Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma Shreds to Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years
The state of Meghalaya is known for its breathtaking waterfalls, living root bridges, rolling hills, and spice-filled rice cuisine. In May 2020, this list of attractions was joined by an unlikely new addition: an electric guitar-shredding chief minister (CM).
The Chief Minister of Rock
“After a hectic 3 day Assembly session … unwinding with some iron maiden stuff… It’s been a long while I haven’t played so I guess a few mistakes…” This was how Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma captioned the now-viral Instagram video of him playing Iron Maiden’s Wasted Years on his electric guitar. This is somewhat of a deep cut from the seminal metal band’s catalogue. In Iron Maiden’s history, Wasted Years was the first single that was written solely by guitarist Adrian Smith. And Smith’s solos and overall style in the song has been pivotal in shaping speed and other genres of late 20th century metal.
The video has since gained tens of thousands of views, with comments from Iron Maiden fans praising his humble attempt at skillfully covering the rock classic. Although it’s unclear in the video whether or not Sangma is using an overdrive pedal which Smith uses to create his tone, the CM replicates the iconic, gritty metal tone almost perfectly.
From what we can see in the video, what’s sure is that he’s using a powerful amp, which he could’ve tweaked in order to improvise overdrive tones in the absence of actual pedals. Indeed, some of those who shared the video mentioned his use of a PRS guitar and Blackstar amplifier, which shows that he knows his gear. Meanwhile, others cited how the city of Shillong – where Sangma is from – is known for having a musician in every house. Some commenters were simply proud to have such a hard-rocking CM.
Wasted Years by Iron Maiden
Apart from being the first song Smith wrote on his own, there are many reasons why Wasted Years was such a perfect choice for a cover. The song is from Iron Maiden’s 1986 album, Somewhere in Time, a 51-minute-long album that’s absolutely brimming with orgasmic guitar solos. The band uses synthesisers throughout the whole album, except in Wasted Years, which upon release became known as Somewhere in Time’s standout single.
The success of the song is one of the main reasons why the album went double platinum in North America back in the ‘80s. Today, Somewhere in Time is an underrated gem. And in covering Wasted Years, Sangma has inadvertently rekindled some of the spark that the pivotal album has lost over the years. As the song’s themes of alienation and homesickness ring true during the pandemic, the CM couldn’t have picked a better Iron Maiden song to cover in 2020.
Although it’s been about a year since Sangma went viral for his electric guitar skills, it’s important to look back at these wholesome moments amid the uncertainty of current times. We can only hope that the CM continues shredding in his spare time, and that he keeps posting his best stuff online.