CROMOK come up?

Sam, Miji and Din love P Ramlee movies especially the Bujang Lapuk series. I think one of the script is something like “ muka kau macam tepong kromak”. And some how a bunch of letters was put together and the name Cromok was created – the name sounded heavy and it suits the genre.

Why did you choose unicorn as your .. mascot?

There was a popular cartoon about a unicorn at that time. The story is about the Unicorn’s uniqueness, purity and eternity. So I guess Cromok has the same attributes and hopefully we can last forever. I think this is how the Image of Purity was created.

As you might have already known, there are many Malaysian bands formed by Malaysian students out there, just like in CROMOK’s case. But what were CROMOK’s amazing stories behind Image of Purity recording opportunity?

You have to be different to be noticed!

Physically – What are the chances of the Mat Salleh’s seeing 4 long haired ASIAN heavy metal guys on stage compared to other bands in all blondes. We looked different!

Musically – Mat Salleh are into blues and other typical heavy metal riffs while we were very melodic but with heavy vocals and rhythm to suit the genre. We are unique even until today!

Have a dream. Have a goal – aim for stardom. Have a plan. Put your heart and soul into it and it might get you somewhere and your dreams can become a reality.

And be professional (which means) invest in time and equipments.

Who was the major contributor to CROMOK’s songs?

The way we write songs are different from others. We created the riffs, rhythms and arrangement first and then we put in the lyrics. The feel of the songs determine the lyrics. All of us contributed to the arrangement. Lyrics were mainly contributed by Sam and Miji. Sam because he is going to sing it. Miji because his English was better than any of us.

After Din parted ways with CROMOK, who was your sessionist for rhythm guitars?

When Din went back to Malaysia in 1991, we had a Philipino guitarist/sessionist replacing him in Australia. Cromok kept going. We got an offer to play as opening act for Motorhead group in 1991 but unfortunately we had to turn it down coz we were not ready yet with the new guitarist.

When we came back to Malaysia, we had a concert in Life Centre. I can’t remember the secessionist name but I remember he is the brother of XPDC guitarist. We also had GG who owns the guitar service shop in Gombak.

Just out of curiosity, CROMOK was the first AMUK’s line-up, wasn’t it? And you were Metal Jawa, weren’t you?

I don’t event know who is behind AMUK and Metal Jawa. Ah…now I remember. EMI was pressing us on releasing an album in Malay but we felt that the language was not suitable for Sam to sing so we did not release any album in Malay. So EMI created this AMUK using original Cromok recorded materials/album and ask someone to write lyrics in Malay and someone to sing along on top of the recorded materials. I think the singer was Nasha.

Don’t know anything about Metal Jawa – another compilation? (heh) Don’t really follow local album releases.

We’ve heard about the CROMOK comeback concert which will be featuring the original line-up (You, Sam and Miji). So far we haven’t heard an official announcement yet. Would you mind giving and exclusive overview to Gelanggang Gitar about that concert.. please?

Umm.. Bad news. I have just got the confirmation that Cromok is not playing. What a bummer! I was really looking forward to it. Would love to do a reunion concert/album.

To be continued..................

*This interview originally published in Gelanggang Gitar - Revolusi Gitaris Malaysia

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cromok and Guitar - This is my story

Way back before I'm into this bikes 'universe', there was one thing that consumed most my heartbeat. GUITAR. It doesn't bother me wether it is electric, acoustic or a bass, my fingers will ALWAYS feels itchy to pluck a few notes/chords if I saw one. If I can't play it (i.e, high end guitar at Bentleys Music - I don't even dare to lift these guitars), just by touching the neck and body would be satisfiying enough for me.

My first crush - love at first sight
(but we're never meant to be...she's soooooooooooo demanding...
and my pockets ain't that deep...hehe)

The actual reason why I wanted her 

Ok. Flashback (in black and white...hahahhaaha!)

In 1990, a band called CROMOK was beating the eardrums of many many many of my friends with their debut album entitled 'Image Of Purity'. But to me, the AURA that makes me really into this band was they came under the same national flag as me. MALAYSIAN. During that time, I (most of us 'headbangers' I believe) was heavily into the stuff from the west. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and so on. It was an UNCOMMON to find a local band that succeeded to penetrate the 'Metal From West Are The Best' zone. Sam, Karl, Miji and Din immediately became my main influence.


From Left : Miji, Karl, Sam and Din

One afternoon, three years later (1993 - I'll do the math for you...hehehe), we got the news that CROMOK already released their second album. Yeszaaaa!. After three years in hibernation, here they are again.

Later, my very good close friend and I immediately went to town, heading straight to the usual music store that we bought most of our metal influenced cassettes from. The latest album entitled 'FOREVER IN TIME'. We did managed to get ourselves one copy each despite the rumours that was spreading around saying that the album were sold out in our town. And it came with a MEGA poster. It was very rewarding.


This time around, they really DO, WITHOUT A DOUBT - SUPER KICK ASS!!...

The song "I Don't Belong Here" really stabbed through my heart. And somehow, it sparks my desire towards guitars. I desperately need to know how play this song.

Immediately after getting my very first paycheck, (and while my buddies when to pay downpayment for a Yamaha RXZ or Suzuki Panther), I bought an electric guitar branded Standbury (Made in Oversea - Indonesia to be exact...hehe)

...and one damn big guitar amp. ROCKTEK 50watts with build in Distortion and two 6 inches speakers. Made in Oversea too...hehehehe...

It punctured my wallet almost RM1K. Nevermind, it was an 'investment' (hahahaha!!!).

And 17 years later (2010 - I'll do the math for you...again...hehehe), after I got the urge to play 'I Don't Belong Here', I manage to play the rhythm of the song and only half of the solos...HAHAHAHAHHAAHAH!

So much for an investment huh!. Back then I thought I'm gonna be a 'rockstar' and be filthy rich. Look what's life has beaten me with. I'm now doing desk job and filling my free time with BLOGGING...kah kah kah...

Pity me...hehe

That's my CROMOK and GUITAR story.

Thank you for your time reading this nonsense chronicle. Have a good life you all!...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's Never Too Old To Ride!

One day, I'll reward myself with this beauty.

One day.
One day.
When there's a will, there's a way. If I'm lucky enough, I'll find 'the highway'.
But one way or another, I'll find my way through.

*All pics taken from Google Image Search.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Exile Cycles

I really adore the bikes that came out from Exile Cycles. They are simply gorgeous. Clean and simple. That's all. No fancy ridiculous frame design. Just basics.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

History 101

Round 2 : The Legendary Breakfast Ride

It was in Dec 2005 when I decided to sent my Modenas Jaguh back to my hometown, after a while, I realised that I badly need another ride. So, I bought another Modenas Jaguh from a forummer in M4SC.
It was on Jan 2006.

Immediately I took her for a spin. Tagging along with me was my four fellow brothers in Brotherhood Motorcycles Group (which three still remain as close friends and one has 'gone with the wind'...hehe)

This was my second Modenas Jaguh's maiden voyage.

Route : Kuala Lumpur - Hulu Langat - Kuala Klawang - Seremban - Kuala Lumpur
Date : 26th February 2006

1st RV point

Hulu Langat Look Out Point

Pekan Batu 14, Hulu Langat

Pekan Kuala Klawang



*All pics credit to Maznan Deraman, Azwan Abd. Azis & Mohd. Yasser Arafat (ahfat, hope you're doing well my bro).