Indonesia’s long-inactive Ahmad Band debuts new lineup in livestream concert

During the livestream, Ahmad Dhani also revealed that he had contracted the coronavirus

The long-inactive Indonesian rock band Ahmad Band debuted a new lineup in a livestream show on Sunday (January 24) that’s now available on YouTube.

Original members Ahmad Dhani and Andra Junaidi sang and played the guitar, respectively. The new members who made their debut are guitarist Stephan Santoso, bassist Thomas Ramdhan and drummer Yoyo Prasetyo.

Santoso is known as a sound engineer and the guitarist for rock band Musikimia. Ramdhan has played with pop rock band Gigi since 1994, while Prasetyo is a member of long-running band Padi.

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In December 2020, Ahmad Dhani announced Ahmad Band’s newest lineup in an Instagram post that also included host Raffi Ahmad and singer Andi Fadly Arifuddin. Ramdhan was not present in the photo.

The band’s show on January 24 featured nine songs, including two cover versions of Nicky Astria’s ‘Jarum Neraka’ (‘Needle From Hell’) and Mulan Jameela’s ‘Cinta Mati II’ (‘Love ‘till The End II’). The latter featured Jameela along with singer NisaKu.

In the stream’s live chat, Dhani also revealed that he had contracted coronavirus (though he did not say when). “I felt like I caught a cold and then I got tested. It turned out positive,” he said.

Revisit the concert below.

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Ahmad Dhani gained national recognition in the 1990s with the rock band Dewa 19. Ahmad Band was a side project that showed a more political side to the musician. In 1998, Ahmad Band released the album ‘Ideologi Sikap Otak’ (‘Ideology, Attitude, Brain’), that spawned hits such as ‘Bidadari di Kesunyian’ (‘Angel in Silence’), ‘Sudah’ (‘Enough’) and ’Aku Cinta Kau dan Dia’ (‘I Love You and Her’).

Along with Dhani and Ramadhan, the band’s original members were Parlin Burman, Bongky Marcel and Bimo Sulaksono. Burman and Marcel were known as former members of Slank, while Sulaksono previously played for rock unit Netral.

Under Ahmad Band, Dhani and Ramadhan also released a soundtrack album for Kuldesak, an Indonesian independent film released in 1998.

In recent years, Dhani has been in the headlines for reasons little to do with music. In 2014, he ignited outrage by wearing a military-style costume that was similar to a Nazi uniform in a music video to drum up support for then-Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto. The video, in which Dhani and other musicians performed the Queen song ‘We Will Rock You’, was later removed from YouTube. Queen’s Brian May addressed the video in a tweet that read, “Of course this is completely unauthorized by us.”

In January 2019, Dhani was sentenced to 18 months in prison for hate speech in connection with a series of tweets directed at supporters of former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama who at the time was on trial for blasphemy, The Jakarta Post reported.

One of Dhani’s tweets read, “Anyone who supports the blasphemer is scum and deserves to be spat in the face”. His sentence was reduced to one year of imprisonment after an appeal.

Dhani was reported to the police again for hate speech in February 2019 and was sentenced in June 2019 to one year in jail for calling his political rivals “idiots” in a vlog. His sentence was cut to six months of probation after he appealed. Dhani was finally released in December 2019 after serving 11 months behind bars.

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