Entity Paradigm: Can one milk a dead cash cow?

Published: May 28, 2012

Ahmed Ali Butt has said that EP will carry on without Fawad Khan and Waqar Khan. PHOTO: FILE

In Weekend At Bernie’s, the two protagonists spend the whole duration of the film carrying around the corpse of their boss Bernie, trying to cover up his death. The same seems to be the case for Ahmad Ali Butt taking over EP with Fawad Khan and Waqar Khan having recently left the band. The band has died but Mr Butt wants to carry its carcass around pretending that there is still life in it.

EP for all intents and purposes died when Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan aka Xulfi the main creative force left the band to form Call. In the last few years with only one new song released, EP traded on past glories and still did quite well for themselves on the concert and sponsors circuit. The band traded on the significant charisma of frontman Fawad Khan. Khan recently went supernova with “Humsafar”, and the band was always going to get overshadowed and subjected to his star commitments and persona. It was only a matter of time that he Asher-ed out. Sure enough he has now left as has Waqar Khan who was last seen two-timing with Ali Azmat. The last bits of life have gone out of EP.

Cue, Ahmed Ali Butt announcing that he shall carry the EP name on with fellow original members Hassaan Khalid (guitars) and Salman Albert (multi-instruments.) I asked Khalid why continue when the band would in effect now be a cover band as the real creative force had left. He said that after nine years they felt they should continue the EP legacy. Legacy ? After only one album? With the main men who were responsible for the legacy having left? This is as bad as Gilby Clarke announcing that he shall carry on the Guns N’ Roses name after Axl and Slash announce they want to leave the band.

I pressed further and Khalid was forthcoming enough to admit that they had done quite well with the EP name for the last several years. I queried what about new music. I was told that they would be coming out with a new song soon which has just been recorded in Albert’s studio and they are now waiting on Bilal Lashari for the video.

I wondered out loud why he with Butt does not revert to the latter’s abortive band Rubber Band as Butt once did for a while. Surely no one would begrudge them if they covered EP song still. “But legacy…,” Khalid repeated. “Cash cow,” I thought. Dead cash cow actually. Made me wonder if one can continue to milk a dead cash cow? Should one do so, even if it were possible? It’s about integrity methinks.

But then again Butt sahab once famously rapped that he was a “white(!) boy  coming straight from the L town.” Guess if he can proclaim to be white, he can surely proclaim integrity demands that they continue and that he can now sing. I mean if the hopeless Goher Mumtaz can make a fist of thing in Jal still, why can’t he. Butt surely has the genes for singing (being the legendary Madam Noor Jehan’s grandson) but I remain apprehensive on the evidence of Rubber Band.

For now, with EP it seems that one will have to deal with the long goodbye. The talent went out of the band with Xulfi. With Fawad the charisma left too. What is left behind is residual and weak ie Ahmad Ali Butt. The united EP managed just one album and what a great album it was. I in my exuberance once called it the greatest album ever released in Pakistan. My impression may have weakened but my affection for the album has not. It is that affection that makes me suggest that the decent thing regarding the band’s ‘legacy’ would be to not tarnish it and to call it a day.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2012.

Read more by Mohammad here, or follow him on Twitter @maqsimillion

Mohammad A. Qayyum

Mohammad A. Qayyum

Is a Barrister-at-law and Managing Partner at Qayyum & Associates Lahore. He has been an avid music critic for 10 years and tweets @maqsimillion

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • kami

    Loved reading the sarcasm. Thnk u qayyum sahab.Recommend

  • Ambreen Haider

    LOVE IT!!!

    only the one and only MAQ can possess the poignance to speak the truth. this blog post has way too many golden quotes. ” ashar-ed out” and … oh wow. sheer brilliance. THANK YOU!!! you are the only other person who said what i have long believed to be true, to be true since the moment i heard of the rebanding: without zulfiqar they wont be able to compose. fawad only composed one track, which, i have to admit is among the finest, but still, without zulfiqar they couldnt move much.

    sadly for EP they’d rather use the name and do a cover of ‘im sexy and i know it” and choose to rock[ing] your show” Recommend

  • Adnan

    Well, EP’s the new Junoon and Butt the new Salman Ahmed now. Should just call it a day with grace or they’ll also face the embarrassment Salman Ahmed is bringing to the Junoon brand.Recommend

  • Inzimam Baig

    Copy Cats……..From Linkin parkRecommend

  • noreen

    very well written MAQ :)Recommend

  • Dr Omar

    Why don’t rock groups in Pakistan believe in moving on! Why can’t they venture out and put together other more innovative projects. We look to the western musicians for inspiration, yet we fail miserably to follow their innovative techniques and their will to move on to other projects. A few such examples are below.

    When Beatles broke up, they established their own solo acts as well other bands (McCartney’s Wings & Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band)
    “Page & Plant” and “Them Crooked Vultures” were formed after Led Zepellin disbanded.
    Sammy Hagar went to form Chicken foot after he was no longer in Van Halen

    And for the record, these musicians wrote some amazing tunes with their new groups as well!

    Pakistan’s music Industry hardly has any support; one of the reasons, it still manages to shine; is that its musicians (despite very little encouragement and support) have produced some high quality stuff by innovating and experimenting.

    Thus all the more reason that both new as well as established acts move out of their ‘comfort zones’ & take the necessary artistic risks! Recommend

  • T.Tariq

    Ohh WOW!!
    again like all other bands..
    I wonder if UNITY is soo difficult for our bands?Recommend

  • Touched101

    Not much of a ep fan, but i’d say that yes the author’s right…without fawad.khan E.P’ll sink like titanic :p he’d probably move onto a solo career, and i’m pretty sure people’ll still go crazy for him. It’s like what happened to jal, without farhan…it lost it’s THINGRecommend

  • Noise

    Ahmad Ali Butt was the most annoying thing in old EP. The rest was all good. I loved Irtiqa although I always wished Butt sahab had not tried to ruin every song with his damn rap.

    @Dr Omar

    “Page & Plant” and “Them Crooked Vultures” were formed after Led Zepellin disbanded.
    Sammy Hagar went to form Chicken foot after he was no longer in Van Halen

    Never heard of them.Recommend

  • Umer Rasheed

    I do not see any logic in the author’s argument. I agree that it had been over an year since EP had revived and launched only one video “Shor Macha” and have performed their previous songs in their concerts for too long. With Fawad out of the picture, the band just simply cannot hire another vocalist to sing the same songs. It wouldn’t make sense and neither it is the plan since there has been no new addition. Hence there is absolutely no chance of milking the dead cash cow. Recommend

  • Moiz Kazmi

    Love it to bits MAQ!
    I for one, have been an avid eP follower, from days when not many knew of this band. The [eP] forums were our facebook literally. We would spend hours and days and weeks on it. Where, you were NOT suppose to write [eP] in this (eP) or any other form. It was a sin. It still is. I have had my sheer of [eP] music, concerts and fun in my late teens.

    [eP] is history….sadly! Recommend

  • Dr Omar

    @ Noise:

    You should look them up (especially on You-Tube) they are amazing! Unfortunately with Hip Hop taking more space in mainstream music I am not surprised that many people miss out on such amazing bands! Also look up Slash (ex-Guns&Roses) who has done solo music as well as with groups like Velvet Revolver & Slash & the Snake pits!

    My point is that they had the courage to move on (and they still make a lot of money performing with their new groups & have a strong fan following), so should our local bands and yes I agree that the ‘rap’ section was indeed the most annoying aspect this eP’s songs! Recommend

  • http://www.qayyums.com/imaq/ MAQ

    Thanks all for liking the piece. It was fun writing it and methought it had to be said even if it got Butt Sahab pissed at me again :) Your comments surprise me though. Doubt any of my articles has met with so much universal agreement. Given that I often write against the grain, maybe i miswrote :)

    Adnan: Thing with Salman Ahmed is that he wrote those songs. Not much of a problem if he sings them. My problem with Butt Sahab singing what were mostly Xulfi and Fawad’s songs under the name of EP. False advertising methinks. Or worse, creative dishonesty.

    Dr Omar: I agree with most of what you said, though I dont much dislike Butt Jee’s raps. That brought a pretty decent flavour in too and he does have a pretty nice flow, even if his rhymes are sometimes nonsensical.Recommend