PUNK ROCK SHOULDN'T STOP GROWING AND EVOLVING. BUT ITS GROWTH SHOULD ALWAYS BE BASED ON THE UNIQUE TRAITS THAT DEFINED MUSIC FROM THE START. REBELLIOUS, HONEST, LOUD, AND SCATHING. IT SHOULD NEVER TURN INTO SOMETHING THAT CONTRADICTS ITS VERY REASON FOR EXISTENCE.
- AL DIMALANTA
I read this quote a couple of days ago by Dead Ends/Throw front man which lead me to start writing a much delayed article for The Wuds an 80’s Philippine punk band that defied convention. The band was different from the rest of their peers these guys where doing Khrishna Core long before American Hardcore Bands the likes of Youth of Today, Shelter and Cro Mags fused Punk Rock and Eastern-based Indian spirituality of the Vaishnavas. and The Wuds are arguable the first straight edge band in the Philippines.
Late last year The Wuds did a series of crowdsourcing gigs and its purpose was to help finance their new album that will be coming out early this year. Cindy Aquino a photographer friend and also a contributor to Bisikleta Productions asked me if i can do a story for The Wuds on behalf of Kontra Kultura in helping to promote their goal on doing a new album DIY style. I asked her why did she picked me when i am not a professional writer i just do it occasionally for this blog alone.
Her reply was that I was an 80s kid and witnessed Philippine punk rock explode during that time. Yeah i was there alright but my old folks was so strict that i have not experienced going to Katrinas, nor visited A to Z Records two of the iconic places to go to in the 80s. Those places i have mentioned was the ground zero/mecca of all things underground.
The only experience i had with the band was through Howlin’ Dave's radio show, Twisted Red Cross tapes and my old friends who were part of the infamous Joan Lombard / A.P. Aquino punks that occasionally organized underground gigs. Every time there was a “CONCIERTO” held i snucked out of my old folks home just to hear bands play at Dapitan Sports Complex, YMCA, PNR/Kadiwa and The Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Kalookan City.
To give justice and credibility to this article what i did was I asked several key persons to contribute to this article who knew them as a band and as individuals and who were present during the punk rock explosion of the 1980s I also ask them what they expect on The Wuds upcoming album and to cap things off was to ask Bobby Balingit himself about his band and what is in store for the old and the new fans/listeners via Cindy Aquino’s interview and without further ado here it is.
RHANNY TORRES of The Lost Boys, Ethnic Faces, Violent Playground and Brownbeat Allstars
The Wuds created a massive impact on the Philippine punk rock genre. They have a dedicated fan base that go way back to the early 80’s.
I will not mince words The Wuds is Philippine punk rock royalty. Their songs speaks to the listeners it makes you think. Their music is deep unlike the usual punk songs that is full of anger. Angry at the world, angry at society, angry at their parents, etc.
On their upcoming album, I bet it’s going to be a notch higher than the last with regards to their musicality especially Bobby who is constantly evolving as an artist. and his two bandmates Alfred and Aji who are both a respected artists in their own right.
On Alfred, he is a pillar in the Philippine tattoo industry, He has done so much to elevate the art form to where it is now locally and Aji he is a respected music teacher.
JUN GENIUS (formerly known as Jun Idiot) of George Imbecile and The Idiots, Hard K, Jun and The Idiots, Jun Genius and The Brainiacs
For me The Wuds when i was as a teenager in the 80s watching them made me stick to the cause of being a punk rocker. The Wuds music is not just concentrated on aggression they also have the spirituality. They want to impart a positive message to the listener and I think whatever musical genre they play, they can surely excel at it. As individuals all of them are deep.
EDMOND ARAULLO of Private Stock, Nearby Cries
What i can remember from The Wuds was that they were the second wave of Brave New World bands that came along. They where from Singalong. We got to play with them as often as we could. Recto days sponsored by Yadu who does afternoon gigs back in the day.
One time they organized a gig and invited Private Stock to play. I would describe them as Kindhearted people. There are times that Private Stock and The Wuds will often rehearse at Navotas at Al’s place (Dead Ends) and Alfred and I would light up some weed. I also remember a gig held in Pasay City Sports Complex where the organizer would just give us food money. After the show The Wuds and our band would go to McDonalds to grab some eats. Back then we don't know that those guys are Vegetarians so what we did was we took out the meat for us to eat and the Buns and the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and catsup for them.
Those guys are dead serious at what they do. I can see their loyalty to each other.
MEL MANIEGO of Private Stock, Beatdown Boombox and The GoSignals
They’re a great band. I’ll put Bobby on my top 3 list of prolific song writers of my generation. Bobby he is a good lyricist. Those three are Arnold Morales of College, Urban Bandits, Music Front and Put3ska, Al Dimalanta of Dead Ends and Throw
Alfred is the quiet one who does his own artistic stuff. And Aji - he’s a riot! Through the years Bobby’s song writing matured expanded his mind but his topics are always about social awareness often times kinda cosmic to me sometimes.
They’re survivors they’ve outlived almost everyone of us they are still intact. I do not know how they can stay together that long. It’s either Patience or they have good deodorants! Kidding aside i am wishing them brothers the best for their new album!
AL DIMALANTA of Dead Ends and Throw
The music they do have mass appeal. I respect Bobby as a musician. His guitar style has evolved into something more avant-garde. I like Bobby as a songwriter because his songs are more introspective than political, although he started out writing politically conscious songs, his songwriting evolved into more personal and introspective topics, particularly when he started Juan Isip.
These are some of the words that best describe The Wuds as a band and as individuals. The Wuds is punk rock personified because they refused to be pigeon holed as Al Dimalanta of Throw pointed out in his quote that Punk music should evolve.
This short interview is about that evolution. An evolution of The Wuds and the music that we call punk.
These are some of the questions that i had prepared for Bobby on behalf of his bandmates using Cindy Aquino as my interviewer most of them was not been asked by her probably she was not brave enough to asked Bobby about some issues that might offend the man. One question in particular was that song that was bastardized by Rivermaya and Heber Bartlome's Akasha records issue but anyway listening to Cindy talked to one of the forefathers of Philippine punk rock was eargasm there's a nervous tone in her voice while asking Bobby but overall what she did was great and here are his answers that i painstakingly transcribed for all you readers to enjoy.
IS OPM DEAD? IS PUNK DEAD? DO YOU THINK THAT THE UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT IS DEAD?
BOBBY: Walang namatay na movement yun OPM na thing na namatay na nabubuhay di ako naniniwala dun so wala walang namatay nagpatuloy ito. Ang bagong album na ilalabas ay pagpapatuloy. Hindi pagkamatay at bumubuhay.
WHY ARE YOU RELEASING A NEW ALBUM? WHAT IS IT FOR?
BOBBY: kailangang ipag patuloy kasi sa ngayon para kaming isa sa pinaka mahabang banda na nakipag sapalaran at patuloy pa din akong gumagawa ng di lamang kanta nag susulat pa din ako ng nobela at kwento hangang dun umabot kaya di dapat ihinto.
WHAT IS THE SECRET OF THE WUDS LONGEVITY?
BOBBY: Di namin kailangang dayain ang mga tao. Alam namin yun gusto namin gawin. Naniniwala kami sa goal na yun at naniniwala kami sa aming pinang hahawakan na nagppatibay sa grupo.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PUNKS THEN AND THE PUNKS NOW IN TERMS OF MUSICALITY AND LIFESTYLE?
BOBBY: Noon ang punk may struggle sa ngayon wala ng struggle nagawa na nuon pag sinabi kasing punk it means unconventional pag prineserve magiging conventional so di na punk.
Walang ipaghahambing. Nagpatuloy ito walang meron bago o meron luma hindi ito old school, new school yan e pop mentality. di yan usapin ng punk.
WHAT CAN YOU ADVISE TO THOSE BANDS THAT ARE STARTING UP AND TO THE PEOPLE WHO SUPPORTED YOUR BAND
BOBBY: Sa mga nagsisimula. Kailangang maging tapat sa sarili nila na ginawa nila itong bagay na to tapusin ay dapat isabuhay mo hangang sa mamatay ka na.
Sa mga bandang sumusuoprta naman malaking pasasalamat sa kanila dahil dumating din yun panahon na nagkarooon ng acknowledgement sa hirap na ginawa namin.
So there you go The Wuds is constantly evolving but the roots are still in its place that is called punk rock. Brace yourself for the new album i'll bet it's gonna be a fun ride.