Guitarist Asad Ahmed pens emotional tribute to ‘master’ Aamir Zaki
KARACHI : Nearly a week has passed since Aamir Zaki breathed his last but the wound remains as fresh as it was last Friday. Much of Pakistan is still reeling from the loss of arguably the greatest musician it ever saw, with tributes pouring in from ardent fans and past colleagues, alike.
The latest to commemorate Zaki is former Vital Signs guitarist Asad Ahmed, who grew close to him through their many jamming sessions over the years. Ahmed took to Facebook on Wednesday to express how he feels, now that such a bright star of Pakistani music has burnt out.
“I’ve been thinking about my friend Aamir Zaki today,” Ahmed began. “I had the pleasure of first meeting him in 1985, when I shifted back from Dubai with my family. We were just students then. One day, during recess, I walked to the canteen to buy myself a Pakola and hear a voice say ‘Cool shirt, yaar.’ It was Zaki admiring my KISS Creatures of the Night t-shirt.”
The future rock stars thereby got to talking and quickly became friends. “During the next few years, Zaki would go on to play with Axe Attack, Alamgir and in 1988, he was asked to join The Barbarians as the band’s lead guitarist. We were just a hard rock cover band that played the music it loved,” Ahmed recalled. “By the early 90s, Zaki had moved on to his own band but we stayed in touch and sometimes, I would play bass for his solo shows, for a bunch of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Clapton covers.”
Ahmed continued, “When Zaki went on to play with the Vital Signs, I was so happy! He was finally, financially and professionally, in the right place. Soon after his solo album, Signature came out and finally, Zaki was doing what he had always wanted to do.”
With their respective careers taking off, Zaki and Ahmed naturally became too busy for regular correspondence but always remained close at heart. “Years would pass without us meeting each other. I was busy with Awaz and later, with Karavan. But Zaki and I would always see each other and catch up,” shared Ahmed. “Lately, I had been calling him over to my studio and we would jam and talk about guitars for hours! Zaki was a great Gibson fan, just like myself, and would love playing some of the custom models I had acquired through the years.”
As someone who had spent a considerable amount of time with Zaki, the Rakh Aas hit-maker was naturally shaken over the news of his death. “On the day of his passing, I started getting calls from different news and media outlets asking me to come on air and talk about Zaki. But I refused. In fact, I told one of those people that they should be ashamed of themselves for ignoring Zaki throughout his career,” said Ahmed.
“I would see Zaki one last at 4 am the next morning, at his own funeral, attended by his friends and family,” he added. “Goodbye, old friend! It’s been an honour and privilege to learn from a master. Rest in peace, Aamir Zaki.”