x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Past, present and future: Marcus Adoro on Eraserheads

We speak to the Eraserheads's guitarist Marcus Adoro about the legendary Filipino rock band's forthcoming Dubai show.

Ely Buendia. Vocals. After leaving the Eraserheads, Buendia formed a new band, The Mongols, using the stage name Jesus “Dizzy” Ventura. Still regarded as the most iconic rock musician in the Philippines, the 42-year-old now performs as the lead vocalist for the band Pupil.
Ely Buendia. Vocals. After leaving the Eraserheads, Buendia formed a new band, The Mongols, using the stage name Jesus “Dizzy” Ventura. Still regarded as the most iconic rock musician in the Philippines, the 42-year-old now performs as the lead vocalist for the band Pupil.

You guys have performed in stadiums back in the Philippines. How is the live atmosphere like when you play abroad in smaller venues?

It is very inspiring whenever we play away from home. For one thing, you are playing to a lot of your expat Filipino brothers and sisters. They use our event as a place to congregate. They spend time and effort to be together. They take a leave from work and travel from far places to come see us. It's always a warm and wonderful feeling to be playing in an atmosphere like that.

The band's success opened the doors for many Filipino rockers.

We are that typical story of a college band making it big. There was a big underground rock scene in the 1990s that was just waiting to burst. It was similar to grunge in the US. In a way, we're similar to Nirvana in that we were there at the right place at the right time. So when we broke into the mainstream, the floodgates of the underground rock scene kicked open and everything just followed through.

When you guys were starting out, your take-no-prisoners approach to music and dishevelled looks took the industry by surprise. What was that like?

The pop stars at that time felt threatened by us. They couldn't understand how big the underground music scene was. Again, it was just waiting to explode. It wasn't even an image. It was just what we wore. We had nothing; no money to buy our clothes, let alone buy our own instruments. What they saw was who we are. That was how grunge was also. It was a take it or leave it kind of thing.

Your songs all sound cohesive. Do you and the rest of your band mates share the same musical tastes?

Musically, all four of us are different individuals. It was about putting our musical influences into the mix. Ely Buendia [lead vocalist] loves the pop stuff like The Beatles. I like the old school and the blues. Raimund Marasigan [drummer] loves hip-hop and electronic, while Buddy Zabala [bassist] is into jazz.

Does the Filipino rock scene have any distinguishing features?

It's the awareness of the history of rock music. I think for us, we have a hold on the present and try to extrapolate from the past to create something that is looking at the future.

Since your break-up in 2002, the band have returned with sporadic comeback shows. What was the cause of the initial split?

In a way it was exhaustion, but we felt we were so far ahead of our fans, who were still stuck on the mentality of the early albums. This was because as a band, we ended up seeing different places. We travelled and had kids and the themes of our music matured. The fan base couldn't keep up with us because they were still young and we felt, because of the success, we were growing up extra fast. Now that we are back, I feel the fans have caught up. They also have money to spend and buy the albums and really dig into the words.

What's your take on the current Filipino rock scene?

There is a lot of good talent coming out of the Philippines but right now the rock scene is so saturated. There are a lot of edgy bands but it's tough for them to receive focus. Everybody has their own project, their own dot-com and radio station. In time, the good bands will come out eventually.

Any new music coming our way?

We did record some songs, which could be good material to release in the future. But I can't really say - it is too early at this stage.

 

sasaeed@thenational.ae