… is rock n’ roll.

Holding Raven is like shredding with an Ibañez Mikro before a humongous crowd.


picture (im)perfect

Lesson learned in the Archenemy concert: Jim Beam and mosh pits and photography don’t mix. (Evidence here.)

Buffoons like Erap Estrada can be elected president, but an inebriated dude trapped in the middle of a seething vortex of sweaty bodies can never snap good pictures. Never!

Excuses, excuses, I know. Maybe it’s the crappy, low-tech camera I brought in the gig. Or the distraction provided by the hot-looking Goth chicks in the venue. Perhaps it’s Loren Legarda’s climate change. Hell, it could be anything. Or everything, for that matter.

Or maybe it just boils down to the simple fact that, all things considered, I’m not really cut for  photography (although Hustler magazine taught me to be more appreciative of pictures in my youth). Well, the hell with it. I went in WTC last October 20 not as a photographer anyway, but as a fan hungry for high decibels. Which was exactly what I got in great fucking abundance.

Meanwhile, there’s talk among heavy music insiders that Lamb of God is next, probably in next year’s Pulp Summer Slam. Trivium and Testament are reportedly being considered also.

Whatever. The freaks of this country can look forward to the 2010 elections, but our legion will be excited about something else.


Saturday night in Antipolo, while waiting for our roasted pork belly in Shopwise, Charmaine and I discovered the Germans’ secret to happy livers.


Priced less than two cans of the local Red Horse, but twice the wallop. Tastes better, too.

You have to give it to the Krauts. After all, as my wife pointed out, they gave birth to Octoberfest, which is to beer freaks what Wacken Open Air Festival is to heavy metal junkies.

Anyway, it was an eventful weekend we had, with the imported ballbuster providing the proverbial icing on the cake. Even our little Raven, still far from croaking ‘Nevermore’ but getting there fast, was drunk with new experiences.


More than 24 hours have gone by but my eardrums and throat (tonsillitis, strained vocal chords) have yet to recuperate from the audio onslaught that was Archenemy, which ripped through the WTC last October 20 with the sonic intensity of Ondoy and Pepeng combined.

A memorable night, indeed: Friends and Jim Beam shots and the general craziness that is heavy metal. I live and die for moments like this. I may have made a lot of bad decisions in my 30 years, but at least I picked the right form of music. And that for me is what fucking matters.

You have to be a fan to be able to find sense in that.

Anyway, I’m glad somebody posted this video on YouTube. I know encores are highlights, but I never thought they can be this beautiful. Photos to follow. If I’ve the time, that is. I’ve razorblades in my throat and a busy weekend ahead.

angel down


A down and out dude who meets an angel on the day he is about to croak himself. I remember writing this story way back in high school, but I never got to finish it. So imagine my surprise when I saw a movie with a similar storyline on HBO last Friday. Apparently, some well connected hotshot beat me into it.

The movie is called Angel-A (2005). I can say that in many ways, the Luc Besson-directed French flick is “faithful” to what I had in mind when I sat in front of the typewriter sometime in the early Nineties, only instead of starring a rock n’ roll chick like Fairuza Balk, Angel-A has fashion model Rie Rasmussen as the winged temptress from God’s very own escort service.

This part of the movie speaks volumes of my frame of mind when I was hammering that ill-fated story, and perhaps up to now, depending on who’s observing.

Even the main soundtrack, “Almost Lover” by a group called A Fine Frenzy, left me cold with its talk about hopeless dreams and luckless romance.

Sniff. Suddenly, I’m that hopeless high school loner again sitting in front of the typewriter, typing madly, hoping for my own chain-smoking femme fatale from Heaven.

the victim

“Anything can be misused. Furthermore, every individual has to assume responsibility for his or her own actions, even the poor and the young. A social system that decrees otherwise is inviting intellectual atrophy and spiritual stagnation.” – Novelist Tom Robbins on the use of illegal drugs.


Big words there: intellectual atrophy and spiritual stagnation. And I can’t help but notice these in some of my friends who are walking around these days with a weird sort of jerky uneasiness, like zombies in a George Romero flick. I saw one of them earlier, in Antipolo, looking dazed and confused and shaking his fist at Pepeng. “That motherfucker!” he kept on referring to Pepeng, as if Pepeng was a member of the House of Representatives.

I’ve been hanging out with this freak for so long that I instantly knew what’s troubling him. A notorious “frequent flyer,” he’s no doubt talking about The Stuff. Now that Pepeng has rendered many North Luzon roads impassable, there have been significant delays in the delivery of almost everything from that region.

Everything, including my friend’s precious Stuff.

(For those who are not in the know, North Luzon – particularly the provinces of Kalinga, Mt. Province and Benguet – has been endearing writers, loners, poets, artists, musicians and perhaps Bernard Palanca for years now for its… its… well, just click here.)

I put my hand on my friend’s shoulder and told him about how depressing the days are and how somebody seemed to have kicked the world in the gonads. But he wouldn’t have any of it. He just looked at me and I saw that his eyes were crystal clear, like a baby’s. That’s all I needed for a conclusion.

The bastard has been clean for days now, and he’s not comfortable with it. Another victim of the “motherfucker,” indeed.

five-finger magic

slash90I’m a fan of the guitar. Or, to be more exact, the guitar solo. Or, as Jack Black passionately calls it in School of Rock, the “face-melter.”

A face-melter is Tommy Skeoch’s addictive intro in Tesla’s “Edison’s Medicine.” It is C.C. DeVille’s devilish aural masturbation in Poison’s “Life Goes On.” It is Neal Schon’s wicked wankering in Hardline’s “Takin’ Me Down.”

Aside from melodies and heart-wrenching ballads, the reason why I like glam metal, arguably the most maligned sub-genre of heavy metal, is its sweeping solos. This never fails to make me stop whatever it is I’m doing, and just sit and listen and be carried away. (Having said that, the reason why I hate the so-called nu-metal – and probably other rock genres that sprouted after 2000 – is it considers solos as an obsolete art form.)

The appreciation goes a long way. I spent my teen years admiring the fingers of Zakk Wylde, Kirk Hammet and Jimmy Page as they spider-danced over the fretboard, creating auditory wonders in the process. I thought, That’s one talent I want to have.

The moment I saw Slash playing his solo on top of Axl Rose’s piano toward the end of the “November Rain” video was the moment I knew I’d be having a lifelong affair with Les Paul’s sonic darling. I figured a killer performance like that would be my shortcut to any girl’s bedroom (and, more important, fantasy). After all, as Charmaine always says, what can be sexier than a  man with a guitar?

So I bought a cheap Fernando electric guitar in high school and practiced. And practiced. And practiced some more. I practiced and practiced until work and family and bimbos who didn’t give a fuck if I play the guitar or the fucking ukulele started getting in the way. Still, I practiced some more.

Years – and callouses – later, I’m still not half as good as Slash. But at least I got his smoking habit. There’s weird comfort in that.

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