The Philippine rock scene has always been relegated to a corner in the entertainment and even the music industry, at least during its early heydays in the 1970s.
The local rock scene, however, unbelievably flourished in the first half and mid-1990s like a mirage. It stormed the whole nation that even prime-time local television shows like Eat Bulaga! and ‘Sang Linggo nAPO Sila featured rogue bands like The Youth, Teeth, Siakol, the Ex-Presidents Combo, and Parokya ni Edgar. 1990s Philippine rock was so mainstream one band RiverMaya was branded as corporate just because one of the country’s nobility icon Lisa G. Nakpil assembled and managed them.
The ‘90s Pinoy Rock book reaffirms a period hailed by many as Philippine’s golden era in music when many signed and unsigned bands toured all over the country. The book featured more than 146 bands from the influential 1970s Juan dela Cruz band, the restless Brave New World group – Wuds, Philippine Violators, Dead Ends, Betrayed, Urban Bandits – to indie Chain Gang, bubblegum pop Bad Days for Mary, and spur-of-the-moment fun groups like the Aga Muhlach Experience.
The book pieced together more than a hundred pieces of a puzzle with stories of the bands and individuals like Rizal Underground’s (of Sabado Nights fame) Stephen Lu, Twisted Red Cross’ Tommy Tanchanco, LA 105’s The Doctor, to low-profile local music heroes like Patrick Reidenbach to complete a colorful past of the country which, it seemed by now can never be replicated.
Compiled by freelance writer and now college instructor at Mariano Marcos State University Margaret Tadeja and former music columnist and Rock’n Rhythm (RnR) managing editor LBJ (for Lyndon Baines Johnson, yes, the 36th president of the US of A!) Cabaluna, the book is admittedly idiosyncratic but almost academic in approach complete with 35 reference lists. Both writers were very active during the 1990s: Margaret as writer for several music magazines for competing publishers she had to adopt three pen names, and as gig organizer; and LBJ as columnist, editor, and rhythm guitarist for the band Bad Days for Mary.
The book is a collection of 1990s articles, mementos, photographs, but more importantly real musical experiences which made it a fitting tribute to the Pinoy bands and their rock-solid past. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Bituen Volunteers’ Reading Caravan program – a free quality books and school supplies distribution to marginalized children.
Image credits: Margaret R. Tadeja