BigO (Before I Get Old) was a self-styled indie magazine that existed in print form from about 1985 to 2003 (give or take). Founded by Michael and Philip Cheah (with Stephen Tan) from the ashes of the Singapore Monitor, the magazine would be a major pop culture force in Singapore in the 1990s. Though it still exists online, its influence in local culture has been deliberately curtailed for reasons unknown.
Yeah I borrowed the “I REMEMBER SG” motif – it’s valid and appropriate in the context. I have been thinking for quite a while that it is time to document the beginnings of the Singapore indie music scene (SGINDIE) and probably the easiest way to do so would be to get quotes from folks who are able to ‘remember’ (SGINDIE) and present them in this new PoP feature.
First off, I asked Patrick Chng (The Oddfellows, TypeWriter) about when the SGINDIE scene all began.
“For me it started with the No Surrender gig at Anywhere pub in ’87, organized by BigO. The vibe was just electrifying. It was packed. It was the first gig that BigO organized. It was featured in BigO too I’m sure. There was a bootleg cassette released too by Joe (Ng) for BigO. Two songs for each band.”
BigO (Before I Get Old) was an indie rock magazine (Singapore’s first) that championed Singapore indie music in the late 80s/90s. The magazine stopped publishing in the early 2000s. It still exists as an online zine.
“The line-up at No Surrender was Joe Love & The Hoodlum Circus, Earth Medicine Band, Don Victor, The Nonames, Opposition Party, Corporate Toil, Zircon Lounge (pictured above). Back then the crowd was tough… you get booed or jeered at if they don’t like you. Corporate Toil were heckled and jeered throughout their set cos their experimental electro music didn’t appeal to the audience who were more into guitar-rock. I guested on guitar on Corporate Toil’s last song… a cover of Joy Division’s “Exercise One”. Before I came on, I was thinking to myself, “OH SHIT.” Played with my back to the audience. HAHA!”
There you go, our ground zero is 1987. I am hoping for this to be a catalyst, a starting point of discussion about SGINDIE. Please get in touch (info AT powerofpop DOT com) if you have anything to contribute concerning that special epoch in our history.