Every once in a while, there comes an Eraserheads event that triggers a kind of collective nostalgia, from a tribute album (Ultraelectromagneticjam!) to reunion concerts.
Tomorrow, the band will release two new tracks "Sabado" and "1995." It will be their first time to do so in 13 years (they disbanded in 2002).
To celebrate the surprising news, here are 8 Pinoy musicians talking about their favorite Eheads song and how Marcus Adoro, Ely Buendia, Raymund Marasigan, and Buddy Zabala have influenced them.
The Eraserheads taught me many things, but I think the most important lesson I learned is that of chemistry. I'm talking about the importance of the contribution of an individual in any group effort, and thus the importance of selecting the members of the group in any group effort. That's a bit pretentious (haha), and probably something I should have learned at school instead of from a band, but let me explain with a bit of trivia about my all-time favorite Eraserheads song: All four of them played bass parts on "Balikbayan Box."
It's a very subtle instrument, the bass, and it doesn't stick out in the mix. It's difficult to tell who plays what, and you probably wouldn't even notice if you didn't know that all four of them played bass on it. But there are so many great things about the bass parts in that song (among the other great things about that song: I could just go on and on and on…), and the fact that it's four different parts from four different people means that there have been (and hopefully will be?) moments when they were all on the same higher wavelength, making PERFECT POP like "Balikbayan Box."
They're all brilliant. Even on their own, away from the BAND, as individuals, brilliant. But whenever an opportunity comes when their Lisa Frank multicolor zeitgeist brilliance comes together and HARMONIZES? Wala nang sense ang mundo.
My favorite has to be “Paru-parong Ningning” though. It was written by Raymund and came out in Cutterpillow. There's nothing quite like that song.
The Eraserheads were one of the bands that influenced my songwriting as well as my decision to be a musician. They made it look easy and fun. They made music making and songwriting accessible to music fans. And they opened the floodgates to a lot musicians and to a lot of Pinoy independent music.
I don’t know if people know this, but Raymund and Buddy have been very instrumental in a LOT of bands (mainstream and indie) over the past two decades. Whether as producers, co-writers, bandmates or influencers. Hindi sila madamot na mga musikero.
And on a personal note, it was always amazing (and at times surreal) working with them (and their producer Robin Rivera - the 5th Ehead, haha) in making and playing music. Ang dami kong natutunan.
Back in grade school, I remember listening to Eraserheads during my rides home in the school bus. I think Cutterpillow just came out, so the song “Overdrive” and I think “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong” were constantly playing then. ‘Pag naaalala ko yung panahon na ‘yun, nakakakilig na. Siguro kasi inosente pa tayo lahat noon at mas malinis pa yung hangin.
Eventually, bumili ako ng cassette ng album. I remember listening to it back to back, non-stop, for three months. Noon pa lang alam mo nang panalo yung album kasi kahit bata, simula hanggang dulo pinapakinggan na. Wala kasi talagang tapon at makakarelate ka agad sa mga kanta, kahit hindi mo pa gets or hindi mo pa na-iinterpret para sa sarli mo ang words ng songs, at least sa tunog na-eenjoy mo na.
Sa buong album, “Kama Supra” ang may pinakamalaking epekto na ganon sa akin. Mostly dahil sa melodies, arrangement at guitar riffs. Ang lamig lang sa balat at napapangiti lang talaga ako ‘pag naririnig ko yung kantang yun. At, yung outro! Parang umuuwi ka galing school ng Biyernes, nakasakay sa school bus, at nakabukas yung mga bintana!
It's hard to come up with just one favorite song from the Eheads, favorite album pa pwede! Cutterpillow has to be my favorite album and if i were to choose just one song off it, I would say "Fine Time". I like it because it was never aired on the radio or at least, hindi siya sumikat ng sobra kaya feeling ko akin lang yung song na yun. I was in 3rd year high school when they released it, naka undercut pa ko nun, damn! High school is either everyone's favorite stage of growing up, or most awkward. But it was fun! Every time I would play this song on my Walkman, iniimagine ko yung crush ko tapos mangangarap na kunyari girlfriend ko siya! Mababaw, but that's why I love the Eheads, makakarelate ka sa mga kanta nila.
Growing up, the Eheads were not the only local band I listened to but they were very influential to me because they made songs that were smart and silly and different. They would mix up different styles like in the song "Back2Me" - Taglish, had a Beatles feel to the melody, but played punk! Their music came very natural to them, hindi tunog trying hard.
The Eraserheads song that struck me the most is "Pare Ko."
I was still a senior in high school when I first heard it over the radio. During that time, I was a bit oblivious to the local rock scene because I was hanging out in clubs like Euphoria, Mars, Faces, Ozone, Jaloux(!?!), etc.
Hearing a local rock song on the radio back then was a very rare occurrence. So imagine my surprise when I first heard the iconic line, "O! Diyos ko! Ano ba naman ito? Diba? 'T@%#g-i#@"(made you sing?), over at the defunct Pinoy rock station, LA 105.9. I remember that line swirling inside my head over and over again that night. So, I immediately bought the UltraElectroMagneticpop! cassette tape the next day.
My band's first ever gig was playing front act for the Eraserheads' Ultraelectro Tour in the Ateneo in March 1994. I had my cassette tape signed by them . Too bad somebody borrowed it and I couldn't remember who...
My favorite Eraserheads song is “Lightyears” off the album Fruitcake. I was in my senior year in high school when it came out in Christmas of 1996, and had been a fan since Ultrelectromagneticpop! was released when I was a freshman. Obviously, being a concept album, Fruitcake was very different from previous releases, but I enjoyed hearing new types of sounds and ideas from the Eraserheads in it. They weren’t just churning out hits this time – this was art in a more conscious form.
I gravitated to "Lightyears" because it was the most emotional and yet the song most yearning for maturity as well. I could relate to the hope and uncertainty the singer felt in my own way: being on the cusp of adulthood, having just applied to colleges, wondering about the future and the changes coming. The song still brings tears to my eyes whenever I remember how much it means to me.
The Eraserheads were a huge influence on me simply because they made me fall in love with music and see how it can uplift your existence. Anyone can whip out a guitar and start an Eraserheads singalong—this trick never fails at bringing people together. They were so accessible and yet so artistic. I would love to write songs like that.
Photo by Heidi Pascual-Aquende
I’m all sorts of E-heads fans rolled into one, I think: I was a casual-listener sort who dug the Ultraelectromagneticpop! tunes in my early teens because they mirrored by young-person woes, but I also, eventually, became the furrowed-brow critical type who thought Carbon Stereoxide shouldn’t be thought of as a death knell just because it preceded the band’s dissolution (it was, still is, a brilliant, forward-thinking record). Nowadays I’m friends with most of the band, but I don’t get to tell them how big of a fan I actually was in my youth, but perhaps that’s for the best, ha-ha.
My favorite tune, at least as of this writing, would have to be “Ha Ha Ha” from Sticker Happy, an underappreciated gem of a tune that displays Ely Buendia’s masterful grasp of pop (and pop rock) tropes in melody, chord progression, and structure; it also displays some ace lyric-writing, a job somebody else would have botched if they tried their hand at similar pseudo-existentialist fare. I mean the guy listened to Diomedes Maturan as a child, John Lennon as a teen, and The Cure as a young adult; if that’s not an interesting musical diet I don’t know what is.
Photo by Mark Canteras
"Huwag Mo Nang Itanong" is my favorite Eraserheads song of all time.
I was in grade school when Cutterpillow came out and, like a lot of kids that time, had just started to learn to play the guitar. I took the school bus home daily then, and the radio, constantly tuned to 97.1 LSFM, played a mix of American Top 40 and OPM. There was always an Eraserheads track on the radio in those days, and at that time “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong” was their single. I bought a copy of Jingle with the chords to the song, and that was it! I can still play it today.
I'm a fan of albums that, in hindsight, take artists on a journey bigger than themselves. Everything leading up to Cutterpillow gave the Eraserheads many firsts: Their first MTV Asia VMA moon man, their first "backmasking" controversy, their first widely mainstream ultra-hit single with drug references, etc. It's a glimpse of four artists at the peak of their creative powers, and a snapshot of that rare combination of genius that we can only see, hear, and feel today when they get together.