Friday, March 27, 2009

THE PLAYLIST ] No cover charge, just covers*

Page design JR Agra

When The Rage Band quit playing their '80s gigs, I lost my occassional '80s live band fix. And then I found The Ronnies. While Rage was all grim and determined about it, Juan Miguel Salvador jumping to stand on his seat, Marissa Bunag singing "We Will Rock You" like her life depended on it (if you used to be a rock band and are relegated to singing revivals of songs that aren't yours, maybe it did), The Ronnies seemed a little more tongue-in-cheek, a little cooler, just a group of friends having a blast playing Sheena Easton's "Telephone" and Laura Branigan's "Self Control" on a slow Saturday night.

Which is close to how it all began, really. "We started out outside Big Sky Mind one evening, nag-iinuman, nagkakalokohan, natuluyan," says Ene, the vocalist. "As most things in life happen--at a bar, having drinks. Buti na lang naalala namin lahat in the morning."

On the eve of their 3rd anniversary show at Club Dredd, Ene gives Swank a little hitback, hitback, hitback! Ten '80s tracks and their accompanying memories:

Left of Center (Suzanne Vega) Science class. Sharing a table with four other people. I remember my hairstyle (which i will not reveal) and my classmate Diday veneracion singing this. Just an Illusion (Imagination) William Martinez. I think he was just a dancer when this song came out. I can see the dance steps and the white costume they used for this. Clouds Across The Moon (The Rah Band) Vicor Dancers Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics) Oddly enough I have two memories for this song: how I was awed by this man/woman with orange hair, and later on hearing a group of gay guys in college sing it in harmony. Needless to say those four and I became good good friends. When Doves Cry (Prince) When Prince was still just "Prince," my batchmate Sidney ventura submitted the lyrics to this song as a composition in English class and got a grade of 1.0. Two Rivers (The Adventures) If I'm not mistaken this was the "theme song" of Tina Panganiban and Michael Saenz (Swank has no idea who they are, The Adventures, Tina and Michael). Freeze Frame (The J. Geils Band) The cliquers (Rida, Tracy, Trixie, Mabeth, Marcia, Joy, Mireille) dancing to this song at the multi-purpose hall, shades and sinaunang layering (read:bagets). You To Me Are Everything (The Real Thing) Winnie Roque. The only one who could sing this song from beginning to end from memory. Break my Stride (Matthew Wilder) Okay, no real big memory attached to this s but i love how the lyrics relate his dream: "I sailed away to china/in a little old boat to find ya/and you said you had to get your laundry cleaned..." Video Killed The Radio Star (The Buggles) Credited as the first video aired on MTV.

The Ronnies are Ronnie Dizon, Ene Lagunzad, Andy Estalilla, Justin de Belen and Astrojon Padilla. Former members include Kessenth Cheng, Nix Puno, Abe Billano , Jason Caballa, Nelson Gonzales, Archie Simangan and Kenway Barcelona. "We like to remember everyone that was a Ronnie come anniversary time. Once a Ronnie, always a Ronnie."

*"No cover charge, just covers" is the tagline of The Ronnies 3rd anniv gig I Don't Want To But I Does. Ene Lagunzad photograph by Rossy Yabut. The Ronnies photo by Ardie Lopez. Click on orange words for the videos.


  1. okay, game!!!! naka-costume ba? sabihin mo lang.

  2. ASTIG!

    Justin De Belen is not only a current member but a former member as well!
    (read the last paragraph)

    See you all on Saturday!

  3. Correction done, Jonathan. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. this piece transported me back to the days when i was still young, immature, careless and had only music and pop culture to turn to whenever things went wrong.

    i remember seeing for the first time, the rage band perform at the ultra, fronting for pops and martin. i became an instant fan. juan miguel salvador melted a lot of hearts back then. marissa bunag scared the shit out of me when she angrily belts out a song, walang panama ang sigaw ng aegis. (somehow i felt guilty comparing her to aegis)i love her.

    and speaking of aegis, aegis, of late, is the favorite band of tina panganiban, who is now tina panganiban-perez. obviously tina didn't end up with "saenz". (jerome, tina is one of gma7's political reporters, i know i know, malamang TEN lang pinapanuod mo na newscast hehehe joke)

    where does the ronnies perform?

    cool webzine, jerome, i'm excited for the next editions.


    oh and btw, speaking of the 80s, whatever happened to mags bonin and here one hit wonder band? and dos anyone know the name of her band (the one that existed before her THAT's days?)

  5. i feel guilty about the aegis and bunag comparison, parang di tama. disregard. magkaiba sila. hehe

  6. hey jove! I even feel guilty about comparing marissa to the ronnies singer. i bet even ene would agree. marissa is marissa. i love her! she sings from the gut, from the gaps of her toes, from the edges of her nails! seriously, sobrang marissa fan ako. pero hindi ko na siya nakikita eh.

    i have no idea who mags bonnin is. although i tried getting in touch with jc on facebook. kaya mo? of the bagets troop, jc is da meyn!

  7. yes jerome, marissa is marissa. and yes, jc is the guy among the bunch.

  8. mags is jc's sister, she headlined this band in the 80s, zyzyxx ata ang name, cool band, one good song then pfffft