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March 2011 MALAYSIA Kota Kinabalu (Borneo) / Kuala Lumpur
  Headhunting in Borneo
  Steve & Gary meet with descendants of the Kadazan Tribe at the Monsopiad Cultural Village in Sabah, Borneo and learn of their culture, music and lifestyle.
  Borneo Hip Hop
  Steve and Gary meet up with an up-and-coming hip hop crew in Malaysia Borneo, called "U.G.M. Unitz" (Urban Gorilla Crew).
Global Battle of the Bands
  Steve hosts the WORLD FINALS of GBOB (Global Battle of the Bands) held in Kuala Lumpur, February 25th, 2011.
  Malaysia Esquire
  Steve is invited to appear in the premiere issue of Malaysia Esquire Magazine for an article highlighting the comedy scene in Kuala Lumpur.
Studio Muppet Session  
Recorded in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 2011  

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As Gary and I call Malaysia home, it is rather appropriate that we attempt to film as much musical silliness as we can. Of course, our travel schedules don’t always allow us to be home at the best of times. Plus, when we refer to Gary being at home it could very well mean he is between homes either living in Erik’s spare bedroom (Erik being one of our main sponsors and accommodation providers) or a bunker with other wayward global artists. It isn’t always pretty being Gary, but at least his cats have a place to stay.

Moving on.

Gary and I have our own musical and creative projects in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We play in a band that has had difficulty in nailing down a suitable name.  We have gone under the monikers of “Fuzzy Handcuffs” and then in the name of efficiency, shortened it to “The Cuffs” and then we were “4 Dudes Named Gary, Steve, David and Erik Who Have No Name But Like to Rock”. On October 14th, we played in a bar in Sri Hartamas under the uber rock signature, ICE PUPPIES.  We stole this name from an 8 year old.  It doesn’t matter where genius comes from, as long as it just comes.
We used to be in a band called the BENCHMARX. Gary played bass, I sang and played guitar, and all was good. Other players in the band included generation two lead guitarist David Ross, generation one drummer Erik Richardson (previously mentioned accommodation sponsor) and first generation guitarist and singer Kenny Peavy. The Benchmarx, after 2 full length albums, a glorious independent music award, and a pseudo-South East Asian Tour, called it quits for reasons that aren’t always entirely clear, public, or even worth sharing (it’s better for the rock and roll legend that way).

[Some Benchmarx funzies (click to view): "C'mon" (Rooftop Sessions) and VIMA 2010 (there is an official Benchmarx version, but this one has an edgy bootleg-ish look to it, and was recorded by someone we don't know).]

So while Gary and I spent the better part of 2010 and 2011 traveling and collecting musical footage around the world, we didn’t play very much locally.  As such, the Benchmarx ended.  We did manage to squeeze in a few shows around town but like I previously mentioned, under a new, as yet unnamed five-some.  Erik and Dave are still around and we enlisted a sax player, Brian Morefield to join us to add a little oomph in all the right places.  These musicians helped us in our Malaysian filming. More on this later.

So while On The Beat and Path kept us out of Malaysia, we still managed to film a few interesting moments.  My stand up comedy profile and involvement in the local music scene led to me being asked to host the World Finals of the Global Battle of the Bands. 17 countries around the world sent a winning band to compete for the title of “World’s Greatest New Band”. I was also “lucky” enough to host two legs of the Malaysian Qualifying Rounds.

[I would like to state for the record that I love music. I can’t be doing what I am doing if this wasn’t the case.  But there is only so much heavy metal a man can take in one night.  And throughout these qualifying rounds, it was predominantly a cycle of metal bands that Malaysia was offering. Amazingly, Malaysia sent as their GBOB representative, a young, fresh funk band, the Bombers.]

When it came time to the GBOB Finals, I found myself in for the longest night of music in my life. Had more beer been involved, the evening may have taken on a different flavour. But hosting is “working” and I required my wits for the cutting and witty banter I had to provide between performances. Now it needs to be said that every band in GBOB were great and honest to their genre. I can’t imagine that Ryan Seacrest enjoys every moment of American Idol and I have been to festivals where some acts were head scratchers. That’s opinion and that’s glorious. But there appeared to be a disproportionately large segment of the world who sent Metal Bands to this competition.

Admittedly, I have a hard time listening to either Justin Bieber or Slipknot.  However, when you put them together?  It’s worth listening to.[Justin Bieber vs. Slipknot - Psychosocial Baby]

Musical genres unrepresented at the World Finals include (but most definitely not limited to) Hip Hop, Country, Soul… There were only two female singers in the competition and one wore hockey gloves.  While Metal and Hard Rock appeared to be the genre of choice, it was a Jamaican Reggae band, DUBTONIC KRU that took home the GBOB trophy as winners.
Coming Soon
Because we previously filmed in Malaysia, we wanted to focus on delivering something new.  So we headed to Sabah and East Malaysia. Here we were introduced to some members of the Hip Hop community in KK (Kota Kinabalu). We weren’t the only ones introduced to them, for the members of the U.G.M. (Urban Gorrilaz Crew – not sure what the “M” means. I need to take better notes, or I should say, Randall needs to take better notes), the live show that we witnessed in KK was their first live show ever.
    Canadian Hip Hop veteran and current Malaysian Hip Hop Godfather, Jason “Vandal” Schadt, introduced me to the fellows during a magazine party and we spent some time getting to know the rhyming youngsters.  They were shy, denying us an opportunity to witness them freestyling live.  So I had to take the microphone and show them a little of what I got in the chamber:

[What Steve got in his chamber]

The next day we toured a little of Sabah with Malaysian singer-songwriter Amir Yussof.  Amir is an accomplished musician who has received acclaim for his original music and has performed throughout the world.

Amir arranged for us a VIP tour of the Monsopiad Cultural Centre in Sabah, where we were treated to some traditional Sabahian life: drinking rice wine, blowing spear darts, and of course, dancing. The Monsopiads use music and dance to share their colourful history, which includes the tradition of headhunting. Gary and I were relieved to learn that it wasn't used on, let's say, two unimposing white guys who may have unwittingly stumbled into the region. For a moment, though, I worried about losing my head when a slow loris managed to find its way onto my shoulders and licked away at my scalp. It must have been the allure of my metrosexual styling gel.

Finally, it was back to Kuala Lumpur to participate in a photo shoot for ESQUIRE Magazine. This is normally not my cup of tea, but when Esquire calls, you answer. The shoot was to celebrate the launching of its first issue to be published in Malaysia. Because it was April, it made sense to do an “April Fool’s” shoot with the top comedians in Kuala Lumpur. I was teamed with Malay comic, Papi Zak.  Every photo captured an old school joke or vaudeville gag. Ours consisted of the exploding cigar (in my face) and the squirting flower (in Papi’s face). I wore a watch that cost more than my university education. Surprisingly, though, I had to give it back. My wife Hannah got to keep the clothes she modeled for Mai Qheart. That really needs to be standard practice.

Catch Us Live Somewhere On This Planet.

Bonus Scenes  
  Musician Profile: VANDAL
  Meet Jason "Vandal" Schadt, rapper and Hip Hop community leader currently based in Kuala Lumur, Malaysia.
vandal facebook
vandal myspace
movemint wordpress
  Freestyle with U.G.M.
  Steve drops some freestyle rhymes with the Sabah youngsters.
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Mission: On the Beat and Path provides a window into the planet's love and longing for music, using music as the primary language of global communication in order to develop a multi-media outlet for the sharing of music, travel and friendship.
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