‘The Falcons’ play on with new line-up

Young and talented: The Falcons in the 1960s with 13-year-old Jerry Felix on the far right. The others are (from left) Ronnie Felix (guitar), Aziz Romeno (vocals), Gren Pereira and Jerry Ventura (drums).

THE Falcons began recording in their teens, back in the 1960s, when most musically inclined kids of the same age were singing and dancing in boy bands.

But The Falcons were the real deal. They wrote their own music, played their own instruments and practised vigorously to be excellent musicians.

“We were musicians and good musicians practised for hours every day, which we did. I wanted to be the best drummer possible,” said Jerry Felix, who has gone from banging on his mother’s pots and pans and practising eight hours a day to becoming one of the most respected rock drummers in the country.

“Even at that age (we were around the age of 13 and 14), we found playing music special. Music was a reward in itself,” said the high-school dropout turned virtuoso musician.

The Falcons’ line-up feature Jerry alongside Brian Felix on keyboards, Ronnie Felix on guitar and Jerry Ventura on bass. Brian, Ronnie and Jerry are all cousins.

The band’s first EP featured a Ventures-type instrumental called Nightmare, which was released in 1964 on CBS records, two years after The Beatles made their debut.

“It was a radio hit. We went to number one on the radio charts, above The Beatles,” recalled the 61-year-old, who is married with two kids.

“When I listen to the performance of the band on Nightmare today, I wonder how the hell I managed to do it,” he said.

The band’s sheer musical ability got them playing on the local nightspot circuit (Tin Mine, Tomorrow Disco, Pink Pussycat) and went on to open for top acts in the 1960s like The Hollies and The Dave Clark 5 in stadiums in Malaysia.

The Falcons even played in Saigon during the Vietnam war in 1969, entertaining American soldiers.

He recalled that the band was too young to understand what war actually meant.

“A week after we left, Da Nang airport was bombed,” Jerry recalled.

The Falcons line-up would go through many changes in its career, including the recruitment of bassist extraordinaire Andy Peterson, who joined in the late 1970s, and stayed on for about five years.

The Falcons did “covers of crappy 1980s bands” in nightspots in Germany for 10 years, so Jerry left.

Through the decades, the Falcons would sometimes go on hiatus, but Jerry Felix would still be active in music.

Among the bands that Jerry Felix has played in are Made In Malaysia (which featured the late Paul Ponnudurai on guitar) in the late 1980s and early 1990s and the Djeds, which had Jaclyn Victor on vocals before she won the Malaysian Idol singing competition in 2004. He has also played with Amy (of Search), Rahim Maarof, Ziana Zain and more.

Jerry also released a solo album called Jerry Felix… At Last in 2003, featuring the guest vocals of Jaclyn Victor, Ramli Sarip and the late Seha, among others.

Jerry Felix has also been teaching drums for the past five years at a Yamaha music school in Shah Alam as well as conducting private lessons at his home in Subang Jaya, Selangor.

However, Jerry Felix’s heart is still with the Falcons. He and Jerry Ventura continue to fly the flag for The Falcons, by playing at functions and to packed local pubs.

The current Falcons line-up are both the Jerrys, Ronnie Felix on guitar and Eddie Zachariah on keyboards

There are no plans for new recordings but Jerry Felix believes he will play till he drops.

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