Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Betrayed all over again

It's a bitch to be Betrayed.
By a friend.. a lover.. by the government.
Except us, maybe.
Betrayed once again built up a wall of sound, shaking the foundations of Ten 02 Bar in the Scout-scout area, QC.
It was Goo's reunion, ably backed by a hard-groovin' Badburn, Piledriver, young guns SDK and Betrayed.
SDK tore up the air with newblood-energized fervor only a band of 17 year olds could muster at ease.

Until the Godfathers took over the stage. We hit the stage, set up with replacement bassist Mark imported from The Beauty Of Doubt (thanks uli Mark!), who stood in for our
recuperationg four-stringer Dennis Maniego, who underwent a double triple-bypass (that's SIX, not three!) less than a week before the gig, then literally blew up.
We yanked out "Punk Reigns" and
"Fluffer" in swifttime, just the way
we like it, with a renewed energy pent-up
over a couple of weeks.
It felt great to get loose and punk out.
I'm just glad I remembered to stretch before the set.

Out came "Urban Assault" and
"Never Meant To Be This Way."
We were so giddy that night,
everything was Ramone-ishly double speed.
No complaints.
From the crowd,
nor from us.
We let loose with "New Rose," then
"Never Again" in quick succession.
We even unveiled a new song "The Answer Is You"
from the upcoming, long-awaited, almost finished album.

We wrapped it up with "Betrayed By You."
Short n' sweet.
Can't wait for the next gig.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Some (dis)enchanted evening with Journey

I'll keep this as short n' as sweet as humanly possible,
for your sake and mine.

What a letdown.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, allow me to remind you
that I am a big Journey fan; always have, always will be.
Though I thought this was to be, regardless of who fronted the band,
but after last Saturday, I must confess I doubt it. Highly.
I didn't become an overnight Journey fan, like most, because of their
ballads. My initial foray with the band was in 1979, with their album
Evolution. When you're 17, all this racket sounds so fresh, so powerful.
That's what Journey sounded like to me in '79. Loud Neal Schon-propelled
guitar slabs, skin-pounding power provided by (then) drummer Aynsley Dunbar,
and of course, the soaring vocals of one Steve Perry.
I know, I know, this sounds like a lead-in to a Steve vs. Arnel slant.
We'll get to that later..
Like I was saying, I'm a Journey fan because of their music.
Not because of soulful Steve, not because of Neal Schon's fifty-million-notes-per-bar
guitar solos (which I now find too bloated and constipated) but for the songs.. the music.
My point having been made, let's get to last Saturday night.

I got my tickets at the last minute.
I didn't even think we'd get to watch, but thanks to Papa John, who opted
not to watch (omen there somewhere), off we unwittingly went.
We missed the kickoff, coming in sometime while the band was doing "Lights."
Oooh, impressive. Something from Infinity, I thought.
We hadn't had a bite to eat since lunch, so Summer and I
decided to chow on whatever overpriced food was available.
Overpriced hotdogs and watered down iced tea had to suffice.
"Tutugtugin kaya nila yung "Gimik?"" we joked to each other, seating ourselves
near the concessions.
Ran into Joshua of RT, said hi.
Also my old chum, Ed Satellite of the Pirate Satellite radio show.
Arnel Pineda was trying out every move in his Journey showmanship manual,
leaping spread-legged off Dean Castronovo's drum riser, and patronizingly pandering
to the locals with his "..Pilipinas!" laden banter.
It was Journey, but it was like watching a local band playing note-for-note
Journey songs.
Was it just me?
Just calling it as I saw it.
Too many new songs from Revelations, not enough old stuff for us old school fans.
My main bone to pick..
No "Girl Can't Help It.."
Okay, so they played "Still They Ride," good one. But..
no "I'll Be Alright Without You.."
Fine, they played "Open Arms.." of course they would.
It'd be mass edsa 3-like hysteria if they didn't. But..
no "Who's Crying Now.."
sure they played "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" with the familiar opening
synth lines sending the 80's era yups into a frenzy.
But the most unforgivable aspect of the night was..
Is this a Journey concert or what???
After "Separate Ways," Summer and I decided it was time to for us
and Journey to go just that, leaving with the strains of "Faithfully"
wafting through the bay area sea air.
We were supposed to have hied off to the after party,
but decided to call it a night.
A (usual) midnight VTR v.o. call proved more important than anything else.
Might as well get something good out of this (dis)enchanting evening with Journey.
Don't get me wrong.
I still like Journey.
Their new stuff doesn't hold much water.
But I can always relish the old stuff.
I'll just skip the ballads when I put their CDs on.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Kiko R.I.P.

There's a small carinderia down the street where our office is in Makati. I've been frequenting the place come lunchtime, coz the food is good and it's cheap, compared to neighboring eateries. I just got up to pay a hefty meal, while pondering why most, if not all, such food joints, canteens and places of gastronomic satisfaction always serve guisadong mongo on a Friday,
when the din of commercials suddenly died on the nearby TV, cutting back to its host, who announced the passing of Francis Magalona, noontime today.

As I shook my head, quietly brooding with the bad news, my mind suddenly wandered to my radio days at GMA, where I first met Kiko. He'd hang out at LS almost every night, reading phoned-in greetings and freestyle rapping over instrumental
tracks we'd spin on the wheels of steel. We also played his first single "Loving You," an LS exclusive that also featured his wife, Pia. I also remember bumping into him at Broadway, where I did v.o. for GMA's then noontime show, where he jovially shook hands with me, pulling me to the backstage dressing room where he gave me a copy of his then new CD Rap Is Francism, much to my delighted surprise. Always with a ready smile, the guy was simple and down-to-earth, regardless of his fame and celeb stature.

I remember him with his band, Hardware Syndrome, composed mostly of musicians I knew from back then, tearing through material from Freeman. I remember Kiko once saying in a magazine article that he gauged his music by the ebb and flow of the current local trend; if the scene got light, he'd turn up the volume and heavy up the beat, and if it got heavy, he'd mellow out and chill. Aside from being the savvy singer/rapper/songwriter, he was always Pinoy-proud. Above everything else, for him, the Three Stars And The Sun came first.

It's futile to discourse on the why's and why-not's of his eventual passing. Instead, we should just go back to Kiko's true love, and that was his music. The words of wisdom he left us are indelibly etched into Pinoy music, and thus ours for the taking, should we choose to lend an ear and listen to what the Master Rapper had to say.

We're gonna miss Kiko.
We already do.

Even if we do envy him.
All told, I'm certain he's in a
better place than where we all are now.

Rest in peace, brotha.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Doing Desiderata one better..

Tiyak ako na nabasa nyo na ito dati, o di kaya nadinig nyo ang himig ng awitin na binase dito. At any rate, I find it relevant advice and absolutely sound words of wisdom, for whoever, no matter whichway you take it. No matter how you slice and dice it, truer words were never spoken. Trust me.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’09..
If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
sunscreen would be it.

The long term benefits of sunscreen
have been proved by
whereas the rest of my advice has
no basis more
reliable than my own
meandering experience…
I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.
Oh nevermind..

you will not understand
the power and beauty of your youth

until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years
you’ll look back at photos of yourself

and recall in a way you can’t grasp now
how much possibility lay before you

and how fabulous you really looked.
You’re not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future.. nor worry.
But know that worrying is as effective as
trying to solve an algebra equation by
chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life
are apt to be things that never
crossed your worried mind.
The kind that blindside you
at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts.
Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy.
Sometimes you’re ahead,
sometimes you’re behind.

The race is long, and in the end,
it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive,
forget the insults.

If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters,
throw away your old bank statements.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know
what you want to do with your life.

The most interesting people I know
didn’t know at 22 what they

wanted to do with their lives.
Some of the most interesting
40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t.
Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t.
Maybe you’ll divorce at 40.
Maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…
what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either –
your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body.
Use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it,
or what other people think of it.
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past
and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,
but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
because the older you get, the more you need the people you
knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once,
but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once,
but leave before it makes you soft.

Accept certain inalienable truths..
prices will rise,
politicians will
you too will get old,
and when you do,
you’ll fantasize

that when you were young,
prices were reasonable,
politicians were noble

and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund,
maybe you have a wealthy spouse;
but you never know when either one
might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40,
it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy,
but be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…