The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Half Life Half Death & the Legendary Club Dredd

Philippine Alternative Rock History
(Chapter 1990-1993)

"There they soar high in the sky
The only hope for flowers now to bloom..."

I may no longer be active in the Philippine music scene as a band member for the obvious reason that I now live in Canada, but I will always remain proud of my former band Half Life Half Death's having been a part of the history of the now legendary Club Dredd, no matter how little that part might have been.

1990Half Life Half Death played our first gig at the original Timog location of Club Dredd on April 20, 1991--during the club's roughly first year of operation (Club Dredd opened in 1990). But prior to that, my bandmates and I had first visited the venue in 1989 when it was still known as Red Rocks, to watch a guitar recital sponsored by the guitar player/teacher Jimmy Tan, featuring a number of prime local guitar players who included Neil Gregorio of the Philippine Gothic-turned-Metal band Mere Mercy.

Half Life Half Death: Rozylyn Torres, Ramil Aznar, Pet de Jesus, Ambet Taylo, Bimbo Ballesteros, Rain Paggao, alfie vera mella (Club Dredd Timog, April 20, 1991)
Around February 1991, we dropped by at the radio station BM105 to submit two of our original songs ("We Are the Saints" and "A Place"), which we recorded independently at Pedero's Studio in Makati. Because BM's DJs Randy Brown and Bob Echague loved what they heard, they promised that they would include us on the roster of bands that would be gracing the show that they were producing at Club Dredd (Timog). True to their words, Half Life Half Death got to play the gig that eventually took place on April 20 of that year. That was our first gig at Club Dredd.

We shared the bill with Temper (former Temper of the Times), X'US, Vendetta (members of Nursery Rhymes), and Strange Days. Our setlist was comprised by our original transcription of a portion of Beethoven's Symphony no. 5, The Waterboys' "The Pan Within," Concrete Blonde's "Joey," The Reivers' "In Your Eyes," Generation X's "Kiss Me Deadly," Echo & the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon," and Damn Yankees' "High Enough."

"Come with me on a journey beneath the skin..." (Club Dredd Timog, April 20, 1991)
We were really well-prepared for that show, and of course, we wanted to make an impression not only on the BM105 crew but more so on the owners and regular denizens of Club Dredd, so we presented a really tight and solid performance. In attendance were popular scenesters Patrick Reidenbach (Dredd's owner), Jing Garcia, Hank Palenzuela (Color It Red's original bass player), and Blums the Punk, who all congratulated us for a job well done. That performance landed us an invitation to play again at the venue--in the following June. We subsequently got to play at least once or even twice a month for the next several months, sharing stage with the likes of Hayp, Alamid, Color It Red, Eraserheads, Anno Domini, Mutiny in Manila, Rizal Underground, Ang Grupong Pendong, Introvoys, After Image, The Dawn, and Mariya's Mistress.

Club Dredd Timog, June 1991
We played our last gig at Club Dredd Timog on February 29, 1992. We disbanded soon afterwards.

We reformed in the year that followed, as inspired by the emergence of the radio station DWLA105, who gave a chance for airplay to the original songs of many local bands, including us. Our songs "Alimango," "Butterflies," "A Feast in Pastel Castle," "Kapit-Tuko," and "High School (Life)" enjoyed regular airplay and landed on the station's Top 10 countdowns for a couple of years. Thanks in large part to the station's consultant Ed Formoso (of Lokal Brown) for paving the way to our signing recording contracts for compilation albums with Viva Records (A Dozen AlternativesChristmas on the Rocks, and Okey si Ma'am OST) and Vicor Records (Mga Himig Natin vol. 2), until we got to record our own solo album (Pymyth Prahn), but that's for another chapter.

"Ayaw ko na sanang umasa pa nu'ng araw na 'yon
Pero dapat ko nga yatang gawin ang bagay na 'yon..."


Post a Comment

<< Home