Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Guaranteed to raise a smile

can't remember now what year it was exactly when i first heard about the eraserheads. my memories of that period are now all tangled up. the only thing i do remember today is that it was on this new fm radio station (i think it was DWLA) that featured budding local talents as well as some of the best creators of world music. don't know if it was the unique mix of local and foreign acts, or if it had something to do with the post-EDSA euphoria that made eraserheads' music then a breath of fresh air for a young ex-activist college dropout bum pinoy like me. growing up with my parents' musical icons of the 50s and 60s, the mushy and glam rock acts of the 70s, and the new wave sounds of the 80s, nothing prepared me for the new and witty eraserheads music. hearing pare ko and maling akala for the first time, i had to finally renounce my self-imposed vow of maintaining a grim demeanor. the future didn't look that bad at all.

i do remember the night i went home with my cassette tape of ultraelectromagnetic pop. played it so loud in our karaoke that i woke up my parents and got my brothers asking about my new find. don't know which actually came first, but another memory i had of that period was happily walking down morayta avenue, coming from my shitty job in malacaƱang. my partner had just given birth to our first daughter. i was earning some money, enough to buy a can of milk and some used books every payday. contentment was splashed all over my face as i kept humming ligaya and with a smile. when circus came out, it was pure nostalgia. i was a bum once more and stayed home most of the time taking care of my daughter. but what the heck. i also had my guitar and my song books, and my daughter and i would be spending some afternoons in our room singing alapaap, magasin and kailan. weary from all that strumming, i would then woo my little girl to sleep while reminiscing on those crazy drinking sessions at katipunan or the u.p. sunken garden with college friends.

bought my cutterpillow cassette tape in a shopping mall close to our office. i was finally able to finish my undergraduate studies, and got my first real job with an organization working with urban poor communities. coming home from a seminar with adolescent boys in this rat-infested community in manila, i would be listening to poorman's grave and huling el bimbo as i try to will away the day's depressing images from my tired mind. had a hard time hiding my surprise when i found out that some of my officemates were hob-knobbing with members of the eraserheads. when the christmas album fruitcake and the book came out, i promptly bought my copies and asked my officemates to have the book autographed by the guys. it was my first graduation gift to my daughter who now has this priceless possession standing on her table along with those harry potter and jostein gaarder books.

some months later, i was among the few obnoxious customers who kept on bothering those poor sales ladies at this record store in manila for cds of bananatype and sticker happy. i recall listening to andalusian dog and milk and money with an unexplainable sense of anticipation. i knew then that changes were fast catching up with the band. their tunes and lyrics were getting more polished but complex. gone were the edgy and raw qualities of their initial outputs. can't wait then to hear their next albums. changes soon caught up with my life. i got a new job. we moved out of my parents' house. got a dalmatian and a labrador. then came aloha milkyway, natin 99 and carbon stereoxide. critics kept harping on the new not-so-popular style of these later albums. i simply loved the new tracks' more serious, darker moods. with headphones attached to my home pc, i eagerly listened to the new songs while writing the initial drafts of my masteral thesis. and when music stores placed the e-heads cds on sale, i decided to replace my outmoded tape collection.

epilogue: more than a decade has passed since that first encounter with the eraserheads. the guys disbanded sometime after carbon stereoxide. attempts at continuing with a female vocalist did not last long. each of the fab four has been busy with his own project since then, recording and performing with new bands and collaborators. rumors of a reunion concert have been quickly dispelled, much to the dismay of their avid fans. meanwhile, younger bands and artists have appeared on the local music scene. with the rising cost of living in manila, i've been taking on these rackets to earn extra bucks and get myself copies of releases by sandwich, cambio, the mongols, pupil and other acts formed or inspired by former members of the defunct eraserheads. and if you still haven't smiled by the time you reach this part, i think you should know that the title doesn't refer to any reaction that this entry might elicit from the reader. it's just a line from sgt. pepper's lonely hearts' club band.

postscript: bmg is coming out with a tribute album, featuring some of the newer bands covering their favorite eraserheads songs. a launching concert is scheduled on 29 november at the university of the philippines.

see you there.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

Hi Randee,

El and Christian are the ones filming the videos of the recordings of the various artist. I heard about it from when we were doing a docu in mindanao. its a project in cooperation with jam it think din din collaborated with el on this. there will be interviews with buddy and each of the other formers heads seperately.

i hope i can be there in UP. Maybe i'll ask ernest or el about it. thanks for the tip. :O)

btw, i signed in at green forum. still gearing up to write something up to par with yours hehehehe. am struggling with my own sp.