Back in early 1999, when the Indian rock music scene was just a little more substantial than a rocker's fantasy, one could see an instrumental four-piece band jamming at Ancient Mariner restaurant in Kochi — a band with a drummer/percussionist who could pick up and play complex grooves by Mike Portnoy in no time at all. This drummer was John Thomas and the band was Motherjane.

Thomas, along with bassist Clyde Rozario, has been the pillar of the band, which has seen a number of line-up changes in its 20-year existence. Motherjane has released two cult albums till date, and they are widely considered one of the pioneers of the rock music movement in India.

So, what is the groove mechanic of Motherjane listening to right now? Let's check it out.

"Cemetery Gates" by Pantera

Thomas: "Pantera is one of my all time favourites. But this track is so much more than that. It stands on its own in an otherwise heavy music catalogue of the band."


"Love and Meth" by Korn

Thomas: "Ray Luzier of Korn is one of my favourite drummers. I am quite inspired by his drumming these days. If you listen to 'Clay Play,' Motherjane's latest track, you will notice that parts of my drum-playing are inspired by the way he plays."


"Evolution" by Sky Harbor

Thomas: "Right from the drumming to the lyrics to the guitar lines, this track is so cool."


"Chekela" by Avial

Thomas: "In their early days, Avial used to create magic with sound. I still keep listening to their album, especially this song. I used to hang around with them when they were making this song. They actually made 10 versions of the track before releasing the final version."


"Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Thomas: "I am a huge fan of 1980s' pop music also. I heard this one back in my college days and it has stayed with me since."


"Time Flies" by Porcupine Tree

Thomas: "Steven Wilson is a genius and Gavin Harrison is a nobleman in the world of drumming. And this song is a masterpiece."


"Lotus Eater" by Opeth

Thomas: "The first time I checked out these guys live was when we opened for them in Chennai. Watching Martin Axenrot improvise live on 'Lotus Eater' was so cool. It was technique and power rolled into one."


"Harvester of Sorrow" by Metallica

Thomas: "I love this song for its guitar tones. They have so much of power."