Pinoy rock

From Wikipilipinas: The Hip 'n Free Philippine Encyclopedia
(Redirected from Pinoy Rock)
Jump to: navigation, search
Maria Cafra logo

Pinoy Rock, or Filipino Rock, is the brand of Rock music produced in the Philippines or by Filipinos. It has become as diverse as the Rock music genre itself, and bands adopting this style are now further classified under more specific genres or combinations of genres like Alternative Rock, Ethnic, Metal, New Wave, Pop Rock, Punk Rock, Reggae, Heavy Metal and Ska. Because these genres are generally considered to fall under the broad Rock music category, Pinoy Rock may be more specifically defined as Rock music with Filipino cultural sensibilities.



One of the first popular Filipino rock stars was Bobby Gonzales, whose major hit was "Hahabul-Habol." Eddie Mesa, another teen idol from the period, became known as the "Elvis Presley of the Philippines." Back then, many Filipinos referred to Rock bands as "combos," many of which used nontraditional instruments like floor-bass bongos, maracas, and gas tanks.

One of the early combos of the 60's, fronted by Pinoy rock icon and business mogul, Ramon "RJ" Jacinto.


Into the early 1970s, Filipino music was growing more nationalistic and socio-political in nature, as well as using Tagalog more often. Popular or Pop music still dominates the airwaves with artists such as the Apo Hiking Society and Hotdog. The songs like "Ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko" (The Miss Universe of My Life) of Hotdog combined Filipino and English words within the same song. This helped innovate the so-called "Manila Sound". OPM (Original Pilipino music) also became popular.

However, emerging social and political consciousness somehow creeped in to the industry with the traditional allied genres that are folk and rock music. Folk musicians included Freddie Aguilar, Asin, Florante. (In 1978, Freddie Aguilar's debut single, "Anak", became the most commercially successful Filipino recording in history. The song became known also in other Asian countries and in Europe). Perhaps Asin, a folk ethnic band, was the first commercial band to successfully brought a pro-environment song to the airwaves with "Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran". Also famous for providing subtle rebellious (anti-Marcos dictatorship sentiment was growing at that time) and peace messages behind its skillful vocal harmonizing, Asin gave the masses hits such as "Bayan Kong Sinilangan (Cotabato)", "Balita", and "Pagbabalik".

DZRJ, home of
Classic Pinoy Rock.

The Juan Dela Cruz Band, a psychedelic blues rock trio consisting of "Godfathers" Pepe Smith, Wally Gonzalez, and Mike Hanopol, are often credited for ushering in the very first "rock & roll revolution" in the Philippines that lasted from the late 60's to the late 70's (also known as the Golden Age of Pinoy Rock). Considered by many to be the "greatest Pinoy Rock band in history", they played a large role in re-awakening national pride through their bluesy Tagalog rock songs, such as "Kagatan" and "Balong Malalim", at a time of English-dominant music in the local scene. During a Woodstock-esque concert in Luneta Park, the group performed the classic anthem "Himig Natin" for the first time and single-handedly changed the face of Pinoy Rock. It was the first of its kind written in the native tongue, yet with all its glory, was said to have been quickly whipped up by a "stoned out" Pepe Smith while inside a public restroom.

Being heavily influenced by the hippie mentality, the bands of the 70's were known to have never been sidelined commercially and sometimes took the center stage by storm. The radio station DZRJ, particularly the AM weekend "Pinoy Rock and Rhythm" show hosted by Howlin Dave, provided the much needed support and publicity to Pinoy Rock during this era.

Today, many music journalists refer to the works of these pioneering artists as Classic Pinoy Rock, perhaps to distinguish them from the works of relatively younger Pinoy Rock bands, especially those that emerged in the 1980s through the 1990s.

Pinoy punk band, The Wuds.


According to a Billboard International feature written December 13, 1980; "the first new wave rock program attempted by a regular disco internationally was launched in the Philippines by On Disco". Thru club owner and disco pioneer Sonny Tanchanco , the underground New Wave Rock genre integrated with disco. But because of the limited exposure of the new wave records then, Tanchanco relied heavily on the efforts of Dante David, a disc jockey at DZRJ. According to reports, New Wave music was suppressed during the Martial Law era and DZRJ was the only AM rock station in Metro Manila whose daily night show consisted of new wave material. DJ Dante David and Larry Arellano were the regular DJs during those nights. [1]

Billboard International has cited the popular international musical acts that On Disco helped promote into the Philippines that were popular to the crowd were; The B52s, The Clash, The Police, Marianne Faithful and the Rolling Stones. Local live rock groups playing new wave punk also performed in between DJ sets. Among the groups were Chikoy Pura's "The Jerks" and "The Victims" fronted by a veteran Rock performer Joey "Pepe" Smith.

"Billboard International December 1980, First New Wave Rock Program in the Philippines at On Disco

In the early up to mid-1980s, Pinoy Rock became the music of Filipino protesters. Gary Granada and the band Buklod had socially relevant lyrics for their songs. Aguilar's Bayan Ko (My Country) became an anthem during the 1986 EDSA Revolution. A subculture rejected this kind of socially aware lyrics. A Filipino brand of Punk Rock also began to flourish during this period, as led by bands like Betrayed, G.I. & the Idiots, The Jerks, Urban Bandits, WUDS and The GOONS. Simultaneously, other brands of Pinoy Rock were starting to develop; for instance, Joey Ayala at ang Bagong Lumad (fronted by Joey Ayala) adopted an Ethnic sound, even using indigenous instruments like kubing and kudyapi while Cocojam combined it with Reggae.

the late Teddy Diaz, one of The Dawn's founding members.

The most popular Pinoy Rock band in the Philippines in the '80s was arguably The Dawn, whose early songs were largely influenced by New Wave music, the dominant Alternative music genre in the Philippines during that period. The Dawn came to prominence in 1986, when its independently released single "Enveloped Ideas" became an instant favorite among listeners of DWXB-FM 102.7, a now-defunct FM radio station popular in the mid-'80s that heavily played New Wave music and other similar genres.

Many music journalists and enthusiasts, as well as musicians themselves, attribute the flourishing in the mid-'80s of New Wave- and Punk Rock-influenced bands to DWXB-FM, which began playing independently released singles of unsigned local bands. This helped many of the struggling bands in this era to achieve cult status. These bands included Deans December, Ethnic Faces, Identity Crisis, and Violent Playground, all of which were able to record and release their respective albums in the years that followed.

Other Pinoy Rock groups took their cue from these pioneers and started recording their own songs; and this proved beneficial to the Pinoy Rock scene, which brought back creativity and originality to the awareness of fledgling musicians. Among the lot, The Dawn, The Youth, Afterimage, and Introvoys proved to be the enduring and more successful. Each was able to sustain a relatively long career.

DWXB-FM went off the air on June 9, 1987. The new Cory Aquino-led government began sequestering properties owned by her predecessor Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, including the home that DWXB-FM beamed from. DWXB-FM was revived as an online radio station on September 10, 2005, by Sutton Records, with the original DJs broadcasting from Manila.

the famed Eraserheads album that made Philippine music history.


Introvoys and After Image were among the prominent bands in the early 1990s; but their popularity were later overshadowed by younger bands that eventually emerged. Radio station LA 105.9 had advocated Filipino rock music, encouraging original amateur (even if poorly recorded) singles and gave new avenues for emerging bands.

The band that stood out of the amateur clutter was Eraserheads, which to this day many Filipino music enthusiasts regard as the Pinoy rock icon of the 1990s. In 1993, with the release of Eraserheads' first commercially released album, Ultraelectromagneticpop, a new type of Pinoy rock emerged and many Pinoy rock bands followed their lead. Rivermaya, another Pinoy rock icon, also emerged, further injecting pop sensibilities to rock music, making rock more accessible to the general public. It was also in this period when NU Rock Awards was born. Socially relevant lyrics persisted as well, as exemplified by the band Yano, whose lyricism dwelled mostly on social and political issues.

Bands that emerged after the commercial success of Eraserheads adopted a variety of influences both in image and music. Many of these groups fell under a particular genre; however, crossing over of styles is most often inevitable. Notable bands, though less mainstream, include Mutiny, Datu's Tribe, Dahong Palay, and Half Life Half Death.

Around the same time as the Eraserheads, along with the prominence of re-issues, bands influenced by 80's Metal and Classic Rock emerged. Most successful of these bands were Wolfgang, P.O.T., and Razorback, each recognized for their songwriting prowess, bandmembers' technical abilities, and extended live performances.

In 1995, a Pinoy Rock compilation album entitled Numeric Sampler 502 was released. The bands included in this album are Tame The Tikbalang, Feet Like Fins, Sugar Hiccup, Children of Cathode Ray, Inquisition, Poppy Field, Keltscross and Siakol. This was the year that the carrier single Lakas-Tama of Siakol hit the Number 1 spot in NU 107 countdown.

It was 1996 when the 2 mid-90's band released their first album. Siakol's "Tayo Na Sa Paraiso" and Parokya ni Edgar's "Khangkhungkherrnitz". This is also the year that the Alternative Pinoy Rock became more popular.

The 90's also introduced OPM into the international spotlight, as the Eraserheads won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Asian Artist in 1996 and spawned the internationally released album Aloha Milkyway.

rise of NU 107.

Emerging from the early nineties as well was another interesting genres, the underground gothic scene. Most notable in spearheading and enduring this genre was gothic rock visionaries, Dominion. Followed later by contemporaries like, Prominence of Cathedrals, Iconoclast and much later by industrial act Apparition which came to flourish easily in the gothic genre due to Dominion's pioneering efforts of that time.

Although gaining quite a considerable following among the Filipino youth, the Pinoy goth scene remains to be away from mainstream involvement. Despite this, a number of the media people still take time to cover goth events, perhaps because of the interesting sense of fashion if not the music that accompanies this genre. Presently, the scene survives and is growing even without mainstream radio airplay.

Subkulture a production label was the main source of goth events and music which was later a template for later production groups to emulate, their profile consists of flying in international acts from Germany and Japan such as the angina perctoris, eve of destiny and kozi (ex malice mizer). as well as distribution deals from America. it is also their highly celebrated annual filipino gothic festival called the eternal death wake , already in its fifth year which greets the hallows eve with a solid mix of fans,bands and dark revelry.

In the late 1990s, bands that adopted the nu metal style dominated the Pinoy rock music scene. These bands include Greyhoundz, Cheese, Slapshock and Chicosci.

the Itchyworms, continuing on the 'alternative' sound of the 90's.


In the early 2000s with Hip hop, Acoustic and R&B influenced bands dominated the Philippine music scene, causing Pinoy Rock to take the backseat. Only a number of Pinoy Rock bands had managed to stay in the mainstream during this period; artists like Sandwich, Slapshock, Rivermaya, Parokya Ni Edgar, Barbie's Cradle and Moonstar 88.

In 2003, an event called "An Elysium" came to life at a bar called Millennia. This event, along with the group "Circa1849", made noise among bars for bringing in acts belonging to genres unpopular to a typical local scenester, such as the eclectic mix of dark wave, ambient, industrial, trip hop and experimental that later on gained listeners. An example of this are bands like, Skies of Ember, DaydreamCycle, Inflikt, Scarlet Tears, The Late Isabel,The Slave Drum, Elemento and Decay Transit. The group was also part of the effort responsible for bringing in the Swedish industrial act Interlace in Manila, working with the popular skate magazine called URGE. The group was also responsible for the very first industrial gig ever to happen in Manila, featuring four distinct industrial acts, lead by the pioneering industrial act Decay Transit.

In 2004, the recharged Pinoy Rock music scene gave rise to another wave of Pinoy Rock bands. Alongside durable '90s veterans like Rivermaya and Parokya ni Edgar, artists such as Bamboo, Kapatid (headed by ex-P.O.T. frontman, Karl Roy), Orange and Lemons, Kitchie Nadal, 6 Cycle Mind, Sugar Free, Narda, Itchyworms, Up Dharma Down, Kamikazee, Kjwan, Barbie Almalbis, Kala and Pupil (headed by ex-Eraserheads frontman, Ely Buendia) all enjoyed considerable success. Also, not to be excluded is the blossoming "Bisrock" music scene in Cebu, with forerunners that include Urbandub, Junior Kilat, Faspitch, and Sheila & the Insects.

Along with the recent resurgence of Pinoy Rock in the local scene, bands of this cultural genre are also beginning to get recognized in underground scenes across the Pacific. In 2002 an unsigned New Wave group called The Pin-Up Girls found themselves making front-page headlines after being tagged as the first Filipino Rock band to be signed by a U.S. label. Their EP, Taste Test, hit no. 1 on a New Jersey-based radio station, helping to bring Pinoy rock into the awareness of the American audience. As well, hailing from Bloomfield, New Jersey, DJ Jason Baquilod continues to expose a multitude of Filipino acts, from R&B to Metal to Alternative, to a worldwide audience on his Radio Pinoy WRMN broadcasts.

2004 also saw the emergence of the first Philippine virtual band, Mistula. With the Internet as their stage, Mistula comes alive through their official website, a seamless fusion of music, graphic art, literature, photography and other art forms in themes of Catholic idolatry and cultural commentary, taking Pinoy Rock to a whole new playing field.

2005 ushered in the mainstream buzz on pop rock, termed as 'pogi rock' (literally means 'pretty boy' rock). With Callalily, Hale, Sponge Cola, and Cueshe, 'pogi rock' became the sound of 2005. The latter group, however, refused to be labeled with such title.

2005 also spawned tribute concerts and albums for various Pinoy Rock icons, ranging from the Eraserheads, (Ultraelectromagneticjam), the APO Hiking Society (Kami nAPO muna), and bands of the 'Manila sound' era (The Best of Manila Sound: Hopia Mani Popcorn). The album received a gold record certification as of January 2007. (The Best of Manila Sound: Hopia Mani Popcorn) marked a new generation recognition for the Manila Sound genre. Modern Manila sound and funk band Kala performed one of the album's carrier singles with a remake of the VST hit classic tune Rock Baby Rock. Among the other leading hit singles were "No Touch" performed by Rocksteddy and "Ipagpatawad Mo" performed by Mayonnaise.

The year 2005 saw the emergence of influential music venues such as Cafe Saguijo and Gweilos, in addition to the myriad of venues in the Philippines, such as Mayric's, 70's Bistro, Freedom Bar, 19 East, Dish, mag:net, Kolumn, Mai Yuchi, Caliente, A-Venue, Xaymaca, Pulp Summer Slam and NU 107 Summer Shebang to name a few. In the United States of America where the Fil-Am Rock Scene burgeons, venues are slowly but surely recognizing the presence of Pinoy Rock.

2007 Emerging from the local metal scene, a production outfit called Willow Drive Productions started putting up events that continued supporting the local goth scene and its close relatives in music. The outfit later on started putting up events favorable to the growing industrial artists and encourages more, embracing new talents.


In the passage of time and many musical styles in the Philippines, the term Pinoy Rock has become as diverse as the Rock music genre itself. Today, many music journalists and music enthusiasts regard Pinoy Rock as the brand of Rock music originating in the Philippines. And just like the Rock music genre itself, it may be further classified into more specific genres of music.

External links