SYDman's Top 50 OPM Bands of the 90's (Part 6 - The Top 10)
Welcome to the final instalment.
I assume you like or you hate some of the choices in this list. I also think you hate the fact that your favourite resides in the far regions of the countdown while the band you loathe the most is sitting pretty at the top.
Just like me.
By the way, get the rest of the ranks by clicking...
Just in case you forgot about the other bands on the list.
What if the 90’s existed in the 2000’s
What if these bands...
... were popular at the time of this band?
First of all, Tanya Markova is making things happen at the start of the 2010’s. While we have seen the end of acts like Bamboo, Sugarfree, Queso, Orange and Lemons, and Hale, it is Tanya Markova's moment to seize. They remind me of Parokya ni Edgar when they were just making their baby steps. I wonder when they’ll lose their makeup and Lady Gaga-ness because before their second album starts, they need to establish themselves to the public.
The music industry has evolved so dramatically that it’s mind-numbing. Back then, a band’s gig must rate well to land a record deal. Now rockers need to score great albums to score better gigs. Back then albums have 16 to 20 singles. Now you’re lucky if that album has twelve songs.
First of all, some bands will benefit in this time. Showbands will find work. Ito Rapadas, Jonathan Buencamino, and hell, even Glenn Jacinto could land acting gigs just like what that Kean of Callalily dude is doing right now. I am bent TV outfits would lure Kitchie Nadal and Barbie Almalbis to become teen idols. And maybe Chito Miranda and the guys from Grin Department and Da Pulis could do a sitcom. Also the wonders of technology could make some bands sound good on tape. Goodbye tunog lata! They can also score a lot of endorsement deals and host a variety show.
But that wouldn’t be right.
I’m not going to stall your time any further and I’ll just blurt out the Top Ten.
GAME STARTS NOW
It’s important to have a gauge on who’s in and who’s not on the list. Aside from the fact that I have evidence to shield myself from stupid and baseless queries, it can make my article extremely credible!
YEAR: This part is very important. Very, very important! The particular band in the list must have released an album from 1990 to 1999. I don’t care if this was their debut or their swan song. I don’t care if this is an EP, a full-pledged album, or a live album (although I will give a shit on compilations and collaborations). While I could care on whether or not they released this particular album for a major label, it is important that they at least became recording artists during this span!
MAINSTREAM: When you say their names and the person you’re talking to would say “Who are they” or “I almost forgot about them” then chances are, they won’t make the list. Bands need to sell themselves. I don’t believe in the whole “I am an artist and I won’t stoop to mainstream” act because if they were the ones that succeeded, they wouldn’t think like this. If the band can ride a jeepney without attracting any buzz, this means they have yet to be enjoyed or they are nobodies.
MAN AND CHICK FRIENDLY: Men would definitely pick on the bands who love to growl. Women won’t. Chicks would pick on the sappy seducers. Men won’t. If there is a way that man and chick could like the same kind of music, chances are they’ll rank up top.
INFLUENCE: Are they relevant? Did they do something awesome in OPMlandia? Kulay brought funky, hiphop stuffs on their gigs while Put3ska brought ska. Tropical Depression brought reggae while Francis Magalona introduced rap-rock. Because of the Eraserheads, the tunog lata movement exploded but they have to thank acts like Juan dela Cruz and The Jerks for opening the rock world for their generation.
GETTING SYDRIFIED: Of course, my inputs matter. Sure I had help from a lot of internet researches, interviews conducted in Facebook, MP3 download sites where I would listen to a particular band’s song. Fact is, I am a huge fan of the alternative rock genre. I wasn’t really a fan of the underground stuff then and although I am a fan now, I still find some acts amateurish.
Shouting expletives for the sake of being cool.
Songs with zero harmony.
Repetitive melodies inside one album.
With that said...
This is my list.
If you want to do yours, then do so.
That’s my disclaimer.
10 to 1
10 THE DAWN
YEARS ACTIVE: 1985 – 95; 2000 – PRESENT
90’S GROUP ROSTER: JET PANGAN, FRANCIS REYES, CARLOS BALCELLS, JB LEONOR
90’S HITS: IISANG BANGKA TAYO, BABAENG MAHIWAGA, SALIMPUSA, TALAGA NAMAN, SALAMAT (Salamat was from their 1989 album)
With their slamming sound, they produced a bunch of wonderful songs that captured the hearts and minds of the Filipino audience. They were actually the first band I remembered. I think I was around eight then. They were also the first I saw in the news and it was due to tragedy and that was when they lost their axeman Teddy Diaz. Instead of moping and mulling disbandment the band used this as motivation to play inspired in front of audiences. Their songs are deep, patriotic, and inspirational but they aren’t just blabbing "down with the government" like other bands. Their songs have wonderful arrangements and lyrics. Every regular person can sing along with their hits. Talaga Naman is a great song. I used to treat Sali-Salita as a bonding song with my cousins whenever we joyride from Tanauan, Batangas to nearby Calamba, Laguna to check out their nightlife (meron din namang mga promding chicks na panalo). Salamat and Iisang Bangka are anthems to encourage people to strive. They disbanded during the late 90’s with Jet focusing on his band but they reunited in the early 2000’s with former Eraserheads’ member Buddy Zabala coming in on board. They branched out to film with their critically-acclaimed semi-biopic Tulad Ng Dati. JB Leonor is the only remaining original member of the band. Enveloped Ideas and Love Will Set Us Free are songs they did during the late 80’s.
9 SIDE A BAND
YEARS ACTIVE: 1985 – PRESENT
90’S GROUP ROSTER: JOEY BENIN, NALDY GONZALES, JOEY GENEROSO, ERNIE SEVERINO, KELLY BADON
90’S HITS: FOREVERMORE, TELL ME, LET THE PAIN REMAIN, ANG AKING AWITIN, WILL I EVER, SO MANY QUESTIONS, TULOY PA RIN AKO
Of course they rank prominently in this list. If there are girls ardently checking out my site, I can sense that they will definitely riot if they can’t see these guys in the list. All the girls go into a zombie-like trance whenever Joey Benin belts out a tune. It is goddamn scary especially when they sing along with him. Side A’s songs are heavily played especially during feel-good events. There was a time that Valentine’s Day can’t happen without a Side A concert. Even if they sing mostly revivals, their heartfelt rendition makes them fan favourites. Try going to a wedding reception and not hear their songs being treated as background the minute the host instructs the guests to attack the buffet! Forevermore is their biggest song but in the course of their career they scored a bunch of revivals that turned down into hits. Notables include Ang Aking Awitin, Tuloy Pa Rin Ako, and Tell Me, which was popularized then by Joey Albert. Side A also had a slew of originals (or they made famous of) like Let the Pain Remain, So Many Questions, and Will I Ever. If a boyfriend failed to get tickets to their concert, they must brace for hell on earth. Once they return and reacquaint their selves with this current generation, expect the concert domination of Taylor Swift, Usher, Justin Bieber, and hell... David Pomeranz to end! TO END I TELL YOU!!!
YEARS ACTIVE: 1993 – 97; 2007 – PRESENT
90’S GROUP ROSTER: DONG ABAY, ERIC GANCIO, ONIE BADIANG
90’S HITS: BANAL NA ASO, SANTONG KABAYO, TSINELAS, ESEM, SENTI, PAALAM SAMPAGUITA
You can’t reminisce “Tunog Lata” music without these guys. While they can be patriotic just like the bands in their generation, they can also do tongue-in-cheek verses that anyone can relate to. Take Esem for instance. The song talks about going to SM just to get aircon. While it’s cool in some ways, it just sucks to go to a mall with nothing else to do because of financial shortage. Yes, I can relate... especially when I was in college. Anyway, their music can be armed for the poor. They can also talk about love, family, religious brouhaha, and ironies in general. Whenever Dong Abay tries to belt a tune, I assure you that it has substance. They are often batched up with The Youth because “their names start with ‘Y’” but believe me, their words are more worldly than that other band. Their song, Banal Na Aso, Santong Kabayo was one of the important singles of that era. If it wasn’t, then why did the Philharmonic Orchestra play during one of the concerts? Yano’s other titles are also critically-acclaimed like Senti and Askal. The band didn’t reach year 2000 and Abay formed a band called Pan before eventually going solo. Eric Gancio, one of the band’s original members, revived the band in 2007 but only as a one-man act. Is there such a thing as a solo band?
7 TRUE FAITH
YEARS ACTIVE: 1992 – PRESENT
90’S GROUP ROSTER (KNOWN MEMBERS): MEDWIN MARFIL, FRANCIS GUEVARRA, FERDIE MARQUEZ, CARYL CAMPOS, EAZER PASTOR, JUN DIZON, BIMBO YANCE,
90’S HITS: PERFECT, HUWAG NA LANG KAYA, MUNTIK NANG MAABOT ANG LANGIT, SA PUSO KO, ALAALA, BALIW, KUNDI RIN LANG IKAW, AWIT PARA SA KANYA
They mixed ballad with alternative rock and often delve on catchy danceable tunes. True Faith is somewhere along the lines of showband artists and alternative rockers. They started their careers roaming around the metro and scoring gigs by covering a bunch of new wave songs. They were discovered and taken in by a major level and moments later, Perfect would play in the airwaves and launch them to new heights. While Perfect set their sights to bigger things, I wasn’t a fan of the song. For me, it was their haunting ballads that made me a fan of their work. Huwag na Lang Kaya, Awit Para Sa Kanya, and Muntik Nang Maabot ang Langit are their contributions to my being. Like the Eraserheads and Rivermaya, they did score a bunch of commercials and endorsements. I believe they starred in an Octo Arts movie when the outfit had a stable of talents and were still active in making movies. Muntik nang Maabot ang Langit was also the theme of Jennifer Mendoza’s launching movie. She was a teen star then and I think that movie turned out to be a bad decision. Anyway, time was kind to them as they were able to adapt in the ever-changing music scene and withstand decline. Oh scratch that – Medwin is the only member that mattered in True Faith. Since the band’s inception in 1992, Medwin Marfil remains to be the band’s only original member. Aside from Medwin, it is hard to remember the other band members.
YEARS ACTIVE: 1990 – PRESENT
90’S GROUP ROSTER: KEVIN ROY, DAVID AGUIRRE, LOUIE TALAN, MIGUEL ORTIGAS, TIRSO RIPOLL, BRIAN VELASCO* (*replaced Ortigas when he left the band in ’96)
90’S HITS: GIYANG, TABI NG BULKAN, PEPE THE HEPE, PAYASO, IKOT NG MUNDO, VOODOO WHO DO, MY BANYO SONG, MUNTING PARAISO, AS SPICY AS IT GETS
Known as the more locally-inclined brother of Wolfgang, hordes of fans waste away to their beat. In the events that feature the band, flocks of men bob their heads and body slam their selves to the closest object near them (hopefully it’s a living thing and not an expensive object). The best is tried and tested and their best evidence for their awesomeness was when they got handpicked by Metallica and Rage Against the Machine to open for their concerts. Hebigat Sounds Volume One was one smashing debut album but it was Beggar’s Moon that brought them to superstar status back then. With their funky feel and their blues rock attributes, fans throw their selves to them as if they are at their disposal. Unlike other bands then with the tunog lata feel, their sound seems accomplished enough to feel as if the band is foreign. Most of their successful singles are written in Tagalog though. Despite getting limited airplay in the 90’s (with NU107 and LA105 as their turfs) Razorback was “digged” by rock lovers everywhere. If you want to jump insanely, then listen to Payaso. If you want a medium to unwind, check out Pepe the Hepe.
YEARS ACTIVE IN MUSIC: 1989 – 2009
GROUP AFFLIAITION/S: FRANCIS MAGALONA, THE EVIL STEPSISTERS, HARDWARE SYNDROME
90’S HITS: KALEIDOSCOPE WORLD, BAHAY YUGYUGAN, BOW-WOW-WOW, GIRL BE MINE, KABATAAN PARA SA KINABUKASAN, MAHIWAGANG KAMOTE, THREE STARS AND THE SUN, WHOLE LOTTA LOVIN
Yo... yes, yes, yo! Yo... yes, yes, yo! Check out the guy that’s rapping in the show of Alma Moreno! Francism still lives even if this genius is now residing in heaven. The son of 50’s idols Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran, after years of doing youth-oriented flicks, the former Bagets and Ninja Kids star branched out to rapping. He began to sport a funky hairdo that has peace signs carved at the sides of his head and dyed shirts where in every given chance he would do a running man. Mga Kababayan Ko was his breakout hit but my favourite Francism rap is Cold Summer Nights. Dubbed as the Master Rapper and the King of Philippine Rap because of his earlier compositions (and a slew of Royal Tru-Orange TVC’s), he was also the person behind the Pinoy Rap-core genre. It was in 1993 where he experimented in combing rap and rock with the help of his band called the Hardware Syndrome. He had a ton of great tunes through the years where his vocal chops were backed up by super-charged beats, either via instruments or via electronic presets. Bar none Kaleidoscope World is his best song ever. I remember tuning in to Campus Radio during John Hendrix’s time slot because this was the song he used as his goodbye song and he used it for months! Aside from Kaleidoscope, his songs are impressive in terms of quality and quantity. He had a bunch of collaborations with different kinds of rockers most notably The Eraserheads guys, Joey Ayala, Heber Bartolome, Mike Hanopol, Kamikazee, and Parokya ni Edgar. His songs are timeless and can be appreciated by this generation as well as the succeeding ones.
4 PAROKYA NI EDGAR
YEARS ACTIVE: 1993 – PRESENT
GROUP ROSTER: CHITO MIRANDA, VINCI MONTANER, BUHAWI MENESES, DARIUS SEMANA, GAB CHEE KEE, DINDIN MORENO
90’S HITS: BULOY, TRIP, MANIWALA KA SANA, LUTONG BAHAY, SILVERTOES, HARANA, PANGARAP, PICHA PIE, INUMAN NA, HALAGA
Their first single was a smash hit. People loved it because while it is trying to be funny, it was also a very truthful way to give tribute to a fallen comrade. “Buloy” was one of the best debut singles ever and despite the accusations that Parokya ni Edgar was exploiting the death of their friend to gain fame, it did brought superstardom to the group (the accusations were later dropped). Parokya Ni Edgar continues to attack the charts strongly and unlike other bands that have their members coming and going, their roster remains intact. PNE’s entries to the decade came from their three bitching albums filled with intensity and comedy. They debuted with a very powerful (albeit gibberish) album name and followed it with an equally powerful (that still has a gibberish name) sequel. The guys patrolled the stage wearing their mommy’s duster and they sung tunes that were designed to make people headbang. PNE is basically Yoyoy Villame multiplied and with growl – and that is not a bad thing. Yoyoy was a class act during his prime and it seems some of his swagger was inherited by the band. Their songs are easy to understand and can be extremely catchy for all types of people in all kinds of social classes. They have the ability to sing songs with zero sense and yet they can do heartfelt numbers to the delight of many. They also had a knack of parodying songs and making it their own. I could have ranked them higher... but I think the album that catapulted them to legendary status happened in 2003 (Bigotilyo).
YEARS ACTIVE: 1992 – 2002; 2007 – PRESENT
90’S GROUP ROSTER: BASTI ARTADI, MANUEL LEGARDA, MON LEGASPI, WOLF REMORA
90’S HITS: ARISE, HALIK NI HUDAS, DARKNESS FELL, TULISAN, MATA NG DIYOS, ANINO, NATUTULOG KONG MUNDO, ROADWORTHY MAN, CENTER OF THE SUN
Chicks often wonder why their boyfriends are headbanging with their walkmans on. First up –No, they are not listening to Boys II Men or Luther Vandross. From the wild, underground band scene spawned this hard rock choir known to many as Wolfgang. While their songs can only be heard on NU107 and LA105, they are considered as one of the pillars of Pinoy rock. Basti Artadi is one of the best vocalists produced by the country... ever. Wolfgang songs stand out because of his wicked growls. Unlike popular bands of his generation, they got to release an album in Japan and the United States. While the Eraserheads are sorting out a path and happily stringing a bunch of various sound-alikes, Wolfgang also made a path of awesomeness whose spawns consists of underground heavy metal acts. The band was at its peak in terms of popularity with the release of their sophomore album Semenelin. The album had approximately sold 80,000 units which means it has reached double-platinum. All of a sudden, rocker chicks were pounding their tables to the beat of their songs. They were also a frequent winner at the NU Rock Awards. At the course of the decade, Basti won Vocalist of the Year thrice, Wolf won Drummer of the Year honors twice, Mon won the Top Bassist tag once, they are a 3-time Listener’s Choice winner, a two-time Artist of the Year winner, and their album Serve in Silence won Album of the Year honors in 1999. They disbanded in 2002 but they reunited in 2007 but by then, Francis Aquino has already replaced Wolf because of the latter’s commitment to his new band Lokomotiv.
YEARS ACTIVE: 1993 – PRESENT
90’S GROUP ROSTER: BAMBOO MANALAC, RICO BLANCO, MARK ESCUETA, NATHAN AZARCON
90’S HITS: ULAN, 214, BRING ME DOWN, AWIT NG KABATAAN, ELESI, HINAHANAP-HANAP KITA, HIMALA, KISAPMATA, PANAHON NA NAMAN, NERBYOSO
At that time they were the arch-enemy of the Eraserheads. If the Heads were Shawn Michaels, Rivermaya was Bret Hart. Amongst bandmania, Rivermaya was there to take the fans of the Heads whenever possible. There was a time that whenever the Heads make an album... Rivermaya will challenge it. Three of Rivermaya’s albums were hailed in the all-time best-selling albums list. Their self-titled debut album, Rivermaya, ranked fifteen and sold 217,000 units. Their third album Atomic Bomb, ranked sixteenth with 215,600 units and their sophomore album Trip, scored 213,700 units. They edged out, even the Eraserheads, as the only act in the list to score three hits that are all studio albums (The Heads also scored three but The Eraserheads Anthology is a greatest hits album unlike their other albums that made the list like Cutterpillow and Circus). Standing out from the rest of the band scene is Bamboo’s vocal awesomeness. Bamboo stood out because his voice has range and basically... he was not just there because he wants to play in a band but can’t play any instruments. One thing they also majored in is the fact that their songs were well-penned and ever-so-evolving. This is where Rico Blanco’s brilliance kicks in. Sometimes they’ll stick with the safe alternative sound but sometimes they will ditch the sound to do Manila Sound, ballad, blues, and even pop. This is why their songs are frequently revived. Even with the departure of Bamboo, they still managed to survive with Rico at helm. I think that was the phase where they were sounding a lot like foreign bands. The band is still active to this day despite all the hardships, Rico Blanco’s departure, roster changes, and lawsuits.
1 THE ERASERHEADS
YEARS ACTIVE: 1989 – 2002
GROUP ROSTER: ELY BUENDIA, RAIMUND MARASIGAN, BUDDY ZABALA, MARCUS ADORO
90’S HITS: ANG HULING EL BIMBO, PARE KO, MAGASIN, WITH A SMILE, TORPEDO, LIGAYA, OVERDRIVE, TIKMAN, KAILAN, SEMBREAK, HUWAG MO NANG ITANONG, SPOLARIUM, FRUITCAKE, SHIRLEY, AND MANY, MANY MORE!
If you are expecting some other band then you must be insane. Perhaps the greatest Pinoy rock band ever, a particular Pinoy human being (at least he was aged under-30 during the band’s peak) must die if he is oblivious to any of their songs! Even kids not born in their era knows their songs. Hell, my mom hums the intro of Magasin ever so often and she has a senior citizen ID! They started their career as “the” rebels. Senate inquiries shadowed them and parents would think they are bad influences. My respect for Tito Sotto then was almost tarnished when he questioned the “drug addict” nature of Alapaap (my respect for Val Sotto’s older brother has increased since). When my parents first heard the chorus of Pare Ko, they wanted to destroy my tape! When it was all said and done though, The Eraserheads will finish their careers as the epitome of band awesomeness. They managed to overthrow the balladeers, the divas, the pop stars, the rappers, and the boy bands and send them to the backseat in favor of the band acts. Their first three albums were big commercially while the rest of their albums unleashed their artistic prowess. In fact, Ultramagneticpop, Circus, and Cutterpillow made the Heads the first and only NU Rock Awards Album of the Year winner for three consecutive years. If you take out the insanely successful Jose Mari Chan (his two albums, Christmas In Our Hearts and Constant Change, has a combined 1.6 million units sold), then you’ll probably see the Eraserheads as the only act to reach diamond certification status with Cutterpillow earning 325,000 units sold. In 1997, Huling El Bimbo, won MTV Asia’s Viewers Choice Award. They made this an epic feat for all Filipinos when Ely blurted the now-famous “Mabuhay ang Noypi”. When they broke up in 2002, it was like Michael Jordan retiring and a spawn of Jordan play-a-likes coming in to take the throne. None of those bands were able to duplicate their feat though and it was further emphasized in their two reunion concerts which sparked a lot of buzz nationwide. There is no self-respecting person living in the Philippines that would pass up a chance to join these guys play their songs onstage.
So this ends the list. I’m glad you enjoyed it because I had a hard time writing and researching for it. I mean most of the bands in the list... I knew only because of fan interviews and with me downloading their albums! I mean for every number, I was checking whether or not the band had an album in the 90’s.
I may or may not do an “I’m sorry” list for the bands that I can consider worthy but failed to enter the list because either 1) I only knew them AFTER I finished the list; 2) People were egging me to include them; and 3) I totally forgotten how happy I was hearing their songs.
Again for those who enjoyed the list, thanks.
For violent reactions, well you can just write it here and if they are note-worthy reactions, I could answer them.
After this, I’m going to make a blast from the past list and name the Top 50 Bands before the 90’s... or the Top 50 Bands of the 2000’s.