Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My punk rock collection Part 1

I've always loved punk rock music ever since I heard the Ramones and then the Clash. Owning a punk rock record back when I was growing up was being subversive. My heavy metal records were fine -- I guess -- but my folks frowned upon my punk rock albums. The first record I ever got was "The Best of Punk and New Wave Rock Volume 1". Having the Sex Pistol's "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" was like keeping porn magazines or betamax tapes. I followed that up with "Sid Sings" the solo album of Sex Pistols' bassist, Sid Vicious. My first Ramones album, ironic since they were the first ones I heard, was the Phil Spector-produced "End of the Century" that remains a favorite to this day.

Then I was able to get all the albums of Los Angeles band, X. They too, remain a massive favorite to this day.

Then I got a lot of the local Twisted Red Cross cassettes that I only lost later to Typhoon Ondoy. 

My next punk phase was after I discovered Rancid in the 1990s. It was then I picked up the CDs (pictured above) while working at Virgin Records in Times Square.

I don't have a huge punk rock collection but they are special and I treasure them. The records, cassettes, and compact discs in my collection have always been some of my favorites. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Second Act of Basti Artadi

The Second Act of Basti Artadi
by rick olivares

He was known for that snarl and sneer. A hellraiser on stage who rocked hard, played hard, and drank hard. Prolific, he recorded and released 11 albums in 22 years with four different bands and won a smattering of vocalist of the year awards. “If I could,” he lets me in on a secret, “I’d do more records.”

They say that you can’t keep a good man down. Indeed. And we are in for a treat because we’re in the midst of the second act of the life and career of Basti Artadi.

After battling a brain tumor and a health condition that could have prematurely ended his musical career if not his life, he owes his return to an iron-clad will power and determination. And he let me in on another secret: “The music, man. It keeps me going. No music. No life.”

“What started me down my present path in music is my health condition,” elucidated Artadi. “I remember the afternoon my doctor told me what my inevitable outcome would be.  He just said it -- mouthing words through pressed lips that were stretched as far right as possible -- rather nonchalantly to my face like it was nothing: ‘Eventually your mouth is gonna move to the side of your face and your gonna talk like this, ‘hmmmph, hmmph hmmph.’”

One side of Artadi’s face wasn’t working. As a result, the muscles on the other side were pulling the other. Talking became difficult. His morale eroded but he quickly pulled himself up.

“And the wasn't the scariest part, man,” continued Artadi. “The scariest part was he couldn't give me a time frame. It could happen at any moment. It could be quick or it could take years. And I remember thinking, ‘Damn, this is the end? You mean, I won’t be able to sing anymore? And with the tumor, will I have another thing to worry about?’ I walked out of that office with a big cloud over my head but after a bit of thinking I decided I was gonna do as much music as I could -- genre be damned! As long as it’s good music I’m game.  I want to make sure there’s a ton of music that I will do.  You know that musical tic tic boom?  That’s literally me everyday.....”

Post-surgery, Artadi is able to smile now. “I have a lot of movement in my face. I can feel my mouth move back to the center. And if I keep practicing, I can smile without having to clench my teeth. I don’t slur when I speak (and thank God for that because people thought that I was drunk all the time). So the small favors are all good.”

Artadi has retained his sense of humor. He knows he has beaten the disease for now and he has a new lease on life. With it comes a greater appreciation for everything.

When Wolfgang recorded “Acoustica” in 2000, it set in motion a desire to explore new musical frontiers. That live album by the hard rock band was recorded with acoustic guitars and a toned down sound.  Two songs on the album – “Center of the Sun” and “Aquarius” featured the UP Singing Ambassadors.

“That year, I began to think about doing other music but it it’s time,” thought Artadi. “I pegged myself in a hole for so long. I can’t keep singing like it is 1995 (when Wolfgang’s first album came out) I actually don’t think I should be doing that anymore. Why am I saying, ‘no’ when I should be saying ‘yes’ to everything? It isn’t about the genre. It’s about good music that pleases you and others. Good music is good music.”

“I don’t have time to listen to people who should peg me as ‘that vocalist from Wolfgang.’ If I listened to everybody, my career would be even more twisted that my face. Some would say, ‘Ah, you should be playing or singing stuff like the first Wolfgang album. My response is, ‘Then why don’t you play the first album?’”

Artadi paused. Sucked some air in. The passion hasn’t dissipated one iota.

“Why don’t you hop aboard my bus as I start this new journey?” asked the singer.

The bus has seen stops with Basti Artadi and the Nice Ones, the Jazz Bastards, and Plan of Fools. All departures from the hard rock sound where he first made a name for himself.

Of the three, the Nice Ones is the outfit with a rock bent. The other two showcase Artadi’s tastes and range.

“You take a look at what guys like Raimund Marasigan and Ely Buendia are doing and they are so totally different from the kind of music where they first made a name for themselves,” pointed out Artadi.
The Jazz Bastards were inspired by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox where contemporary songs were re-arranged with a swing, jazz, or lounge music bent.
Plan of Fools is a super group that includes Rommel dela Cruz (Freestyle/Barbie’s Cradle), Marco del Leon (Paramita/Reklamo), Bea Lao (General Luna), Kim Lopez (Trinidad), Gabba Santiago (Tom’s Story), Louie Talan (Razorback), Tin Virtucio (Kosmikskala), and Princess Ybanez (Rouge). No, the music isn’t alternative but shockingly totally left of center from anything any of the individual members have done during their careers or with their respective mother bands. “It’s country and folk-themed,” admitted Artadi with a chuckle. “You didn’t see that coming now, did you?”
“It was Bea’s idea and well, it’s something completely different. Really? Did you ever think you’d see a master bassist like Louie Talan playing the banjo? I am excited about the work we are doing. There’s a lightness to the music we are producing.”
This coming June 15 and 16 at the Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Theater, BGC Arts Center, Artadi will be performing in a unique show titled, “Three In One: Perfect Blend.” Davey Langit will perform contemporary pop music while Lara Maigue will showcase classical music. Closing out the show will be Artadi.
“I think the cool thing about the show is that you have three different types of genres,” pointed out Artadi. “If the people in the audience listen to only one kind, we are hoping they will develop an appreciation for the other types. And that’s how you grow and expand the music, man.”
“The music scene today – if we’re talking about artists making music and the creativity levels – well, that’s off the roof! Whew! But in terms of people flocking to shows or even buying albums, that needs improvement. You need someone or some band to give it a push. It needs something to come along and jump start it again.”

Is that the Nice Ones or the Jazz Bastards or even Plan of Fools?

“No, man. I am not rock and roll’s savior or even the Pinoy music scene. I am just a man making music. It’s my life.”

Plan of Fools

Sunday, May 21, 2017

At the Still Ill Showcase Darkside Bar May 21, 2017

Went to my first punk rock show in ages! 

My haul for the night!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Added more Pinoy Pink Rock & Thrash to my collection!

Added a few more stuff to my collection of Filipino punk and metal. Half the Battle's 12" inch album "What We Have" and the 7" inch EP, No Future sa Pader that features six bands -- The Beauty of Doubt, Bad Omen, Toxic Orgasm, Monthly Red, Tiger Pussy, and Thought.

Tormentress is a five-piece all-female Singaporean band whose lead guitarist, Gwen, is Filipina! So I gotta have this to check out how she shreds.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Filipina painter does cover for metal band Sepultura

Filipina painter does cover for metal band Sepultura
by rick olivares

One of the come ons for vinyl records is the cover artwork. Filipina visual artist Camille dela Rosa got the surprise of her life when metal band Sepultura got in touch with her asking if they could use one of her paintings for their new album.

Getting asked to do the cover for the new album of an international superstar band like Sepultura is something,” beamed dela Rosa during an interview a Paper Moon coffee shop inside Megamall.

That album is “Machine Messiah,” the 14th in Sepultura’s 23-year history. The concept of the album is life or humanity came from a machine and the offspring of is some biomechanical savior. The band’s guitarist, Andreas Kisser, was searching online for art or an artists whose style fit the concept of the album and they found dela Rosa.

Kisser reached out through a representative of San Miguel Corporation which sponsored the band’s show in Manila last year.

“I was surprised when I was contacted,” said dela Rosa. “First of all, the painting was finished in 2010 and while my work was inspired by the late Swiss painter H.R. Giger (whose claim to fame was painting stunning or even disturbing visuals of humans and machines linked together in some cold biomechanical relationship), my work has changed over the years. Nevertheless, the work has many elements from my personal life and beliefs.”

The title of the painting is “Deux ex Machina”, rendered on 48x48 inch oil on canvass.

“Machine Messiah” was released last January through Nuclear Blast Records. The record though, isn’t available locally as one has to import it if they want a copy.

“I never even heard of Sepultura until they got in touch with me,” admitted dela Rosa. “The band was a sweatheart as they were nice. And thet sent me copies of the album and the DVD.”

“I think artists work in phases,” revealed the 34-year old University of the Philippines alumna. “I have this taste and preference for horror films. Not because of the gore but because of the effects and the make-up. As an artist, that fascinates me.”

She grew up in a family of artists so the influence to follow in their footsteps was there at an early age. Yet her late father, Ibarra, forbade her to paint. “He probaby felt that there wasn’t much money in art. Instead I went into voice (not like there is money in that as well).”

Dela Rosa would sing in shows and did some bit of showbiz joining Ang TV Kids during its second season. “Like I said, that was a phase,” she laughed. “Mahiyain kasi ako so it’s hard for me to be in front of cameras. “She finally took up painting – landscape and abtract like most everyone else -- when her father passed away in 1998.”

Ironically, dela Rosa was trained in voice and theater. “My (late) father, Ibarra, forbade me to follow his footsteps as an artist. Perhaps he thought that there was no money in it. Eh, masunurin akong bata. My mother had me take up voice instead. And I also went into
some showbiz. Dela Rosa was a member of Ang TV Kids during ints second season. “I guess, it really isn’t for me,” she said with no trace of regret in her voice. “It’s good though I tried it out. Mahiyain kasi ako so it’s hard for me to be in front of cameras.”

With her work on Sepultura’s new album, Camille hopes she’ll get more hgih profile work. ‘Right now, a lot of the interest in my work comes from Europe,” summed up dela Rosa who is actually on leave now from her work as she is doing some other Christian work. “I’ve done some exhibits in Europe. Hopefully, we’ll have more. But it’s cool being on a rock record; even if it’s not my favorite kind of music.”