Pearl Jam 20: Staying true to their art

Usually you will read stories of debauchery in American rock bands that have become bigger than life. This documentary shows much more than just the usual band antics.

Pearl Jam was one of those bands that came to my attention after I saw their music video Jeremy back in the 90s. The song jumped on me instantly. It was a story of a boy who shot himself in class–a tragedy that left a lasting impression on Eddie Vedder who wrote the song.

The documentary is perhaps the only one that captured what the band was like before (when they were at the height of their popularity) and now that they’ve grown older and smarter.

What made this band great was they stuck to their art–they didn’t want to be labeled–just like Led Zeppelin. They also did a lot of crazy stuff, including Eddie Vedder jumping off from a high place into the crowd. A band that was born in Seattle, Pearl Jam was lumped into the “Grunge” era of rock music. Pearl Jam’s influences were varied. So if you listen closely, their sound is unique–it’s not punk and it’s not glam. It’s Pearl Jam.

It also revealed the artist in Vedder who was self-conscious in the beginning. He has this mystique–this inner voice–that conjures lyrics, or even poetry made into a song. Just listen to “Black.”

Hey… oooh…
Sheets of empty canvas, untouched sheets of clay
Were laid spread out before me as her body once did.
All five horizons revolved around her soul
As the earth to the sun
Now the air I tasted and breathed has taken a turn

That’s great songwriting!

Pearl Jam 20 includes never-before-seen video footages of the band and its members. Cameron Crowe, a rock journalist and writer and director of this film, has indeed captured the band’s soul. And to this day, the mystique remains.

REVIEW: Heavy Metal in Bagdhad: Metal lives

I got hooked to metal music back in high school. I never knew what it was called back then, what genre it belonged. But when I heard Iron Maiden, and later Metallica, I was instantly a fan.

Few people played metal music live when I was growing up. In the 80s, radio was dominated by disco and some local music–which I don’t dig that much. However, there was this local band called Revelation. They sported long hairs. They donned flannel shirts. And they wore tight and torn jeans. Of course, they came with their leather boots–western-style.

Watching this documentary brought me back to those days when I first heard a double-bass drum that went: bridididididididididi. The time signatures were insane. Then loud guitars complemented this “noise” as it escalated into the atmosphere of searing speeds. The cadence of the palm-muted rhythm guitar and the thumping bass provided the canvass. Then out came a guttural scream. That was your metal band. To this, you start banging your head. Banging your head required up and down motion, as if you’re nodding fast. And it has to go with the beat of the drum and the bass guitar. Pam-pam-pam-pam-pam-pam. Headbang.

Metal music, or rock music, transcends culture, race, age, and time. Heavy Metal in Bagdhad is that. Amid a backdrop of civil war, guys in their 20s played in a metal band called Acrassicauda at the risk of getting killed. Influenced by bootleg music from the western world, they saw metal as an escape from reality, a short reprieve from the death and destruction that is happening around them. Ironically, they also love Iron Maiden, which often plays on death and destruction, and the apocalypse as metaphors to their music.

These guys are just like any other 20 something kid who fell in love with metal music. The loud guitar, the searing drums, and the “in your face” lyrics told their stories of frustration, anger, hate. However, in this documentary, all these were directed at the world they lived in. In the end, they wanted freedom. And if metal was the only way they can have it.

As the documentary ended, the filmmakers noted that most of us are “spoiled.” Spoiled because we complain a lot, and yet these guys who had nothing but their music, still try to thrive amid despair. To them, music kept them sane. Music gave them hope. Music gave them a voice to express every Iraqi’s cry for help. It was a sad story, and I hope these guys are still out there, alive.

Funkylicious music

Was having a ball doing some music using an old Guitar Port and the Macbook Pro’s Garageband software. The result:

And here’s another, it’s inspired by dance music:


Clean, empty slate

China One was overflowing with people from different nations. But as we bobbed our heads and jumped to the rocking music of Green Day, The Killers and whatnot, it was just fun seeing everyone united, enjoying the mesmerizing tune from the local band called Tabula. Music unites. Music spices up life. Music comes to life. We come to life!

For those about to rock, we salute you!

Pinoy rock icon Howlin’ Dave dies

One of the country’s well-known DJs who played punk music in Philippine radio, and eventually helped Pinoy rock bands like Juan dela Cruz get radio play, has passed away.


MANILA, Philippines — Howlin’ Dave, the radio DJ recognized as the voice of Filipino rock on station dzRJ, passed away Monday morning after suffering a stroke, two days after he collapsed at home and was rushed to East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City. He was 52.

The announcer, whose real name was Dante David, was the son of radio personality Uncle Nick, who worked at ABS-CBN station dzXL in the 1960s.

Who is Howlin’ Dave? Here’s an interesting article by Pinoy music journalist Eric Caruncho.

I was looking for photos of Howlin’ Dave and found this website, called Pinoy Rock, hosted by Geocities. I also found this blog by his brother called, Kwentong Tambay, that had his more recent photos before he said goodbye.