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Albatross Part Ways with Guitarist Nishith Hegde

The much sought-after musician cites busy schedule, says “I’m part of a lot of bands. My priority right now is making money”

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India Apr 10, 2017
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Albatross guitarist Nishith Hegde on stage last year. Photo: Bryan Jacob Daniel

Albatross announced earlier today that lead guitarist Nishith Hegde has left the band. The mutual decision was taken owing to Hegde’s increased involvement as a session guitarist live and in the studio.

Bassist and founder Riju Dasgupta aka Dr. Hex remains positive and good-humored about the change in personnel, noting that the band has already “zeroed in on one guitarist” to replace Hegde. He adds about respecting the guitarist’s decision to choose commercial gigs, “In an Albatross show, the band earns as much as one member in a Bollywood band. This was a no-brainer. He (Hegde) used to be very drained out, so I brought it up.”

The guitarist has juggled metal gigs with Albatross as well as bands like death metallers Reptilian Death, extreme metallers Demonic Resurrection and instrumental/prog outfit The Minerva Conduct alongside gigs with a covers band led by Mumbai vocalist 2Blue and Bollywood artist Amit Mishra for the past year. He says with a laugh, “As you know, I’m part of a lot of bands. My priority right now is making money. I can’t afford to miss shows that pay. I guess having four metal bands was taking a toll on me.”

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The guitarist, who joined the band in 2011 replacing Shrikant Sreenivasan (also from prog rockers Coshish), became part of Albatross via a recommendation. Dasgupta says, “Shezan (Shaikh, guitarist for metallers Providence) had recommended Nishith to us and when I saw videos of him playing, I thought, ‘Why is this guy unknown?’”

Hegde says that his first break in the metal scene came from Albatross, which led to his involvement in Demonic Resurrection (DR) and Reptilian Death. While there’s one less metal band to manage, Hegde says he’s also clarified his commitments to DR frontman Sahil Makhija aka The Demonstealer. The guitarist adds, “It is manageable, but I won’t be able to do an international tour with DR. But, you never know what the future holds. The difference is that I’ve always liked Bollywood music. I really enjoy playing those songs and there are a lot of interesting things going on.”

Dasgupta adds that Albatross is considering all possibilities for finding a replacement. The band had previously added guitarist Varun Singh in August 2014, but decided to part ways in October last year. The bassist says, “Even in 2010, when Raj [Rajarshi Bhattacharyya] left the band, people said he would never be replaceable. It’s nothing to worry about. People come and go all the time.”

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