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Posts tagged ‘orange and lemons’

Pamagdoy Tour Diary (Day 4 – Part II)

Sunday, April 22. We left the beach house around 3:30pm. Calatrava is a few kilometers north of San Carlos City while Bacolod is located on the Western tip of Negros by way of the Eco Tourism/Translink Highway. A smooth 2 hour drive. We need to pick up our luggage and instruments at the rental house anyway. Also managed to do a little photo op out in the yard before we climb back in and squeezed ourselves and our equipment in the car.

Traveling by land to from San Carlos City to Bacolod is quite relaxing. I kept myself awake to enjoy the spectacular scenery, one of the best I've seen.

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How I Became A Camerawall

Many of my friends were asking how and when did I join The Camerawalls. There's actually a very short story about it, so here I go...

Clementine, Law, and I were friends since 1999, that's when the Orange and Lemons days started. I was with another band back then, doing alternate gigs with them in a certain bar in Bulacan. After many years, we remained friends and kept in touch through chat and text messages. The last time I saw ONL was 2006, when Clem invited me to come over and watch their gig at 70's Bistro. Then I heard about the band's break-up a few months after.

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Of Mice & Men

After two and a half years I finally decided to sing an Orange & Lemons song via a tribute gig to remember what was once an exciting venture. The songs I have written for my former band still haunts me. And what better way to reminisce but invite musician friends to celebrate that journey.

Joining The Camerawalls on the 30th of January at Route 196 are label mates Turbo Goth, The Bernadettes, Your Imaginary Friends and The Gentle Isolation plus guest artist The Satellites as well as Ian Zafra who came all the way from Cebu to do a series of solo perfomances. The small watering hole was packed with roughly over 150 people that consists of music fans, families and friends. It was so much fun at The POP Shoppe! it was inevitable not to allow ourselves to be a little bit intoxicated. So we did.

The Satellites performed “Strike Whilst The Iron Is Hot” and “Rock-A-Bye.” A great start for the evening and kinda suited their indie rock sound. The Gentle Isolation did girl pop versions of  “Cycle Of Love” and “Days And Nights” while Ian Zafra did a stripped version of “Hey, Please” letting the crowd sing half if not the entire song. It was amazing how everyone knew the words to it.  “Heaven Knows (This Angel Has Flown)” and “Lihim” was the cover of choice of Your Imaginary Friends. Turbo Goth did a laid back version of Sarah Gaugler’s all time  favorite “Just Like A Splendid Love Song” with Paolo trying to impersonate my guitar playing at one point. The Bernadettes did a rocking version of  “I Feel Good, I Feel Fine.”  I immensely enjoyed all of it. Hearing my songs covered by my favorite bands is quite an experience. Too bad we missed the set of Patience Dear Juggernaut. He was too ill to perform.

We were the last band to play and by the time we were onstage I was already feeling a little tipsy from the scores of vodka shots I was helping myself from Jeff Saw’s table. (Jeff is The POP Shoppe’s official photographer). It was almost 2 in the morning. As I fix my guitar strap I looked around and there were still a lot of people inside the bar waiting for us to perform. Most of them standing. After a couple of songs from Pocket Guide To The Other World, we did a familiar tune from 2003. The first track from Love In The Land Of Rubber Shoes & Dirty Ice Cream called “A Beginning Of Something Wonderful” written during my college days in the late 90s.

To everyone who shared the night with us, it wouldn’t have been as much fun without you all. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To those who missed it, enjoy the video. In the future we will try to cover more of my songs from O&L. That I promise.

A Beginning Of Something Wonderful
Clementine
Orange & Lemons

Your gentle means
And all seems to commence
A brand new pace in me
Hope it’s not a blunder
Especially when I uncover, dig deeper
And I wonder

When I get near you
I feel something deep within me
You know you bring me to new heights
I’m like a big balloon filled with hot air
Ready to explode
Each and every time I kiss you

The more I’m with you
The more it feels like
This could be the beginning of something wonderful
Yeah, yeah…

Your lips are movin’
Your voice is so oh, so soothin’
You wear a face that lives in my dreams
Where did you come from
And I wonder

When I get near you
I feel something deep within me
You know you bring me to new heights
I’m like a big balloon filled with hot air
Ready to explode
Each and every time I kiss you

The more I’m with you
The more it feels like
This could be the beginning of something wonderful
Yeah, yeah…
The more I’m with you
The more it feels like
This could be the beginning of something really wonderful…

I have avoided singing my own songs in public for quite a number of reasons. After Orange & Lemons disbanded in a loathsome manner I just couldn’t allow myself to be reminded of the very people I once called friends, the very people who tried to fire me from my own band without proper decorum and stab me in the back by telling everyone lies. It was a situation unheard of. Sure, key leaving members in popular bands is everything but normal. Ely Buendia left The Eraserheads. Rico Blanco left Rivermaya. Johnny Marr left The Smiths. John Lennon left The Beatles. It would sound ridiculous and downright outrageous if Ely, Rico, Marr or worse John Lennon will be fired from their own band. It was like killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

In all the published works of O&L I have written lyrics for 32 songs, music for 39 songs plus 2 poetry. I sang 19 recorded tracks as main vocals, have painstakingly arranged, layered and recorded hundreds of guitar tracks alone. I have spent more hours in the studio during recording, mixing and mastering than any member of the band. Collaborated with sound engineers, directors, stylists, session musicians, advertisers, label people, etc. Booked and arranged all band rehearsals since day one.

I taught Mcoy how to play the guitar and how to fake it as a beginner during our early years of live gigging. He never recorded any guitar tracks in the album. I did. Ace Del Mundo auditioned to me and I was the one who hired him as a drummer and later on his brother JM to fill in for Law’s absence. I equally shared songwriting credits in the first two albums of O&L with Mcoy Fundales as a gesture of goodwill although he hasn’t contributed anything to most of the songs in terms of composition and intellectual property. So until now he has been receiving royalties for songs he did not create. I spent a year recording and conceptualizing and developing the last album Moonlane Gardens only to be fired a week after the album launch. I dedicated 11 years building the foundation of O&L and seeing it rise to the top and falling hard face-flat on quicksand. A classic example of losing heads in the clouds.

I cite these facts not out of bitterness nor anger but to answer the question a lot of people have been asking: “Why don’t you sing your songs from O&L and perform it with The Camerawalls?” Clearly my response is an emotional one. When I fought my way from preventing my ex-bandmates from using the entity Orange & Lemons without me (which i eventually succeeded), I posed a challenge to myself  and unto them to start from scratch and create our own music instead of banking on the success of O&L music. A challenge I knew they will not accept as they continue singing the songs they did not create during live gigs after disbanding mainly for profit.

The human spirit in me obliged to the challenge. An innate drive to create something unique and new from my raw individual experience with O&L and the desire to overcome the painful journey. The need to be challenged is so strong that we sometimes make things more difficult than they need to be just so we can rise to the occasion and overcome the obstacles we ourselves have created.

I refused to sing O&L songs during the early stages of The Camerawalls nor use any of my existing and unpublished recordings or demos or songs I’ve written during my stint with O&L. I started from scratch and with the help and collaboration of my new band mates we were able to produce songs that will eventually be the tracks for Pocket Guide To The Otherworld. I’m proud to say the tracks in Pocket Guide is the most recent and most mature work I ever did. They may not be as catchy or as youthful as the songs I contributed for O&L but it sure is a beginning of something wonderful once more.

THE BEST LAID SCHEMES OF MICE AND MEN.  A popular phrase which means the most carefully prepared plans may go wrong. As did my plans for Orange & Lemons. Taken from Robert Burns‘ poem To a Mouse, 1786. It tells of how he, while ploughing a field, upturned a mouse’s nest. The resulting poem is an apology to the mouse:

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promised joy.

The poem is the source for the title of John Steinbeck‘s 1936 novel – Of Mice and Men.

+Clementine

From Bilibid With Love (Part 1)

(Part 1 of The Camerawalls’ experience in National Bilibid Prison. A written account by Ian Sarabia)

A wooden ship built by Michael Salvador

MICHAEL SALVADOR (original drummer of Orange And Lemons) gave us these things. Wooden crafts he built inside prison. But don't tell the guards.

I don’t remember how or why I woke up. I just remember being in the car with my bandmates. The Camerawalls. Headed straight and driving to possibly the most dangerous place in the Philippines. Maximum Security. Bilibid Prison. Third world.

As we approached the gate, the acid I had taken early that morning began to take an awkward turn. The hazy depths of recollection and introspective melancholy escape me now but we were all unified in the thought that we should leave all our valuable belongings in my car. Its the only way to enter a gig full of criminals, I thought. And why not, if only faking, stroll confidently in their midst.

As we walked down its moat a sense of wonder filled my senses. It really did seem like I was walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Hoping on hope I wasn’t going to end up like Veruca Salt. Lest I be judged. And not for lack of judging. For who I thought would be imprisoned in a land ruled by generations of corruption?

The guards at the gate seemed like Ogres. Enslaving their own kind. We were patted down and violated to perform awkward pleasantries towards them. We knew they had the guns. And they were happy to oblige. For in here they were the lords.

“In the kingdom of the blind. The one-eyed man is king”

We then were ushered up across the prison court and up a hut. In my mind knowing that at any given Sunday this could all go south. It wasn’t a prison for me at that point. It was the open sea. I was ready.

At least I thought I was until I ran out of vodka. D’oh! I thought. The heat and nervousness made me drink the last of my reserves. I was going to have to man up for this gig I thought. Two thousand Five Hundred Fifty Four convicted felons… I better not make any sudden moves.

As sober as I was I got bored and proceeded to speak to a slight man (thinner than Clem or Pao). blah blah blah. Can’t disclose double homicide what he attempted robbery did. And I was set and way too sober to play.

There we were around so many killers. And I felt ….. less than auspicious….. Then. We played. I felt like I was back in High School playing ball in the heat of a lazy day sun. I felt good. We rocked. A very special guest named Michael Salvador jammed. He was the original drummer of Orange And Lemons. He rocked. It made me wonder if all he did in prison was play drums. I asked him what it was like. I learned that so much rehabilitation works here. This was a society functioning and helping people in a third world live in peace and harmony. It was amazing. The cat I mentioned earlier. Mr. Double homicide found out that he was really good at painting. Actually most of them did. Their art strewn across the corridors and all along the walls. Their idle hands directed towards a more peaceful and stimulating outlet. These people were not bad. They were mostly just passionate people who got caught in an awkward phase. But it did not define them. I guess in prison they found themselves. Sometimes you gotta get lost to find your way home. See the forest for the trees. And all that humbug.

I spoke to them some more and realized that the prison wasn’t too far from the society we live in. I realized that we’re all in jail. Some of us just live in Bilibid.

Sid & The Legend Of Condo Guz

For once I’d like to deviate the attention on this blogsite from The Camerawalls by sharing a piece of documented relevance with answers to the question “Who was Ian Sarabia before The Camerawalls?”

Ian is a music enthusiast who calls San Francisco his home during the duration of his stay in the US to study Film & Art, trying to live a life less ordinary. I don’t recall the reason why he went back to the Philippines, all I can remember is that he used to help manage a family owned bar he named Amoeba (after that record bar in Haight & Ashbury streets) situated in the same spot where Club Dredd in Eastwood Citywalk now operates. He grew tired of the place one night and randomly found his way in a Makati watering hole called Gweilos where Orange & Lemons regularly perform. We met and it wasn’t love at first sight… he just loved what he heard and the original music we performed, a breather from his distaste for popular OPM he simply cannot relate with. That was 2004. So from then on he continued to patronize my old band till we became best buddies. He goes by the name Bryan.

Ian & Clementine after an O&L gig. (August 18, 2004)

Bryan and Clem after an O&L gig at Gweilos Bar (August 18, 2004)

We shared the same level of passion for music particularly with Britpop. We often hang out at his place getting intoxicated with alcohol and Beatles records/videos/documentaries (among others) and endless talks about music, life and love. He introduced me to the music of The Stone Roses, one of his musical icons and to Vodka, his daily nourishment. I was amused with his idealism and free-thinkin’-not-a-care-in-the-world attitude and his love for Madchester.

Bryan appears to be a Pinoy version of Ian Brown especially when he is in the zone while the baggy beats is on air and alcohol is kicking in. We even call him “Monkey Boy” for that near perfect display of ‘Mank Attitude.’ This amusement made me want to form a band for Bryan.

Enthused with the idea we embarked on a search for proper band mates ending up with a who’s who line up of musicians to back him up like Boom Jose of Violent Playground, Dylan Vizcarra (NU 107 DJ/Jack TV Host), Jerome Velasco of The Teeth/Daydream Cycle and KT Dela Cruz. And the following year CONDO GUZ was born with reference to endless nights lazing in his condo unit.  Accordingly, Bryan christened himself with a new name to suit his ultra cool, rock and roll imaging. From then on he was known as SID.

condoguz

Condo Guz (from L-R: Boom, KT, Dylan, Nick, and Sid)

I have no idea how they pulled it off since things started getting busy and crazy with O&L promoting a new album, Sid and I hardly had time to catch up. And one night our music coincide with both of us playing in the same venue. His band and mine on the 9th of November 2005 performing baggy music no one dares to. And yeah, we were greatly entertained. Watch the video below of Condo Guz performing an excellent cover of a  Stone Roses tune called “She Bangs The Drums.”

Little do we know that the two of us will eventually end up as bandmates after 4 years of friendship bringing everything to another level. However uncertain I am on how Condo Guz came to an end, or how inexperienced Sid is behind the drumkit. I have every reason to follow my instincts of offering him a proper career as a musician. Friendship, passion, strong values and principles  — key ingredients for a lasting relationship as a band.

Many scorned at the idea. Some even called me desperate. I was approached by a number of seasoned musician with tempting offers. I just shrugged it off and patiently went on and christened him with a new name which is a duck soup to pronounce but spells two of the most influential music icons (Joy Division and The Stone Roses)  — IAN.

Now tell me, did I made the right choice? Oh, yes I did… since day one. 

- Clementine

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