The new Eraserheads songs: Looking backward but moving forward

Rick Olivares - The Philippine Star

Buying the latest issue of Esquire magazine was like eating a Wonka Bar and finding out that it contained a Golden Ticket.

I didn’t know that the Eraserheads would be on the magazine’s cover and an excellent feature length article on the bands’ recent show in London would be included. Furthermore, I didn’t even know that it contained a special CD of new songs – yes, new songs and not discarded tracks that never made an album’s final cut – by a band that I never thought would return to the studio to pen new tunes.

This is simply one of life’s pleasant surprises and it took me back to the 1980s when getting a copy of British music mag, Flexipop, meant you were a serious collector because not only did they have the top bands of the day but they also featured tracks you will never find anywhere else.

I had Two-Tone ska band Madness’ piano version of “My Girl,” and Motorhead’s live version of The Yardbirds’ re-worked blues number, “The Train Kept A-Rollin’” where the magazine boasted that the thumping sound that could be heard was from over a hundred people banging their heads on the speakers.

Er, speaking of heads…  I mean who knows if the Eraserheads will ever record a new album, right?

Nevertheless, before I go any further, I should first thank Esquire’s esteemed editor and wondrous writer Erwin Romulo for making all this happen.

Now listening to the two new songs – “Sabado” and “1995” – was like taking a trip down memory lane, except that somewhere along the way, you realize that you’re some place new where there are exciting new discoveries.

First… along that well trodden path… I spoke to two persons who were there at the beginning.

Rob Sunico (the band’s first manager): “I had previously asked Binky Lampano and Jack Sikat if they saw any good bands at UP and they told me about the Eraserheads. It just so happened, I bumped into a friend of mine, TJ Besa and asked him if he knew of them. Fortunately at that moment, he was with Marcus (Adoro), who was his frat brod, and Reims (Marasigan). I asked them what was their music like and they gave me this tape.”

“Robin Rivera, who eventually became their producer, liked their music and recorded them at faculty center.  Anyway, we went to the office to listen to their tape. Dodong Viray, Dyna Records Creative Director at that time was also there.  Dodong told me to take care of these guys because they’re gonna be big.  And so it came to pass.”

TJ Besa (schoolmate and friend):I met Marcus during the fraternity initiation. During the talent portion, kinanta ni Marcus yung “Pare Ko” and we were like, ‘Okay, fine.’”

“Some time later, Raimund Marasigan told me that they had submitted their demo copies to different recording companies but got no interest, they were about to give up.”

“I even brought them to a place called 'The Wall' before sa Balara – talagang hole in the wall. And if I remember right, they weren’t paid for their performance.”

“Back then they had an unrecorded song inspired by a drink I served at the UP fair. The drink was called ‘Sidewalk Slammer’ and the song was titled, ‘Sidewalk Slammin' in the Sunken Garden’. They never did record the song. Haha.”

“Then I bumped into Rob who was putting up Club Dredd with Patrick Reidenbach and that’s how they got their start.”

Seven albums and a bunch of EPs, compilations, and live albums later, the band with its original lineup in tow, has recorded their first new songs since 2001’s “Carbon Stereoxide”.

The moment the acoustic guitar strums of “Sabado” enters, you get that warm familiar feeling of an old friend. Or a band whose music not only defined a generation but also spoke of a local heart and pulse. The jingle jangle settles your nerves if you are wondering how good they’d be (they are). It revs up but yanks you back as if to say, “let’s savor this moment.”

The songs are unmistakably the Eraserheads, only with a bright new sheen. On the other hand, the solid musicianship depicts a mature band that had perfected its craft.

And one of them, “Sabado,” seems to be the story of the band in the here and now.

“Ang pagpanaw ng araw

At paglalim ng dilim.

Ang oras.

Na lumipas.

Di na natin maibabalik.”


“Itapon ang kahapon.

Yakapin ang darating.

At kung kailangan mo ako.

Lagi naman ako nandito.”

Is this the start of something new? Is this a continuation of unfinished business?

Rob Sunico (who currently manages Ely Buendia’s new band The Oktaves): “It is still them. The edges have been smoothed out but it is still them.”

TJ Besa (currently the Managing Director of CommPulse Advertising and PR): “It’s a positive song about moving on. I think it might be a subliminal explanation of what's been going on but not necessarily what will happen.”

Is this a start of a new album and not simply these reunion concerts playing classic hits?

Besa then paused to think about then closed it out: “AngSabado’baka umabot sa Lunesat hataw na naman sila.”









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