Saturday, November 6, 2010

No Goodbyes. Let's Rakenroll!

I seldom wear chucks and I don't often wear black--except when I'm feeling fat and I want to hide my bulging bellies--BUT I love rock music. Alright, I must admit, I grew up loving and listening to R&B and slow jam music. I can't, however, deny the fact that even before I understood what rock music really is, I already enjoyed listening to the sounds of The Smiths (especially their song "The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get), Crash Test Dummies, Cranberries, Nirvana, Aerosmith, Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms, Hootie and Blowfish, Moonpools and Caterpillars and 10,000 Maniacs. Locally, I've always loved the music of Eraserheads, Rivermaya, Yano, The Youth, Color It Red, Advent Call, Razorback, The Wuds, Agaw Agimat, Suggar Hiccup and even Rizal Underground.  I think I was in grade school when I would wait for their songs to be played on radio or look for their lyrics in songhits. I didn't care about music genres back then. Just as long as I like the tune and the lyrics, it's all good for me. Generally though, it's really those songs in Literock, Magic 89.9, Campus Radio, and later on Wave 89.1, RT, and Jam 88.3 that I find pleasure in listening on. Okay fine! I also used to go gagah over boy bands, Spice Girls and the likes. It just so happened that I'm a die-hard music lover and those types were the in thing back then.

I'm a late bloomer rock music fan. In fact I only admitted it to myself that I actually love rock music when I became friends with Emma Ruth Espiritu and after becoming addicted to Hillarie Burton's Peyton Sawyer character in One Tree Hill. I even made a cd compilation almost all of Em's playlist in the office PC before I left MOD for a new job. And immediately after that, I started loathing the music of Beyonce, Rihanna, and all those who came after them. I realized I really like listening to rock music more. But of course, I will always love Bone Thugs and Harmony, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Mary J.Blige, 2Pac, Ja Rule, Ashanti, P.Diddy, Faith Evans, and Mya for their music were the soundtrack of my fun-filled high school years.

The return to the mainstream of Pinoy rock bands also made me appreciate this genre more. Imagine my happiness when Bamboo Manalac came back to the music scene and formed Bamboo. It was like a relief! Their music alongside those from Pupil, Sandwich, Sugarfree, Stonefree, Hale, Rivermaya, Parokya ni Edgar, ItchyWorms, Pedicab, Cambio, SpongeCola, Markus Highway, Paraluman, RadioActiveSagoProject, UrbanDub, Up Dharma Down, Imago,  Fatal Posporos, Session Road, Kjwan, Orange and Lemons, Wickermoss, Join the Club, Juana, and still many more became a staple items in my playlist. They're like food to my gloomy days when I would just like to shut myself out from the world and just enjoy that me-time with a loud rocking music.

Rock concerts are the best! You can see all kinds of people there--trashers, emo, conio, average joes, etc, and all of them are banging their heads and jumping lively to the zippy tunes of rock music. No poseurs, no feelingeras. Just plain rock music fans enjoying the kinetic moment.

I came up with a list of possible reasons why I fell deeply in love with rock music. You can read on if you like or just shrug it off, though I'm sure that one or two points from this list, you'll definitely agree with me:

1. Rock makes you feel so cool, carefree and careless at the same time. Like when you are walking in the mall and you have a rock music playing in your ipod, you feel taller and cooler than all the people in that mall.

2. The lyrics are generally deep and meaningful and speak a lot about the oxymoron of life.

3. The music maybe a bit emo most of the time but it makes you enjoy that loneliness without feeling miserable.

4. Rock music allows you to build your own sanctuary in this world full of hullabaloos.

5. Rock music is a great companion when you are going to a place where you don't know anyone. Say for example it's your first day in the university and you're sure there a lot of pacute there, you can just forget about them and just let your ears bleed with your rocking playlist.

6. You feel 10x braver to ask a cute guy you saw in the hallway what time it is without minding about your looks.

7. When you're riding a bus and you're listening to a rock music, you can close your eyes and enjoy the music in the background and that cute guy sitting beside you will find you cool because he could hear the loud rumbling tunes coming from your earphones.

8. Rock music makes you feel like you are in one with Ely Buendia and Bamboo is your closest friend that you can jam with him anytime.

9. You could go out and wear lousy garbs and still look cool because you're listening to rock music and you can stop minding about what other people say or think.

10. Rock music makes a wonderful companion during times when you're so upset over some stuff in your life and you just want to scream out loud to let your angst out.

11. It's not something you can hear on the street during fiesta or in your neighbor's birthday celebration.

12. It's not something you can hear being played in Raon or in Divisoria or in Baclaran. In short, hindi siya pambangketa. 

13. It's the coolest thing ever!

Tomorrow, at exactly 11:59pm, NU107--the only rock radio station in the Philippines--will finally be signing off. It was one of the heartbreaking news that rock fans in the last 2 decades ever received (perhaps next to Eraserheads' disbandment?). The station's executives have their own reason for its closure or reformatting, but whatever that is, it surely rocked our world. I am not really a constant NU listener, in fact, it was only of  late when I started listening to that station since I've always been a Wave 89.1 and Jam 88.3 fanatic.

But I spent my growing up years knowing only one rock music station in the country- NU107.

It really breaks my heart knowing that after 23 years of playing real rock music and opening doors to OPM rock bands, the station will now be saying goodbye to its avid listeners. Somehow, I'm a bit regretful that I only came to like this station a couple of years ago.

Sana noon pa. Sana noong araw na umuwi ako ng bahay at nakikinig si Kuya Noel sa istasyon na ito eh naki-rakenrol na din ako sa kanya. Sana nung 90's pa lang nanood na ako ng Rock Awards para nakita kong awardan ang Eraserheads ng sama-sama sila. Sana......

And daming "sana" pero wala na rin namang magagawa. Mas maganda makirakenrol na lang ako hanggang sa huling gabi ng NU107!

As what Em replied to by tweet earlier, "At least you have seen the light." True enough. At least I still have the rest of my life to enjoy rock music! At least even before NU107 closes its doors to real rock music, I became a fan and was able to enjoy it till its last few rocking sessions in the airwaves. So yes, it's still not too late.

An excerpt from Lourd De Veyra's blog says it all:

This is—was-- NU107, the Home of New Rock. Referring to it in the past tense still saddens me. I, too, used to have issues with its playlist, though very few and middling; thanks to the fog of years (and the onset of the mist of wisdom, whatever that means). But the fact it was the only one of its kind on the airwaves. It’s the only one with the balls to hang on to an all-rock playlist for the past 23 years. It is narrow-minded to regard it as the “mainstream” or “establishment”—in an industry where it is too tempting to play Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. Every time it decides to stick to playing something with a power chord it is not making money. It’s been a corporate social responsibility for far too long. Sooner or later it would inevitably kowtow to fundamental realities—the economics of advertising revenues, changing demographic, competition from new technology, etc . Neil Young said it’s better to burn out than fade away. Twenty three years is definitely a noble run.

Indeed, NU107 bid goodbye to its listeners the best way they know how--surreal, melancholic, dramatic but the rockin' attitude is still there. Nandun yung lupet, yung astig na NU lang makakagawa. 

I wonder what radio would be like after 11:59pm tomorrow night. This sad goodbye really made me return to radio listening again. It was like all I ever wanna do for the entire last week of NU's to listen to this station and savor the last few days of its glory. I really feel blessed, though, that I'm part of the generation who grew up with NU107. It's a privilege I'll be telling my grandchildren in the future. 

No goodbyes. Let's rock and roll! 

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