Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Icon leaves so that he can live forever

Many young people do not know what music was like during the late 60's to the 70's. Well, I spent my teen-aged years during the 70's and I know that we were following a trend handed to us by the 60's "rock and roll" generation of those Elvis Presley wanna-be's, The Ventures, Fab Four and all that. What I meant to say was that while I was growing up, learning how to play the guitar, what we would do was copy foreign songs note for note, find a singer who sounded like the original, either from the US or the UK, and sound like we were the ones who invented the thing. In other words, we were mere copycats. You could just imagine how many Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Grandfunk and Steppenwolfe records we had to break just to learn the songs. Every long-haired teen-ager at the time had seen Woodstock, the movie, and sang to the tunes of the "Ten Years After", CSNY, and Jimi Hendrix fanstasizing that we were them. The closest you sound like the original, the better.

Then came Howlin' Dave and DzRJ! He spearheaded the Pinoy Rock and Rhythm together with bands like "Juan dela Cruz band", Resty Fabunan's "Maria Cafra" or Edmund Fortuno's "Anak Bayan" and people began composing their own songs. Soon enough, as rock is not the cup of tea of everyone, the OPM, which was more palatable to the romantic pinoy came into the picture.

However, this post is not about music. It is about a man who brought class to pinoy music the way it should be. Before him, musicians never stood a chance to compete with foreign songs. Now, the young generation listens to them as much as they would listen to those coming from abroad. Let's just say, he started it all.

This is about a man whose dedication to music is beyond compare. He was not just a regular rock jock. Aside from the beautiful music he shared, he always had something to offer his audience - an information or two about the artists, the songs and everything that would arouse our interests. He made pinoy music happen. He talked and we listened.

I just woke up in my room at a Don Bosco retreat house in Nasugbu last Tuesday after a tiring but fun-filled, values-laden session with Fr. Gerry when I read online friend, Gilbert's text message of Howlin' Dave's passing. From then on, varied images of him came to mind. A long-haired idealist singing Neil Young's "Birds" in a concert, my former students who are now radio jockeys whom I met in a concert working with him and praisinig him for his art and expertise, and lastly, him carrying a crutch to help him walk on Batjay's book launching, shaking hands with friends came to mind. Then, it dawned on me, he's gone.

Not only will he be missed by his family, especially by his brother, my friend Batjay, but the whole rock industry which he created and spearheaded till the end. His booming but gentle voice heard over the airwaves might be no more, but it will echo everytime I hear a new, decent rock band debuting on the radio knowing that this could be the start of something big. He was the closest I have ever gotten to a true icon. I shall content myself that I have shaken the hands of his brother, saw his family and was at least privy to what it's like to be growing up with him through his brother's memoirs. My condolences to his loved ones and to those whose lives he has touched throughout the years.

I know my post cannot give justice to a man as big as Howlin' Dave so I am attaching articles written about him here:

Eric Caruncho's The last of the singing cowboys

Pocholo Concepcion's Howlin’ Dave, Filipino rock icon, dies at 52

Rome Jorge's A cry for Howlin' Dave


BatJay said...

maraming maraming salamat sa tribute mo kay howlin' dave, bossing. there isn't anybody who can compare to his charisma, intelligence and love for his craft.

he lived the rock and roll life and he was good.

naiiyak nga ako knowing na pag uwi ko sa pilipinas, hindi na siya sasalubong sa akin like he always does.

Dr. Emer said...

Awesome tribute, Tito Rolls. I regret not having met the great man you and BatJay idolize and look up to. Wherever he is, he must feel very elated with the praises and thanks you guys have given him now.

Godspeed, Howlin' Dave!

BlogusVox said...

Ka rolly, pareho pa tayo nang topic and posted pa on the same day.

Na kapanghihinayang when we loss people of such talents and dedication.

rolly said...

batjay You're loss is everybody's especially those in the music scene. he was bigger than we project him to be and that makes it all the more harder for you have to share him with many

Doc Emer My words are not enough to describe what this guy did. You will learn to appreciate what he represented when you get to know what he did.

blogusvox I see that we are practically from the same generation.

ipanema said...

sorry to read this. may he rest in peace.

we have loads of great Filipino talents especially in the 70s-80s.

bugsybee said...

When I worked briefly as a DJ, Howlin' Dave was already an awesome legend. It was sad reading about his death in the papers and now in your blog. This is, to people our age, like the passing of another era.

Panaderos said...

Howlin' Dave's irreplaceable. He was one a of a kind and yes, his passing signifies the passing of an era.

rolly said...

ipanema Oh yes indeed. We continue to produce them as a matter of fact.

bugsy and panaderos Yes, my era and probably yours. I know I'm older than both of you. :-)

tonyvalenzuela said...

A great tribute to the best dj of our era. he is a rock poet and philosopher rolled into one deep booming voice,a grew up listening to his pinoy rock program in the rock of manila dzrj -am band in the seventies up to 1985 .he went through a lot of pain after that ,brain tumor in the late eighties and as year 2ooo began , a variety of illness that force him stay home most of the time, only to resurface 2 years ago it the short lived rock 99o experiment with fellow aging rockjocks. but he's got a rock nroll heart ,he is back last year with a bang at the new rj ur and we are so happy with that. but the rocker in him , he is really a rock purist made him cut his stint after only a few unforgettable months full of nostalgia . he would resurrect in a new station tapsi rock his new show but alas the lord has made a reservation for him in rock n roll heaven. he will be missed...listening to him makes you an intelligent rocker , he is like a great professor in the tough school of rock....

rolly said...

tonyvalenzuela Well said. Yes, I even saw him with his very short stint on tv on Sundays at RJ.