Saturday, August 8, 2009

The first wave of Pinoy punk

(In celebrating the 20 years of Punk in 1996--which broke in ‘76 or ‘77, depending on who’s talking, doesn’t matter cuz punks have always been broke!--I wrote the following article: “1976-1996: A PinOi Punk Revolution” in Teenage Anger Fanzine #2 back in the day. Inspired by Edwin Sallan’s “The Evolution of Pinoi Punk: A Chronicle of the Finest Hours” which appeared in Herald X #2 (1987), this timeline has since been reprinted by friends in other local/foreign zines and posted a couple of times online as the “Unofficial History of Philippine Punk”, “Pinoy Punk: The Early Years”, or “20 Years of Pinoy Punk”. For the 30th anniversary of Punk in 2006, a friend-slash-financier and I were supposed to put out a full-length book Loud, Proud, Brown & Punk but the fucker backed out at the last minute [to tie the knot...around his neck hehehe...married, buried, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah!]. And as fate would have it, my friend somehow got to talk about our project with a DJ friend who works at an FM radio station, who in turn has a friend who does documentaries for TV. So, thanks to a friend of a friend of a friend, “Punk’s Not Dead” was aired on GMA-7’s iWitness program in the same year. Oh, and here is a “sanitized” version of the article that inspired it in part.)

1976
A new form of music and lifestyle takes the American and British underground scenes by storm. Punk is born.


1977
Time magazine runs a two-page cover story on “Punk Rock’s Primal Scream” on its July 11 issue entitled “Anthems of the Blank Generation”. The article popularizes the term “new wave” as punk develops into a musical and cultural phenomenon worldwide, overshadowed only by disco’s peak of popularity then. Manila becomes curious.


1978
A wave of wealthy teenage Pinoy expatriates brings punk to Philippine shores from Britain. Filipino punkdom, however, would derive most of its features from punk fanzines in the U.S.

Influenced by his girlfriend, Delilah Aguilar, DZRJ-810 AM--the “Rock of Manila”--radio jock Dante “Howlin’ Dave” David [r.i.p.] introduces punk rock to stunned Manila listeners via the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.”

RJ gets the rights to air BBC-London’s “Rockline” which regularly features the music of the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and the Boomtown Rats among many others. Filipino awareness becomes apparent.


1979
Among the biggest hits of the year are The Knack’s “My Sharona”, Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”, and M’s “Pop Muzik”. Dyna Products, the local distributor of A & M Records, releases The Police’s debut album “Outlandos D’ Amour”.

Top 40 radio station DWRT-99.5 FM, which mainly caters to the so-called “A-B crowd”, includes The Police’s “Roxanne” on its playlist.


1980
On Disco, a small but progressive joint along Roxas Blvd., opens its “New Wave Nights” during weekends. It plays punk rock and new wave, initially featuring Joey “Pepe” Smith of the Juan Dela Cruz Band as regular live performer. Habitués are required to dress up in “new wave gear”. Punk buttons are sold at 10 pesos each.

The Jerks, a five-member group led by former folksinger Chicoy Pura and guitarist Jun Lopito, replaces “Pepe” Smith (whose asking price becomes exorbitant) as On’s regular performer and becomes Pinoy punk’s first major discovery. “Lopito invited me to sing with them and he introduced me to punk rock. They were playing songs by the Ramones, the Damned, and the Dead Boys, as well as the Rolling Stones, which Jun was partial to.”--recalls Chicoy.

Local rock queen Sampaguita goes new wave with her second LP “Sampaguita Vol. II” which features the hit “I’m Behind You” and three more others.


1981
Haribol/Hare Krishna devotee Pabs Dadivas, whose solo pop career enjoyed a brief resurgence, is heckled and jeered during a guest stint at On Disco. His manager and bodyguards maul lead singer Chicoy Pura of The Jerks in disgust.

Two original songs from The Jerks’ debut seven-inch single--“Romantic Kill” and “Big Deal”--and their punk cover of the Beatles’ “Day Tripper” receive extensive airplay over DZRJ’s “Pinoy Rock & Rhythm” program.

Manila is treated to more punk and new wave releases from the Sex Pistols, Ramones, XTC, The Cars, The B-52’s, Devo, The Police, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, and The Clash.

Channel 9’s noontime TV show Eat Bulaga launches “Punk Rock Philippines”, a dance contest participated in by weird-dressed couples. Howlin’ Dave and wife Delilah are among the judges during its grand finals.

“Breaking Glass”, a punk movie starring Hazel O’Connor, is shown in Metro Manila.

Jingle magazine, the most respected music rag in the country at that time, starts a series of coverage on the growing punk scene in Manila. The Jerks is the first band to be featured.

The very first Brave New World concert [conceived by Howlin’ Dave from his love of Aldous Huxley’s apocalyptic novel] is organized at the conservative Philippine Trade Exhibits grounds (Philtrade). It sees the debut of Chaos, a teenage punk quartet led by concert organizer Tommy Tanchanco. “Music is just part of the punk lifestyle. What bothered me was that bands were just copying foreign pop music... I got bands to submit original music. They could only play at the concert if they did, so they were forced to write.”--explains guitarist Tommy. The BNW Movement is born.


1982
Student Canteen, Channel 7’s noontime TV show, organizes “Rock Explo”--a contest for rock bands judged on its grand finals by the visiting Little River Band. The Jerks makes it as finalist of the said contest.

New wave flicks like “Liquid Sky”, “Brimstone and Treacle”, and “Pink Floyd: The Wall” are shown during the “Manila International Film Festival” at the CCP Complex.

“Brave New World Part 2” takes place at U.P. Los Baños. “BNW Parts 3 & 4” are held at Philtrade.

On Disco cancels its “New Wave Nights”.


1983
Punks are talking about “The Tribes of Britain”, a seven-page cover story on Time magazine’s October 24 issue about the latest fashion trends and lifestyles in England.

More BNW concerts (Parts 5 & 6) are organized in Philtrade as more local punk and new wave talents emerge; the most noted of which are The Zoo, College, The Lost Boys, Private Stock, and Goons.

Local punks become more creative. They begin designing their own clothes and make their own gear, including their own punk buttons. DIY (do-it-yourself) punk is born. “Punk dresses louder than words.”--Tandem punks

English hairstylist Stephen Bradley establishes Public Image, an expensive hair salon in Manila specializing in punk haircuts.

Punk and new wave classics like “Times Square”, “The Rocky Horror Show”, and “Quadrophenia” are shown at the Manila Film Center.

The Zoo, renamed Ocean Zoo, releases “Animal Party”, a seven-inch four-song EP under their own Insect Dance label. It becomes a first of sorts in the local independent recording industry.

College is banned by radio station DZRJ from further airplay after the group smashed a car’s windshield during a concert at the station’s parking lot. “We don’t read the news, we make it!”--retorts a drunken Arnold Morales, the band’s lead singer and a U.E. music conservatory dropout. At that time, their song “Manila Girl” is the most requested by the station’s listeners. [The same song would become popular in the 90’s via Arnold’s ska outfit Put3Ska.]

RCA-Vicor records Chaos’ “We Are the One” and “Quitter” as a seven-inch single release, and films a music video for both songs.

Wuds, formerly spelled Woods, makes their debut as a transcendental punk rock band [with folk rock as their roots] at “BNW Part 6” and at the second “Punk for Peace: Neighborhood Concert” at Singalong. [The trio would eventually survive the 90’s’ onslaught and continue to make music, first on folksinger Heber Bartolome’s controversial Akasha Records--with “At Nakalimutan ang Diyos”--then on a major record.]


1984
“Now it is nineteen-eighty-four...” [of George Orwell’s dystopia and the Dead Kennedys’ classic] Punks organize themselves into regional or area tribes (“armies”) with names like the Two-Tones (Pasay), Slabs (short for Salabusabs, Sta. Mesa), Mess (Singalong), Nazi-Haters, Wasted Youth (Pasay), Androids (Quiapo), Depraved (F.E.U.), Exploited, Criminals, Dead Paranoids, Rebels (Philippine Rebellious Youth, Paco), Abnormals (Q.C.), Hazards (U.E.), Sub/S.A.D. Army (Search And Destroy, Pandacan), Ruins (Caloocan), and many others; each supporting a certain band or musical style.

Urban Bandit Arnold Morales chases a startled heckler with his stainless switchblade/balisong during the “Rock of the 80’s” concert at Trinity College. Arnold would later be remembered as the rude boy singer who had a repertoire of stock phrases and wore red socks on stage just when the government was cracking down on suspected commies.

Dyna signs Chaos to an unprecedented five-year contract under the Tower label. “Anyway it’s just a piece of paper for us.”--is Chaos’ take on the deal. The group releases its first and only album New Move for Error under the name Third World Chaos [I wonder if Brazilian thrash gods Sepultura bought themselves a copy?]. The NME LP and cassette would suffer from poor promotion and minimal radio exposure, thus finding their way into the bargain bins of record stores. [now worth thousands of pesos on Ebay!]

Formed in “BNW Part 5” and dubbed as the “fastest band in the land”, Betrayed--formerly Jump Boys, originally formed by vocalist Eddie “Tokwa” Siojo in the U.S. (1980) before he attended U.P.--introduces hardcore (HC) to euphoric punk concert-goers as gigs become more violent than ever.

Dead Ends debuts as a HC trio at the “Crappy Halloween” concert organized by the promoters of BNW at the Pasay City Sports Complex. Fronted by high school English/Journalism teacher Al Dimalanta and younger brother Jay, Dead Ends is the Philippines’ answer to the U.S.’s DK. Though DE started out as a heavy metal band (Traffic Jam) practicing in their home studio in Navotas, their lyrics are probably the most thought-out in the scene. “We play punk rock but we aren’t punks, punks are petty hoodlums.”--Al would always point out.

Likewise, the Philippine Violators (Young Offenders at first) makes their debut at the “Oi! Wednesday” concert somewhere in Caloocan. Like Dead Ends, PV is fronted by the brotherly tandem of Bong Espiritu on mics and the younger Jesus “Rotten” on guitars. “School is a place where you must do what you are told and no questions asked, as if you’re some kind of slave.”--Rotten on education. [And like Wuds, PV would carry on into the next decade. The Espiritu brothers would later establish an underground record label in the 90’s called RMD (Rare Music Distributor) and help many struggling local bands in the UG scene before the quartet finally signed to a major.]

College guitarist Enggol “Sid Bukol” survives a stabbing incident at Quezon City.

College disbands. Arnold Morales founds an Oi!/punk outfit called the Urban Bandits, guitarist Enggol forms the Sex Militants with Chiloy on vocals.

Softdrinks giant Pepsi Cola sponsors a punk band contest in Channel 4’s noontime TV show Ito Yun Ang Galing. New wave band Ethnic Faces (formerly Ocean Zoo), fronted by the enigmatic Jack Sikat, wins the grand prize. The Runaway Boys, a rockabilly group, and pop outfit Slyk emerge as runners-up. Other finalists include Betrayed and Wuds. Dead Ends fails to make it to the finals.

The Jerks takes their act to Olongapo City. Guitarist Jun Lopito, an avid fan of Keith Richards, insists on an all-Rolling Stones repertoire.

So-called “punk parties” are organized in the plush outskirts of Forbes Park, Corinthian Gardens, and Valle Verde. The mobile disco business is born.

Punks declare war against preppies (also called “chongs”* or new wavers) and breakdancers (rappers), and vice versa. The Glorietta in Makati, as well as Harrison Plaza and Farmers/Ali Mall-Cubao, becomes the most frequent battleground.

“BNW Part 7” is held in summer at Philtrade. Aloy, a member of the Slabs tribe, attacks Betrayed guitarist Buddy Trinidad with a padlock during a slamdancing spree at “BNW Part 8” held in December. Buddy’s friends come to his rescue and almost maul the poor Slab to death in return. Newly formed acts like the Urban Bandits, Sex Militants, Dead Beat, Vex, Black Signals, Living Entity, 52 Busy Streets, D.D.T. , Negatives, Bio Sparks, Combatants, Underground, Unknown, Androids, Public Scandal, and others support the concert.

Tommy Tanchanco of Chaos forms Paralyzed Body Inc., an indie entrepreneurial company. Twisted Red Cross, an underground cassette label, becomes his first business venture. Recorded at AD & AD Recording Studio**, TRC’s first release Rescue Ladders & Human Barricade is a compilation of sample recordings from the Urban Bandits, Wuds, Betrayed, Dead Beat, Private Stock, Sex Militants, and Public Scandal. The tape, TRC-01, is formally launched at the Glorietta the following year.

Wuds, obsessed with the Hare Krishna religion, begins their “Punks for Peace” campaign. They sponsor a couple of small gigs at their Singalong turf like the “Soldier’s Feast for Peace”, their third neighborhood concert. “We write songs to simply raise the consciousness of every individual because material things won’t make them happy. It’s more on spirituality.”--comments Bobby Balingit, Wuds frontman. Punk vegetarianism and straightedge (sXe) are born.

Converse hi-cut Chuck Taylor colored sneakers become the official shoes of Pinoy punks. Oftentimes, colors are worn mismatched [as in the teenage movie “Bagets” at that time].

Shortly after the conclusion of the “Pepsi Punk Band Contest”, Howlin’ Dave talks Pepsi Cola into organizing a 36-day daily punk concert at the Folk Arts Theater grounds, then called the “Pepsi Fun City”. The affair lasts for barely a week because of too much violence.

Punk buttons, whether imported or homemade, become a prerequisite for the local punk attire. Likewise, spiked and studded wristbands also become essential to the post-Jerks punks.

A locally produced film, “The Punks”, starring the popular That’s Entertainment love team of Rey “PJ” Abellana and Leni Santos, flops at the box office. Punks believe it is due to its wrong interpretation of the local underground scene.

Betrayed disbands, with bass player Chris Carrere and vocalist Eddie Siojo leaving for the U.S. for good. [“Speedy” Eddie would later make a comeback in the 90’s and reform Betrayed with Buddy, this time as a half-American, half-Pinoy hard rock quartet and release an album on a major label.]

Ray “Decay” forms T.R.A.S.H. (Total Rebellion Against Society’s Hypocrites, their song “Teenage Anger” was the inspiration for my fanzine) with Noel Luczon on vocals, Neil on guitars, and Tammy on drums; while somewhere in Navotas, George “Imbecile” Cruz founds Girls. “It’s the music that binds us. Remember when the Beatles came the music was so fast people didn’t know how to deal with it? But it’s not only in the speed but in the lyrics. Our music appeals to the psychology of kids who want to be different, who don’t want to look like anybody.”--remarks the not-so-stupid George Imbecile.

Nito Palacio, formerly of Aunt Irma, records a demo tape of synthesized music for DZRJ’s “Pinoy Rock & Rhythm” program under the name Integrated Circuit. The song, “Rollers on Her Hair”, becomes a DZRJ classic and Nito earns the moniker “Mr. Chips”. [90’s hard rock group Rizal Underground would later popularize the song.] “Warning! Psychologist Sigmund Freud himself said: I should define this cassette tape as a piece of fiction that has unity of expression and that can be listened upon by children below 20 years of age so that they may learn to speak faster, to write faster, to read faster, and to listen faster.”--would be Nito’s intro on TRC-09 three years hence.

Homecoming senator, Ninoy Aquino, is shot dead upon his arrival at the Manila International Airport [now named after him hehehe] by alleged minions of then incumbent president, Ferdinand “Macoy” Marcos. Pinoys become furious [rather short-lived though]. The Urban Bandits pay their respects to the dead solon via their subliminal song “Do You Rebel Rebel” with the chorus lines: “And I know why... (N-I-NO-Y) Oi! Oi!”.

*The term “chong”--to distinguish new wavers from punk rockers--originated from the jocks that spun for the A2Z team. Stubborn teens that couldn’t get into punk music would approach the DJ’s booth and irritatingly ask: “Chong, chong, new wave naman.” The name stuck forever.

**TRC bands would later record at Studio Z in Greenhills, HQ Sounds in Roxas Blvd., and Red X Studio (a.k.a. Tommy’s library room)


1985
Punk becomes a profitable business for T-shirt and RTW (ready-to-wear) manufacturers based in Cartimar, Recto. Shops like Shambhu [no, not shabu!], Khumbmela, Hard Stuff, Arte Linea, and High Adventure among others make a killing in selling punk and new wave gear and clothing. Likewise, the stairs of Tandem Cinema become the favorite hangout of punks and hardcores, and the nearby Dapitan Sports Complex, the favorite concert place. [The coming of the 90’s, however, would see these shops closing down and going out of business, and the stairs of Tandem, vandalized and deserted.] “Hindi ka [Pinoy] punk kung hindi ka pa nakakarating ng Tandem.”--Goodie, wasted punker

Imported vinyls and cassettes of locally unreleased punk and new wave albums, as well as their pirated counterparts, start to proliferate in the underground market. The most notable distros are A2Z Records (owned by Jingle’s Ces Rodriguez) along Anonas St., Q.C. and Third Mind Rare Tapes, among many others. Music distros and pirated tapes are born.

DWXB-102 FM, the “Capital Radio”, becomes the “station that dares to be different”. Located along Donada St. in Pasay City, “102 Music” to the station’s listeners means the new music of New Order, Joy Division, The Cure, and occasionally local wavers Dean’s December, Violent Playground, and Under Blue Skies.

DZRJ (both AM & FM) stops programming punk and new wave in the air, thanks to the station’s owner, Mr. RJ himself [boo!]. DJ Howlin’ Dave distances himself farther from the punk scene and has a bitter falling out with TRC’s Tommy Tanchanco, reasoning that “music has to move on”. Whatever the reasons, the only album-oriented station in the air [as opposed to the prevailing singles-oriented format of most radio stations at that time] has finally signed off.

Betrayed reforms. This time with a new-lineup: Dominic “Papadom” Gamboa (of Absolute Zero) on vocals, Boyet Miguel (of Ethnic Faces) on bass, and Manny “A.J. Peanuts” Pagsuyuin (of Ironic Trauma) on drums [a.k.a. DJ “Jimmy Jam” in the 90’s]. Only Buddy Trinidad on guitars is a remnant of the original Betrayed.

The Jerks disbands. Chicoy Pura forms Triad. Chaos changes its name to Excommunicate. Genocide, The N.E.X.T. (Not Exactly Hardcore Type, which released their debut “Talamak” in the 90’s), and R.D.A. (Rapid Deployment and Antidote) are formed somewhere in the streets of Manila.

Rock critic and punk photographer Didits Gonzales organizes weekly punk gigs at Katrina’s [the Philippines’ answer to the U.S.’s CBGBs], a pub operated by his family at Mabini St., Malate. Slamdancing is allowed during “hardcore Saturday nights” but only when a “referee” is around. Entrance fee is pegged at 10 pesos per punk. Betrayed and Private Stock are the first to play.

The Matimyas House (where Tommy’s condo is) rooftop concert series is organized by the promoters of BNW as more punk groups like George Imbecile & The Idiots (formerly Girls), with a new vocalist by the name of Jun “Idiot” Ortega, and the Phil. Violators are discovered.

Twisted Red Cross releases more UG cassettes: Brave New World Live! Part 3 featuring the live acts of Betrayed, Wuds, TRASH, Sex Militants, Dead Ends, Dead Beat, Urban Bandits, Private Stock, Public Scandal, Excommunicate, Ethnic Faces, and rockabilly group Zoot Suit at “BNW Parts 8 & 9”; Dead Ends’ debut Complaints (which was bankrolled by Al’s pop, “Daddy McLaren”); Urban Bandits’ debut Independence Day; Wuds’ debut A.R.M.S.T.A.L.K. (or Armies’ Reunion for Modern-age Service and Training in Attainment of Love and Knowledge, phew!) [which they reissued in the 90’s as “Oplan Kahon” under their own Criminal Records]; and the “Rescue Ladders & Human Barricade” second compilation, Fatal Response, featuring Dead Ends, G.I. & The Idiots, Wuds, Urban Bandits, and Zoot Suit. The tapes, mixed and recorded at Jim Sarthou’s Studio Z, are sold cheap at 33 pesos each and generally have poor sound quality. The tapes’ cool cassette liners are designed by Dodong Viray [later with A2Z’s Jing Garcia and the Racket Music Group in the 90’s, now s.l.n.]. Lyric sheets are also provided to enable the listeners to relate to words uttered in a rapid half-yelp, half-bark, half-scream style. The bands, with producer Tommy, also drop by mainstream TV shows like the Big, Big Show and Eat Bulaga to promote their cassettes to the public.

Betrayed releases their long-awaited self-titled debut under the DMZ label. It is the fastest selling indie recording at that time. Shortly after that, guitarist Buddy sells all his equipment and vinyls, and leaves for the U.S. indefinitely [to work as a cook or spinner I think].

Rock Ola, a dance club along Vito Cruz, becomes the hottest hangout of punk and new music lovers all over Manila until it decides to jack up its entrance fee. The chong place closes down as expected.

Arnold Morales brings a golf club with him during an Urban Bandits guest stint at Channel 7’s TV show Discorama. When interviewed on the spot, Arnold says he uses the golf club to “smash the heads of assholes that are against the local punk movement”.

CMT combat boots replaces Converse colored sneakers as the official shoes of Pinoy punks. Tie-dyed jeans are also the “in-thing” with punks. The more financially gifted and more resourceful ones begin displaying their Doc Martens/DMs safety shoes and one-inch-soled Creepers (mostly made-to-order at some of Recto’s veteran shoemakers like Glenmore and Luciano) as part of their so-called “Type A” get-up. Bondage pants and surplus military gear are also a common sight among updated punks.

The last original BNW concert (Parts 8 & 9) takes place at Philtrade for two successive weekends. It marks the end of an era.

Arnold Morales forms Y.S.M. (Youth Solidarity Movement) after the sudden inactivity of the BNW Movement. YSM aims to continue what BNW has begun: to organize more punk gigs and to support small and lesser known underground bands. [Jun Tisoi would later take over the helms of YSM when the 80’s came to an end.] “The concerts ended with Howlin’ Dave singing the Sex Pistols’ version of ‘My Way’ over the 1980-85 run of BNW, and he was backed up by whoever was there that night. The song was transformed into a anthem of Pinoy punk.”--Buddy of Betrayed


1986
A four-day “revolution”...no, make that “uprising” [better yet, “fiesta”] at EDSA overthrows the 20-year old puppet government of Marcos from power (listen to G.I. & The Idiots’ classic “The Flag”) and installs the new puppet government of Cory Aquino. Punks couldn’t care less [I mean, who the hell cares!]. “Punk and politics don’t mix.”--Arthur “Seda” Bandalan, punk before, now N.P.A.

Katrina’s pub closes down. The punk movement needs something to keep it alive and kicking.

DWXB is sequestered by the new administration’s Presidential Commission on Good[?] Government. Normal operations, however, resume on a voluntary basis. Still, the station manages to discover local talents playing new music like The Dawn and Identity Crisis, and is still able to organize a couple of new wave parties.

Chaos plays their last gig at Rock Ola (just when the club reopens its doors) and calls it quits indefinitely. Likewise, Ray Decay disbands TRASH and forms Deceased with Bubboi “The Bones” on bass and Jun “Bandit” on drums.

More TRC releases, including the reissue of Betrayed’s debut, invade the underground market. Among them are Dead Ends’ second effort Second Coming, G.I. & The Idiots’ debut Fascinating World of Garbage; the last “Rescue Ladders & Human Barricade” compilation 3rd Bombardment which features the Phil. Violators, Private Stock, Deceased, R.D.A., Chaos, Betrayed, Collision, and I.O.V. (Intoxication Of Violence); and Katrina’s Live! (Tamana Away!!!) recorded live during the last gig at the said pub featuring Betrayed, Wuds, G.I. & The Idiots, and Private Stock.

Private Stock, the rockabilly/mod group who wears their schoolboy uniforms on stage, releases their debut Hype’s Cool! under Payola Records, an indie label put up by then Jingle writer Butch Maniego [yup, the former P.B.A. guy] to bankroll his younger brother’s album--guitarist Mel.

The cult film “Sid & Nancy: Love Kills” is shown in some of Manila’s movie houses.

More than 700 punks, mistaken for drug addicts, are rounded up by the police during the concert “Suicide: The Only Alternative” at U.E.-Recto while G.I. & The Idiots is playing. The incident makes headlines in such broadsheets as the Philippine Daily Inquirer and tabloids like the People’s Journal. The drug charges are later dropped by the cops due to lack of sufficient evidence. “Well, what were the police supposed to think? All these people in black, slamdancing, the music. Many people don’t understand us, even some people in the movement itself.”--George Imbecile on the arrest.

Former Absolute Zero bass player Je Bautista [s.l.n.] joins Betrayed replacing Bong “Fluoride” who suddenly does a disappearing act.

An uninvited Betrayed jams at a chong concert at the ULTRA [“Ultrastorm”?]. Lead singer Dominic Gamboa smashes two microphones in excitement, and is beaten up in “excitement”. Dominic is later charged with destruction of property by the concert organizers. He counters by threatening to file charges of serious physical injuries. Case settled.

Violence erupts from slamdancing during a guest performance of Betrayed at the recognition night of the “1st Independent Film and Video Festival” at the Wave Cinema in Cubao. Mowelfund director Lamberto Avellana, who is present at that time, is culture-shocked and utterly disgusted with what happened.

Triad disbands. Lead singer Chicoy Pura returns to folk singing and reforms The Jerks in Olongapo City with a new line-up. [Though a pioneer in the indie scene and probably the most influential band in the early 80’s, it wasn’t until the late 90’s that The Jerks was finally able to cut an album. First, a live recording during a gig at Mayrics pub on activist Gary Granada’s “progressive” Backdoor Records, then later their debut album on a major label, long after other bands (whether punk or not) that they’ve influenced have released theirs.] On the other hand, guitarist Jun Lopito (and wife) enters a drug rehabilitation center to detoxify. [The guitarist would eventually become a Buddhist and play his instrument again with the coming of the new age.]

Allan, a skinhead punk, is found brutally murdered, “salvaged” allegedly by cops, in one of Manila’s slums. TRC-11 is dedicated in the memory of the slain tribesman.

Heavy metal band Warhead releases their debut album, “Meltdown”, on a major label.


1987
The Urban Bandits disbands. Arnold Morales forms Music Front with former bandmate Fur on bass, ex-Zoot Suit Rainier on guitars, and ex-Sex Militants Chiloy on drums. “We’re not a band, we’re modern newscasters.”--Arnold on his previous band. Not long after, the group also disbands and Arnold suddenly finds himself singing in an opera [at least for a while].

Betrayed plays their last gig at the “World Annihilation” concert at Ortañez University and calls it quits permanently. Vocalist Dominic Gamboa, a prime mover of the International Music Workers Union and the War Resisters League then, founds the first generation of reggae group Tropical Depression. The line-up consists of The Jerks’ Chicoy Pura on guitars, ex-Betrayed Je Bautista on bass, and ex-Dead Ends Harley Alarcon on drums. The same group later forms a ska outfit called the SkaVengers for fun. SkaLawags, another pioneer ska band, also graces the scene. [Ska would eventually gain more local adherents in the 90’s, particularly its bastard child “ska-punk”, thanks to its American proponents like Operation Ivy and the rest of the “California sunshine” punks.]

Smile Plenty, an experimental noise outfit, is formed. Within time, noisecore/grindcore/splattercore would make its deafening presence felt in the underground, courtesy of some of Manila’s lesser talented bands...and their utter lack of musicality.

Private Stock disbands. [The group would resurface in the 90’s, as full-fledged dentists, and do a couple of club gigs before finally fading into oblivion.]

DWXB closes down. Its DJs try to organize a couple of new wave parties to save the beleaguered radio station, but to no avail. As a last-ditch effort, the station organizes “The Final Countdown”, its farewell concert-party, at the CCP Complex and forms the 102 Club as its lasting legacy to its listeners.

DWNU-107 FM-- the “Home of New Rock”, and DWBM-105 FM--the “Power Station” hit the new music airwaves. [Though NU would carry on into the next decade’s alternative rock scene, BM wouldn’t be as lucky. Another radio station, Ed Formoso’s “Rock of the World” DWLA-105 FM, would shortly join NU on the air in the early 90’s, though it too would suffer XB’s fate. Still, LA would be instrumental to the second wave of pinoy punk, even if some of its DJs blatantly pitted punks against hip-hoppers in a vain attempt to attract more listeners--really, what a cheap marketing ploy. Said radio jocks also made an overkill on the term “alternative”.]

The Philippine National Red Cross threatens to sue Tommy Tanchanco in court for using the international Red Cross symbol on his TRC products and tapes. Tommy, being the son of an influential ex-government minister, brushes the threats aside.

G.I. & The Idiots drummer Louie “We Gotta Go” Guiang [r.i.p.] survives a stabbing incident at the “Self-Destruction” concert at Ortañez University.

Dead Ends--with G.I. & The Idiots, IOV, Genocide, and others--takes their act to Olongapo City. The gig, sponsored by Tropical Viruses, is marred by skateboard-bashing, bottle-throwing, several knifings, and good old fistfights. The concert eventually ends in total chaos and violence as Manila’s punks clash with Olongapo’s punks. The tribal war between Manila’s punks and Olongapo’s punks has begun.

TRC releases more UG cassettes: IOV’s debut Another Destructive Century, Dead Ends’ third album Damned Nation, RDA’s (now Reformed Destruction for Action) debut Brave United in Trust, and the Phil. Violators’ debut At Large! [All four bands would make a comeback in the 90’s after some period of hibernation. Ex-IOV bassist Rady (minus vocalist Xeres, guitarist Gerri, and drummer Undo) would later join forces with vocalist Jun Idiot of G.I. & The Idiots (sans guitarist Benjie, bassist George, and drummer Louie) to form Hard K (“K” for Kulangot). GI would later reform and release their DIY second album “Technology Eats the World” (under their Recycled Records & Tapes outfit), which contained the anthemic song “Spirit of the 80’s (Where Have All the Tribes Gone)”. RDA would still be RDA and vocalist Ollie “Punk rock is the last revolution!” Malolos would still be the wasted punk that he is, with some members (guitarist Angelo, bassist Mandy, or drummer Ferdie, I’m not quite sure who) joining the local PNP police force. PV would release two more indie albums under their RMD label, “State of Confusion” and “The Third Offense”, before landing on a major. Dead Ends would pursue the thrash metal grind (a la Slayer) and self-produce their fourth and last album, “Mamatay sa Ingay”, with all songs sung in Tagalog (a Dead Ends’ first). Soon afterwards, bassist Jay Dimalanta would die in his sleep, marking the end of DE’s career.]

TRC tapes find their way into the review section of Maximum Rock ‘N’ Roll, the U.S.’s (and probably the world’s) longest-running punk fanzine. Local punk bands couldn’t be any prouder.

Punk fanzine Herald X hits the newsstands. Sold at 20 pesos and published by Tommy Tanchanco and friends, HX becomes the “alternative music read” for the country’s bored generation. Published in newsprint, it becomes a first of sorts in the local DIY publishing industry and immediately becomes the official paper of the local underground movement.

A short experimental film, “Generation Loss”, makes it as entry to the “1987 CCP Short Film and Video Festival”. The punk film’s soundtrack features the music of the Urban Bandits, Dead Ends, Betrayed, Dead Beat, and Wuds.

The Catholic Church and other religious groups--with the help of the country’s leading print and broadcast media--discredit the local punk scene and brand hardcore as satanic. Rumors and black propaganda falsely accusing punk tribes as satanic cults roaming Manila’s streets and stalking public elementary schools to look for human sacrifice [as in eating children’s hearts and all that shit] strike the scene. “Satanism” becomes the main course in most TV and radio talk shows, making newspaper headlines and all--with punk as their favorite whipping boy of course. In response, some punks reluctantly forbid the wearing of all-black clothing or anything black for a time until the hubbub and rumors die down. “How can we be Satanists when some of us don’t even believe in a god?”--blurts one devout Tandem punkster.

Herald X comes out with an exposé on the satanist-cult scare menacing Manila. The article exposes the public fear as nothing but the top secret works [read: psy(chological)-war(fare)] of the U.S. government’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Philippines as part of its Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC) program on third world countries hostile to its foreign policies. With the blessings of the Aquino puppet regime, the satanist rumors are concocted to divert the public’s attention from the bloody Mendiola massacre that happened right in front of Malacañang Palace early in the year, and also to silence the peasant movement’s growing clamor for genuine land reform in a predominantly landlord-class bureaucracy [the President herself owns a hacienda for fuck’s sake!]. The massacre is foretold by the Urban Bandits in their song “Battle of Mendiola”, and RDA in “Violent Dispersal”.

Punks celebrate the yuletide at the “Merry Christmess” gig in U.P. The concert is a mess as expected as punk bands thrashed the instruments, scaring the shit out of new wave groups who never got to play. “O-organize organize kayo ng gig hindi naman ninyo kilala yung mga banda. Buti pa ako hindi organizer pero kilala ko lahat ng banda pati mga members nila.”--Jojo Aseclo, attending punk gigs on his crutches/wheelchair.


1988
Asia magazine runs a one-page cover story on the Philippine punk scene with the title “Punk’s Alive and Well” on its September 4 issue. “Punks believe in anarchy. We believe in self-rule, whether what we do conforms or does not conform with the system.”--Tommy Tanchanco interviewed.

Crossover, a mix of hardcore and heavy metal, slowly invades the punk scene as more metal acts, particularly thrash, emerge from the UG. Skate rock or “skate punk” also becomes popular as more and more punks are getting into skateboarding, headbanging, and the mosh pit (the pogo’s “more energetic” version). Pinoy thrashers are born. [Crossover would eventually evolve in the 90’s as crust and reclaim Sampaloc’s downtown area.]

Friday The 13th, D.F.A. (Death From Above), A.O.D. (Agony Of Destruction), M.A.D. (Mutual Assured Destruction), V.O.D. (Valley Of Death), Discant X, Tribulation, Mere Mercy (which sold out to shitty new wave), and other new thrash/crossover acts emerge from their respective garages.

Foxcore or “femcore” and the riot grrrls movement (yup, even before 1991) make their presence felt in the male-dominated underground scene with female-led bands like the Tribunals, Suicidal Syndrome, and Fatal Disguise.

In Laguna, the hardcore crew (New York style) of Biofeedback is formed. [BFK would eventually pave the way for the development of NYHC in the scene (both old school and new school), particularly down south. BFK’s only album “Hardtimes”, under the DIY Mutilated Noise label, was released in the mid-90’s and was a ground-breaking achievement from the provincial scenesters.]

Deceased’s debut cassette, Never Rest in Peace, is the lone release of TRC for the year as X-producer Tommy gets more and more inactive in the punk scene. Recorded at Fullerton Audio, the tape is produced by George Imbecile of G.I. & The Idiots fame. [Deceased would also pursue the thrash metal grind in the 90’s (like Dead Ends) and self-produce their second album “Reborn”, under their Darkmoon label].

Skate-contests-cum-concerts become the trend in many punk gigs like “Nightmare on Skatestreet”, “Aggression Session”, and many others. Some notable gigs of the year that are either forcibly stopped by cops or ended in total chaos and violence are “Start the Conflict” at the Dapitan Sports Complex, “Glad to Be Alive” at the Y.M.C.A., “No Stopping Us” at Philam Homes, Q.C., and “A Twist in My Nerve” at Trinity College.

DIY fanzines, which are usually handwritten or typewritten [no computer shit yet] and then photocopied/xeroxed, flood the underground market after Herald X’s inactivity after only two issues. The most noted zines are Garbage, Blatant Underground, Mutilated News, Anti, Manila Oi! Paper, Warewolf, Scrap, and Grrowll (which is the first local zine to feature foreign scene reports and bands), among many others.

Chong magazine Score appears on thick glossy paper. Sold at 35 pesos, it features new wave and a little punk stuff. It comes out with only four issues before finally folding up.

Red Rocks, an alternative rock pub at Timog Avenue, Q.C. (Club Dredd’s predecessor) becomes the hottest hangout of punks, thrashers, and chongs alike when there are no major gigs around.


1989
The Duke of Charlez organizes the RAD concert tour (“Rock Against Drugs”) featuring thrash, crossover, and punk bands from the UG side by side chong/new wave groups. The tour starts at U.P. and makes the rounds of Manila’s universities.

Punk concerts become harder to get by as TRC releases Philippines: Where Do We Go From Here? TRC-19 is a punk-thrash compilation featuring the music of Discant X, Infernal Wrath, MAD, Banned, VOD, Death Threat (not that former rap outfit), Fatal Disguise, Distorted Minds, and UdK. Produced by Benjie Sengson of GI, the compilation becomes TRC’s last as the “music that makes headlines” ceases to be. [In fact, the question posed by the V/A compilation’s title is in itself a sad statement on where the punk scene is heading. TRC tapes would later be reissued in the mid-90’s by the bands themselves after ending their long leave of absence from the scene that spawned them.]

Somewhere in Tondo’s slums, the country’s first death metal outfit is formed. Crematorium is born. This birth would mark the dawn of more sinister things to come to the local underground, particularly of the death/doom/black metal kind.


1990
Tommy Tanchanco, like Howlin’ Dave and the rest, leaves the punk scene for good and becomes the manager of chong band Introvoys [ha! what the?]. “It’s hard to respond when people ask, ‘Are you a punk?’. Some people think it’s all in the look, but it’s all in the attitude.”--comments Tommy for the last time.

Bad Omen is founded by former Phil. Violators groupies. [Bassist Jon Fishbone would soon establish an underground record label in the mid-90’s called Middle Finger and, like PV’s RMD, help many struggling bands in the UG to express and unite themselves through its various compilation albums. MFP would eventually become the 90’s’ answer to the 80’s’ TRC.]

As the 80’s come to a close, many punk/hardcore bands either have to disband or lie low. Some groups begin pursuing the thrash/death metal genre while others start joining the core of future mainstream/alternative acts. As for the average punk-in-the-street, a few choose to grow their hair to chest-length and become headbangers while many decide to just cut their mohawks and spikes and live regular 8 to 5 lives. Though some may have moved on and forgotten the whole underground scene which they’ve helped sustain for over a decade, still, a few brave souls would remain to continue the struggle into the 90’s and carry on with what the movement had begun and stood for. Punk’s not dead!

Metal fanzine Bakal hits the newsstands. Punk and new wave are unofficially pronounced dead in R.P...but the revolution continues. [this article, to be concluded in a book]


Today, only these tell the story:







Soundtrack: "Spirit of the 80’s (Where Have All the Tribes Gone)" by G.I.

44 comments:

  1. wow! what a read...a trip down memory lane. salamat sa istorya pare. i still have the Over & Out Herald X issue as well as 2 copies of Urban Bandits' Independence Day, yung TRC release and the re-release na wala na yung TRC logo. i stumbled on your blogspot while looking for Creepers shoes and Lucianos/Glennmore as I am in the process of wearing them again...I have to say this sidetrip was a real timewarp. Again salamat!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Quite a story you got there. I'll sit down and read it when I get the time.

    I got here in the search of songs of The Betrayed, I used to work for Eddie “Tokwa” Siojo. He had a Wok restaurant here in Sweden, called wok n' roll. Anyway he has moved to another city. But I'm curious about Hearing more of he's old band. I got some old recordings he did in New york (let me know if you're interested). Is there any chance you have mp3's you wanna share?

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  6. these infos are really great... you are one hell of a researcher... i've seen a lot of bands during the peak of my youth... for me the best band the local punk scene ever had is the great hardcore band RDA, they always turn the gig venues upside-down whenever they play their piece... and i think they are the only band who are still active until now aside from phil violators and wuds... catch RDA perform live and you will find out what i am saying.... HAIL RDA the greatest pinoy punk band in the land... and they are not just good in playing but also good as a person. in the 80's superstar mga bands during those days, hindi mo sila malalapitan or makakausap like chaos, betrayed, urban bandits, wuds etc. but RDA, malalapitan mo sila, makakasama, makakainuman, makakakwentuhan...

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  38. Finally! One decent and authentic facts and history of the subterranean culture. I still want the fanzine!

    Fin (ex-founder A.O.D.)

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  40. i am from smile plenty . as a start off, -- FUCK YOU !!! what you have placed in your review for the band, its insensical nature is
    a lame accusation and downright utterly dumb-fucked outwitted way of reviewing our music, its form, ideals and the art of music making of its true potential. I have been informed by numerous people about this insidious slapstick post up review in the internet, way back the MIRC days and we just ignored it, me personally, thingkin TIME *(the greatest tool of the devil)* would make you realize to correct you in re-writing the review and/ or would CONTROL ALT DELETE this moronic standards of reviewing music. BUT NO! you did not. you even publicized your idiocy more to gutright level by pulling the sheets and putting it on a website with a domain name PLANETANG PAPEL/ paper planet.

    in understanding the lunacy of the review. the accusation is linked to all genres mentioned but targetly positioned to our bands name. what and how in the hell did you come up to form this one harebrained idea and just putting it all presto. it must be the name itself that thay have coined yourselves PAPER PLANET.only burnt scalded scorched paper mind like what you have in yr stupe head would place such music review yr words letter by letter scarred us and OUR MUSIC. tell me when i see you how good you are in reviewing US all in one context. tatagalugin kita. sa pamamaraan at sa angkat ng pag iisip mo boie,pukinginakang ka an duwag ng review mo oo nung panahon na yun oo noisecore kami pero hindi kami splattercore o grindcore. at oo connected kami sa ibang gumagawa nun respeto naman dahil art form nila yonof expressing their music. pero ikaw SUNOG NA PAPEL NA ANG BRAINCELLS MU UNGAS fuck you ka!! retarded yang pesteng kaisipan mo. hrrr 90s pa lang lipad hangin na utak mo boie. di kita pinapansin nun kasi mokmapi ka kala ko matututo ka pa kahit sa angkas ng langam . pinatagal ko to ng isang dekada para magising ka kahangalan mo. pwes ngayon hindi na dahil magaling ka!!! matibay ang ang fuckoff brain mo me larawan ka na sa amin. sunog ka! tagal naming di ka pinansin to ngayon ako lang ang nag ssasassaasabi sayo na tangenaka hayup kang garapata ka. eto lack of musicality mo hungas!!!!http://negmac.blogspot.com/ pinakikita ko lang kahit di mo to maiintindihan dahil garapata ka nga. sa mga me kakilala d2 paki 4ward na lang sa mental. im sure meron. kasi small scale group pa ren cateoryan naten dahil sa pag usbong ng malawakang global population growth sanhi ng mga tulad din nitong pulpul na manunulat na di na mulat .ka awa awa. pero kaltok ka pa ren!!! do something about this, publicly apologize for your irrational review of our band and to other genre involved in this shite . be a man or be an asswipe to take a flying fuck to the moon!!! my name is niko of smile plenty aka downboydown aka plastercaster aka fuck you ungas !

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  41. This article is great and makes me willing to know more and more aoub philippino's underground punk and metal in the 80's/90's

    As I am planning a long visit to Philippines in the next month in search of old tapes, recordings, records, contacts....I would like to ask you if it is possible to make a sort of history of philippino's metal and thrash...

    you mentioned a lot of bands, including the totally unknown Warhead and their "Meltdown" Tape....that's an amazing news for me as I was trying to make some researches about the beginning of metal in the Philippines but I came to nothing except a few names such as Wolfgang, RP and Razorback...and as for extreme metal I know only Deiphago's 1991 demo and a few others (Iconoclast, Kambing, Resurrected, Scum...and the "Themes of madness" Compilation...all stuff from 1993...but what was before 1993?

    ReplyDelete
  42. From what I've seen in 'Pinoy Punk' documentaries in YouTube, punk in the Philippines seems to be somewhat stuck in the 70's. The people in the documentary were mostly middle-aged to really old 'punks'. I'll link the video below this.

    I didn't grow up in the Philippines but learned about punk as a teenager. Bands like Rancid, Operation Ivy, and Green Day led me to the Ramones, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Jam, and many more. Still a teenager, I am constantly discovering great new and YOUNG punk bands out there but have still to come across any 'punk-oriented' (whatever you want to call it) youngster here in Metro Manila. 924 Gilman Street in the East Bay is a legendary venue for punk bands old and new and yet, with what punk is usually perceived to be, you get a friendly, non-alcoholic, non-racist, community in there. I guess we don't have the luxury to create a more friendly and open community for punks/outsiders/whatever you want to call them. With that said, if punk elitests are to be believed, the 'real' punk is still alive and healthy here. Heck, most of the 'punks' in that documentary are shown wearing t-shirts with Johnny Rotten's face printed onto them and some are still decorating their homes with black and white photos of Joe Strummer and the Ramones. Awesome to see but I think there's something wrong there.

    The mentality of the people around here is one-dimensional. They only want to listen to what the media tells them to listen to or whatever the world deems cool. Popular kids in school remain the popular kids. People who seem, look, and play punk don't live along any values. Sure, because of the extreme poverty around here our working class would never have the luxury to buy guitars and be inspired to start the same punk rock movement the working class in London did. The problem is that the equivalent of the English/American working class here in the Philippines are too dumb to develop those ideas anyway.

    After watching the documentary, I am relieved to know that there are people out there on the streets of Manila that know punk is not what people perceive it as - hooliganism, satanic, leather jacket, green-haired, etc. However, it still seems inaccessible to the average person. Most venues and hangouts are located in dangerous areas of the city where killing and stealing is common. In fact, because of poverty and lack of any law enforcement it is too risky to even be out on the streets sometimes, or take your phone out on a bus, or simply riding the subway! Punk may have been anti-establishment, but killing and stealing has certainly never been a value.

    But I believe that if we can give people a home - a place to go for outsiders, losers, maybe even the homeless, and the average person - we can really create something here. Establishing a community that upholds values and a vision can surely change the face of the people here. It isn't necessary that we uphold 'punk' values. Punk is a special thing. It can reach out and educate those who are homeless and fill that gap between an average person and a weirdo on the street. The values both would observe would only be positive and people will be given friends and a good environment and won't have to kill or steal. It can happen. But the catalyst is lacking. There are few average Filipinos that are willing to go anywhere beyond the Billboard 200 and a little bit of the Beatles. Those with the luxury to come up with ideas use their intelligence for what it is commonly used for in this country and so we become one-dimensional. Never anything more than what already is.

    The question is though. When the time comes for punk to be embraced in this country, will the arrogance and loyalty of the 'punks' that already roam the streets of Manila hinder it? Will they be just as barbaric towards that change as the rest of society is here in the Philippines?

    ReplyDelete
  43. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y67WN4cHu0c

    Pinoy Punk Documentary ^

    If there already is a punk community more accessible to the average person, please let me know!

    ReplyDelete