Asad Ahmed Writes A Heartfelt Tribute for Pakistan's Legendary Guitarist Aamir Zaki
I’ve been thinking about my friend Aamir Zaki today,” Ahmed started off. “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.”
They got talking and became friends instantly. “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.”
“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.” Ahmed continued.
As time passed, the two became too busy for a day to day catch up 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.”
“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 a shaken Ahmed.
“I would see Zaki one last at 4am the next morning, at his own funeral, attended by his friends and family,” he further added. “Goodbye, old friend! It’s been an honour and privilege to learn from a master. Rest in peace, Aamir Zaki.”
Read the full tribute,