Douglas Lim teams up with The Strollers2 for the reunion dinner of two leading Ipoh schools, writes Dennis Chua
FUNNYMAN Douglas Lim is a hit with theatre-goers of all ages — as a stand-up comedian and actor, also singer and songwriter. And who doesn’t know The Strollers2, the latest line-up of The Strollers, one of the country’s most enduring rock-pop groups known for its delivery of golden oldies from the 1960s -’80s.
Together, they will be giving 1,000 former students and teachers of Perak’s oldest boys’ and girls’ schools a “jolly good time” at Ipoh’s new Kinta Riverfront Hotel in Jalan Lim Bo Seng on Aug 4.
The special occasion, a first for Douglas and The Strollers2, is the 117th anniversary of the Anglo Chinese School (ACS) and 115th of its sister school, the Methodist Girls School (MGS) of Ipoh.
The Strollers2, says drummer and most senior member Hussein Idris, came together in 2008. Hussein is the only member of the original band’s line-up. He is joined by vocalist and harmonica player Desi, and bassist Casper, two ex-members of The Memories. Completing the line-up are keyboardist Lord from The Boys and guitarist Nan from The Grim Preachers.
Hussein says: “We decided to make a comeback to the music scene solely out of our love of music. Before The Strollers2 was formed, we noticed that there weren’t many bands performing hits of the 1960s to 1980s in KL’s cafes.
“So with older fans in mind, we decided to meet the demand for music from the golden eras of rock, R&B and pop.”
The Strollers2 has a repertoire of more than 150 hit songs, most notably from The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Hall And Oates and Three Dog Night.
Casper says the original band was formed in 1965 and comprised Michael Magness, Nand Kumar, Billy Chang, Hussein and Ramli Yaacob.
Desi says: “The Strollers composed its very own hit songs. Silly Joke, Do What You Gotta Do and Just As I Am are the most famous, and we play them in all our gigs.”
The Strollers2, says Nan, is based at Marbella Bar, a two-month-old restaurant in Newcom Club, Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur.
“We used to perform in Hard Rock Cafe and earlier, Tropicana Golf And Country Resort, Petaling Jaya,” he says.
Lord says the karaoke restaurant Marbella is open six days a week, and The Strollers2 is its headlining band, and performs on Fridays. “Six bands perform in the restaurant and Wednesday is jam session day.” Lord used to back up rock queen Ella.
Desi says his group will sing 40 songs at the reunion dinner, its first major gig in Ipoh. One hit which the schools have requested is We Are The Champions, by Queen.
Casper says it is great being asked to share the stage with Douglas, the emcee, as he is one of the most versatile talents in Malaysia, and a prolific songwriter.
“It is an honour to emcee for the ACS dinner,” says Douglas. “The school has a tradition of staging and producing musicals and for discovering household names in Malaysian show business, Mano Maniam and Afdlin Shauki.”
“Mano and I go back a long way. We acted in Kopitiam, while Afdlin and I worked together in My Spy and Cuci The Musical,” adds Douglas.
“I’ve acted in Broken Bridges The Musical and Tunku The Musical which were written and composed by former ACS students, Teng Ky-Gan and Lim Chuang Yik.”
Douglas adds: “I’m so looking forward to hearing from Mano, who has been the emcee of his school’s reunion dinners in previous years. Most likely, I’ll have Mano take the mike in one of the segments as he’s a superb entertainer.”
Afdlin, sadly, cannot make it for Aug 4 as he will be in the United States.
Later this year, he will be part of the comedy showcase Kings And Queens Of Comedy Asia 2012 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile, Marbella chief executive officer Allan Raj says the restaurant’s concept is “dining with good music”. “It serves both Eastern and Western cuisine and its signature recipes are yong tow foo and curry mee,” he says.
Dining is from noon to 11pm. The band starts playing at 9pm. Contact Marbella at 03-7982 2646.