Saturday, September 23, 2006

My Band Beginnings

I learned to play the guitar in the Summer of '77.
It was at one of those Summer guitar lesson offers where they teach you how to play your basic A chord, one of the easiest, along with the E chord and the D chord.. and the relatively more complicated B, C and F chords.. they also taught us how to strum up and down, like autistic guitar players, retardedly nodding our heads in time with our haphazard strumming and chord canoodling.. they say you're on the right track to playing guitar when you start getting callouses on the fingers of your left hand.. is bleeding a telltale sign as well, I wondered.

I started playing in bands when I was 16.
Got my first (and only) electric guitar in '78.. it was a local Gibson Flying V.
Obsession with the band Kiss back then explains my choice of design; just like the one Paul Stanley played, only cheaper and flimsier-looking.

My first band was composed of my best friend, Jun, who lived up the street. I taught him how to play guitar, playing along to every single Jingle chordbook magazine. There was also Nelson, a speedfreak bike nut chum of mine, who decided one day he wanted to play drums. He went and sold his Dad's liquor collection to buy a drum kit. We now had a band.

We called ourselves The Precisions, after the Fender bass guitar, though we hardly lived up to our chosen name. Nelson had a friend, Ariel, who was a pretty good guitar player. I relegated myself to bass, while Jun played guitar, well sometimes. I also elected myself as singer. We were horrible. We did covers of Atlanta Rhythm Section's Spooky.. Always Somewhere by The Scorpions.. I Can't Tell You Why and Those Shoes by The Eagles.. even Styx's First Time (sheesh).. we played anywhere and everywhere.. we played mostly fiestas for food.. we did the fiesta at Laloma, Ariel's hometown, on a tilted nearly overturning flatbed truck, thanks to all the drunken onlookers aboard, with more drunken emcees and impromptu singers you could wave a balisong at.. we were there for the food, Ariel was there for the girls.. we charged it all to experience.. we also did this one fiesta here at Frisco, where we played Wally's Blues by Juan Dela Cruz's Wally Gonzales, which we thought would get the crowd going; nothing doing, as we were upstaged by the double dose of bakya masa power courtesy of Bing Rodrigo and Eva Eugenio.. so much for Pinoy Rock..

I joined the school singing group, too.. you might have heard of them, the Kundirana.. y'know, of La Salle Greenhills.. they used to have a full backing band, before they discovered the joys of using minus ones. I was part of that band. I played rhythm guitar, together with my friend Joel, who played lead.. Dennis played bass, Chito played drums.. we did flaccid Broadway medleys, shit like One.. Everything's Coming Up Roses and other crap culled from musicals.. we even did a John Lennon medley, seeing he got assassinated around that time in late 1980.. but in between the swill, we managed to jam on Cretin Hop by the Ramones, The Vapors' Turning Japanese and Whip It by Devo.. later, our musical arranger in a strangely brief period of brilliance, would include hits of the day like The B-52's Rock Lobster and Planet Claire into the repertoire, which all came to an abrupt end after we graduated High School the next year.

College hardly broke us apart, jamming on even after graduation, separate Universities notwithstanding, with Dennis now in UP Diliman, Chito in UP Manila and I in UST, which the two dubbed as Useless Students of Tomorrow.. harhar.. we became AS-228, named after a classroom (actually the Men's room)in the AS Building of UP Dil. Then Chito went abroad to continue his studies. Dennis and I still maintained contact, continuing our weekend jamming, now with a new circle of friends, including my old chums Jun and Nelson. Chito left us his old drum set.. nice.

One fateful day during Registration in UP Dil would change our lives forever. Dennis calls one evening saying
"I met this guy in line at Registration.." he said.
"He plays guitar.. he seemed cool enough.
I asked him over to jam on Saturday" he quipped.
"Okay.." I said.
His name was Teddy. Or Ted.

Turns out, Ted's a pretty cool guy. Quiet. Reserved, at first. Like us, he loved music. We jam, everything's cool. Turns out, Ted's a pretty funny guy, too. The next week, he brings a cassette tape with him, let's us listen to it.. turns out it's a band I've been reading a lot about in Creem, making waves in the music scene abroad, this band from Ireland. U2.

Dennis suggests we bring in a singer.
A female singer. Someone he knows from school, her name's Jessica Mae.
Mae for short. Did I say she's also Dennis' crush. She's definitely in. Now we need a drummer. I failed to mention Dennis' parents were very supportive.
They let us jam in their son's room is one thing, but his tennis Mom even suggested we try her tennis amiga's son out, who happened to be a pretty good drummer, she said.

His name is Gugut.
What kind of a name is that, we thought.
That Saturday, we met Gugut.
Short, plump and cute thirteen year old Gugut..
the little livewire who drums as hard as a grown-up..
Gugut was in. Ted then suggests we bring in a couple
of his friends, Paul and Tweety.
Paul had the swagger, or so he said,
and Tweety knew how to sing, too.
Great, the more the merrier.
We were now a band.
We called ourselves Fallout.

Fallout did only covers.
We did Pat Benatar's Hit Me With Your Best Shot(Mae sang this one).. We did the Pretenders' Brass in Pocket and Mystery Achievement
(Tweety sang these).. We also did some really offbeat covers like Toto's Live For Today, The Jerks' Romantic Kill and a buncha other lame covers I can't remember right now..

Then Fallout's female contingents began err, falling out.. Mae left, so did Tweety, then Paul, which left Me, Dennis, Teddy and Gugut.. we started covering more testosterone-fueled covers, like haphazard U2 covers of New Year's Day.. Pride(In The Name Of Love) and Sunday Bloody Sunday, between attempts at some originals, but the band had neither the time nor the staying power to last.. chalk it up to our amateurish, happy-go-lucky, charge-it-all-to-experience credo, or lack thereof, I guess.. we were just a buncha kids having fun playing music..
Fallout died a natural death, but its demise merely made way for continuing musical chapters of which I was to be a part of..


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not have a crush on her...

3:39 PM  

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