The Moffatts magic: Filipinos still crazy for ‘90s boyband

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com
The Moffatts magic: Filipinos still crazy for �90s boyband
The Moffatts during their Farewell Tour press con (bottom left photo by Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo) and concert (top photo by Philstar.com/Efigenio Christopher Toledo IV). Thousands of smartphones from fans lit up during the band's concert in Araneta Coliseum last weekend (bottom right photo by Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo).

MANILA, Philippines — During the 1990s, the youth had to pick sides a lot – between the Spice Girls or All Saints, Backstreet Boys or NSync, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or Bret Hart, Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. And of course, there is Hanson versus The Moffatts.

Last Saturday, Team Moffatts won in Araneta Coliseum. To this day, The Moffatts remain as the biggest-selling international band of all time in the Philippines.

High school sweethearts of yesteryear came in the concert with their children in tow. Some women in the audience were even heavily pregnant. But on that night, everyone was 14 again, waving their smart phones’ flashlights as they sing along with the band’s hits, including “I’ll Be There for You,” “Bang Bang Boom,” “Crazy,” “Love,” “Until You Love Me” and “Always in My Heart.”

The boys also debuted their latest singles from their new branding, as Scott Moffatt and Bob and Clint’s Endless Summer. Of course, they saved the best ones for last and did not complete their Farewell Tour in Manila without rendering “Life is So Short,” “Girl of My Dreams,” “Girls of the World,” where The Philippines has been immortalized, and “Miss You Like Crazy,” which was number one in the country for 14 to 15 weeks straight.

“The last time we were here 16 years ago, there were no cellphones yet,” Scott said, describing the dance of lights as “memorable” and reminiscent of space in the movie “La La Land.”

“’Miss You like Crazy’ is one of the biggest songs of our time,” Clint admitted in a press conference prior to the show. “You can never predict success. We never thought that’s it’s going to happen. It just happened.”

Brothers Scott, Clint, and Bob, collectively known as The Moffatts, performed live at the Araneta Coliseum for their Farewell Tour last Saturday. Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

The Moffatts' Farewell Tour in Manila was well-received by Filipino fans, who sang along and flashed their smartphones in support of the group. Philstar.com/Efigenio Christopher Toledo IV

The Moffatts' Farewell Tour in Manila was well-received by Filipino fans, who sang along and flashed their smartphones in support of the group. Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

The Moffatts' Farewell Tour in Manila was well-received by Filipino fans, who sang along and flashed their smartphones in support of the group. Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Throwback to long hair

Formed in their native Canada, The Moffatts was composed of brothers Scott, Bob, Clint and Dave. Scott was born in 1983, while the triplets were born a year after.

From a country music vocal band, they rose to international stardom with the release of their first pop rock album, “Chapter 1: A New Beginning” in 1998, with the hit single “I’ll Be There For You.”

 WATCH: The Moffatts - "I'll Be There For You"




“People saw us as a boyband. We really didn’t see it that way. We just continued to be who we were,” Scott explained in the press con. “We respected a lot of other boy bands like NSync. We never saw ourselves as that…We didn’t allow people to say to us who we were and what we were.”

Scott recalled that they wrote a song by asking each other to contribute a line to a melody. When they were young, instead of telling stories, they would sing fairytales and put twists into them as they boarded the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver.

“Girl of My Dreams,” said Scott, pertains to “no girl in particular.”

“Some songs are from personal experience,” confessed Bob. “Writing a song is like an actor creating a scene. You create a hook or an idea, then anybody can attach to that.”

According to Clint, all their hits are the first ones they wrote together. “Scott started writing at a very young age. We had no idea that those songs are going to be embraced so massively.”

When the band toured their first album in Manila 16 years ago, the boys had their biggest audience ever at the Hard Rock Café in Manila. In fact, the glass door broke because so many people tried to get in. Their show in SM Megamall drew close to 40,000 people.

“That airport craziness…about 30,000 people in the mall, girls climbing to the speakers, that kind of reception we never experienced before,” Bob said of his most memorable time in the Philippines. “We haven’t experienced so many people like that. It was crazy!”

“Back in our days, we were doing about 100 shows a year,” shared Clint.

“There’s a lot of fun. We’ve had a lot of great memories of the ‘90s. Coming back here makes us relive some of the best memories that we had,” said Bob. “The passion that fans had for us is what I missed.”

Because of the great reception the band got from The Philippines, they made sure to include the country in the song, “Girls of the World.”

“The one thing that we can say about our Filipino fans is that they’re extremely loyal. They’re passionate. They always welcome us with smiles, beautiful smiles. And they’ve been there for us the whole time. That’s a really cool and admirable trait that they have,” said Bob.

Bob and Clint returned to the Philippines as the duo Same Same and collaborated with Filipino singer-actress Lovi Poe. When asked if they ever have been linked to a Filipina during one of their visits, Clint told Philstar.com: “We’re just friends with Lovi. We never got to know Filipino girls on a personal level.”

Bob, however, said of Filipinas: “They’re gorgeous! Beautiful! Really nice.”

The band released a second album, “Submodalities,” in 2000 before disbanding in 2001. But even after separating, they were told that Filipinos still buy their records like crazy, said Bob.

Thus, six months ago, the brothers decided to reunite since “Filipinos have always been incredibly kind to us,” said Bob.

“It’s not really about getting back and making a lot of money; we just want to have fun,” clarified Clint.

“It will also be fun to bring our new music to the Philippines to share and carry on the relationship and hopefully they’ll enjoy the new tunes,” added Scott.

The brothers talked to Dave to join them, but Dave has been a yoga instructor for the past 10 years and that has been his passion in life, explained Clint.

“It’s really nice if Dave is here,” said Scott. Bob sang Dave’s parts in the concert. Bob also got back into playing drums, which he was not able to do so for years.

Even after disbanding, the brothers stayed close to each other. Scott stayed in Canada and is still into pop rock, while Bob and Clint formed a country duo, Same Same, which they renamed, Endless Summer. They are based in Nashville.

“Since 16 years ago, Clint has become more comfortable in his own skin. When we were young, he had his insecurities. Now, he’s more confident,” shared Scott, who has since, cut his signature long hair and replaced it with a hat and a pair of glasses.

“As I’ve grown older, the more that I’ve gotten blind,” he told Philstar.com in a jest. “The hair? There’s still some left. I was thinking of getting a wig!”

Clint, who used to get embarrassed easily, believes that in the past years, “there’s more depth into our lives.”

The brothers also got themselves some tattoos. Scott got his first a few days after he turned 18, the same tattoo as Dave’s. “I took a pain killer so I will not feel the pain as much,” professed Scott, who got his second tattoo on his neck after partying in Thailand. He thinks the tattoo looks like Bob’s.

Clint, meanwhile, has a tattoo of their dog, their family crest, and a design he drew.

“I don’t party at all and I don’t have sex,” Scott said in response to Philstar.com’s query if they also experienced sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.

“We partied sometimes then,” Clint admitted. “But we’re not here to just be wild and crazy and all. We’re here to make music. Basically, throughout our entire career, the emphasis is on creating music and getting better as artists. The partying was never, ever the focus.”

“A lot of other musicians were in the music industry for the girls, the money, the fame, the booze. We wanted to make music. We got in it to make music. We cut it loose sometimes, but our goal was to make music and do the best we could,” added Scott, who takes care of his voice by taking tea instead of smoking and drinking alcohol.

1990 now

Bob might be married and a lot of things have changed since their last visit to Manila, but some things remain the same, he said.

“We’re still immature. Our songs really didn’t change ,” noted Bob, who is happy that their songs also appeal to a younger generation.

“Singing it just feels second nature,” added Scott, not feeling awkward to sing the anthems of his youth even if he has gotten older and his voice, more mature and masculine.

“The moment I sing these songs, waves of memories come back, I come back (to being a teenager again),” remarked Clint.

They have managed to stay “cute” by trying “to be as healthy as we can” and eating right, said Bob.

“What you do with your life, if you’re having fun doing what you’re doing, that plays a big role,” Clint added.

Clint Moffatt singing singles from his and Bob's new band, Endless Summer. Philstar.com/Efigenio Christopher Toledo IV

Their supposed rivalry with Hanson is “still very strong,” said Bob. “We think of them every day,” he said further.

“I actually met those guys. My wife’s a big Hanson fan…I took her to a show in Nashville and it turns out that they’re actually fans of ours. They like the ‘Submodalities’ record. They’re really nice guys and I think we have a mutual respect for what we’re doing at that time.”

Though Scott has not yet met the brothers that comprise Hanson, he believes “what they’re doing is cool.”

Through social media, they got in touch with other ‘90s artists, including Next of Kin and singer-heartthrob Gil.

WATCH: Gil Ofarim & The Moffatts - "If You Only Knew" 



“In the ‘90s, there were no social media, so there’s much attention drawn into a concert. The show ends in the live performance, which was then, more cozy and human, more earthy,” he explained. “Now, with social media, there’s non-stop celebrity. But it also allowed us to stay in contact with our fans and have a give and take relationship.”

Scott admitted that he also gets bashed a lot online. “We’re all flawed…so somebody really disagrees with something that I say, because I say a lot of stupid things. But I think it’s cool when we can have conversations about things and we try to understand one another. We become better through these conversations. Not to say that you’re right or I’m right, but to come to a conclusion is a happy thing.”

As he and his brothers leave the Philippines, he wishes his fans would remember him as an “authentic” artist. In turn, he remembers the Philippines as “a big part of their proudest moment as a band” because Filipinos are always there for them.

“They’re still going crazy and having a fun time and screaming like really enjoying the moment,” he observed.

Bob and Clint will be back to Nashville to continue composing songs and performing. During their downtime, they like to play videogames. Clint is also a “great camera guy,” said Scott, while Bob also plays hockey.

Scott will be back to Canada to continue writing songs and to release a new album by April or May. He vowed that the Philippines will be the first to hear his new songs from the album. He performs live on Facebook every Friday.

What keeps him busy when not strumming his guitar?

“I can bake!” he revealed. “I bake bread. I can bake sour dough, cinnamon buns from scratch!”

He encourages The Moffatts fans to stay tuned and keep in touch in social media, so that their Farewell Tour will not really mean “goodbye.” In fact, they hope to return for another concert next year.

WATCH: The Moffatts live in Manila 2017, singing "Girl of My Dreams"

Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

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