Momocha Laishram : Veteran Drummer of Rock Band 'Cannibals' :: Profile

Jimmy Leivon *

Momocha Laishram  : Veteran Drummer of  Rock Band 'Cannibals'
Momocha Laishram : Veteran Drummer of Rock Band 'Cannibals'

"If one wants to be successful artist one must have the never say die spirit, with positive mind set and big dreams", said Momo Laishram.

For the 47 years old veteran drummer of the famous rock band Cannibals from Manipur, one of the pioneers of the rock music in India, the word quitting is not in his dictionary. Even as the glory days of the Cannibal became a thing of the pastMomocha is still chasing what he called a "big dream".

In a close up chat with Eclectic vibes, the Veteran drummer unfolded the episodes of his musical journey and how he ended up in one of the sensational band of the early 80's Cannibals and what lies in his closet.

Since his childhood Momocha was somehow connected with arts, for he was brought up in Yaiskul Imphal, a locality which happen to be home of many gurus of music, dances and drama, of that time and art basically revolved around him. But he discovered the love for rock music during his high school days during the time of band like the Runaway Track. "I used to attend the band's rehearsal between my way to schools almost every-day and each time my passion for rock grew stronger, and slowly I learn drumming from some of the elders".

In 1980, a huge turning point came in his life which favoured him, Somo the drummer of the Runaway Track retired from the band and Momocha was given opportunity to replaced Somo. After having associated with the band for a short period, he joined 'Machine Head' in 1983, the first heavy metal band where he met with fellow vocalist of Cannibals, Paul Gangmei.

The 'Machine head' had the same fate like other normal bands of those days after few years since its formation the band split. In 1986, architect by Paul the Cannibals was form with the line-up of Momocha (drums), Ritchie (Guitar), Jimmy (Guitar) and Mathew (Bass).

Cannibals shot to fame instantly outclassing other bands in almost all the major competition of India, they became one of the most prominent rock in the country during the 80s. The band was at the summit of its career and toured all over India. Some of the achievement of the band was winning the North East Zone Musical competition Dimapur, All India Western Music competition held at Shri Ram College, New Delhi and Music competition of St Xavier's etc. However, the glory days of Cannibals came to an end in 1992.

Cannibals also had two originals like the "Sweet Reggae" and "Dirty Boy Blues".

Momocha Laishram  : Veteran Drummer of  Rock Band 'Cannibals'
Momocha Laishram : Veteran Drummer of Rock Band 'Cannibals'

Momocha mitigated the retirement of the band from Music scene to attend the moral obligation of their normal life. According to him it is a common perception for many that music is not the option for having a decent livelihood but he disagreed with to concept.

He continued that "If one wants to be successful artist one must have the never say die spirit, with positive mind set and big dreams".

After the retirement of Cannibal, Momocha continue to drum his way through different genre of music, he joined "Hazard", the only glam rock band of India that time, for two years and continued to live his dream periodically appearing in concerts with other bands like Phoenix, post, Lou Mojo and Soulmate.

Ritchie is settled in Mizoram, while Paul and Mathew are still adhering to their normal chore in Manipur. Jimmy, the guitarist expired last year after battling prolonged sickness.

Differences Now and then: Momocha observed that the music scenario in the entire north-east, this generation are more sophisticated, well equipped and had a greater platform. "Everything today is at the tip of fingers, tabulators, music vidoes, lyrics you name it, besides there are many music festivals and event management teams", he said.

"What we did back then we had rely on cassettes and our ability to hears, we would play a song on the players and follow to the rhythm and this has to be repeated several times", said Momocha adding that even the event had to be managed by the band members.

He recalled an instance of a tour in Delhi where he had to put up posters in the streets of Delhi before a concert.

Influences: Remarkably the flamboyant drummer known for his skin bashing drumming confessed that he never had drum lessons in his hay days with the cannibals until 2006. All he relied on was raw talent and his influences which include drummers of Grant Funk Rail Road- Don Brewer, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and Piotr Szkudelski of Polish.

He had three months professional course on drumming from Yamaha School of Music, Bankok in 2006.

Clarifying on his late decision to take drum lessons, he said drumming only with the influence of others had held him back while trying to develop his own style.

Good news for fans: Momocha spelled out that he is working on a project to produce a solo instrumental album teaming up with India's finest percussion which he said is a long cherished dream to be fulfilled. He briefed that the album will feature the language of different traditional drumming of Manipur and his trademark move. This may take time, but I need to give as much as time I got and deliver my best". The project according to him might take three to four years.

Despite the demise of one of its band members he talked of a possible re-union concert in next couple of years however he hinted that the band will be in their new avatar with more professional approach. He revealed that he is constantly in touch with his the surviving members of band.

See a Photo Gallery of Momocha here

* Jimmy Leivon, a frequent contributor, wrote this article for
This article was posted on March 14, 2015.

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