Hours of sitting on a couch with his neck slightly tilted down and strumming the strings of his bass guitar has finally taken its toll on Khalid Khan. The bassist’s longstanding case of cervical pain has unfortunately forced him to opt out of the upcoming season of Coke Studio.
Although the former Aaroh bassist had been carrying a few niggles for the past two years, it was only after the completion of last season that the pain aggravated. “I have been playing live despite the cervical pain for almost two years now but after we wrapped up Coke Studio 7, the pain really flared up,” Khan told The Express Tribune.
Though there can be multiple causes for cervical pain, most notably muscle tension and strain but for Khan, it all boils down to his posture as a bassist. “Constantly playing the bass guitar with my neck bowing down coupled with the posture bass players tend to have is a major reason why I have this condition,” remarked the musician-cum-producer.
Cervical pain isn’t the only worry that seems to be bothering Khalid Khan as tilting his neck while playing music has also resulted in him developing an aversion to loud music. To stop that from worsening, he used ear plugs in Coke Studio recording sessions last year.
He pointed out to how unlike guitarists, bass players don’t have the same sort of freedom of movement and sooner or later it starts taking a toll on the body. He mentioned that he wasn’t the only bass player experiencing such difficulties as ex-Karavan and current Raahi band member, Sameer Ahmed Bakhtiari, was also an occasional sufferer.
Regarding how Strings reacted to the news about him taking a break from the popular music show he stated that, “Obviously they were taken a little bit by surprise; but they understood. Bilal tried to pursue me into carrying on, he even asked me to play on half of the songs but I informed him that it was not possible — my health is the priority.”
Although there were several qualified musicians who could fill Khan’s shoes and take his place on his Coke Studio couch he termed Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar as the frontrunner for the part. “I think Mannu has even started playing for them (Coke Studio) but despite that there is no shortage of quality bassists in Pakistan,” stated Khan. Khan even named a few bassists, like Russell D’ Souza, Sameer Ahmed Bakhtiari and Amir Azhar, all of who were up to the task of performing on the show.
Having been part of the show for an entire season Khalid Khan iswary of the workload and to avoid further problem he had recommended the producers to adapt a rotation policy. “Last season, I had told the producers in front of the entire house band that they should have a more flexible line-up. Not only to avoid burnouts but also because other musicians should also get a chance to be part of a platform as huge as Coke Studio.”
However, khan has not completely stepped away from the game and continues to work as a composer while adhering to homeopathy and yoga. Apart from releasing a few jingles for TVCs and television shows he recently composed the OST for the drama serial, Mera Ashiyana featuring the vocals of Momin Durrani.
5 bassists who could replace Khalid Khan in Coke Studio 8:
1. Kamran ‘Mannu’ Zafar — Former Coke Studio bassist and session player for Ali Azmat.
2. Russell D’ Souza — Solo bassist, who has featured in shows, such as Ufone Uth Records and was a session player for Shafqat Amanat Ali.
3. Amir Azhar — Former bassist for Meekal Hasan band.
4. Sameer Ahmed Bakhtiari — Raahi’s bassit and former bassit for Karavan.
5. Shaheryar Ghayas — Former bassist for rock group Qayaas.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2015.