Patrick Chng: From Oddfellow to Typewriter guitarist

Patrick Chng: From Oddfellow to Typewriter guitarist

Patrick Chng might have a reputation for being the nicest guy in Singapore rock, but that does not mean he cannot get annoyed.

One thing that gets his back up - journalists who play up his position as an elder statesman of rock and how his band The Oddfellows blazed a trail two decades ago.

His past seems to be what many of them are interested in, at the expense of what he is doing now.

"I hate those questions," he says, flashing an embarrassed smile. "I didn't just live in that period."

It presupposes that he belongs to an earlier time and that today's music scene is produced only by fresh-faced members of the YouTube generation.

At 45, he still thinks of himself as deeply involved in the industry, as guitarist in pop quartet TypeWriter, producer for local acts, music journalist and soundtrack composer, and as a representative of American guitar company Gibson. He co-founded and runs music news site walkonmusic.net.

But he does not blame writers for putting his legacy ahead of his current work.

There is a curiosity about the days when the only local acts in the English- language rock scene were cover bands, he says.

If support for local original music is poor today, it was completely absent when The Oddfellows formed in 1988. For the few making original music, there were no gigs, no radio or label backing to be had.

"They want to ask someone who has been there, to compare those times and now. In a way, they have a right to ask because it was a completely different world," he says.

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