(On Spending Time with Some of the Philippines’ Rock Artists, part 1)
In our recent one-month vacation in the Philippines, Inna and I were able to meet up and hang out with many high-profile and even low-key personalities in the Philippine Rock music scene. Did those moments occur out of sheer luck? Of course, not! We planned those meetups. We took the time to contact them, coordinate with key persons and other common friends, attend their practice sessions and actual concerts, and most importantly, use to our advantage my former band Half Life Half Death’s being a part of the Philippine Alternative music scene for more than two decades; and this was what actually made me not a fan of but actually a fellow artist and a friend/acquaintance of many of these Rockstars.
In a commercial and Pop-music perspective, these personalities may not stand out as important figures; however, to someone who recognizes the significance in and influence of Rock music on the entire Philippine music industry, Rock artists especially those who have made their marks by having produced albums of originally written materials deserve tribute and respect. Many ordinary music fans may not know it, but they might have been singing some of the hits of these Rock bands and artists.
The pictures feature Inna and me with some of the Philippine Rock music personalities whom we had the privilege of seeing during our recent vacation in the Philippines—Jamir Garcia of Slapshock, Ely Buendia of Pupil/Eraserheads, Francis Magat of Wilabaliw, Victor “Kakoy” Legaspi formerly of Rivermaya, Pepe Smith of Juan Dela Cruz Band, Reg Rubio of Greyhoundz, Lemuel Galleto of The Lowtechs, and Reli de Vera of Sinosikat? The pictures were taken at Infinitif Studios in Makati, on January 23, 2012, where my band Half Life Half Death held its practice sessions for the series of concerts that we performed during my stay.
Focusing on the Musical Accomplishments
Many fans feel starstruck every time they see their idols and icons; but ironically, many of these self-proclaimed screaming fans fall short in really appreciating and supporting the music itself—they scream and rave about these bands or artists, but they are not actually purchasing or even listening to the entirety of their albums. So, to the uninitiated, here are the discographies of these bands.
Ely Buendia—Pupil and Eraserheads
The vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and chief songwriter of the legendary Philippine Alternative Rock band Eraserheads, Buendia is currently fronting Pupil. Active from 1992 to 2002, Eraserheads with Buendia released eight studio albums: Ultraelectromagneticpop! (1993), Circus (1994), Cutterpillow (1995), Fruitcake (1996), Sticker Happy (1997), Natin ’99 (1999), and Carbon Stereoxide (2001). Pupil, three albums: Beautiful Machines (2005), Wild Life (2007), and Limiters of the Infinity Pool (2011).
Garcia is the lead vocalist of the Nu Metal band Slapshock, which has released seven albums: 4th Degree Burn (1999), Headtrip (2001), Project 11-41 (2002), Novena (2004), Silence (2006), Cariño Brutal (2009), and Kinse Kalibre (2011).
Magat is the bass player of the new Post-grunge-sounding band Wilabaliw, which has released one album, 10.10.10 (2010).
Victor “Kakoy” Legaspi—Rivermaya
Legaspi was a guitar player of Rivermaya from 2001 to 2004. Among the 10 studio albums of the band, two featured him: Tuloy ang Ligaya (2001) and Between the Stars and Waves (2003).
Pepe Smith—Juan Dela Cruz Band
And of course, what Filipino Rock music enthusiast would now know Smith? Regarded by many as one of the pillars of Pinoy Rock music, Smith is best known as the frontman of the ’70s-active Juan Dela Cruz Band, which has four albums to its credit: Up in Arms (1971), Himig Natin (1973), Maskara (1974), and Kahit Ano’ng Mangyari (1981).
Rubio is the vocalist of Greyhoundz, another Philippine Nu Metal band, which has released four albums: 7 Corners of Your Game (1999), Heads and Tails (2001), Apoy (2005), and Execution Style (2009).
Lemuel Galleto—The Lowtechs
Galleto is the lead guitarist of the Postpunk-sounding The Lowtechs, which has released an album, Anniversary of the Machinery (2009).
Reli de Vera—Sinosikat?
De Vera is the drummer of Sinosikat?, whose two albums—Sinosikat? (2007) and 2nd Album (2009)—clearly illustrates its Jazzy, R&B, and Funky style of Rock music.
Thanks to Ruben Romasanta, the owner of Infinitif Studios, for making Inna and me privy of the booked schedules of such high-profile artists at the studio while we were there and for the discounts and warm accommodation of my own band during our practice sessions there. What added also to our having been welcomed by such artists was the fact that Inna and I were usually their tour guide and driver here in Winnipeg when some of them went here for shows, and these artists are my friends, acquaintances, or fellow music comrades to begin with.