Trackbacks, Influences and Paying Homage

Album cover for Strontium 90/Police Academy, eventually became The Police.

Usually on weekends, I would either line up a few movies in digital format, or set a playlist of my favorite music, or an audiobook  to get me through with my weekend chores, the laundry and house cleaning, or maybe doodle some drawings.

Now, I just completed my collection of  The Police ,that band composed of  Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers and Sting which is really Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, and the last cd in that collection was a recording of their earliest performances as a quartet with Mike Howlett, another gifted musician whom, after the gig as Strontium 90, became  a prolific producer for such acts as A flock of Seagulls and OMD, among others.

There’s a track here, recorded live with the title “3 o’clock Shot” and I can’t help but smile, because now I know where The Dawn got their inspiration and influence. The Dawn, whom I also blogged about somewhere in this blogsite of mine, is a local band that was originally, as they appeared on Concert at The Park, hosted by Tina Monson-Palma, a quartet – Jett Pangan, Caloy Balcells, Jun Boy Leonor III and Teddy Diaz.

From top: JB Leonor III, Caloy Balcells, Teddy Diaz, Jett Pangan

Said I couldn’t help but smile, because I remember listening to “Dreams” and that guitar riff was the direct descendant of “3o’Clock Shot” but it was an altogether different song. I have known long ago, that JB Leonor III took his drumkit and emulated Stewart Copeland and Neal Peart of Rush,  honing his chops on the slightly askew, droppedback drumming of Copeland. And it was a time when reggae was just rearing it’s cool head on mainstream radio. The Police were influenced by Reggae and Bob Marley. The Dawn, a generation younger, were influenced by The Police and Bob Marley, and The Smiths, The Cure among other great musicians. You can hear Morissey on Jett’s singing style. But Teddy was a radical, a rebel. Back then guitars are either tuned and amped with distortion set on just raunchy and honky-tonk. Teddy Diaz’s guitar was a symphony in six string format. The band enjoyed paying homage to their influences.

When Orange and Lemons did that really ear-friendly track “Pinoy Ako” I thought these are guys who listened to a few The Care records, maybe their parents, had the vinly. Okay, they did the whole thing except the chorus, but didn’t Hajji Allejandro sang something in that note? I mean, we hear songs like these everyday. Some are blatant translations of foreign songs, but I call them covers. They cover songs of their favorites. But there are cases wherein musicians forget to acknowledge where the song came from.

Teddy Diaz live performance

Slash fondly recalls his Beatles influences by squeezing in the intro riff of “Day Tripper” on some recordings and live performances. Motley Crue does that too. We could jump back in time and find Elvis hailing his roots from Perkins, and Berry and the Bluesmen of  New Orleans.

Then I cringed. People nowadays have that “instant noodle mentality”.

People say ” I like Taylor Swift’s songs!” but really knows just a song or two, and those  that get played on radio, or what’s left of the FM Radio industry that still has a real playlist.

That “Pinoy Ako” song made other people angry, maybe rightly so, or maybe just misinformed. Because nobody ever tried to dig up about the band and their influences. Or maybe if Orange and Lemons just said they covered a The Care song and laid Tagalog lyrics to it. It has been done before.

Case in point: Look for the song “Some Guys Have All The Luck” done by two different musicians Rod Stewart and Robert palmer. You will find that they performed the same song, just with different views.

Look for Francis Reyes’ Music Reviews , another great musician and songwriter, on Yahoo and learn to dig music. You could be as clueless about Coldplay or Smashing Pumpkins and Francis will take you for the ride and you’ll know these artists and their music in no time. Learn about the musicians behind the songs, not just something you hum along.

This is so like the RH Bill that has been in discussion in the House and after 14 years very few knows just what it stands for, simply because very few ever dug up the facts. On both sides of the fence. Like a pop song everyone hums along but doesn’t really know the lyrics or the songwriter, but hums along  nonetheless. This is another instance of “instant noodle mentality”. People just want to comment and see their comments line up on certain issues on particular blogs. Sometimes, the comments can be very like YouTube, commenting for the sake of posting something.

Now, why am I rambling about how music builds upon itself? Maybe because at some point Sen. Tito Sotto was once a good musician. And everytime I read discussions on how he and his staff ripped off another blogger’s entry was just not right. At least in music mediocre or critically acclaimed, musicians tend to pay homage and acknowledge their influences.

Lito Camo, much as I dislike what he penned for Willie Revillame, at least tries create original music influenced by perya and Eat Bulaga.

Oh, darn. I’m circling back to Tito. Got to  finish the laundry now.

Notes: The ” Music builds upon itself.” quote was from Mr. Jose Mari Chan, in a radio interview with Jo D’Mango on DZMM late nights.

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