When Bilal Maqsood was offered to join Vital Signs

It was none other than Junaid Jamshed who had the final call in this decision


Ather Ahmad June 09, 2020

KARACHI: Rock n roll history is all about moments that you remember and moments that could've been.

Back in the late 90s when Strings was planning a return that would see it morph into one of the biggest pop acts to come out of South Asia, singer-songwriter Bilal Maqsood was offered a place in Vital Signs by Rohail Hyatt.  The offer lasted for a mere 15 seconds with the late Junaid Jamshed immediately rejecting the idea.

Performing the evergreen Vital Signs number Tum Mil Gaye in an Instagram post, Bilal shared the anecdote. "In 1998/99 Rohail asked me if I would like to join Vital Signs. I was sitting in his studio and right there he called Junaid and told him that we should have Bilal in our band," Bilal wrote in the caption.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBGVLW_nfOX/

"Junaid said - NO. Rohail put the phone down and said, sorry can’t happen. Yeah, that was it. That offer came and went in 15 secs."

Given the legendary status both Strings and Vital Signs enjoy today, it does make one ponder over the What ifs?. What if Junaid had welcomed the decision?

The best person to answer that is perhaps Bilal himself. '"No I would’ve never joined Vital Signs," the Mera Bichda Yaar singer told The Express Tribune. Bilal recalled that at the time he was more focused on reviving Strings that already had two albums in its catalogue.

"Even if Junaid had said yes, I would've never joined VS. We were already in the process of reviving Strings. Faisal was coming back from the US and when he came back we started working on Duur." he said.

Bilal pointed out that the offer came and went back before he could have even made sense of it. "I was working for Rohail's company, Pyramid productions as a creative director. I and Rohail were doing a few projects together. Rohail told me that I’ll ask Junaid if you can join Vital signs. I didn't give it much thought. He called Junaid right there and he said no on the spot," he exclaimed.

Bilal also shed some light on the role, Rohail may have wanted him to play in the band. "Obviously not as a singer.  I remember that Rohail liked my songwriting. That I compose songs and write lyrics. So I think he wanted me to come on board in that capacity. So this was it."

As far as having any qualms about rejection from Junaid's end, Bilal actually respected the decision. "I think Junaid made the right choice. Why would anyone bring a Strings member in Vital Signs?," the Sar Kiye yeh Pahar singer concluded.

By the time this happened, Vital Signs was already on the cusp of disbanding entirely. Junaid had already come out with one solo album and was in the midst of making the second. Vital Signs itself had become sporadic in terms of putting out new music. They went on to release Maula, the video for which was directed by none other than Maqsood himself.

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