Rattling their power at Deconstruction
Picture by Saliya Rupesinghe
Very way before I was born, there has been a group that truly shook
the music industry in Colombo and got people to start appreciating music
that was never heard of, to many years at that time.
On May 19 these four guys got back together once more to give a night
to remember to their friends and fans who loved them 30 years ago. They
are none other than the band Rattle Snake. The guy who made all this
possible was Lasith Fernando from Angel Down at the Deconstruction
concert that was held two weekends back. It was a full house and it was
a mad house.
Lasith got in touch wit Keerthi Fernando and asked whether they could
play and he got hold of the other guys Kamal, Thilak and Bonny and
within two weeks of practice they gave an unforgettable performance to
I got a chance to speak with Keerhti and ask him what it felt like to
get back on stage and perform.
"We have been in the industry for 30 years. In the first line up of
the band there were five and Bonny Appaswami came after 10 years",
Keerthi said as he went back 30 years. We were friends - Kamal, Thilak,
Srimal Wickremesinghe came up with the idea to start something and sing.
It was actually initiated by Thilak and his brother Bandula Dias.
"At that time western music was never a big thing among our crowd",
Keerthi added. Bands such as Gypsies were known here and there but rock
musicians didn't have much opportunity and we just started out as school
Thilak playing the guitar
Kamal Perera strumming away
Keerthi performing with the band
Bonny Appaswami caught in the music
Keerthi on the flute
Lasith with Angel Down
In the early days, the only form of rock that people knew was Folk
Rock. We grew up listening to artists such as Grand Funk Railroad, Led
Zepplin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath and then Jimi Hendrix. We didn't
have cassettes those days and the only way we used to listen to them is
by buying the big records. I have a huge collection of them at home.
Whenever we had the time we got together to hang out, we played our
instruments and practiced.
Our first concert which was sponsored by Srimal was held at the John
de Silva auditorium to a packed audience. And we continued playing to
packed crowds in open theatres and our last ever concert was at the
Ladies College Auditorium.
We made two originals with lyrics written by Asoka Fernando. One was
Lost in the Forest - a song about people who are lost in society and who
have issues in the society and drown themselves in the worries of the
world. The other was Down to the Earth and Prisoner of Dreams, a classic
that I did with my band Venom.
There was a concert at the Viharamaha Devi Park that brought in a
crowd of over 3000 to watch us perform and to us it was the biggest
audience we ever got.
In one of the Golden Cliff Awards that was handled by Lake House, I
won the Best Vocals and the band Venom became the Best Rock/Metal Band
of the year.
I created my Band Venom with Bonny and that was truly a very heavy
rock band. I started to like heavy metal and hard rock and spent days
listening to Iron Maiden. I have in my years seen Iron Maiden perform
live five times. I've also seen Anthrax, Slayer and Alice Cooper.
I have performed in many concerts and played in 10 to 15 hard rock
cafes and performed in places like Rome, Paris, Scotland, Bangkok and
Singapore. There was a rock café in Woodstock called Chromo and on that
particular night I walked in, they were having a tribute concert to
I went to them, had a chit chat and then after some talking they
asked me whether I can sing any of the White Snakes tracks and I said
yes. I sang songs like Here I go again, Sailing Ship and I was so glad
with the response I got from them because all the songs I sang were the
ones I sang with Venom.
The rest of the guys also began their own thing in their own way.
Kamal played with the ever popular Mirage, Thilak began his own studio
of music and Bonny played in my band.
Everything has changed in a big way from the way we performed to how
bands are performing now. The guys are ready to perform for their fans
if anyone is willing to come forward and do a show. And even playing at
Deconstruction was something we thought would not be possible as it's
not easy to get the guys together.