Here comes The Rain again
As soon as my best-friend Rain told me the news about his plan to self-produce an album, right there and then I replied that whatever he was concocting would certainly be a great addition to the vast library of New Wave music. He laughed and said that I was pulling his leg. I said, "No, Rain, I've always trusted your musicality—not only because you're my best friend but more so because I've known your music since our highschool days."
By the way, Rain, who's working as a lawyer at Makati Regional Trial Court, has recently been appointed as public prosecutor / district attorney.
Photo taken in November 1994 at Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines: My sister Kim, I, and Rain
Yes, many Half Life Half Death songs were made by Rain and me in so many contemplative nights back in our youth, in the late '80s.
I've known Rain since 1987. He was the brother I never had. He was more than half of the reason Half Life Half Death was able to produce the kind of music for which we were relatively known in the Philippine Alternative-music scene.
If I hadn't met him, or if he hadn't met me, perhaps there'd be no Half Life Half Death.
Rain, Bimbo, I: Half Life Half Death gig, in 1995, at Mayric's on España Avenue in Manila City, Metro Manila
A few days ago, Rain e-mailed me and broke the news that he's about ready to release the 10-song album he made in collaboration with his older and only brother, JB.
The album is entitled Girl in Mind. The collaboration is named The Rain—very fittingly New Wave, very appropriate.
Here's a portion of Rain's letter to me:
"Thanks for believing in my musicality. Whether you are mistaken, highly mistaken, or disillusioned, your praises are highly appreciated here.
"For me, I just like to play and make music. My frustration with Pymyth Prahn [HLHD's one and only album] is that I kept back on my so-called musical 'talents' (maybe the other Halves felt the same way too insofar as their so-called 'talent'), but such is the price you pay for being equal among friends and for recording in a hurry.
"In contrast, I took my sweet time with my new album. JB and I decided to call our band or collaboration The Rain, reminiscent of '80s band-names like The Cure, The Mission, The Church, The Adventures, etc. JB says that 'Rain' can be life-giving or death-rendering. Halflife Halfdeath? Seriously, JB insists on it.
"Our new album is entitled Girl in Mind, which is also track 1 of the album. Tracks 1, 2 ('Pourin’ Rain') and 3 ('Singing My Pain Away') date back to 1987, the year JB and I started making songs. It was also the year I started doing multitrack recording by the process of 'bouncing,' using tape-decks 1 and 2 of the multiplex karaoke player. Unfortunately, I no longer have the copy of such recording of 'Girl in Mind' and 'Pourin’ Rain.'
"In those days, introverts like me found joy with the multiplex player. I’m still an introvert, wallowing in reading and music. Today’s technology, in contrast, makes introverts like me happy with recording softwares and my musical gadgets like several guitars, bass guitar, synth, processors, etc.
"It is only fitting that JB and I finally bring out our songs. I grew up in a musical family. I have always been musical by conditioning, having been exposed to a mother who sung while she did chores and a father who played guitar and sung with a baritone voice as pastime (my father also brags his being a hit with chicks in his harana days).
"My older sister is also musical; I still see her in my mind doing her homework with an FM radio in full blast.
"As for me, I started playing guitar while I was in Grade 5. My early lessons were from my father who taught me basic chords and from my uncle 'Berto,' who taught me 'rolling chords' (Morrissey’s coinage).
"As to JB, he made me feel special by exposing me to a band. He and his classmates formed a band [First Light, in 1986]. Believing in my talents, he recruited me as guitarist. Imagine, I was in highschool freshman while my bandmates were seniors. I did not feel out-of-place among them; in fact, I even became their musical director, taga-cifra or taga-kapa ng mga kanta. It was in that band where I honed my so-called talent of playing by ear.
"JB, actually, saved me from being a nobody. I felt I deserve the world with my music.
"But just like the fate of great things, women came along and brought their apples with them. My bandmates became busy with their steady girlfriends, and I felt alone and inutile with my music.
"It was then that I met you and the rest of the Halves. I fancy more the original lineup—they are true friends. But just like the fate of great things, women came along and brought their apples with them. You know our history, of course.
The original members of Half Life Half Death (Joel Reyes, I, Jonathan Mejino, Rain Paggao, and Edmund Villafuerte), in 1988
"I find it hard to highly appreciate my own music. All I can do is feel if the notes I played simulate the notes and tones ringing in my head. If they ring similar by at least 90%, good. I get back to them days or months later in search of the other 10%.
"As for you, you are definitely biased. He, he. Hindi mo pa nga naririnig yung compositions ko eh nagagandahan ka na.
"As to the album’s commercial or noncommercial release: Yes and no.
"Yes because I plan to make 50 homemade copies for distribution to friends—such would be my local legacy. Certainly I don’t bother myself with 'people who don’t care if I live or die.'
"So, the first 50 CDs go to friends and kins. If I hear good feedbacks, I’d go commercial. Maybe I’d have 20 more homemade 'signed' CDs for collectors-buyers.
"So, maybe you may spread the word that there are 20 limited, signed, homemade copies of the album. He, he."
Rain sent me a copy of track 1 of the album, "Girl in Mind." Listening to it brought me nearly to tears...the song brought me back to our youthful heydays...to the glorious days of New Wave music.
New Wave is, certainly, not an era; it's a musical art form...forever existing, sweetly lingering.
Anyone who claims s/he's a big fan of New Wave music, curse me if, after listening to it, The Rain was unable to touch your New Wave heart.
The Rain is a collaborative musical project of Half Life Half Death lead guitarist, Rain Paggao, and his brother, JB.
Rain does everything, while JB sings.
Listen to The Rain on MySpace and judge for yourself.
Now, you may curse me.