Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where the River runs wild

Sounds like there's strong stirrings from within the Rivermaya camp. This just in, taken off the website..

MANILA, Philippines—“It’s so silly. They’re making it a comedy. I hope they won’t make Rivermaya a laughing stock.”

Embattled manager Lizza Nakpil thus described the band’s attempt to disengage with her as she stood firm in her claim to the band’s trademark, which she said is rightfully hers, duly registered with the Intellectual Property Office.

“No one from the band can claim it,” Nakpil said in a telephone interview with late Tuesday night. “Compared to other bands, Rivermaya is a different animal. Chito Roño and I formed the band. We had the idea, held auditions, and found the members—Bamboo (Manalac), Nathan (Azarcon), Rico (Blanco) and the others. We put the team together. It’s not like other bands that formed and looked for a manager. They were hired to make the band.”

Current Rivermaya members, drummer Mark Escueta, guitarist Mike Elgar, bassist Japs Sergio and vocalist Jayson Fernandez, are seeking to part ways with Nakpil as the band’s manager and agent. Escueta was said to have been leading the move to disengage with Nakpil for undisclosed reasons. A Philippine Daily Inquirer source claimed the band members were accusing Nakpil of unauthorized collection of royalties due them.

“It’s like you’re a race car driver in the Ferrari team and you fire Ferrari himself,” Nakpil added. “No one member of Rivermaya is Rivermaya. If they are not happy with my management, they can always leave and create their own legend.”

The band had been rocked with roster changes through its fifteen years of existence. The original group formed in 1993, consisting of Jessie Gonzales, Kenneth Ilagan, Rome Velayo, Nathan Azarcon and Rico Blanco, had all left the band with Blanco as the last of the pioneer group to leave last year. Among the prominent departures was the 1998 exit of lead singer Bamboo Mañalac, who replaced Gonzales in the succeeding months leading to their first, self-titled album, and went on to form his own group. Nathan Azarcon left shortly after.

“Bamboo and Nathan left not because of my management. Rico left because he wanted to quit music,” Nakpil said. Blanco, however, has since made a comeback and is embarking on a solo career. Escueta, the most senior of the current roster, was part of the second group of Rivermaya members. He replaced Velayo and was with Mañalac, Blanco, Azarcon, and Perf de Castro (replacing Ilagan) in the successful debut album “Rivermaya” that spawned the hits “Ulan” and “214”.

“Mark’s contract is up in November,” Nakpil said. “Mark has a strange attitude towards this. With his contract, he thinks he can take the name of the band with him.” Escueta declined comment but mentioned in a SMS message to the Inquirer: “All I can tell you is that she is no longer our agent, and no longer allowed to represent Rivermaya... ”

Asked if she has any idea why the Rivemaya band members wanted to cut ties with her, Nakpil she did not have a clue except for a planned reunion concert that a third party was offering her. "I've been approached. They were offering P42 million and eventually offered more for that reunion concert." Nakpil said she eventually begged off because she said Rivermaya was not a disbanding group for members to hold a reunion. She took exception to charges of “unauthorized collection of royalties” the Inquirer source was mentioning.

“Unauthorized? I’m authorized. I’m the manager. I own the sound recordings. I’m the record label,” Nakpil said. “I receive these royalties legally…All the time, I show them an accounting of all these—receipts and invoices, everything to the last dime. We have all the documentation, cabinet-full.”

Nakpil said she found it strange that she was being “summoned” to the “Napolcom office” to explain the charges. She noted that National Police Commission vice-chairman and executive officer Eduardo Escueta is Mark’s father. Asked if this matter will end up in the band members’ favor, Nakpil said, “Not a snowball in hell, man. It doesn’t make sense. Whatever the case is, it will be junked.”


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