The Cruz Zone ~ by Robert D’Cruz

It began………

in the mid 70’s when my brothers Michael and Anthony D’Cruz permitted a band to practice at our home for a couple of months.   The only one I remember from that band was Michael Dias and I think a guy by the name of Colin not sure.

I used to dabble with the guitars when they were gone and that’s probably when my brothers noticed my interest in guitar.   My brother Michael asked me to play a three note tune and I did; so  he bought me my first acoustic guitar, a Hofner.

In 1979, I performed at a talent show held by Christ the King Parish at the St. Lawrence’s grounds.  It was me on guitar and vocals, Joan Fernandes vocals, Rodney Schenker on Drums, don’t remember the bassist.

After that for some unknown reason, I was not interested in playing,  just jammed once in a while.   Then my brother Anthony bought me a Yahama Amp and my brother George bought me an electric guitar, and introduced me to ‘Iggy’, Egan Fernandes.    That’s when my music really started and all credit goes to the constant encouragement from my brothers.

Bands

Axe Attack:   In the summer of 1984, I started jamming in the neighborhood (Soldier Bazaar/Garden East, Karachi) with Faisal (Drums), Nadeem (Rhythm Guitar), Samar (Keyboards), later joined by Kevin Francis (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals), Ronnie James (Vocals) and Tony D’Souza aka TD (Bass) and formed Axe Attack.  

We played for a couple of years at Casablanca (Plaza Hotel).   We would start every day at 2:00 pm until 11:00 pm practicing just one song per day.

Midnight Liner/Radiation:  In 1986  I joined Midnight Liner.   We played at a joint called Food hee Food, the band members then were Joseph (Sax), Frankie and Angelo (vocals), Neil (bass), Allan Smith (Drums) and Ralph (Rhythm Guitar).

After that we were signed up with a construction company in Clifton by Jade Garden restaurant and played on a stage built on a boat (it was truly an awesome experience).

Then we got a contract at village restaurant.   By then we had several musicians leave and were subsequently replaced by new ones.   The band members at the time (1987) were myself (vocals & guitar), Joe Menezes (Drums), Angelo D’Cruz (Vocals), Boney (Bass).

This is when I decided to change the name of the band to “Radiation”.   In 1989 I left the band to work in Dubai and rejoined a year later and left again in 1991.

Fanoos Wanna bees:  Don’t remember the band name, but will call it the Fanoos Wanna bees lol!!   The same year 1991 Joseph Rodrigues (Saxophone/bongos), Boniface Herbert (Bass) and myself got a contract at the Fanoos (Karachi Sheraton).  That didn’t last long cause the kings of that stage were Gerard Vanderlowen and the boys.

Tony D’Souza (TJ), Norman D’Souza, Arif Barocha, Angelo Fernandes and I jammed together for a couple of gigs and then went our separate ways.

Dimensions:  Later that year again (1991), I joined the Albustan (Karachi Sheraton) dining room band i.e. Frank Dias (Keysboards), Richie D’Souza (Drums),  and Rudy Wilson (Rhythm Guitar).   Rudy left shortly and I recommended bassist Tony D’Souza from my Axe Attack days. Tony, Ritchie and I continued there with various musicians until I left for Canada in August 1996.

Carbon Image:   Like all first generation immigrants, I got busy working hard so that my family could settle in well.   In 2000, Tony D’Souza aka TJ (Drums), Steven Gonsalves (Bass), David Joseph (Keyboards) and myself (guitar/vocals) formed Carbon Image a pure bar band.  We rocked until 2003, when the travel distance took its toll on us.

Tony and I still miss that lineup, no band politics etc. just great music and lots of fun and fans.   We were so good together and generated serious business that venues cancelled other gora bands and replaced them with us.

Cruz Zone/The Robert D’Cruz Band:   In 2004 I was booked for a huge gig but did not have a band, that’s when I realized that I had great musicians at home.  So I turned to my 9 year old Phil who was already a good keyboardist (now a shredder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chq1gmsAtoQ), I trained my 7 year old Drayton on drums, and taught my nephew Sherman some basic bass.

After practicing together for a couple of months, we did not have a band name and therefore had to go with what was listed in the news paper schedule “The Robert D’Cruz Band”, and we hit the stage with songs like Crazy Train, Paranoid, Baba O’reily etc.

That was the greatest gig of my life.  I cannot express the excitement, joy, thrill I felt whilst rocking with my 9 and 7 year old sons on 10,000 watts, and the crowd getting aboard the crazy train was amazing!  My wife Anita played drums on a couple of tunes as well.

And here are my boys doing their thing ~ contd. below

At the end of the gig I was packing up while my sons were signing autographs. We were also approached by a famous Rock radio station asking us for a CD to air, and a record company wanted us to do some original stuff, but I didn’t want to put my little boys through that at such an early age.  We evolved into the Cruz Zone and played for a number of gigs, battle of the bands and also had the opportunity to open for The Paul James band;  played with Melgum Road and made an appearance of Rogers TV as well.  I don’t do as many gigs anymore because I’m trying to push the boys to do their own thing.

My influences:  Iggy, Gilmore, Blackmore, Steve Vai, VH, In short all the great guitar players from the late 60s to date!

Musicians I played with:

  1. Faisal
  2. Nadeem
  3. Samar
  4. Trevor D’Cruz (my best cousin/bro Love u buddy)
  5. Kevin Francis
  6. Ronnie James
  7. Tony D’Souza (TD)
  8. Allan Smith
  9. Russell D’Souza
  10. Joe Rodrigues
  11. Frank Dias
  12. Glen D’Cruze
  13. Gerard Vaderlowen
  14. Alan Vanderlowen
  15. Neil Aroujo
  16. Angelo D’Cruz
  17. Jonson
  18. Louis D’Souza
  19. Joe Menezes
  20. Gumby
  21. Ritchie D’Souza
  22. Rudy Wilson
  23. Dominic Gonsalves
  24. Boni Herbert
  25. Hilary Rodrigues
  26. Norman D’Souza
  27. Tony D’Souza (TJ)
  28. Angelo Fernandes
  29. Arif Baroucha
  30. Steven Gonsalves
  31. David Joseph
  32. Gerard Vanderlowen
  33. Daryl Leachey
  34. Bosco De Souza
  35. Bosco D’Souza
  36. Sylvester D’Souza
  37. Alan Dias
  38. Sabby Patrick
  39. Roland Trinidade
  40. Colin Couthinho
  41. Glenn Tindale
  42. Brian Lobo
  43. Solomon Clements
  44. Carl Miranda

——————————————————————————————————————-

Comments:

Lynette Dias Gouveia Robert D’Cruz – Are you referring to the Michael Dias the drummer that had polio? Kindly confirm.

Iqbal Kamdar Interesting history of the band, I appreciate. thank you very much.

Maxwell Dias Very interesting!~!:)

Robert D’Cruz Yes, Max’s brother!

Lynette Dias Gouveia Robert thanks so much for sharing here.  Was lovely reading about your experience and especially your encouragement and support towards your kids…

No wonder they are such fantastic young musicians..

Maxwell Dias I am really happy!!! There are people who remember Michael as a good drummer. Thanks Robert!

Lynette Dias Gouveia Robert D’Cruz – I was so happy to read that too!!  Michael Dias was my uncle who passed away in his early 20s.  He had polio but that didn’t stop him from playing the drums. Thanks so much for sharing..

Mary-Lou Vanderlowen Your family always encouraged the kids, I can remember when we were just little kids coming over for Carol Singing practice at your place. You were even younger than us, so maybe you would not remember that, but we always had fun where ever George was.

Alan Vanderlowen robert u r my baby brother and a damn good guitar player good fortune always!

Kevin Mendonca If I remember well Max you sister Mitzy used to sing also I remember her during the talent show days

Robert D’Cruz I just happened to read all these awesome comments almost a year later;  boy am i slow….  Max I definitely remember him although I was around 6 or 7 years old, and I can proudly claim I was his mic holder at one point when there was no mic stand and I was proud to do the job.  He sang a Santana song don’t know the name but i definitely remember the song!

Robert D’Cruz Lynette your uncle was an amazing drummer and singer and I was one of the lucky ones who watched him do his magic…

Robert D’Cruz Mary-Lou I’ve always watched your entire family from a distance as unapproachable stars… I never expected u to know me or of me, thank you so much I’m honored 🙂

Robert D’Cruz Alan my Guru all I can say to u is I love you my big bro and you know it!!

Angelo D’cruz Hey Robert it was a pleasure singing with you for so many years.  I remember how everyone use to think we were brothers. We even had the same last names. I remember the night when you came up with the new name for the band RADIATION man that was a lucky name that stayed.  Till the end which was 1996. You are doing a good job with your kids and are sounding very good keep it up brother .

Joseph Fernandes Your boyz are excellent man. They r piece of inspiration for young musicians. Good job.

Robert D’Cruz Thanks Angelo and Joseph, I appreciate your comments!

Note:   Robert and his sons recently performed at Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto

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