Monday, August 30, 2004



You'd think that the afro might provide some sort of protection, but you'd be wrong.

"whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

"with all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy."

          - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata 1927

Dar Williams

"He's a quiet man," that's all she said
And he's a thoughtful man
It's just he likes to keep his thoughts up in his head
And we finally meet, and she tries to draw him out a bit

She says "He's writing something,
Hey now, why don't you talk about it?"
And he doesn't make a sound
He's just staring at his coffee

And I know there's all this beauty
And this greatness she'll defend
But I think it's in my friend

I have a friend in a bright and distant town
She's found a common balance
Where you do your work, and you do your love
And they pay you, and praise your many talents

Well I'm passing through, and we know we won't sleep
She laughs, puts up the tea
She says "You know I think
you remember every part of me."

And the water starts to boil
And if I had a camera
Showing all the light we give
And showing where the light extends
I'd give it to my friends

Sometimes I see myself fine, sometimes I need a witness
And I like the whole truth
But there are nights I only need forgiveness

Sometimes they say "I don't know who you are
But let me walk with you some"
And I say "I am alone, that's all
You can't save me from all the wrong I've done."

But they're waiting just the same
With their flashlights and their semaphores
And I'll act like I have faith
And like that faith never ends

But I really just have friends.


This song is for -- in no particular order -- Nikka, Katrice, Joey Bear, Myles, Ria, Nic, San, Adam, Charmaine, Diwa, and all my other friends who kept me sane during my trying times, and are there for me now in my times of triumph, and who I know will BE there for me in the future, no matter what it brings.

To my friends. I only wish I was a better poet that I could do justice to the love I have for all of you.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


I have pharyngitis again; which, if you read my blog, I seem to get every couple of months: Coughing, cold, sore throat. I had a ticklish sensation in my throat since monday, but it only climaxed on friday, when I woke up feeling absolutely awful as it hurt to swallow. It even affected my singing, as the Freedom Bar gig last thursday had me going off key on certain notes.

So decided to stay in bed all day today, which turned out to be a beautiful weekend, the first sunny day after a week of nonstop rain.

Bleah. This was a saturday totally wasted. BLEAH.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Our manager sent me a questionnaire to fill up for SilentSanct's soundclick.com profile. I spent more time than I thought I would coming up with the answers; and I surprised myself with what I eventually put down for who I admired most. I thought I'd share my answers here; it's practically a blog entry in itself:

First name: Jose Feliciano (you’d think with name like that I’d be a better guitarist, but noooooo….)

Last name: Carandang

Nickname: “Ian”

Latest news: Just joined this amazingly awesome band...

Birthdate: May 30

Gender: Male

Marital status: Complete unto myself

Email: graceoverkarma@yahoo.com

Instrument: Vocals & Rhythm Guitar

Why did you choose this instrument? Mainly so I could have a musical accompaniment when I sing. Trust me, I ain't no guitar guru...

What do you like most about your band? PASSION. The fact that they have no real equivalent here or even abroad; that alone makes them truly unique. The sheer level of musical talent (excluding myself of course; olats ako, hehe!) crammed into it. If I can just keep up with the rest of them, I’ll be satisfied.

Who are your favorite bands? FOREIGN: Indigo Girls, Barenaked Ladies, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Dar Williams, Josh Groban. LOCAL: Fatal Posporos, itchyworms, Sugarfree, Twisted Halo, Imago, Cambio, Cynthia Alexander, and ones who came before all of us, the Eraserheads.

Favorite quote? "It's no harder to be nice than it is to be creepy. And it's MUCH more fun." (Neil Gaiman)

Are there some people you admire? My mother, for surviving a bastard of a husband and raising 4 kids (including one crazy-ass son) all by herself. Her life didn’t turn out the way she planned; yet she never, ever, ever took it out on her kids. I hope that I can be as strong.

Your hobbies: Net surfing, reading, Watching TV and DVDs, weightlifting, inventing new flavors of ice cream, daydreaming.

Anything else? I have no problem with straight people as long as they act gay in public.

How would you describe yourself in one sentence? Although I've experienced more than my fair share of adversity in life, I chose to be happy instead of letting it drag me down; and that has made all the difference.

Monday, August 23, 2004



I had made a pretty major error in the Intramuros gig. But mistakes are only failures if one does not learn from them. So the morning after, I sad down and thought long and hard about what went wrong and what were the conditions that led to said error. Ultimately I was able to break it down to a few root causes:

- NERVES. Easy enough, It was a relatively inhospitable crowd, and I let that get to me. I had memorized the songs well enough, but not to the point that I could mix them if rattled.

- FRAZZLED MEMORY. Anyone who knows me personally I’m pretty much a scatterbrain even in the best of conditions, so given the situation during the gig, where I had to remember lyrics, chords, song titles, the setlist, AND the requisite plugs (mailing list, album, ring tunes, etc) all in front of a semi-hostile audience, trying to keep it all together onstage REALLY did a number on my memory, hence the scrambled intro.

- NOT ENOUGH/TOO MUCH PRACTICE. although I practiced the songs – a LOT –I did it ON MY OWN. My main problem was that I had practiced TOO Much with just myself (with my acoustic guitar) and not enough with my bandmates, to the point that in terms of muscle memory it outweighed the practice of that with my bandmates. Meaning, that on my own, I played all the opening chords to all of the songs, hence the increased risk of messing up. And quite frankly, a lot of the songs use pretty much the same chords (Am, Bm, C, C9, D, G) so I couldn’t exactly tell them apart by the chords used.

I was really beginning to worry myself into a lather on whether or not I could remember which song came with which intro, until I realized that out of all of the songs, only ONE of them – Talagang Ganyan – started out with the rhythm guitar. Every other song had the another instrument starting it off. Once I realized that, I got a lot more relaxed.

- CLOTHING. Another problem was that I let what Chino told me about my clothes GET to me. I knew I shouldn’t have, but it did. The thought that I might have to put on an act; be someone that I WASN’T just so I could be in the band really DID weigh heavily on my mind. If they asked me to tone down my clothes, what was next? Start being more intense while singing like Vin, as one of them suggested? What if they told me that I should keep mum about my sexuality in interviews so as not to rock the boat? Just stop being so……. GAY?

I may have been thinking 72 steps ahead again, but it WAS a valid concern: if I allowed them to tell me what to do now, how far was I willing to change for the sake of the group? THAT concerned me on a totally different level altogether.

So knowing all of these things, I went into the Saturday gig at Cococabana with new directives to specifically address the issues I had.

1) Write down a setlist, including the required plugs and when to say them, so I didn’t have to worry about remembering them.

2) Remember: Except for Talagang Ganyan, all of the songs do NOT start with me, and have their own specific intro

3) And most importantly: I was going to FUCKING WEAR WHAT I WANTED TO WEAR, and ignore whatever they would say. I put on my black long-sleeved polo shirt with a Chinese collar, and rolled the sleeves up 3/4s. It was a nice, smooth fabric that was comfortable as well as stylish. Add to that I wore my favorite pair of washed out blue jeans, and trotted out my rock star boots again. For accessories, I wore my pewter pendant and a dark blue leather wristband for accentuation. I was playing for a Makati crowd, and I felt that this merited getting dressed up. Believe me, I would not wear this outfit for a Mayric’s gig.

Here’s a little secret: it’s not JUST vanity. Wearing nice clothes onstage? Makes me feel confident about performing. It makes me feel relaxed, and at ease. If I wore pambahay like some musicians do (and props to them if that’s what they want to wear) that will only make me feel MORE uncomfortable. The point I’m trying to say is, a performer should wear whatever the hell makes them the most comfortable onstage, whether it be a jeans and tank top or a three piece suit.

I arrived in Cococabana at 8pm (our call time was at 9). I always give myself plenty of time to get to a venue (as a safety precaution if I got lost given my poor sense of direction) and I have decided as a personal rule to always get to a gig an at least an hour before we are scheduled to play. Whenever I’m running late for something I tend to panic, so by getting to a venue early it ensures that that I am relaxed and clear-minded.

Chino (violins) and Zarah (manager) were already there, so after I brought down my gear (Acoustic gig, so I brought my ovation guitar and Fender Acoustatonic Amp) I went up to Zarah and asked her to give me the setlist for the evening, plus all of the info that she wants me to plug from now on: ring tunes and how to get them, upcoming gigs, Mailing list, friendster account, our album, our current single (sleep to dream) & which stations you can request it from, and who to thank for the gig. I felt the last one was especially important as I always make it a point to be graceful and polite to the hosts.

I wrote down the information in my notebook which I would refer to from now on for every setlist sheet. I wrote it down on a detached sheet of the spiral notebook using the sharpie that I bought, dividing the “advertisements” in between songs so as not to overwhelm the listeners with one big block of ads. And I attached it onto the mic stand using a roll of magic tape that I also bought specifically for this purpose.

This way, all I had to worry about was whatever song I was singing at the moment. For everything else, I just had to look at the sheet. I was ready, and unlike the previous night, was relaxed, confident, and most important of all, I had something to PROVE that night. To my bandmates, and most importantly, to MYSELF.

Soon the show began. First group was this acoustic outfit called Cream which was obviously a new band, because they played nothing but covers and their vocalist was still plagued with newbie performance jitters that I only knew all too well. I feel bad saying this but having a not-so-great act precede us make me feel more relaxed; because then I don’t feel like an impossibly high bar has been set for me to break. FuseBoxx rocked the HOUSE the previous night, and that only made me nervous that I might not be able to step up. That was not the case here, as the audience was polite but not exactly overwhelmed.

Finally our turn was up. I took my time setting in the amp, my guitar, all the requisite cables and most important of all, my setlist/cheat sheet. The hosts of the evening even interviewed me for a bit as the rest of the band set up. They asked me a few questions; about the band, and how it was formed, and I had to concede to them that this was just my 3rd gig with the band and I was new.

I didn’t mean to say that I was a new replacement (Zarah advised me to never apologize onstage, whatever happened, and to refrain from saying I was new so I wouldn’t attract unnecessary scrutiny) but they began asking me information about why the band decided to add the strings section, at which point I deferred to Chino. (NEW Mental Note: educate self on band history so I can answer such questions in the future)

Finally, we were ready. Since it was an acoustic gig with no drum set, with only a Cajon for our drummer Allen to use, Chino whispered to me that we were going to do Stay for a while, usually an upbeat number, slower than usual. I was too happy to comply, as going slower allowed me to play with the notes more and be more expressive.

Speaking of being expressive, another reason I love acoustic setups is because it really does give the vocals added priority over the instruments. As I didn’t have to worry about having to power out my voice just to keep up, I was able to be more fluid and playful with my notes, and sing a little more from head tones than from the diaphragm.

We started playing Stay, a song about staying in and watching the rain fall outside. As we sang, it really WAS pouring outside, which gave the song an added import and made it feel really appropriate. It was a truly beautiful moment; like a music video shoot, but for real. It was one of those perfect little moments of synchronicity.

I liked singing slow, we sounded great, and the crowd was appreciative. We went through the rest of the songs: Broken in Silence, Talagang Ganyan, Kahapon and finishing as usual with our carrier single Sleep to Dream, done in normal speed so as to end the show on a high note. And I played every song without a hitch, and thanks to the cheat sheet remembered to give all the plugs I was supposed to, even the additional one by Paolo (bass) who told me to pimp sigawindio.net, an indie music thesis website of a friend of his.

When we finished Sleep people were applauding and hooting, and were demanding “MORE! MORE!!!” we all looked at each other, because although we would have loved to play an encore, we had already played all the songs we had practiced as a group. Chino asked me if I knew Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls. As someone who is unimpressed by them -- I know, I should love them given the similarity of music that that band and I (jangling strummed guitars and heartfelt lyrics) but I don’t. Perhaps its BECAUSE we sound similar that I am unmoved by them; because I don’t feel like I have anything to learn from them -– I had to tell Chino that I didn’t.

At first I asked the audience if anyone wanted to come up to the mike to sing Iris; and there were people volunteering other people, but ultimately no one came up. After a few more moments, Chino asked me:

“Do you wanna do Ants Marching?”

We had only done the song once before in practice, and even then it wasn’t done al that well because while I knew the song by heart, the rest of the band, primarily bass and drums had not mastered the parts just yet. I was ready to play it, I replied, were the rest of them?

Chino said not to worry about it and told me to prep the crowd. So I turned back to the audience and said “Okay, we’re going to do one more song for you guys! (APPLAUSE) We haven’t practiced this song, so if we screw up, bahala na! We’re pretty sure you know this song, so if you wanna sing along, feel free!”

As soon as the familiar beat and violin strings hit people were cheering out loud. We did a slower than normal version, but it turned out great. Better even, because we got to emphasize the beautiful strings section. The best part for me was in the 3rd stanza where the music stops and crowd sang along to the line “People in every direction”, one of those really cool moments that happens in live recordings and I have to admit, it FELT pretty fucking awesome to have been in front of it for real.

We finished the song, to thunderous and enthusiastic applause, and we got off the stage on an absolute high. I was beaming like anything, as I knew I had redeemed myself and made up for last night’s botched performance. Even the father of Viola Player Jett came up and enthusiastically shook my hand, which in some ways was the BEST validation of all, because this man had accepted me and entrusted me with taking care of his son’s band. In a way, his approval meant more to me than that of my bandmates, because I knew that his was harder to come by.

I couldn’t stop smiling. Jett happily asked me “O, nakabawi ka na?” and I replied ”Hell YEAH!!" Zarah sold several albums that night, and I even signed one of them again.

That night was the first night I finally breathed a sigh of relief and let myself relax; After 2 weeks of practice and rehearsal and memorizing and tension and nervousness, Tonight was the first time I allowed myself to really feel like I was part of the band. That I DESERVED to be there.

And that this was truly the beginning.

IT'S GETTING CROWDED HERE.... (so take off all your clothes!)

Hmmmm, it's struck me that more and more musicians are starting up their own blogs (I of course, have been doing this for more than 2 years, although you could only technically call me a "musician" about a month ago, hee hee). So I've decided to compile all the musician blogs I'm aware of onto their own link group on the right.

It's a pretty diverse offering, from the insightful to the fun to the just plain wierd. It's an interesting look into the minds of musicians. Feel free to start clicking on the right and check them out.

And if there are any rawk stars reading this have their own blog that they'd like me to link to, drop me an email and I'll happily add it. ;)


The itchyworms, one of THE best bands -- BAR NONE -- in the local music scene, have been signed to Universal Records. Their initial salvo was TOTALLY botched by Viva records, despite being naturally mainstream (goofy sense of humor plus loads of talent), and I have always wondered -- nay, BITCHED -- out loud how come they weren't more famous than they were.

Slowly but surely, bands are quietly creeping back into the mainstream. Parokya Ni Edgar and Barbie's Cradle have been tapped in major ad campaigns, and Bamboo has become a mainstay on noontime shows like Magandang Tanghali Bayan.

Bands are slowly becoming cool with the masa again, and I have often told people that we are just one major crossover hit away from the gates being opened again. Basically, we need another Ligaya*, a song so ubiquitous and enjoyable and COOL that it breaks down the wall for ALL bands.

It could come from an established group (Sugarfree is as good a bet as any at this point) or from a total unknown, just like the way the Eraserheads did it all those years ago. But it's gonna happen, as someone who observes pop culture trends almost as a science, the acoustic wave is on the decline, and people are looking for the Next Big Thing.

After a long hiatus of non-signing due to piracy, major labels are signing acts again; EMI with Sugarfree, Bamboo and Slapshock. Warner has Barbie's Cradle, Cheese, and Kamikazee. Universal Records has Parokya ni Edgar, Cambio, and now the itchyworms. Even Viva, who has hopefully learned how to do things better, has signed The Mongols and Chicosci to record deals. Add to that Sony, who offers the next-best-thing deal of distribution for even more acts like Bridge, Kapatid, Cattski, Kjwan, Sponge Cola, and ahem, Silent Sanctuary.

In a few months, the Filipino listening public with be faced with a DELUGE of incredible albums from a diverse group of talented artists, all of whom have been chugging along and never stopped making great music even as the listening public turned their attention towards people strumming acoustic guitars and singing endless cover songs. It's a damned exciting time to be a music fan right now, for the renaissance of OPM is about to begin.

And I'm part of it.

*for those youngsters who may not know, "Ligaya" was the carrier single from the Eraserheads' debut album Ultraelectromagneticpop! that was guilty of being so relentlessly catchy that it played nonstop on all radio stations and is widely credited with ushering in the 'band era' of the 90's.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Ryan Cayabyab

Pagmasdan ang ulan
Unti-unting pumapatak
sa mga halaman at mga bulaklak
Pagmasdan ang dilim
Unti-unting bumabalot
sa buong paligid ay umuulan

Kasabay ng ulan
bumubuhos ang yong ganda
Kasabay ng hangining kumakanta
Maari bang huwag ka nang
sa piling ko'y lumisan pa
Hanggang ang langit ay tumila na?

Buhos na ulan aking mundo'y lunuring tuluyan
Tulad ng pag-agos mo di mapipigil
Ang puso kong nagliliyab
pag-ibig ko'y umaapaw
Damdamin ko'y humihiyaw sa tuwa
Tuwing umuulan at kapiling ka

Pagmasdan ang ulan
unti-unting tumitila
Ikaw rin magpapaalam na
Maari bang minsan pa
Mahagkan ka't maiduyan ka
Sakbibi ka't ulan lamang ang saksi?

Minsan pa ulan bumuhos ka't h'wag ng tumigil pa
Hatid mo may bagyo dalangin ito ng puso kong sumasamo
Pag-ibig ko'y umaapaw
Damdamin ko'y humihiyaw sa tuwa
Tuwing umuulan at kapiling ka

Maari bang minsan pa
Mahagkan ka't maiduyan ka
Sakbibi ka't ulan lamang ang saksi?

Buhos na ulan aking mundo'y lunuring tuluyan
Tulad ng pag-agos mo di mapipigil
Ang puso kong nagliliyab
pag-ibig ko'y umaapaw
Damdamin ko'y humihiyaw sa tuwa
Tuwing umuulan at kapiling ka

Minsan pa ulan bumuhos ka't h'wag ng tumigil pa
Hatid mo may bagyo dalangin ito ng puso kong sumasamo
Pag-ibig ko'y umaapaw
Damdamin ko'y humihiyaw sa tuwa

Tuwing umuulan at kapiling ka.

It is my goal to someday write a song as beautiful as this.


From Kince's blog:

Great thoughts come from all kinds of places, and some of the best come from advertising. This is worth adding to my little personal list of credos. Kudos to the copywriter who thought this up.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


For those of you interested, here are my first-ever gig pics, from last night's performance at Centro Libis, for the UST Biosoc affair:

I know this will all eventually be blase to me the more gigs I play and the more experience I log in, but for now? EFFING COOL. :) :) :) (D, where are the pics from Intramuros? he he he...)

Will blog about last night, as well as the long-delayed Part 2. I just need some sleep first....

Thursday, August 19, 2004


"I think that word "happy" can be quite tricky sometimes. I say that because some people seem to be perpetually unhappy, or at least never completely happy.

My belief is that happiness is a chosen state of mind. You might say that I'm engaging in some pseudo-idealistic-philosophical wordspouting, but it has proven true for me.

It must have have been a year and a half ago when that epiphany came to me. So I chose to be happy. True to form, things just started moving along. In retrospect, I must have made things move along. I came to become a contributing editor at Preview and got to experience lots of new things; I went out in the world and met lots of new people who inspired and/or influenced me to explore life more. The universe really does conspire with you when you decide you want the best for yourself."

The above is from the blog of Candice, an excellent writer, a (former) kick-ass band manager, and my good friend. A month ago I would have read the above with indifference. But considering all the events that have been occuring in my life right now -- and at such a speed -- I now have to reconsider.

Right now, I'm at the threshold of some truly amazing things. I don't know what the future has in store for me, or where it will all lead, but right now the outlook is brighter than it has been in a long, long time, all the more so considering the extremely difficult events that I endured in the beginning of this year. For the first time since my breakup, the I find myself totally at peace with the Not Having Anyone. Don't get me wrong, I still believe and know in my heart that I WILL find someone, that is my destiny.

But in the meantime while he's still not here? I'm okay with it. Because I am complete unto myself. I have everything that I need; and as for the things that I don't have, they will come to me when I am ready to receive them.

Maybe the universe really DOES help you when you're finally ready for it.


After practice last night, the rest of Silent Sanctuary approached me and gave me their assessment on the 3 gigs I've had with them so far, based on the feedback they got from others. First, off, positive points all around for my voice, I got nothing but praise for it, so snaps to me!

However, they DID have some areas of improvement:

1) My expression. I was apparently, as I said in previous posts, just TOO HAPPY for the songs onstage, approaching pop more than rock. They suggested I be more maangas and intense.

I am conflicted by this. On one hand, I do understand the importance of interpretation and accurately conveying the song (I've criticized American Idol finalist George Huff in the same way; amazing voice, but just too dang happy onstage, even when he's singing sad songs).

But on the other hand, I'm not too keen on the idea of stifling what I feel inside when I sing, which at the moment is just sheer joy at where I am and what I'm doing. I just feel so fricking BLESSED to be given the chance to do this and I can't help showing it. Is that a bad thing? Ah well, I'm a professional (naks!) I'll figure out a - er... happy medium.

2) My clothes. Once again, the subject of my apparel came up. On the very successful saturday gig (which I WILL be blogging about, promise!) I said screw it, I'm gonna wear something I LIKE, so I wore my longsleeved black polo with a chinese collar (sleeves rolled up 3/4), jeans and my rock star boots.

The point they were making is that while they were in shorts, jeans and the like, I tended to stand out. Again, I am conflicted. As the frontman, I'm trying to provide a good visual for people to see onstage as well as for photos (if anyone takes them). But I GUESS I can understand their concern if there is a clear disparity between me and them looks-wise that they end up looking like just my backup band.

I don't intend to concede ALL points to them. I WILL still wear my boots once in a while (I don't call them my Rock Star boots for nothing, after all!), and I love my long sleeved shirts, just maybe not at the same time, and obvioulsy not for gigs like at Mayrics. Again, I choose to look at this as a challenge to work through: How to maintain my fabulousness within the very UNfabulous confines of rock?

Hell, maybe just once I SHOULD show up in black t-shirt and jeans just to show them what I DO look like in "standard" rock wear. (Hint: it starts with a "b" and rhymes with "schmouncer")

The LAST point was the one I found most hilarious however. Apparently, they said I had a problem with .................. my MOVEMENTS. Apparently, I was moving a bit TOO much to be rock, swaying hips, arms, etc. Could I have been too.........GAY?? (dun dun DUN!...)

It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud to see the guys (who I am beginning to suspect DO know I'm gay) hemming and hawing, awkwardly trying to say I sashay too much without actually coming out and SAYING the G-word. On principle, I guess I should be at least partially offended, but I was having too much fun watching them squirm with the gay frontman.

Again, this will be tricky, but it's all about the compromise. I'll see what I can do about toning it down, but I have no intention of going into the closet for this job. I am FABULOUS, that is part and parcel of the whole package baby. Know me and Love me! But sige, for their sake (poor, poor straight boys) I will tone it down. A little.

But I am NOT going to start dressing like Vin. A girl's gotta have SOME boundaries.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


"The greatest promise of same-sex marriage is not the tangible improvement it may bring to today's committed gay couples, but its potential to reinforce the message that marriage is the gold standard for human relationships: that adults and children and gays and straights and society and souls all flourish best when love, sex and marriage go together."

The above passage is from a New York Times editorial by Johnathan Rauch, who weighs in his take on Gay Marriage.

Anyone who has a passing interest on the subject might want to take a look at it.

Sunday, August 15, 2004



The gig at Intramuros I view now as something I had to get out of my system. I was fairly all right going into it; all day I had been practicing and had just come off the successful first gig at DLSU so I was fairly self confident. However, things just seemed to go badly all day, starting from the text I received at 5pm, just as I was about to start dressing.

Backstory: In the DLSU gig, I wore my Thai long-sleeved maroon shirt with the sleeves tucked in, blue jeans, my trusty aussie rock star boots and a pewter pendant with the yin-yang symbol I bought along with Diwa which I plan to wear at every gig. The symbol represents balance, which I hope to maintain in my life. I thought I looked pretty good, and I think others did too, as when the organizers were looking for the “rep” of the band, they went to me first.

However, compared to the rest of the band, I was a bit……. Overdressed. Jeans, t-shirts, sandals, shorts were the order of the day. I imagine that along with being gay, being nearly ten years older than the average age of the band had a lot to do with it. Which made the following text from violinist Chino that much harder to take:

CHINO: Hey Ian! Kumusta? Can you wear something "rockish" tonight?

ME: I was planning to wear a t-shirt with an ethnic design, jeans and boots. Is that enough?

CHINO: Simple lang, just jeans, t-shirts and sneakers dude. Thanks!

Now that made me pause. I was honestly torn whether to feel offended or not. Anyone who knows me knows that I just go to TOWN on things like this and lead into a spiral of brooding and self-doubt. I had gone shopping with Diwa all day just to come up with the ensemble for tonight, and I was disappointed that I wasn’t even going to be able to wear it. WHY did he make this request? Were they discussing this while I was away? Did they think perhaps that I was dressing “too GAY” for them? Did the even KNOW I was gay? (I’m still not completely sure) Should it even matter?

Aaaaargh, too much too much thinking.

The biggest irony of it all was, they were basically asking me to conform (to a preconceived standard of fashion), but is not the essence of rock NOT conforming? I have to admit, part of me wanted to appear at Intramuros in a suit and tie just to spite Chino. But my rational side prevailed, I realized that it was THEIR band, I was the new piece fitting in, and I could not just treat their baby like my own personal fashion show.

I wore my old favorite pair of blue jeans, my brown VANS sneakers, and a t-shirt all right, but one from Linea Italia in a special woven fabric that looks just smashing, plus I retained my pewter pendant. Aside from looking nice, the pendant draws attention away from my problem area (bulging stomach) and more towards my more positive attributes (a fairly well-developed chest).

Okay, I think I may have typed my GAYEST paragraph to date. Anyway.

So conform I would. But on MY terms. You will never see me wearing the standard black t-shirt and jeans combo. Because I’ve WORN that outfit before, and I ended up being mistaken for a fricking BOUNCER. There’s a REASON I don’t wear t-shirts.

Almost immediately after that though, it still weighed heavily on my mind. As I continued to practice, I ended up making a lot more mistakes, which portended of things to come. What bothered me the most was that I was comfortable wearing my clothes. I LIKED wearing cool stuff, which made ME feel comfortable. Being asked to NOT be myself… rang wrong.

But, as I said: Not my band. Not my decision. So I finally got dressed and headed off to Makati to pick up my entourage of Diwa and Katrice, and headed off to Intramuros. When we got there we parked at Manila Cathedral and walked the rest of the way to the WOW Philippines event which was being held in Clamshell one, a large tent-like structure to protect everyone from the rain. (Ah, if only Fete De La Musique was as prepared…)

Cynthia Alexander was playing, and the rest of the band wasn’t there yet. So I contented myself to watch her play and check the various booths which were selling Filipino items: fabrics, food, jewelry, etc. I ended up buying a native bracelet which I immediately wore for later.

The rest of the band arrived, and we stayed in the backstage area waiting for our turn to come up. As our turn approached, what was once a sparsely filled hall began slowly filling up with people. And not just the normal type, but the black shirt clad, gothic makeup wearing, Mohawk baring type. Not exactly Cynthia Alexander fans, if you get my drift.

They were there to see FUSEBOXX last year’s Red Horse Muziklaban winners. I was curious to see what they sounded like, and I was blown away. They had a unique setup: along with the standard drums guitar bass, they also had 2 keyboards, one of them being wielded by their front woman, a pixieish girl with a POWERFUL voice reminiscent of Imago’s Aia de Leon.

And their music? They ROCKED. The best part about it was that while it was as heavy as hell, it wasn’t all screaming and growling like Cheese or Greyhoundz which I really cannot stand, despite giving myself several chances to like it. The girl can SING, and she knew her way across the stage.

The aforementioned black clad crowd were moshing like heck in front of the stage, and later on my band mates were telling me that it even got a little ugly, as punches were exchanged between the fans and the security personnel. These were they types who would rather mosh to Queso’s Mottakka than Cynthia’s Intertwyne. And this was the crowd we were playing to tonight.

I was nervous, but tried not to show it. Unlike last night at DLSU, which was a more overtly open-minded crowd, these kids were the ones that were more likely to pelt you with a bottle just because they could. Even though they were just kids, these were the type of fans that I had always had nightmares about playing in front of.

Fuseboxx’s set over, we tentatively went onstage. From the start the set was plagues with problems. I tried plugging in my cable to their amp but no sound came out. I checked and re-checked all connections, nothing changed. I even tried using another cable, and that was when a burning smell started to fill the air and the amp started smoking. Everyone jumped back and the techs immediately pulled the plug on the amp.

A replacement connection was immediately brought in but by then we had wasted more than 5 minutes, the crowd was getting restless, and the band was all waiting for me.


Finally got my guitar up and strumming, and we were off. I tried to do some friendly banter like last night, but it didn’t seem to fly as well. We started with Canon our instrumental soundcheck, which the crowd immediately began to mosh to (surreal moment to add to mental rolodex: a crowd of kids slamming into each other on violins and cellos) then went straight into Stay for a While.

So far so good. Went to second song, Broken In Silence which up to this point we had only played in the practice studio and I had been playing on my own. This, and kahapon would be my live debut for these songs. (I had played Stay, Sleep to Dream and Talagang Ganyan at last night’s gig)

“Broken” went over fine enough, and on the setlist (which I had stuck in my pocket and had to whip out to see what was next, said the next song was “Talagang Ganyan”. No problem, I know this one, So I began to strum the opening chords….

Until midway through the third barre I realized that I was playing the WRONG CHORDS. Instead of Em-D, I was playing Am-Bm-C, which was the intro to Kahapon. If I was more calm, I might have been able to seamlessly switch to the right song when the lyrics were about to kick in, but by then my mind had gone blank and I stopped.

I had to sheepishly explain to the audience, mentally exuding EVERY BIT OF NATURAL CHARM I hoped I had that this was just my second gig with the group, and that I had mixed up the chords, smiling my most charming smile. (when in doubt, go for sympathy) If nothing else, they didn’t boo or laugh (not that I could hear anyway) so I guess I recovered somewhat.

So I played “Talagang Ganyan”, and I was still rattled by my big blunder that I switched words around, but fortunately it wasn’t obvious to anyone who hadn’t heard the song before. I finished it up without any more major mistakes. I was even able to jokingly spiel off how the message of the song (sometimes, bad things happen, and that’s that) REALLY hit home with me that night. Then we played “Kahapon” where I made another mistake (a minor one, but a mistake nonetheless) of forgetting to play one more instrumental barre at the end of the song.

At this point, I was DETERMINED to make up for it with our final song, Sleep To Dream which is an upbeat number, but before that, I had to give the requisite plugs: gigskeds, mailing list, album, whatnot. It felt AWFUL, because I could tell that this group was not particularly inclined to listen to us, even if I DIDN’T screw up so badly. But a frontman’s gotta do what a frontman’s gotta do.

While I was doing my duty, my final screwup occurred; turns out while I was talking, the rest of the band was told by the stage manager that our set was over, since we had wasted so much time at the start. So there I was, reading off info like a doofus, thinking we were doing our final song, everyone else was packing up. When I finally realized what was going on I muttered a sheepish “thank you” and quickly got off the stage.

I was mortified, humiliated, and angry at myself. I was so disappointed, coming off a successful first gig to this. The rest of the band was very supportive, gently reassuring me that it was okay, it happens. And rationally, I knew naman; this was just my SECOND gig, and I had just joined the band a week before. A gig like this wasn’t just a high possibility, it was probably inevitable.

I knew that this was something I was eventually going to move past (dwelling on it would only increase the probability of MORE nights like this in the future) but the worst feeling of it was the sense that I had let the band down.

Yes, yes, every part of the band is important, but in some ways? The toughest job of all is that of the Frontman. Because HE is the one that the band rises or falls with. You can have the best instrumentalists in the world, but if your frontman sucks? Nothing. He is the face of the band and takes the heat if things don’t go well, and by the same if HE has a bad night, he drags the rest of the band down with him. And that’s what I felt happened tonight.

That was the worst feeling of all, really: not that I had made a mistake – I’ve made them before, I’ll make tons more in the future, that’s life – but the feeling that I let everyone ELSE down.

We packed up and after getting reminders about the next gig the following night at Cococabana, I quickly left with Katrice and Diwa. Grumbling and grousing the entire way, letting out a random “fuck” or “shit” once in a while, but generally silent the entire drive.

I WAS going to make up for tonight’s performance. Failure was not an option.

To be concluded

Friday, August 13, 2004


"You find out a lot about the fabric of Love over many years with somebody. People fall in Love, and they think they couldn't experience that feeling any more deeply, but it turns out that's just the start. If you've got something good, and you hang in there, and you work real hard, the rewards are unbelievable."

- Tuck Andress

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Tonight, I signed my first ever autograph. (To Other people, not just to myself!...) After playing my first ever gig as the vocalist of Silent Sanctuary.

Yup, I guess I can finally let it out na. Considering that I didn't implode while onstage and I came off pretty well (if I do say so myself) I think I can finally start to rest easy. We had a small 3-song set in DLSU tonight for Malate Folio, an art society. It was probably for the best that the first gig I had was a relatively small, low-pressure one. If this hadn't come up at the last minute, my first ever gig would have been August 13's International Youth Camp in Intramuros, where such luminaries as The Mongols and Cynthia Alexander will be playing. I think if I hadn't busted my cherry on this gig I would have been a wreck going into tomorrow.

As it was, I entered the premises tense and nervous. While the rest of the band ate the complementary food, I declined because my stomach was doing flip-flops. Since I didn't feel like seeing everyone else eat while I didn't; I stayed to watch the other bands play while the rest of Silent Sanctuary ate. In retrospect, I should have gone with them. My concern is that I might start to come across as Mr. Anti-social Super-Intense feeling artista (see: "Buendia, Ely").

While waiting for our turn to play I sent out a few desperation texts to people, including Nikka, Sanya and Katrice. I got some love in return which I took to heart (I meant what I said. The person reading this knows what I'm talking about. ;) )

It was an interesting, eclectic show actually. There was a couple of poetry readings, an open jam with native percussions (which I was so tempted to go down and jam for it if wasn't for the fact that I was watching the band's stuff while they ate), this rock outfit called Mayonnaise who I thought had some really good rock riffs, and a native band which featured all sorts of ethnic instruments.

Finally, it was our turn, and we went up to play. I had been practicing all day for the gig, memorizing the lyrics to the songs (the final step, after learning how to play them and emote correctly) and I have to admit, I was a little bit apprehensive about whether or not I could finally step up.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Once the drums began and I started singing, I went into the zone I always go into when I'm really into the music. I don't remember even being nervous; all I could recall was this overwhelming feeling of sheer joy while I was singing that I was smiling so broadly up on stage I might have come across as a bit too happy to be rock star cool. (not that I care. QUEBS!)

I don't know HOW to describe what I felt there, except that I was really, really happy. That I was finally doing what I've wanted to do for the longest time. And it showed when I played.

Stay For A while went flawlessly (on my part anyway) although due to the way the sound system was set up, I couldn't really hear my voice so I had no idea if I was singing off-key or not and make adjustments accordingly. However, according to Zarah (our manager), I hit all the right notes, so because of that I consider it a success. Hey, whoda thunk it? Practice really DOES pay off. We followed it up with Talagang Ganyan, and finished off with our current single, Sleep to Dream.

I spieled nicely too (in fricking TAGALOG, no less!!!), giving props to the band before us and remebering to plug our EP (Ellipsis of the Mind, available in Music One and Tower Records and at all gigs) , current single (Sleep To Dream, request it on RX 93.1 and City Jam 88.3!), mailing list (breakthesilence@yahoogroups.com), and Friendster Account (silentsanctuary@hotmail.com) *Whew!*

Zarah sold 6 albums to students, and the best part of it was when they went up to me and asked me to sign them. It felt wierd, at first; signing an album I really had nothing to do with (the vocalist on it is still Norman Dellosa, who has since left the band). I felt sort of guilty about it, like I was taking credit for someone else's work, but the rest of the band assured me it was okay, and I also understood that it would have been rude of me to their fans -- excuse me, OUR fans if I didn't.

And I just have to say: signing autographs for fans? COOLEST EFFING FEELING IN THE WORLD. I could get used to this.

Plus, for the first time ever, I lied about my age. One of the organizers of the show, a lovely young lady named Rachel was talking to me about the band (I'm not sure; my instincts about these types of things are just so out of whack, but I think she might have been flirting with me) and asked how old I was. (she was 20) For some reason, I couldnt bring myself to tell her my true age (29). Instead, I chickened out and said "secret!!" and just flashed a naughty grin. (for the record: she thought I was 22. Hooray for good genes!)

Lying about my age? I guess I really AM showbiz now...

Postscript: Don't forget! We have a gig TODAY (friday, Aug 13, 2004) at Intramuros for the Youth Camp at Clamshell 1. We're scheduled to play at 10:30pm. Even if you don't want to see me, there are a ton of other great bands going to perform! If you're in the area and are so inclined, please come by!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Bruce Springsteen

She'll let you in her house
If you come knockin' late at night
She'll let you in her mind
If the words you say are right
If you pay the price
She'll let you deep inside
But there's a secret garden she hides

She'll let you in her car
To go drivin' round
She'll let you into the parts of herself
That'll bring you down
She'll let you in her heart
If you got a hammer and a vise
But into her secret garden, don't think twice

You've gone a million miles
How far'd you get
To that place where you can't remember
And you can't forget

She'll lead you down a path
There'll be tenderness in the air
She'll let you come just far enough
So you know she's really there
She'll look at you and smile
And her eyes will say

She's got a secret garden
Where everything you want
Where everything you need
Will always stay

A million miles away.

Saturday, August 07, 2004


Word gets around fast in the band circle. Last night at the Admit One show people were already congratulating me about the gig. Arrrgh. So much for keeping a low profile, now I REALLY have to kick ass to make sure I don't lose this.

The funny thing is... for whatever reason, I DON'T feel as nervous as I should be. I don't know, maybe it's because that the person I'm replacing has the same type of vocal range and guitar playing style that I have, so the transition isn't all that difficult; even in musical philosophy I and the band are a really good fit, perhaps even more so that their original vocalist. Or maybe I've just been wanting this for so long I'm just so hungry for the opportunity that I don't have the wherewithal to be nervous.

A lot of it is just being 'nervous' for appearances' sake; lest I come across as too overconfident and cocky. Don't get me wrong, I don't think (I hope!!) anything untoward will happen and I really DO feel that I will earn this gig and become their new permanent frontperson. I just want to stay grounded about it until it happens, at which point I will be announcing it to everyone in every medium available to me. But I'm am completely blase about it at this point. So much so that it's almost unsettling.

So of COURSE, Joey Bear tells me "Trust me, once you're there backstage before you play, you'll remember to be nervous!"

Dammit, now why did you have to tell me THAT? ;p

Friday, August 06, 2004


Maybe I'm just being TOO anal. I mean, they already DID take my picture for inclusion in their band pic that they're submitting to one of the places we are playing this week. That's pretty much a "you're one of us", right?

Nevertheless, until I ACTUALLY play with them live and show them how much I want this and impress the hell out of them, I am hedging my bets.

And when DO I start playing with them? Next week actually. While I still won't confirm which group I'm fronting for, I WILL say that one of the gigs we're scheduled to perform in is in Intramuros, along with Stonefree, Red Horse Muziklaban winners Fuseboxx, Ely Buendia's The Mongols, and one of my biggest musical idols ever, Cynthia Alexander. (If you know where to sniff around, I've already given enough info that you can probably already guess what band I am currently fronting for)

Just the thought of it fills me simultaneously with equal levels of anticipation and dread: This would be my biggest and most important gig EVER. Just THINKING about it makes me nervous.

Okay, now I have to go practice. And then after that, throw up.

Monday, August 02, 2004


"Three minutes of perfection, that's what a song is. It's something that makes you feel good when you put it on, end of story."

- Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, on the philosophy of a hit

Sunday, August 01, 2004


I know it has been very, very quiet in my blog lately, but my life has not. Simply put, there are many interesting goings-on occuring in my life right now, but they aren't things I can talk about at the immediate time for fear of jinxing it.

Although I am absolutely DYING to tell someone, I don't want to be the guy who spreads the word about something, said thing falls through, and I end up looking like a butt (tm Nikka).

Needless to say, when things are concrete and people are stuck with me, I will be violining it from the rooftops.

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