Standing six feet, two inches tall with weight of over a hundred kilogrammes is Adeboye Bammeke. Not many know him by his real name but nearly all will remember the ‘Big Bamo’ from the Maintain group.

An architect by training and practice, Big Bamo fostered and nurtured the now disbanded but successful Maintain group, made up of Tolu Maintain- who now plays another career path and Olu Maintain- the Kentro World pioneer and Yahozee crooner.

He started playing music from his university days, forming a music band in spite of his academic parents. Easy-going, soft-hearted, big and unbelievably shy, this father of two sons who’s afraid of redundancy says he isn’t expecting any pay back from Olu or Tolu. Surprised? Please read on.

Why use ‘Big Bamo’ for stage name of a glamorous business?

Big- obviously from the size, Bamo from my surname. Everybody from my house is called Bamo for short and that dates back to secondary school days.

And how would you describe yourself?

Big and shy. If I get upset, I can’t look in a person’s eye. I could be vocal especially when it comes to the music scene. I like to be jovial. I love very calm situations. I’m an easy-come, easy-going fellow. I weigh over a hundred kilogrammes and I am six feet two inches in height.

Do you have any fears?

Being redundant. I hate not being applicable to where I stand or function. I like to be relevant in what I do because respect is important. If it so happens that you have some young dudes come and take up the space, you have to either acquire more skills or gallantly bow out and learn some more of the trade.

What else do you do apart from music?

Well I studied Architecture in University of Ife. I have two degrees in Architecture. I still try to design sometimes and still work with one of my ogas. I do a little bit of abstract art, but I’ve not been brave enough to publish a book on it- just like it took me so long with the music. I also like photography and will like to go into it just like filming too.

What is your typical day like?

I get up in the morning and go to the gym. I’m there from 7:45am till about 9:45am. I try to do that everyday. After that, I try to swim, if I can and then I set off to my office-which is here. On my way from the gym I try to write out a diary of things to do. I consider lunch very important so I don’t joke with it. If my kids are in session, I pick them from school. I sleep scared nearly everyday because when I take stock of the day at night I am never fulfilled.

Did you want to be a singer while young?

I wanted to be a pilot but my dad told me that they are never big. I’ve always been big compared to my age. Suddenly, I also found out that I was scared of heights.

Where was growing up?

My dad was a lecturer at the University of Ibadan so I grew up in the university campus.

My mum was the principal of the school of nursing at the UCH. I knew medicine was not for me because I got irritated easily by sores and pus although I didn’t really have issues with blood. I don’t watch horror movies; No I can’t

I strictly watch cartoons and comedy. I’m a great cartoon fan. I have nearly all the cartoon series you can think of at home. I am more introvert than extrovert although I’m trying to change that because of the music game.

How did you nurture a music dream in an academic environment?

When it’s in you, it’s in you. I could remember my mum trying to gt a nap in the afternoon while she was still a nurse tutor. I would lock myself up in the garage, turn the buckets upside down, and bang them with sticks.

From there I remember being a student in Ife. I started a group with my wife now- who was my girlfriend then- and two of my very good friends. We formed a band that terrorised most bands both in Ibadan and Lagos. It was called ‘Time Band’. At some point when Tunde Obe’s band called Turning Point then, came to Ife, we beat them and won that national competition.

I still have the tape and that was in 1990. Whoever won the competition usually went on a tour around campuses which we did. All the same I still wasn’t brave enough to do my own songs.

What were your parents’ reaction to your involvement in music?

They didn’t know about all that was happening in school. They didn’t found out about me and music until I started handling the maintain group. My dad who was a bookworm didn’t like it at all and till date he still finds it hard and is indifferent about it.

How did Olu and Tolu Maintain come in?

They just walked up to me. My brother used to play snooker at a club on Ring Road, Ibadan, then and Tolu’s elder brother used to come there too.

He told my brother that he had this younger brother and a cousin who were really mad about music and that he would love them to meet me. So the boys brought their demo tape and I fell in love with it immediately.

The only thing I told them to change was to tell me about what’s happening right here other than what was going on in the states. And they coined out that phrase, ‘a se party, won n fo’.

In what capacity did you relate with them then?

I just wanted to be an advisor at first. So when they came to me I gave them notes to some record label owners I had known, gave them little money and told them good luck.

Later on they told me that they actually spent the money drinking and lied to me that they didn’t see those people

. That way they coned me into it and we all started together. So I was like the financier/executive producer, manager, co-vocalist, back-up and all because I couldn’t afford to pay anybody else.

How long did you see the group going for?

As long as it would last. Twenty kids can’t play for twenty years and dealing with different temperaments and other differences, was very challenging. There were issues like you choose a song, one person doesn’t like it or one person feels you listen to the other more than him. I had to deal with that for seven-eight years. I knew it would end up the way it did. I always knew they would go separate ways.

It was something I had foreseen and I knew who would make the first move as well. It was all written on the wall.

How did you react when it finally happened?

Was I going to fight? There’s a saying that ‘If you have a bird, let it go. If it’s yours, it will come back to you; and if it doesn’t, it was never yours.

Why did it take you so long before recording a song of your own- Kowonje?

Sometimes you are not brave enough to do some things. Sometimes you want to be behind because you are not ready to take centre stage and all that comes with it. Again when I consider my age, I tend to want to relent.

What’s your present relationship with the duo like?

It’s good. What do you expect me to say?

When was the last time you spoke to either of them?

Very recently. Everybody’s just doing his own thing. Tolu is in Ibadan, married. Olu’s having shows here and there. It wasn’t like when we started and everybody had time. Now everyone’s occupied.

Will you say the boys have been grateful?

I’m not expecting returns from anybody. Anything I’d done favoured them and favoured me as well. The most important thing is you knowing that you have done something and people acknowledge you for that which you have done.

That is enough for me. Even if they don’t want to acknowledge you or decide not to, other people would.

Interestingly, I am not even getting those kind of vibes anymore. I’m not expecting them to come pay back, I’m expecting God to pay me back.