Pinoy rock

Infobox Music genre
name = Pinoy rock
bgcolor = crimson
color = white
stylistic_origins = Rock music
cultural_origins = Philippines
instruments = electric guitar, bass guitar, drums
popularity = generally popular in the Philippines
derivatives = Manila sound, BisRock, Filipino hardcore

Pinoy Rock, or Filipino Rock, is the brand of Rock music produced in the Philippines or by Filipinos. It has become as diverse as the Rock music genre itself, and bands adopting this style are now further classified under more specific genres or combinations of genres like Alternative rock, Ethnic, New Wave, Pop rock, Punk rock, Reggae, Heavy metal and Ska. Because these genres are generally considered to fall under the broad Rock music category, Pinoy Rock may be more specifically defined as Rock music with Filipino cultural sensibilities.


One of the first popular Filipino rock stars was Bobby Gonzales, whose major hit was "Hahabul-Habol"." Eddie Mesa, another teen idol from the period, became known as the "Elvis Presley of the Philippines." Back then, many Filipinos referred to Rock bands as "combos," many of which used nontraditional instruments like floor-bass bongos, maracas, and gas tanks.


In the early 1960s, as electric instruments and new technology became available, instrumental American and British bands like The Shadows and The Ventures flourished. Filipino instrumental bands arose as well in this period; bands like The Deltas, The Celtics, RJ & the Riots, The Technicolors, The Downbeats, The Hi-Jacks, and The Electromaniacs. These bands spawned the first Filipino singer-songwriters.

In 1963, the so-called British Invasion brought bands like The Beatles to mainstream audiences worldwide. Their widespread popularity and their embrace of the counterculture injected the possibility of socio-political lyrics with mature comments on real life into popular music. Immensely influenced by this new breed of British artists, many Filipino bands began adopting similar musical styles; and this produced acts like Downbeats, Tilt Down Men, The Moonstrucks, The Dynasouls, and Bits & Pieces. Some groups enhanced their style by adding unconventional instruments like a horn-and-brass section, trumpet, flute, and saxophone. Examples of such bands included Drop Outs, The Howlers, The Originals, The Houserockers, Clubmen, and The Imperials.In the late 1960s, the onset of the Woodstock generation brought about bands like Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Chick Corea Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Who, and others in this frontier such as Ten Years After, Iron Butterfly, Led Zeppelin, Joe Cocker and The Mad Dogs & Englishmen, to audiences worldwide. This brought about the rock culture that still heavily influences Pinoy Rock today. This era produced acts like Circus Band, Maria Cafra, Anakbayan, Isang Kilo Band with members Boy Katindig, Pabs Dadivas, Walter Calinawan, Wally Ang, Bambi Borromeo, and Boy Fragante, Psyclones, Makati Avenue Blues Band, and the Juan Dela Cruz Band to name a few.


Into the early 1970s, Filipino music was growing more nationalistic and socio-political in nature, as well as using Tagalog more often. Popular or Pop music still dominates the airwaves with artists such as the Apo Hiking Society and Hotdog. The songs like "Ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko" (The Miss Universe of My Life) of Hotdog combined Filipino and English words within the same song. This helped innovate the so-called "Manila Sound". OPM (Original Pilipino music) also became popular.

However, emerging social and political consciousness somehow creeped in to the industry with the traditional allied genres that are folk and rock music. Folk musicians included Freddie Aguilar, Asin, Florante. (In 1978, Freddie Aguilar's debut single, "Anak", became the most commercially successful Filipino recording in history. The song became known also in other Asian countries and in Europe). Perhaps Asin, a folk ethnic band, was the first commercial band to successfully bring a pro-environment song to the airwaves with "Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran". Also famous for providing subtle rebellious (anti-Marcos dictatorship sentiment was growing at that time) and peace messages behind its skillful vocal harmonizing. Asin gave the masses hits such as "Bayan Kong Sinilangan (Cotabato)", "Balita", and "Pagbabalik".

The Juan Dela Cruz Band, a garage blues supergroup consisting of guitarist Wally Gonzalez, bassist Mike Hanopol, and drummer Pepe Smith, are often credited for ushering in the very first "rock & roll revolution" in the Philippines that lasted from the late 60's to the late 70's (also known as the "Golden Age of Pinoy Rock"). Considered by many to be the "grandfathers" of Pinoy Rock, they played a large role in re-awakening national pride through their bluesy Tagalog rock songs at a time of English-dominant music in the local scene. During a Woodstock-esque concert in Luneta Park, the group performed the classic anthem "Himig Natin" for the first time and single-handedly changed the face of Pinoy Rock. It was the first of its kind written in the native tongue, yet with all its glory, was said to have been quickly whipped up by a "stoned out" Pepe Smith while inside a public restroom. The band, outside of the Philippines, is often mentioned on a number of 70's obscurity lists.

Being heavily influenced by the counter culture, the bands of the 70's were known to have never been sidelined commercially and sometimes took the center stage by storm. The radio station DZRJ, particularly the AM weekend "Pinoy Rock and Rhythm" show hosted by ex Fine Arts student from PWU named Dante David a.k.a. Howlin' Dave, provided the much needed support and publicity to Pinoy Rock during this era.

Today, many music journalists refer to the works of these pioneering artists as Classic Pinoy Rock, perhaps to distinguish them from the works of relatively younger Pinoy Rock bands, especially those that emerged in the 1980s through the 1990s.


In the early up to mid-1980s, Pinoy Rock became the music of Filipino protesters. Gary Granada and the band Buklod had socially relevant lyrics for their songs. Aguilar's "Bayan Ko" (My Country) became an anthem during the 1986 EDSA Revolution. A subculture rejected this kind of socially aware lyrics. A Filipino brand of Punk rock also began to flourish during this period, as led by bands like Betrayed, G.I. & the Idiots, The Jerks, Private Stock, Urban Bandits, WUDS, PHILIPPINE VIOLATORS , I.O.V., and The GOONS. Simultaneously, other brands of Pinoy Rock were starting to develop; for instance, Joey Ayala at ang Bagong Lumad (fronted by Joey Ayala) adopted an Ethnic sound, even using indigenous instruments like "kubing" and "kudyapi" while Cocojam combined it with Reggae.

The most popular Pinoy Rock band in the Philippines in the '80s was arguably The Dawn, whose early songs were largely influenced by New Wave music, the dominant Alternative music genre in the Philippines during that period. The Dawn came to prominence in 1986, when its independently released single "Enveloped Ideas" became an instant favorite among listeners of DWXB-FM 102.7, a now-defunct FM radio station popular in the mid-'80s that heavily played New Wave music and other similar genres.

Many music journalists and enthusiasts, as well as musicians themselves, attribute the flourishing in the mid-'80s of New Wave- and Punk Rock-influenced bands to DWXB-FM, which began playing independently released singles of unsigned local bands. This helped many of the struggling bands in this era to achieve cult status. These bands included Deans December, Ethnic Faces, Identity Crisis, and Violent Playground, all of which were able to record and release their respective albums in the years that followed.

Other Pinoy Rock groups took their cue from these pioneers and started recording their own songs; and this proved beneficial to the Pinoy Rock scene, which brought back creativity and originality to the awareness of fledgling musicians. Among the lot, The Dawn, The Youth, Afterimage (band), and Introvoys proved to be the enduring and more successful. Each was able to sustain a relatively long career.

DWXB-FM went off the air on June 9, 1987. The new Cory Aquino-led government began sequestering properties owned by her predecessor Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, including the home that DWXB-FM beamed from. DWXB-FM was revived as an online radio station on September 10, 2005, by Sutton Records, with the original DJs broadcasting from Manila.


Introvoys and After Image were among the prominent bands in the early 1990s; but their popularity were later overshadowed by younger bands that eventually emerged. Radio station LA 105.9 had advocated Filipino rock music, encouraging original amateur (even if poorly recorded) singles and gave new avenues for emerging bands.

The band that stood out of the amateur clutter was Eraserheads, which to this day many Filipino music enthusiasts regard as the Pinoy rock icon of the 1990s. In 1993, with the release of Eraserheads' first commercially released album, "Ultraelectromagneticpop", a new type of Pinoy rock emerged and many Pinoy rock bands followed their lead. Rivermaya, another Pinoy rock icon, also emerged, further injecting pop sensibilities to rock music, making rock more accessible to the general public. It was also in this period when NU Rock Awards was born. Socially relevant lyrics persisted as well, as exemplified by the band Yano, whose lyricism dwelled mostly on social and political issues.

The commercial success of Eraserheads paved the way for more Pinoy Rock acts getting signed in major labels and gaining more exposure. These bands adopted a variety of influences both in image and music; many fell under a particular genre; however, crossing over of styles is most often inevitable.

Among the 80's Metal and Classic Rock-influenced bands that emerged, most successful were Teeth, Wolfgang, P.O.T., and Razorback, recognized for their songwriting prowess, technical abilities, and extended live performances.

Siakol and Pinoy humor masters Parokya ni Edgar, meanwhile, popularized Alternative Pinoy Rock, with their albums "Tayo Na Sa Paraiso" and "Khangkhungkherrnitz", respectively.

Though less mainstream, notable acts who showed the diversity of Pinoy Rock during this time included the hard rock-inspired Mutiny, socio-political rockers Datu's Tribe, dark metal-influenced Dahong Palay, and New Wave torch bearers Half Life Half Death.

The 90's also introduced OPM into the international spotlight, as the Eraserheads won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Asian Artist in 1996 and spawned the internationally released album Aloha Milkyway.

Emerging from the early nineties as well was the underground gothic scene. Most notable in spearheading and enduring this genre was gothic rock visionaries,Dominion. Followed later by contemporaries like, Prominence of Cathedrals, Iconoclast and much later by the industrial act Apparition. Although gaining quite a considerable following among the Filipino youth, the Pinoy goth scene remains to be relatively marginalized from the mainstream, with Subkulture, a goth culture-focused production label, acting as main source of goth events and music.

In the mid 1990's emerged the first pinoy Rap Metal group Erectus with their hit song "Trapik" making the benchmark in the Underground Pinoy Rock Industry.

In the late 1990s, with the rise in popularity of nu metal bands Korn and Limp Bizkit, local bands followed suit. These acts include Greyhoundz, Cheese, Slapshock , and Chicosci.


In the early 2000s, Hip hop, acoustic and R&B-influenced bands dominated the Philippine music scene, causing Pinoy Rock to take a backseat. Only a number of Pinoy Rock bands had managed to stay in the mainstream during this period; artists like Sandwich, Slapshock, Rivermaya, Siakol, Parokya Ni Edgar, Barbie's Cradle, and Moonstar 88.

In 2004, Pinoy Rock once again gained prominence, with the rise of yet another wave of Filipino Rock bands. Alongside durable '90s veterans like Rivermaya, Siakol, and Parokya ni Edgar, the following artists all gained considerable exposure: Bamboo (ex-frontman of Rivermaya), Kapatid (headed by ex-frontman of Advent Call and of P.O.T., Karl Roy), Kitchie Nadal, Sugar Free, Itchyworms, Kamikazee, Kjwan, Barbie Almalbis (ex-frontperson of Hungry Young Poets and of Barbie's Cradle), Pupil (headed by ex-frontman of Eraserheads, Ely Buendia), and The Pin-Up Girls who was tagged as the first Filipino Rock band to be signed by a U.S. label.

During this time, the Pinoy Rock music scene in Cebu was also finally given its much-needed exposure. The blossoming "Bisrock" music scene gave rise to forerunners Urbandub, Junior Kilat, Faspitch, and Sheila & the Insects.

2004 also saw the emergence of the first Philippine virtual band, Mistula cite web |url= |title=Wikipedia Virtual Band article |publisher= |accessdate=] . With the internet as their stage, Mistula comes alive through their [ official website] , a fusion of music, graphic art, literature, photography and other art forms, taking Pinoy Rock to a whole new playing field.

2005 further ushered in the mainstream buzz on Pinoy Rock, and along with it bands that leaned more towards pop sensibilities. During this time, Pinoy Rock, more than ever, gained mainstream exposure, with bands like Sponge Cola, 6 Cycle Mind, Hale, Orange and Lemons, Cueshe, and Callalily

2005 also marked the year when tribute concerts and albums for various Pinoy Rock icons were produced: ranging from the Eraserheads, ("Ultraelectromagneticjam"), the APO Hiking Society ("Kami nAPO muna"), and bands of the 'Manila sound' era ("").

The year 2005 and late 2006 also saw the emergence of influential music venues such as Cafe Saguijo, 6underground, Route 196, and Gweilos in addition to the myriad of venues in the Philippines, such as Mayric's, 70's Bistro, Freedom Bar, 19 East, Dish, , Kolumn, Mai Yuchi, Wilfredos, Caliente, A-Venue, Xaymaca, Pulp Summer Slam and NU 107 Summer Shebang to name a few. In the United States of America where the Fil-Am Rock Scene burgeons, venues are slowly but surely recognizing the presence of Pinoy Rock.


In the passage of time and many musical styles in the Philippines, the term Pinoy Rock has become as diverse as the Rock music genre itself. Today, many music journalists and music enthusiasts regard Pinoy Rock as the brand of Rock music originating in the Philippines. And just like the Rock music genre itself, it may be further classified into more specific genres of music.


External links

* [] - Philippine Rock Videos, Lyrics, News, Band Promotions, Gig Schedules and more.
* [ OPM Tunes: Original Pinoy Music - Lyrics with Guitar Chords]
* [ OPM Filipino Music Information]
* [ FlipStarz Pinoy Music Video] - Extensive OPM music video catalog and streaming.
* [ Pinoy.Rock.Blog - Centralized Blogging and Community for Pinoy Rockers]
* [ Ang mga PinoyBanda]
* [] Online Community for Signed & Unsigned Pinoy Bands and their fans
* [] Pinoy Music Streaming
* [ / Bisrock Cafe - Time To Rock... the best rock way!]
* [ Tabularaza, alternative rock band from Cagayan de Oro City]
* [ Pulp Magazine]
* [ WXB 102]
* [ dwNU FM 107.5MHz]
* [ Rock Of Manila]
* []
* []
* []
* [ Pinoy Punk: The Early Years]
* [ Classic Pinoy Punk: Twisted Red Cross]
* [ Loud, Proud, Brown, and Punk (1976-2006: Pinoys Celebrate the 30 Years of Punk)]
* [ Bandstand Philippines]
* [ Filipino Music Guide]
* [ Renaissance of the Rockizta: Rakista Online Tambayan]
* [] - home of the Pinoy Top 20 music videos and lyrics
* [ Pulse.Ph - The online destination for any and all Pinoys who want music in their lives.]
* [] See you Live & Raw at 6underground.
* [] Mayric's, Espana
* [] '70s Bistro, Anonas: "Where You Can Be Who You Are"
* [ BPMUST Group] 60s and 70s underground group from USTs High School and Fine Arts.
* [] Phil.Violator's Official Website

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