Guitar Mag makes rock band’s 20th anniversary extra special with acclaim for best album, artist and axe-wielding
The biggest surprise at the Guitar Mag Awards on Monday was the multiple successes of Big Ass, a rock band that’s clocked up 20 years in the business and lately refuses to be bothered releasing singles.
But the crowd at Show DC’s Ultra Arena Theatre was fully behind them as they collected Album of the Year for “The Lion”, Band Artist of the Year and Guitar Man of the Year.
“This year Big Ass reaches the 20-year milestone,” drummer-songwriter Kachorndej “Kob” Promraksa declared to spirited applause after collecting the Band of the Year trophy.
“We’ve overcome many hurdles and challenges throughout that period, even this year. But this award will be a driving force to help us overcome any obstacle.”
The latest “obstacle” is that every member of the band has been accused of copyright infringement following a performance of “Korn Tai” at a corporate party. Back in 2000, when they did release singles, that was a hit from their second album, “XL”, but the disc was on the Music Bugs label, and now they’re with GMM Grammy subsidiary Genie Records.
That aside, said Kob, this year has felt like a new beginning for the band because they have a new singer.
“It’s the same feeling we had when he won our first award. Some people thought we were crazy recording 10 songs for a full-length album, but those 10 songs mean a lot to us, because they’re all connected. This award is vindication.
“We were determined to make it big in music when we were 18, so no matter what we faced, even poor album sales, we kept making the kind of music we loved.”
The band’s double-trouble axe men, Poonsak “Off” Jaturaboon and Apichart “Moo” Promraksa, shared the Guitar Man of the Year award. “We’ve been friends since high school,” Off said, “and there’s nothing better than receiving this award together on this stage.”
Songwriter of the Year honours went to the Rube, who are billed as a “modern Thai traditional” outfit for placing characters from classic Thai literature into hip-hop-tinged productions. Their track “Foe: Mai Chai Phra Aek” was also named Choice of the Year.
With singer Siwapong “Get” Hemwong, bassist Songpol Srisaard and drummer Natcharapong Watthanajarupong by his side, guitarist Theerawong Watthanajarupong thanked the host magazine and Spicy Disc, their label.
Credit was also shared with Bodin “Pe” Charoenrat of the pop band Mild, who wrote the song with Get Siwapong.
“I started writing songs when I was in high school and now I’m 31, so this is a thrill,” Pe said of the long-dreamed-of award. “I’m very proud of the combination of traditional Thai and modern music.”
“The Rube couldn’t have got to this point without the Mild,” Get chimed in.
The Rube performed “Sia”, a recent release, and there were brief sets by Slot Machine, ETC, BNK48, the Toys and Klear.
Suthee “Kai” Saengsereechon was named Producer of the Year for his brilliant touch on the Room 39 track “Pen Thuk Yang”. He cracked that he was the oldest of the nominees for the award, then turned serious.
“Let me vent my feelings. Last year I almost quit being a producer because there was so much pressure working under the ‘old system’. But this award makes me feel good again.”
Kai thanked his friend Boyd Kosiyabong, LoveIs and Room 39 for showing him the “respect” to handle their album.
“The system has changed now,” he explained later. “Producers used to get paid a percentage of sales of CDs and cassettes. Nowadays, with everyone online and focused on live shows, producers get a flat rate. The producer is like a member of the band, and since it’s impossible to sell CDs these days, he should be paid on those terms.”
Sexy girl group BNK48 – Cherprang Areekul, Kanteera “Noey” Wadcharathadsanakul, Patchanan “Orn” Jiajirachote, Isarapa “Tarwaan” Thawatpakdee, Milin “Namneung” Dokthian and Natruja “Kaew” Chutiwansopon – had their fans in a frenzy as they accepted the Single Hit of the Year award for “Cookie Siangtai” (“Fortune Cookie”).
Cherprang got choked up as she described the group as “just ordinary girls” and thanked Jirat Bawornwatana of Rose Artist Management, Pongchak “Aey” Pisatthanporn and Tanupop “Man” Notayanont of Laongfong and their other songwriters.
“We never thought our single had a chance to win this award,” she said. “From now on, our songs and performances will be for everyone.”
New Wave of the Year honours went to the Toys, Best Style of the Year to 25 Hours, Best Male of the Year Chanakan “Atom” Ratanaudom and Best Female Artist of the Year Kanyarat “Lula” Tiyapornchai, while Palitchoke “Peck” Ayanaputra won the Popular Vote.
Sompol “Laem” Rungpanich, frontman of 25 Hours, was grateful for the confidence booster. “We’ve reached our 10th year, but time has never changed us.”
Lula said that, in her pre-performing days, she was “a working woman” who overcame her tiredness by singing from and playing piano along to the sheet music published in The Guitar Mag. The award, she said, was a dream come true.
"This is the first award I’ve ever received and I find it unbelievable that I’m getting one now, said Peck, who took a long hiatus from the business. “Thanks to all the fans around the country who voted for me and welcomed be back into the music scene again.”
The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award went to veteran singer Thaneth Warakulnukroh.