Rivermaya redux

Tinnie P. Esguerra (The Philippine Star) - April 17, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – It was a much-awaited musical homecoming for Perf de Castro, original Rivermaya guitarist, who flew back to Manila recently for a series of gigs and guitar clinics.

Currently residing in Azusa, a suburb of Los Angeles, California, the Pinoy guitar hero was surprised with the overwhelming support from friends and fans alike, who came in droves just to see him back in fighting form as he brandished his guitar wizardry onstage.

“There’s really nothing like a home-country crowd,” he points out.

The highlight of his comeback gig series was the Rivermaya reunion at 19 East, where he and ex-bandmates Nathan Azarcon, Rico Blanco and Mark Escueta relived Pinoy Rock history as they blazed through their set of originals and impromptu jams to thunderous cheers from the crowd.

Bamboo would’ve joined them, had it not been for some engagements abroad.

Prior to the reunion, Perf recalls playing with Rico, Nathan and Mark in 2000 at the Nescafé Open Up tour at Burnham Park in Baguio.

And how did it feel being onstage with them again?

Perf says, “You know, with both Triaxis and Rivermaya, it felt like we didn’t take a break for years! We were still able to pick up and react to each other’s cues on the fly and come up with some great musical interaction that only comes from playing with people that are tuned to the same frequency. It’s amazing and surreal at the same time! It’s a testament to the band’s chemistry and to the musical growth each of us went through over the years.”

Did that fateful reunion spawn any potential opportunities, as far as recording, performing or creating music in general?

Perf elaborates, “If you mean Rivermaya, well, I’ve received messages about taking it on the road and such, but I think something like that will have to develop organically, meaning the initiative has to come from the five of us and not just because somebody showed up and threw an insane amount of money at us. It might take some time because we all have other things lined up, but I will say that I’m open and game for such an opportunity.”

Back in his Azusa homebase in the States, Perf remains active in the classical guitar community.

He recently played at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Zipper Hall of Colburn School with Filipino chorales. He also performed for the American Guitar Society, Ventura Classical Guitar Society, Long Beach Guitar Society, Pasadena Presbyterian Church Music at Noon series and at the Frethouse in Covina. He’s also played both classical and electric with the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra.

He has also released another solo 10-string CD called Caparison, available on CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

Perf also recently released a new single called Guardant, a rock guitar instrumental.

With his homecoming gigs kicking off his year to a great start, Perf is excited about his plans for the coming months.

He shares excitedly, “I have a lot on my plate!”

“I’m in the process of going through the materials I’ve recorded during this trip and will be busy putting everything together and loading them on my YouTube channel.

“I also have several more instrumentals that I need to finalize and release as an EP or maybe a full-length album. Let’s see how that develops. I do hope to come back within the year and do more gigs/clinics in Manila, and perhaps do the same in nearby countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong as well.”

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