.AVI Watching: The I-Witness' Eheads Dokyu

Obviously the Heads were united to proclaim a mission to give voice to the youth by roooooocking out!

(insert Jack Black growl)

Slacking at home is awesome. I am lying at an air conditioned room where I am watching a Lakers versus Hawks game, fattening myself with chips... and surfing.

Yes, I see the stretch marks cowering my self-esteem.

Anyway, I stacked my laptop with .avi files. I have an awesome collection of movies not usually seen at cinemas. One of those files is an I-Witness documentary about the Eraserheads’ Final Set. Jay Taruc follows the group and their spawns (most of them rocked out in the Ultraelectromagnetic Jam compilation) to verify the Heads’ contribution to the current music landscape. He also checks out their origin, their breakup, the reunion, and the other scenarios that gave more drama to the most anticipated concert on this side of the planet.

While some could place Wolfgang, Rivermaya, Parokya Ni Edgar, South Border, and even Juan dela Cruz Band, Sampaguita, Hotdog, and VST and Company above them in terms of singing, there is no question how their music impacted their generation. Hell, can you imagine teenagers... toddlers then... singing Alapaap? Yes actually because they tailor-fit their music reach out music lovers of all ages. Coincidentally, Ely, Raimund, Buddy, and Marcus got their influences from another quartet whose songs were hits when they haven’t been created. I think With A Smile was the perfect song to further point out their Beatle influences (this could also include Hard to Believe, Shake Your Head, Butterscotch and Poorman’s Grave).

However, artistic differences forced them to separate.

Sure, some could say the rift between Raimund and Ely was enough to destroy the biggest band produced in Philippine soil. Back then Raimund was also busy working with his other band Sandwich, then headlined by Marc Abaya where Buddy was also a bassist. Another cause is their superstar-ness. They weren’t rebels and activists but a couple of popular rockers equipped with legendary stature.

And yeah, the “Yoko Ono” storyline was also seen as a reason but as I said, artistic differences forced them separate.

Ultraelectromagneticpop was their starting point (although Pop U was their first album). Circus gave them a following to rival the balladeers of that generation. Back then, colonial mentality caused people to listen to foreign R & B, heavy metal, and hiphop acts. It also didn’t help that APO had waned their popularity, Martin Nievera and Janno Gibbs were pretty much reviving, Regine Velasquez has yet to peak, which leaves Francis Magalona, Ogie Alcasid, and Gary Valenciano giving OPM a fighting chance. It was Cutterpillow though that gave the band their legendary stride. Huling El Bimbo has yet to be released as a single but fans are clamouring for it at the airwaves. They almost burst to the international scene... which pretty much paved for their decline.

A Christmas EP happened. And then came Bananatype. However, Fruitcake alienated their “masses”. Sticker Happy brought them back but a slew of other albums and the rise of Rivermaya and Parokya Ni Edgar, and other bands caused their sales to drop. Then the return of foreign hits pretty much waned their popularity. This also caused the Fab 4 to experiment. Carbon Stereoxide is not “pang-masa” but it was their most complete album. But it was also their last.

2002 was the end of the Heads.

“Ely just quit”, Raimund exclaims. This prompted the end of their more than a decade of rocking at UP, Club Dredd, and other rocking establishments near campuses before their status climb. Collectively they worked magic but individually, they had distinct personalities. Ely was aloof and very, very guarded while Buddy seems like the type that just loves to rock in any way he could. Markus looks stoned at times but he seems deep and Raimund seems like the guy that would do everything to make his mark in the music scene.

Afterwards the four drifted to different careers. The moment Ely quit, the three continued the Heads with Kris Dancel replacing Ely. The band “femaled" their hits but the New Eraserheads couldn’t warm up their fans. Soon, the band will morph into Cambio where they will add Monsterbot’s Diego Mapa and Kris’ husband and Sugarfree vocalist Ebe Dancel... to replace the burned out Marcus Adoro. Adoro will try his hand in making films but he would go on a hiatus to faraway La Union where he would surf (non-online) and he would create a band called Markus Highway where he’ll try his luck as its singer. Buddy Zabala would leave Sandwich and would do producing gigs. He’ll play bass for another legendary band called The Dawn. Ely Buendia will distance himself from his ex-bandmates to form The Mongols (this was after his botched solo career). He would also pen and collaborate songs for his friends, most notably Francis M. The Mongols (pencil versus eraser... get it?) was a bust but it encountered breakout when it changed its name to Pupil as a high-end rock band. While Pupil made sophisticated, Sandwich reverted to “masa”. Raimund Marasigan tried his luck as an axeman and then as a singer. Sandwich basically went 360 because from Love Is and Butterfly Carnival, they went on to produce songs like Sugod, Betamax and DVDX (an exception to the rule is Procrastinator).

However, Marasigan was the most successful bandie during the post-Eheads era. Aside from Sandwich, he is also part of Cambio (still with Zabala), Pedicab, Project One, and he even made an electronica hiphop album. He became producer and collaborator to various bands like Itchyworms, Imago and Sugarfree.

Basically Ely remains as the chief Eraserhead figure but Raimund excelled in giving the band afterlife.

And when they did the reunion?

Those who attended would still settle for the stopped concert but definitely preferred for the Final Set to happen. And yeah, when they rocked last March, they made thousands of spectators shout, cry, rock out to the tunes that made the 40-somethings head bang like giggling yuppies and kids create mosh pits as if they’ve been hearing the songs when they have yet been created by their mommies. Of course, it seems like the success of the concerts are not without back stories. The halted concert had Ely’s deteriorated health after his mom passed away. The Final Set almost had band ally Francis M to sing Superproxy in front of the live crowd but instead, the Master Rapper was asked by God to rock with Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran in heaven.

So this happened last March 2009... you might ask why I am bringing this back?

In 2007, APO popped back to the music scene and taking a slew of old and new fans via their two tribute albums. In 2008, aside from the E-Heads, the band phenomenon in the Philippines was so strong that we had to have subcultures for this dominant genre. And in 2009, no foreign act that visited the Philippines came close to the hype and anticipation that the band created.

Not even the Pussycat Dolls... Akon...

Keith Martin...

I think he guested sa Singing Bee a couple of months back...

Anyway, some might say that the Heads are firm in their ten-year “no reunion” clause.

I don’t know... they might surprise everyone with a secret album.

Ever wondered why they haven’t released a Final Set Concert DVD? Did you see the Sandbox TVC?

Game over.


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