band on the run and having fun!

Just In: Read The Real Meaning Of Life (Page 22)

There’s a book out called The Real Meaning Of Life by David Seaman, and you will find my name on page 22. How did this happen? Well, this guy David elicited responses from readers everywhere and my contribution got in. I went to Barnes annd Noble yesterday and I was so thrilled to read my name and entry on page 22. I won’t share on this blog what I put in there. Ha ha! Silipin niyo nalang!

Notes on the tour

Had three concerts in three days in three different locations and all involving plane rides. It was Atlantic City on October 21st, Detroit on the 22nd, and Austin on the 23rd. Grabe. I am beat. We arrived in Dallas last night and will be here to do some promo work for the concert this weekend. But before the Dallas concert, we have San Antonio the night before, a 5-hours drive away. Such is the life of a group on tour. ‘Band on the run’, as pareng Paul Macartney calls it. We sleep in different rooms and the only thing that makes me feel at home is looking at the pictures in my computer. Otherwise, it’s a different bed and setting everyday. Strangely enough, I am still finding it fascinating after all these years.

Dallas is a beautiful city with lots going for it. We went to the Aija restaurant (nemed after Steely Dan’s album) at the fabulous Trammel building. This resto is owned by Dindo Orosa, a Pinoy who has made his mark in the fine dining scene in Dallas. It is not a Filipino restaurant but a mainstream one that caters to the regularh market. The food is, to say the least, marvelous! Aside from continental cuisine, Dindo serves some Filipino dishes like cassava cake and guess what? The people love it.

The fabulous entrance to the Trammel building where Ajie is located!

I hope to eat at Ajie’s again and see more of this city in the next few days.

Peddlers of Samsara!

I miss home. I miss sleep. I miss my bed. I miss my family. But at the same time, I like traveling. There isn’t a place I have been to that can bore me to death..well except perhaps casinos. These establishments that cater to greed and sensual attractions (OK, fun and excitement if you wish) are sad places. For one, it’s hard to find areas that are totally smoke free–not even in the so-called no-smoking rooms. Somehow, cigarette smoke finds its way everywhere and it sticks to your clothes, and worse, to your lungs. People who live and work and patronize these places breathe in all that pollution 24-7.

Everything in casinos is designed to lure you into gambling. One way is they put up shows to attract crowds with the hope of enticing them to games of chance when they get there. I don’t know if it’s just me but I can’t help but notice that casinos are places where you find many rich but very lonely people. They while away the time in front of slot machines for hours and hours probably lulled into some trance by the jingling sounds of the machines. More often than not, they are old, lonely people who probably have nothing else to do. Kawawa naman. Thes are places of samsara as Bhuddhists will probably call it–places where there is much suffering.

Believe it or not, I have not spent a single cent gambling since we got here. Come to think of it, I haven’t spent in any lof the previous tours. I thank God that gambling isn’t something I find attractive. I shouldn’t be complaining about casinos though since we do concerts there. My complaints are not based on any moral grounds. It’s the insidious, almost ‘militant’ shallowness of the whole thing that bothers me. I just feel that the time spent in such places can be better spent elsewhere where one is not manipulated, exploited and left lonely and broke. Except for a few lucky ones, let’s face it, nobody beats the house!

The King is Still in the Building!!

Had an overnight stay in Austin which is George Dubya’s hometown. That fact is not the big story for me since I am no fan of the US President. The big deal is staying at the Park Hotel, a small, comfortable and rather old hotel whose biggest claim to fame is that ELVIS SLEPT THERE!

I wonder if I got his room. I swear I heard someone whistling “Love Me Tender” early in the morning!

..or maybe it was just my imagination!

Goofing Off!

When musicians travel, it’s a whole lot of fun in between work. And it doesn’t have to have anything to do with music. In Dallas yesterday, Danny, Boboy, Sammy (our assistant) and I did an Abbey Road style pose on the very spot where JFK was shot. Sorry, I don’t have that picture since someone else took it. Watch out for it at the APO page one of these days. Enjoy the pics below of the group just having fun!

The band taking a pause that refreshes!

Really missing home! heh heh!

JD appreciating art!

More postings as the adventure continues!

APO in Vegas!

October 14, 2005
El Cortez Hotel Rm 300

Woke up at 8AM–officially that is, even if my eyes actually opened around 6AM initially to look at the time. Got a good rest after a long plane ride the night before plus the customary socials we usually do on the day APO arrives anywhere. We got in at 12:20 PM in Vegas after a Manila to LAX plane ride and it was a long lunch before checking in at El Cortez Hotel. I was lucky to get a three hour shut eye before going to the function that was set. There was dinner at Doctor Jun Borromeo’s house in the suburbs where we met many kababayans. These socials are quite important since they sort of announce to everyone in town who are potential watchers of the concert that we have arrived. Eyewitness accounts of the APO being here will dispel any suspicions that the whole concert is just a get-rich quick scam by some unscrupulous ‘promoters’ out to get a buck without the artist even knowing about the gig.

October 15, 2005

SOS:Still crazy after all these years!

Got to watch the Society Of Seven (SOS) with Lani Misaluchia at Bally Grand and it was a GREAT show. I had only heard of the SOS and had never seen them until last Friday night. They are a creative, imaginative, funny, wacky, musical— a totally entertaining group. No wonder they’ve lasted ALL THESE YEARS.

Lani M. doing her stuff! Galing mo, Lani! Idol!

Lani Misdaluchia, on the other hand was simply awesome. When she sings, she OWNS the stage. Her voice is powerful, and she utilizes it with such great precision, control and heart. There is so much to appreciate in her performance. I can understand why she has been crowned ‘the new diva of Las Vegas’ by What’s On In Vegas! Magazine. In my opinion, (and this is shared by many), she is many notches above the rest in the Strip and outside of it. Where Celine Dion’s voice is grating, and frankly, annoying, Lani is captivating and wonderfully entertaining.

IN10CT Rocks!

Another Pinoy attraction at Sundusk Lounge at the Strip is the IN10CT band. They are a show-cover band and they are impressive as well. They can really dish it out–soul, R & B, rap, dance music and the dancing crowd just lap it up. We were so honored to have been publicly rrecognized by their singer when we visited the club.

As of Friday night, our concert promoters were understandably fretting since ticket sales were running at 10%. I could sense something wrong but did not want to ask, much less want to know the bloody details of how bad it was going be for the Saturday concert in Vegas. Therefore, it was such a surprise and relief, and yes, an exhilaration when we came up on stage at 8PM last night to a practically full and eager crowd. In the audience were the SOS and Lani M. whose show we had watched the night before. Danny, Boboy and I were primed to give our 110% best, and we did, knowing our peers were in the audience It was a memorable show by our standards, and it seems, by our audience’s as well. The show opned with local artists, notably Stepahine Reese of Ms. Saigon fame (German Edition) and new US resident Tootsie Guevarra. It was one of those nights where we were completely present to the audience, maybe more than usual, and we dished it out with both technical agility and lots of fire, soul and spirit. Just as we had asked during the prayers before the show, we did have great sound, lights, good playing and singing, hilarious banter and a crowd so primed to have a good time, We walked out of the stadium walking on air. We felt like we were the new ‘kings’ as far as Pinoy concerts go in this city. Throughout the night, we basked in the afterglow of the magic that the gods coursed through us to pass on to our audience. This is one night that will be hard to forget!

People were snapping up the tees, CDs and DVDs!

More as the tour progresses.

2 great artists, and their concerts

Last Monday, I attended the album launch of Mon David, a dear friend and a person I admire. There are probably no more than 5 to 7 people in the world whose commitment to their art and craft I admire totally and Mon is one of them. He asked me to write a short paragraph for the CD. Here’s what I wrote:

I have known Mon David for a very long time now. We have practiced, sung, recorded, played, jammed performed, toured and have been friends for almost as long as my APO life. There are but a few people in my whole career in music from whom I have learned many valuable lessons about style, artistry, talent, dedication, versatility, musicality, generosity, joy, and perseverance, and Mon is certainly on top of this very short list. Life and Times is an album that says a lot about this man whose gift of music is wonderfully extravagant. If talent for music was like water that could be taken from a well, then it’s quite a deep and endless one that this album partakes of. The music is sweet, pure, refreshing, nourishing, and more than satisfies many musical tastes and wants. Mon abundantly serves his listeners a cocktail of many musical genres—ballads, sambas, traditional folk songs with a playful modern twist, and inspirational ones. And he does all this as composer, singer and instrumentalist, producer/visionary.

While the album is a triumph, alas, it is also an endangered one. It is triumphant since in today’s landscape of musical blandness brought about by extreme commercialism, the integrity, freshness and vibrancy of Life and Times easily towers above the musical flatlands of this new millennium. Endangered because no such albums are created now—albums with heart, albums which refuse to be shackled by the tyrants which most music artists these days kneel and bow to, such as sales reports, radio trends, and other ‘business ‘ considerations. To put it as simply as I can, it’s an album made by one who breathes, lives and loves music in all aspects and wishes to express it in the way it moves him. Period.

Salamat Mon. This is a real treat. Mabuhay ka!’

That night, Mon gave a great show at the Podium. He performed with a live band. Such a delight to watch a talent that is 100% real and enjoying himself as he switched from English to Tagalog to Kapampangan sometimes all within the same song. If you’re looking for something different, not trendy, but rich and soulful, you won’t go wrong getting his album. It is released under Candid records, the same label which released Mishka Adams.

Beachboys Rock!

Caught the Beachboys last night at the Araneta Coliseum. I was with Lydia and Mio. Let me tell you, when they came on stage, there was a palpable shock among the audience as they saw Mike love, former matinee idol now an old man, and his other fellow Beachboy Johnston moving slowly on stage. It must have taken at least the first three songs in their 15 song opening medley before the audience got over the shock. But inevitably, we all did since they still sang so well. They actually sound like their records! Remarkably, they rendered the songs in the same original keys theyn recorded them.. They definitely still had that solid sound that made them popular worldwide. It was hit after hit from California Girls, Little Deuce Coup, Good Vibrations—you name it, they did it. The audience sang, danced, grooved and had a great time. While most were baby boomers reliving their lost youth , many kids Mio’s age and a bit older actually rushed towards the stage and just got into the concert.

There was something incongruous about old men singing about the carefree Southern California culture of surfing, cars and young love of the 60’s, but at the same time, there was an integrity to it, and not so strangely. After all, they were singing hit songs they themselves made, sang and popularized that constituted a successful 44 year career. Few can come close to that. It was, to put it simply, an AWESOME concert. Regardless of how they have aged now, the BeachBoys–both the new younger members and the old fogeys ROCKED and RULED!

We purposely stood up early to leave and avoid the traffic that was sure to build up when the concert finished and people rush to go home, but we could not pull ourselves out of the dome. When they did their encore which was Kokomo, Mio said in all seriousness that we should watch since ‘these people could be dead soon’. I thought it was a funny remark but a solemn tribute to the Beachboys legendary status. It was a night worth braving the rain for.

a gig, a ‘last’ run, a system check

It was a Saturday night and instead of just staying at home, Lydia and I decided to watch our daughter Ala’s gig at Bubble Gang Toppings, a student hangout within the Loyola neighborhood. It was an acoustic performance with her band Hiraya which she recently just joined. I was quite amazed at what I heard and saw. Although the sound system was definitely not the best, I could hear Ala’s sweet voice over loud guitars, and I was impressed. She had clear tones and her musicality was very good. And she definitely had stage presence. I know I sound just like a dad would, but I speak as one who has been performing for years, and who has worked with the best. Actually, I could have opted to not write about it but I thought I should praise talent when I see it and not be discriminatory just because it is my daughter. Heh heh!

While watching Ala do her songs, I was telling Lydia how different my musical career would have been if we had not developed as a concert act doing our own stuff but more of club performers doing covers. The repertoire, the jokes, the whole setup would have been different. APO talks a lot and that really works to our advantage. But when you perform in a club, you have to do much more music, and familiar ones too as people drink or eat while watching. You don’t always get wild applause, and not after every song. It’s hard to clap with a glass on one hand and chicken wings or a cigarette on the other. I am quite happy that Ala is doing originals as many other bands are these days. As it was during our time, doing originals elicits respect.

The next act was Nino, Ala’s boyfriend, who was going to play the guitar for another singer. I had wanted to stay and watch him but since Lydia was getting very uncomfortable with the cigarette smoke , we decided to go home. But I took some pictures before I left.

The 27th run of my creativity workshop ended last Friday, and more than any previous class, we had quite a party after. The food was overflowing and quite delicious. Everyone was in great spirits and wanted to interact with classmates they had gotten close to in the last two weeks. As for me, I was quite exhausted physically even if my spirit was soaring with the rest. Every TCU batch gives itself a name for egroup purposes. Check out the pic and the name they chose below.

The 27th Blockbusters Group

I had announced earlier that it would be my last workshop in a while. To be truthful, I thought it really was till my schedule changed again. I will announce the 28th run of Tapping the Creative Universe soon if I can still squeeze in one by end of November to early December. Abangan.

There are some people who write me and comment that my archives (on the right of the page) are inaccessible. Strangely enough, I can access it on my Mac but not on the other PCs in the house. Can I ask you a favor? Can you try accessing any of the past entries and let me know if you are successful? Also, please let me know your browser and your computer type (PC or Mac) so I can make adjustments.

Some of you have also been listening to Jim’s music accessible on Jim’s Links. I would also like to know how easy it is for you to download the music. Are you using DSL or dial up? Once again, I would appreciate some feedback.

You can send your feedback by clicking on the comments thing or through Daghang salamat!