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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

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. ckrysteen #

    really ♥ the song!

    don’t look back…move forward because it is……..A Beginning of Something Wonderful!

    GOD bless you always ♥

    March 28, 2012
  2. arjay #

    99%clem 1%mcoy and his friends

    March 26, 2011
  3. Paul #

    Parang mas lalo ko naintindihan yung “Solitary North Star”(Favorite track ko sa album) after reading Clem’s story after OnL.

    “There is Beauty in Darkness”

    March 29, 2010
  4. angula #

    love ur songs lad, fil with english twang.. annoying sometimes but you can easily get away with it because of your brilliant tunes!

    March 17, 2010
  5. angula #

    fo’kin el. is that how onl ended mate? blo’dy el.. macoy is a real twat then.. fo’k im.. blo’dy wankah

    March 17, 2010

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  1. Blue Moon (Unreleased Original Take) – Orange and Lemons/Clementine « Juan Republic

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