Thursday, May 15, 2008

Banda Rito, Banda Roon

I've always been a music lover and in our family, it was natural for me and my brothers to learn an instrument. My Dad used to play in a band, singing and playing the guitar. My two aunts on my father's side are into music and singing and may aunts in my mom's side all know how to play the piano. I learned how to play the guitar when I was in high school. Although I didn't have one, I was able to borrow a friend's guitar. I didn't ask my dad to teach me. I learned by studying guitar chord in songhits mags. I remember the first song I learned: The Horse With No Name by America (click to see video). It only had 2 chords: DM7 and Em. It was so easy to play.

At that time, a lot of my friends were learning how to play the guitar. Being someone who wanted to find a niche for himself, I shifted to Bass guitar. Of course, another reason is my friend Mart was getting so good at playing lead guitar and I couldn't keep up. I learned to play Bass one night when me and my friends were drinking with our neighbor Mr. Tamundong. He used to be in a band also and knows how to play a lot of instruments. He taught me the basic chords using the guitar and then I went from there.

Bam and Buto

I got my first Bass guitar during college. I bought it for around Php 2K. It was a Fender Jazz Bass copy from Raon. My Dad gave me the money to buy it. My friend Olan named my Bass "Buto" because the strings were so stiff, only I can play it. Anyone who attempted would have blisters on their fingers the next day. Buto means Bone in Tagalog and Penis in Bicolano hehe.

We formed a band during college. We called ourselves "Flow" and initially, we played Nirvana, U2, Greenday and covers songs of local bands like The Youth, Philippine Violators, etc. Flow was composed of Winston Eguerra (who's now a lawyer) on vocals, Olan Agudo (now a video editor) on drums, Nino Bolofer (I don't know where he is) on guitars, and myself on Bass. I recruited Marte (who's now into real estate, and also my kumpare) in the band I a few months since we thought we needed a good lead guitarist so. After some unfortunate events / misunderstanding between Nino and myself, Nino left the band we were suddenly without a rhythm guitarist. We had a couple of auditions but we never had chemistry so the band was always the four of us.

Flow- Bottom from left: Winston and Marte; Top: Me and Olan

Our repertoire included cover songs from Jimi Hendrix, Pearl Jam, U2, Juan De La Cruz, Live, Offspring, Black Sabbath, Cream, Cry of Love, Black Crowes and other foreign acts. We also had our own compositions that we also play at gigs. We played at UST, Club Dread and other small rock bars. We used to practice in Cubao and this small studio near EspaƱa. We were so tight that we could just jam one song for 10 minutes, just feeling each other's groove. I always thought that music should be felt and our jam sessions were usually so intense that there wasn't a need to have time boundaries for each song that we played. We played each song the way we felt like playing it. Sometimes we extend a song so much that I can't play the same song today the way I played it the other day. We were jam based and for me, it was how music's meant to be. The song that we played the longest was Red House(click to see video) by Jimi Hendrix. Winston would go out and smoke after singing his part and when he got back, we weren't done playing the song! The three of us, Olan, Marte and myself would play our instruments to the hilt.

After college, we sort of went our separate ways, doing our own thing to become productive members of society.
We jammed occasionally and we're even scheduling a jam session this month.

A few years ago, I was invited by Mon (who also jammed with Flow from time to time) to audition in for this band he met at church. They need a bass player and a keyboard player. Having nothing to do and wanting to test my brand new bass, I agreed and went with Mon. It was funny because Barry a.k.a. Rev, one of the kids in our neighborhood where I lived before was a member of the band. I think I was 4 years older than him. We enjoyed the band and we were officially in that same day. The band was called Devout.

we played our own songs, most of which were composed by Diane (our vocalist) and RC our lead guitarist. Our drummer was Gie, Barry was our rhythm guitarist and Mon was on keyboards. We played cover songs from Evanesence, Plumb, Lenny Kravitz, and other artists as well. We concentrated in our originals which in my opinion were good. We were tight musically, though most of the time we were more scientific and methodical rather than the "feel" thing that I was used to. It was ok too because I learned how to be disciplined in terms of rehearsing and I learned a lot. But we also cut-loose in jamming doing our own things for a particular song from time to time.

Barry had to go to the Middle East to work and we were left without a rhythm guitarist. I recruited Marte again to be our rhythm guitarist.

Devout: The Pakarazzi (doing his pakrazzing to Mon), RC, Diane, Gie, Marte and Mon (sitting down)

We played some gigs and the best cover song that we did (for me) was Green Tinted Sixties Mind by Mr. Big (click to see video). It was a great song performed by a band with all-star members.

Rc and Bam jamming Green Tinted Sixties Mind

Devout in action: Load 'Em Up concert at Claret. We played with Sandwich, Sugar Free and and other bands

Bam and Marte at the Claret gig

Devout eventually disbanded because of various reasons and Marte, Gie and myself found ourselves jamming on weekends. We called ourselves The Monay Blues Jam because we jammed mostly blues based riffs. It was a situation I was comfortable with and all we did was have fun jamming. We were very informal and we enjoyed every minute of it.

The Monay Blues Jam: Me, Gie on drums and Marte on Guitars

The Monay Blues Jam formed another band called Reptile, composed of the three of us, Mon on rhythm guitar and my officemate and kumpare Willy on vocals. We played songs from The Cult, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Hendrix, U2, Beatles, Black Crowes and whatever rock song we can jam. It was a good anti-stress mechanism for all of us. All of us, with the exception of Willy, already played music with each other and because of this, we didn't have any need to adjust to each other's style. After I got married, the band went into hibernation.

I never wanted to be a rockstar although sometimes I feel like one when playing on stage. All I wanted was to play good music and feel good about it. All of the people that I have played with were talented and I believe that had we decided to pursue music as a career, we would have made it.

I remember this one time when Flow was invited to guest (take note hehe), not compete, in a local battle of the bands competition, the host said: "Wag po tayo mag taka kung makita natin sa TV 'tong mga 'to sa mga darating na araw . . .". It was very flattering. Hearing those words was so fulfilling for me.

Music is so wonderful, that I'd rather be blind than deaf. (but I'd rather not be blind nor deaf at all hehe)


1 comment:

abu said...

aus yun bam ah?!?!

naka jam mo na pla sandwitch!!

langya,, magaling ka pla tlga mag bass!! hahahaa....

ako noob plng.. ;p