Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nasaan ako nang sumikat ang Eraserheads?

Yesterday, the Eraserheads , the famous alternative Pinoy band of the 90s, the predecessor of other alternative bands like Yano, Parokya ni Edgar, Rivermaya, etc., reunited six years after it disbanded. It was a nostalgic moment for all of its loyal fans.

I somehow feel out of place where the Eraserheads hype is concerned. I know them, well, er, I know Ely Buendia but that’s nearly it. I am familiar with E-heads songs but I don’t know them by heart; I am sure to lose if it were the final song I have to sing in any The Singing Bee-like contest.

Gee, where the hell was I when the Eraserheads were at their prime?

I was in an all-girls Catholic school living my sheltered life as a sixth grader. Although the E-heads songs penetrated the holy walls of my school, I didn’t develop any outright fanaticism over them or their music. (I have to say, though, that Andrew E’s songs are yet another story. I could sing nearly the entire Humanap Ka ng Pangit album when I was in grade four. Yuck!)

But it was not the Eraserheads’ fault that they didn’t win me. It’s not them. It was me. (Nyak!) I have always been a passive kind of music lover. I am not in the habit of turning on the radio. The people around me were the ones who did that. Only when I hear certain songs do I realize that I love them.

We did, however, own Eraserheads cassette tapes. My dad happens to be adventurous when it comes to music so I wasn’t entirely ignorant of E-heads songs. However I am not sure if we have the Ultraelectromagneticpop! album. I seem to remember the songs Pare Ko, Toyang and Ligaya (all coming from the said album) being played in our component at home but I don’t recall seeing the Ultraelectromagneticpop! cover in our mini music libarary.

I am certain, though, that there is a Cutterpillow album at home. The album cover is more than familiar to me. Also, Ang Huling El Bimbo, one track in the Cutterpillow album, happened to be a favorite at home mainly because my then two-year-old brother, Mic, who enthusiastically sang along with it. He says “Aluman!” after he hears the intro “Kamukha mo si…” then exclaims “sumayaw” after “at ang galing galing mong…” (And so on and so forth.)

During my early years in college, I found myself in the company of one of the many Eraserheads fanatics in the person of my blocmate, Aloha. She often raved about the band and almost always swooned whenever she hears the name, “Ely Buendia.” Aloha filled me in with some juicy E-heads scoops which I deemed reliable, given that Aloha actually followed the band wherever their gig was.

Then again, I wouldn’t know Ely Buendia even if I bumped unto him at Megamall. And what do you know? I bumped unto him at Megamall, maybe not literally but you get what I mean.

It was the 2003 Octoberfest, my berks and I just punched out from our respective internship “shows.” We decided to check out the Octoberfest being held at the Megamall. I know, I know. Attending the October fest is not really in my character—one, I don’t drink and, two, I am not crazy over crowds. Thus explaining why I backed out of the “adventure.” That is, after allegedly bumping unto Ely Buendia.

My berks and I were lost in the ocean of Octoberfest attendees. We were stuck in something that resembled a queue in front of Megamall. Nikka, eager to get us out of oblivion, hoisted herself up on a trash can to get an eagle’s eye-view of the venue’s messy floor plan. She was talking to another berk, I think it was Luna, on her cellphone when she suddenly went nuts.

“T*ng ina!” She let out a stifled shriek. In between trickles of tears, she managed to explain, still in a stifled shock, that Ely Buendia, the guy she has loved since she was nearly a kid, was standing behind us.

I peeked, of course inconspicuously, and I thought, “Ay, sya pala si Ely. Gwapo pala siya sa personal!”

Meanwhile, Sarif, another berk was not contented on simply looking. She approached Ely. No effort was required really. All she had to do was to turn around. If she took one step, she’d be invading Ely’s personal space.

“Excuse me, ikaw ba si Ely Buendia?” She asked in the least annoying way she could muster.

The good-looking guy said no. (Aba, suplado!)

Sarif was persistent, “Papicture na lang po kami with you.”

Good-looking guy looked around as if checking on something. After hesitating for a second, he gave in, “Sige pero walang flash, ha.”

I went home with “Ely Buendia” saved on the digital camera inside my bag. And like any other star-struck non-celebrity, I boasted the picture to my family who were one in saying, “Bakit iba ang itsura? Hindi si Ely Buendia yan.”

Later, my friends who stayed until the end of the Octoberfest, told me that our “Ely Buendia” was the real thing. He even performed that night along with his new band, The Mongols. It was only a few weeks after when the Sunday Inquirer Magazine featured Ely and rest of The Mongols that my family believed that our “Ely” was the true Ely.

In another incident, I found myself as oblivious to an Eraserhead as I was to Ely.

It was past midnight. Sarif, my intern partner, and I were up and about in a small production company in Quezon City which was based inside a condo unit, turned office. We were completing a 24-hour shift by assisting the staff of the show in which we were assigned. The door bell went off, so Sarif and I, the two perky, young interns headed to the door to let the visitor in.

While leading the visitor to our Production Manager , Sarif whispered to me, “Hindi ba sya si Buddy?”

I thought, “Buddy who?”

As it turned out, the visitor we welcomed was Buddy Zabala, Eraserheads’ bassist. He wasn’t nearly as good-looking as Ely but from what I recently heard, he is one hell of a bassist.

My last E-heads encounter was less personal than the previous two I shared. In one of my National Bookstore sprees, I found an old copy of the book supposedly authored by the Eraserheads. I bought it for three reasons: It was edited by Jessica Zafra, the star on the cover looked cool, and it was on sale. After reading it, I realized that, man, sabog could pass as deep! I let Mic read it. I’m not sure if he did.

I believe that it’s never too late for me to hop on the E-heads bandwagon. After all, half of the Beatles were dead when I finally learned to appreciate and love them. But I’m alright where I, in relation to the Eraserheads' music, stand.

Then again, I felt bad upon hearing that Ely was rushed to the hospital after performing 15 songs last night. There was actually a slight pang of worry. Like we were close. Closer than our blurred picture taken five years ago.


Princess Ody said...

I thought the guy on the photo with you is a friend of yours. Si Ely pala! Hahaha

-tye- said...


Running Waters said...

I love Ely. No matter what happens, I will always be a fan of the org Eraserheads. They are a tough act to follow for the later bands.

Sending my prayers to Ely!

-tye- said...

Kahit hindi ako mega-fan, in fairness, bilib naman din ako sa mark na iniwan nila sa Filipino Music.