Jade’s Intro to OPM 101: Eraserheads, Reunited
… and it feels so good…
When I first met my friends here in Kapisanan, someone suggested I do a regular “Introduction to OPM” post. (I worked in the Philippine music industry before moving here a year ago to work for the, uh, Canadian music industry.) I never really got around doing it but the Eraserheads reunion last Aug. 30 and a slow day at work has inspired me to write this post.
Who are the Eraserheads? For the uninitated, they are hailed as “the Beatles of the Philippines” and considered to be the most influential band in the history of OPM.
The Eheads, made up of chief songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Ely Buendia, drummer Raimund Marasigan, bassist Buddy Zabala and lead guitarist Marcus Adoro, rose from being a struggling UP Diliman foursome to the sole act that catapulted local rock music in the 90s with albums such as Ultraelectromagneticpop, Circus, Cutterpillow, Fruitcake, Sticker Happy, Natin 99, Carbon Stereoxide and the numerous #1 singles that lingered on Pinoy and Asian charts for days, weeks, and months on end. I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of things since all Pinoys who grew up in the 90s would know the history and discography of the ‘Heads but if your musical knowledge is more Canadian than Filipino, read this comprehensive Wikipedia article.
I was pre-pubescent when their first single, “Pare Ko”, came out. I remember seeing the iconic album artwork with the four guys sitting on a white background wearing their Chucks in 1993 and begging my mum to buy me a pair of Converse Hi-tops (she did – I had red ones and thought I was the coolest kid on the block!) while secretly listening to my older neighbour’s cassette copy. (Sidenote – my former SonyBMG boss, Mario Joson was the art director for that album!) My friends and I learned every lyric to “Ligaya” and “Toyang”.
When Circus came out I bought my own cassette and locked it in a secret drawer, since my parents bought into the whole “Alapaap is evil and will corrupt our youth” smear campaign by the government. I would listen to it when my parents were out, just like I’d sneaklily watch Bevis and Butthead (I got caught doing that though). Circus still is my fave Eheads album of all time, and “With A Smile” is my fave song, ever. Too bad I lent that cassette to my senior-year boyfriend and he never gave it back
I remember buying three copies of Cutterpillow just so we can backmask the album and wait for the supposedly-Satanic messages they had on “Overdrive”. I now believe this was a publicity stunt probably starting from the record label just so that fans buy twice the amount of records (shame on you BMG! Hehe!). It worked – Cutterpillow turned gold even before the album was released in stores, a first in Philippine history. Consequently at 12, “Overdrive” made me try to learn how to drive our beatup ol’ Toyota Corona, almost killing my best friend on the road and getting grounded for a month. That incident has impacted me so much, I still don’t know how to drive at 24. The trauma.
I could go on and on about how the Eheads are the single, most influential musical act in my life, and how devastated I was when they broke up in the early 2000s, how honored I felt working for the record label that put them on the map (and having an office across the man responsible for it all – Vic Valenciano), how un-startstruck I was managing mallshows for Pupil (Ely’s last band) when a decade ago I would have fainted if I was in the same room as THE Ely Buendia, how elated I was during our launch of Ultraelectromagneticjam in UP Diliman in 2005, when Raimund, Buddy and Marcus (no Ely!) were in the same dressing room for an ERASERHEADS tribute gig. So you could just imagine how much I wept when I found out that the reunion that was never going to happen… actually happened last weekend… and I am halfway across the world.
Thank God for Youtube and friends’ blogs… I now present the highly-anticipated Eraserheads reunion concert, Aug 30, The Fort in Taguig. The gig was cut short after Ely was rushed to the hospital for another angioplasty, but at that point they already performed 15 songs, which (if I was there) would be enough for any Eheads fan to cherish for the next decade. Or until they hold another concert *crossing my fingers* – believe me, I’m booking my next flight to Manila if THAT happens!
What’s your Eraserheads story?
BTW, THIS guy has an Eraserheads story… and he’s pretty good!