23 hours ago
Monday, July 14, 2008
Eraserheads: The Circus is Back in Town
So I first heard about it over a week ago -- the Eraserheads reunion, that is. Text messages from Cris Ramos Jr told me that the event that hordes of Pinoy rock fans have been hoping for for half a decade is about to come to pass: Ely, Raimund, Buddy and Marcus are going to be sharing a stage again, as a band, this August 30. The news reaffirmed the extent of my feelings for the band, which is to say, smack dab between indifference and enthusiasm. People assume I'm a big E-heads fan -- someone even wanted to interview me for a docu on the band recently -- but the truth is that while their early albums were an important part of my college life, I took the news of their breakup quite well. It was time, it seemed. And it's not as if the members stopped making music, or stopped making good music. (The last Pupil album, in particular, deserves more attention.) They just stopped being able to make music together.
I still remember being backstage at that recent MTV awards show where Ely was accepting some special honor on behalf of the band and said "I'd like to thank the three people that made this possible..." and went on not to thank Raimund, Buddy and Marcus, but Diane and two other people whose names I can't remember. It was an ugly moment, with animosity being snatched from the jaws of reconciliation. But apparently money can do what time and memory cannot.
The emphasis on the money, and the sponsor -- even in the very headline of the news item on Philmusic -- is off-putting of course, but then again let's not kid ourselves. That was the only way it was going to happen, and we are morbidly fascinated by the details of the deal. Besides, these guys all have families and day-to-day needs and they have arguably never been compensated sufficiently for their contribution to Philippine rock music. I don't begrudge them their payday at all, and in fact I'm happy for them. (It's unfortunate that the cash comes from a cancer merchant, but whatever. People are going to smoke with or without an E-heads concert to spur them.) Hopefully it means that Ely, Raimund, Buddy and Marcus will be less plagued by whatever financial concerns they have, and freer to work on their creative pursuits.
(This just in: the Age of Brillig points out that "just last week, a total ban on cigarette advertising took effect in the Philippines, and the ban covers the sponsorship by tobacco companies of concerts or cultural arts events. So the Marlboro rumor is probably incorrect.")
And if this event somehow serves as a shot in the arm for the music scene, no one will be happier about that than me. But even if it's just a one-afternoon nostalgia trip, that's good enough. I'm just hoping -- and this is probably a futile hope -- that it doesn't get too chaotic. It has the potential after all to be more of a draw than the past three or so Summer Slams slapped together. Unless friends or duties drag me to the event, I'll be staying well away, happy enough to watch the inevitable DVD. And looking forward to future albums by Sandwich, Cambio, Pedicab, Pupil, The Dawn, etcetera etcetera, not to mention the many bands who may not count ex-Eraserheads in their ranks but who owe a debt to that quartet who, over a decade ago, gave us songs that served as soundtracks for our days.