Asad Ahmed (born July 21, 1971 in Karachi) is a Pakistani guitarist. His first stint was forming The Barbarians. He has been a member of the famous pop trio Awaz, has played with Junoon, Vital Signs and is currently a founding member of the rock band Karavan.
His family moved to Dubai when he was quite young. His elder brother was a guitarist and when he left for college, he left his guitar back at home. Asad picked it up and was drawn into its whim. His family returned to Karachi in 1984.
Asad started his music career in 1987 with The Barbarians, which is regarded by many as Pakistan’s first rock band. The band’s first single “Yeh Zindagi Hai” (This is Life) set the foundation of Pakistani rock. They got their first big break when The Barbarians participated in “Rock vs. Rock” show in karachi and won . They released their only album, the self-titled “The Barbarians” in 1989, which did not fare well in the then rock-repellant Pakistani music industry. The Barbarians fell apart in 1990.
Junoon and Vital Signs
Asad did a gig with Salman Ahmad of Junoon at a party in 1991. On Salman’s invitation, he hopped on board with Junoon and played bass with them for about a year. In a performance at Marriott Islamabad in November 1992, he met Haroon and Faakhir of Awaz and Rohail Hyatt of Vital Signs. This led to his performances on Vital Signs’ Aitebar and Hum Tum .
Awaz was formed in December 1992, by Haroon, Faakhir and Asad. The band went on to become the next best thing in Pakistani pop scene after Vital Signs. Awaz were highly skilled and talented musicians, producers and composers. The band’s skill at composing and producing was often overlooked and the focus was on their good looks, glossy videos, catch songs and wild stage performances. Awaz was the first band from Pakistan to appear on MTV on April 20, 1992 with the song Janeman. Awaz released three albums. The first album was the self titled album “Awaz”, more commonly known as “Awaz 1”. The second album was “Jadu Ka Chiraagh” and the third and last album was “Shola”. After “Shola”, the band fell apart due to the differences among the three and they went their ways. Haroon and Faakhir started their solo careers.
In 1997, foreseeing a disintegrating Awaz, Asad established his own studio. Simultaneously, he joined hands with Sameer Ahmed to form Karavan, thus returning to his rock origins. They brought the already established solo singer Najam Sheraz as the first vocalist and Alan Smith as drummer to complete the lineup. In 1999, Najam Shiraz returned to his solo career, vacating the vocalist’s slot for newcomer Tanseer Daar. Karavan released “Rakh Aas” in 1997, “Safar” in 1999 and “Gardish” in 2002. In 2005, The band issued an internet only Unplugged album which had over 100,000 downloads. Karavan released their 4th studio album, “Saara Jahan” in 2010. The band are currently compiling songs for their 1st greatest hits package to be released in 2011.
Over the years, Asad has done extensive session work contributing his guitar work and compositions to albums by Vital Signs, Ali Haider, Najam Sheraz, Haroon, Sajjad Ali and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to name a few. These days plays guitar regularly on Coke Studio.