"You can hit things and not get arrested."
Kung tatanungin ako sa kung sinu-sinong mga banda noong Dekada NoBenta ang nakaapekto sa panlasa ko pagdating sa musika, hindi-hinding mawawala sa listahan ang WOLFGANG.
Sino ba namang Batang Nineties ang hindi nakakikilala sa quartet nila Basti Artadi (vocals), Mon Legaspi (bass), Manuel Legarda (guitars), at Wolf Gemora (drums)?
Sa sobrang kasikatan nila noong kapanahunan ko, kahit na isang kolokoy na pasayaw-sayaw lang ng "Macarena" o isang nakiki-mmmbop sa Hanson noon, imposibleng hindi narinig ng mga binging tenga nila ang mga kanta ng tropang lobo. Tae lang ang hindi nakakaalam.
Una ko silang narinig sa LA105.9 sa mga kanta nilang "Left Alone" at "Darkness Fell" na noo'y umaani ng napakaraming requests mula sa mga listeners. Ilang linggo rin itong nakasama sa "Filipino Alternative Countdown" at regular segment na "Alternative Filipino Hour" na parehong inaantabayanan ng mga "rockers". Sa ingay na nalikha nila ay nabigyan sila ng pagkakataon ng Tone Def, ang rock label ng Ivory Records, upang ilabas ang kanilang self-titled debut album noong 1995.
Sa totoo lang, ang buong akala ko dati ay isang foreign act ang Wolfgang dahil sa mala-Seattle ang kanilang tunog pero nang lumabas ang single na "Halik Ni Hudas" ay lumabas din ang dugong Pinoy sa kanila. Sobrang tumatak sa isip ko ang mga lirikong "tao sa pangil ng buwaya, kapangyarihan ng halik ni Hudas...". Potah, ang galing pala mag-Tagalog ni Basti. Kahit 'yung ermats ni bespren Geline, nagulat at napasabi ng "uy, marunong mag-tagalog 'yung foreigner?", noong mapanood namin sila sa teevee!
Panahon ng gitara nang lumabas ang kanilang unang album kaya naman madalas kong marinig sa mga inuman sessions na tinitipa ng mga ka-tropa ang ilan sa kanilang mga kanta. Tulad nalang ng isa kong kaibigan na itatago nalang natin sa tunay na palayaw niyang Jomar. Hindi lilipas ang tomahan na hindi niya natutugtog at nakakanta ang "Natutulog Kong Mundo" dahil iniidolo niya ang Wolfgang. Paksyet sa pagbirit lalo na sa chorus; feel na feel hanggang sa matapos. 'Yun nga lang, 'di ko maiwasang matawa dahil mas nauna niyang naging idol si Wency Cornejo kaya ayun, parang version ng Afterimage ang sumatutal!
Hindi umabot sa isang taon mula nang ilabas, ang malufet na debut album ay certified platinum. Ito marahil ang dahilan upang sila ay kupkupin ng Sony Music Entertainment Philippines na magpo-produce na hindi rin mapapantayang mga albums tulad ng "Semenelin (1996)", "Wurm (1997)", "Serve in Silence (1999)", Acoustica (2000)", at Black Mantra (2001)". Tulad ng nauna, ang lahat ng mga sumunod na obra ay maganda ang naging pagtangkilik at pagsusuri kaya naman tumanggap ito ng mga pagkilala mula sa iba't ibang award-giving bodies sa Pinas.
Sa limang studio albums ng Wolfgang, ang tanging salarin sa pagpalo ng tambol ay walang iba kundi ang two-time NU107 Rock Awards "Drummer of the Year" na si Sir LESLIE "WOLF" GEMORA. Hindi na kailangan ng paliguy-ligoy na pagpapakilala dahil isa siya sa mga tinitingala sa rock scene ng ating bansa. Para sa akin, ang Wolfpack ay hindi kumpleto kung wala ang nag-iisang Wolf. Period.
Isang maagang regalo ngayong Pasko, ako ay pinagbigyan ng ating iniidolo na makapagtanong ng kung anu-anong bagay noong kapanahunan namin. Heto ang kanyang kuwento:
1. During the 90’s, Wolfgang (together with fellow rockers Razorback) were labeled as “Conyo Rock”. What is your view on this?
We were a little shocked that some people would label us as "conyo". None of us actually took it seriously because we knew we were in the scene because we loved to play music. Many people would say that we became popular because some of the members were mestizo and that we had all these "connections" in the business to get ahead. In truth, we knew no one in the business and both bands started at the very bottom of the barrel.
When Razorback started in Kalye bar they would play 5 songs in one hour coz they did not know enough songs. And, this was in front of 15 people in the audience. Same thing with Wolfgang. Our first regular gig was in a small bar called San Tropez in Makati Ave. and it was the same thing, walang tao kundi mga Razorback boys at mga ilang kaibigan lang.
We definitely paid our dues thru hard work so no one can take that away from us by using a derogatory word like "conyo". I think that the people who labeled us with that word were jealous and ignorant and I would say racist. Racist because they judged the bands because of the color of the skin of some of the members. To me, that's racist. Aside from that, wala kami pakialam sa mga taong 'yun.
2. Among the songs of Wolfgang, which do you think is the one that sounded “very nineties” when it comes to your genre?
Halik Ni Hudas. Darkness Fell. Natutulog Kong Mundo. Mata Ng Diyos. Weightless. Atomica. Sanctified. I listed these songs because it's from hearing from our fans when they tell me that these songs were very important in their lives during that time. In the pre-email days, fans would write letters to us and I would answer every one of them. It's was very cool to know that our music was affecting people in a positive way.
3. Wolfgang fronted for several foreign acts like Silverchair and Rage Against The Machine, what are your most memorable experiences?
The Silverchair show was great because the audience was great and wild when we played. We never met the guys in Silverchair coz they were too private in their dressing rooms. They did play a good show, though.
RATM was a different story altogether. It was weird when we played because there were people in the crowd who did NOT like us. I think it was the fans of rap-metal at the time and they didn't like old-school hard rock. We were being pelted with coins on the stage and I was dodging coins while playing. After our set, one of our roadies collected all the coins on the stage and bought a pack of cigarettes with it.
I got to meet all the members of Rage and they were all very nice, accommodating guys. We got to smoke a joint with bassist Tim C. and I gave a pair of drum sticks made of Kamagong wood to drummer Brad Wilk, who was very appreciative of it. Zack Dela Rocha was very sick at that time. I asked him if he was ok to play the show and he said that he would give it everything he got. If you were at that concert, he gave it everything he had and more. He didn't look like someone who was sick. Yan ang professional. I also remember introducing Zack to Benedict, the vocalist of 90's metal band, Backdraft. He was on the other side of the fence and he shouted out to me. I asked Zack if it was ok if I introduced him and he was cool about it so we walked over to Benedict and he met Zack. The guys of RATM are definitely NOT rock stars.
The funniest incident backstage was when we were standing in the hallway outside the dressing room. All of a sudden, guitarist Tom Morello and some of their crew members were rushing to get out of the room resulting in them cramming though the door. We thought there was a fire but they were just running away from a cockroach. They've never seen an ipis as huge as that. Of course, it was a normal-sized roach to us locals. Tom Morello was looking at it up-close and saying, "that's the biggest cockroach I've ever seen in my life"!
I was not a fan of Rage before that show but I became an instant fan after it.
4. If you were to compare LA105.9 and NU107.5, what would be their differences?
Para sa akin, mas ok yung LA 105.9. They had a more "grassroots" approach in their playlists and their DJs. They supported local bands BIG TIME. NU 107 was very corporate and had to follow a lot of these rules. NU was playing CDs and LA was playing cassettes!!! Actually, NU did not pay attention to local bands like us until we were making so much noise on LA 105 and in the live circuit. Don't get me wrong. I'm very thankful of the support NU gave us but LA 105 gave us a break when no one knew who we were. LA 105 was more popular than NU in Metro Manila at the time and I honestly think they would have left NU behind in the dust if they did not close down. Sayang.
5. What do you think killed the 90’s “rock movement”?
I think it died a natural death which always happens in music. Some big bands like Yano, Wolfgang, Eraserheads and Teeth broke up as well as less popular but equally important bands. LA 105 went off the air. Many of the original fans of 90's bands stopped watching live music because their private lives became more demanding. A new batch of bands and artists also started cropping up to play to the next generation of fans. There was also that "acoustic" wave of groups that became popular. It was the end of an era and people had to move on.
6. Have you seen the videoke version of “Halik ni Hudas” and “Natutulog Kong Mundo”? I always get a low score whenever I sing them. Do you think Basti will get a perfect score if he will sing the MIDI version of your songs?
I've never seen those. I've seen a videoke of "Darkness Fell". Well, basta nasa tono ka, you'll get a high score. Kahit si Basti kumanta, kung wala siya sa tono, low score din abot niya.
7. What will your career be if you were not a drummer during the 90’s Pinoy Alternative era?
I don't know. I would have been always in a band. I'm still in a band until now. I wanted to be in a band and becoming popular was a fortunate thing that happened to me. It wasn't planned. I definitely won't be in an office job. It's not who I am.
8. Name some movie/s which you think defined the nineties. Why do you consider them as such?
High Fidelity, Dazed And Confused, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, The Sixth Sense, Toy Story, Saving Private Ryan, The Big Lebowski, L.A. Confidential, The Godfather Part III, Three Kings, Jerry Maguire, The Last Of The Mohicans, Apollo 13, Mallrats, The Saint, There's Something About Mary, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Classics.
9. If you were a movie star during the 90’s, who would like to become your leading lady and why?
Carmina Villaruel. Crush ng bayan.
10. First thing that pops in to your mind when you see or hear the following words:
A. Sexy Film Eyes Wide Shut
B. Family Computer Game Contra
C. Radio DJ The Doctor
D. Political Figure Bill Clinton
E. Tragedy Ozone Disco
F. Scandal Tommy Lee/Pam Anderson sex tape
G. WWE Wrestler The Rock
H. ABS-CBN -
I. GMA 7 -
J. Internet chat rooms
Any message to all the 90's kids out there?
Salamat sa lahat ng suporta niyo sa music ng Wolfgang at ng mga ibang banda ng dekada '90. Keep the music alive! Parinig nyo sa mga anak at pamangkin ninyo!
SIR WOLF, MARAMING SALAMAT AT RAKENROL! \m/