Thursday, October 20, 2011

Everyone's Nice The First Time You Meet Them

"Oh that person is so sweet / nice / cool / OK."  Yeah yeah yeah.  They all are when you first meet them because we all put our best foot forward when we meet people.

First impressions have their place but you really don't know what anyone is like until you have known them for years and years and years.  Sometimes it takes a really long time for the chinks in the armor to show, the strange neuroses, the issues and the dirt to surface.

I am on my way to a book launch and a bar later.  I shall smile and be cute and clever, but that certainly is not me when my parking space is taken.  

The world is also generously polluted with the fake, the clueless, the conniving and the disturbed.

Because this is October and because this is the month for goths, I shall depart with this piece of goth advice:  never buy into anyone's smile.

Except Alexander Skarsgard's.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

For Cooky and For Color It Red's 5th Album

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY COOKY CHUA!  I've known her as long as I've known Color It Red and that was well over two decades ago--I must have been in what?  First grade?  (Cough, cough, cough).

Right now, Color it Red would love to come out with a fifth album and needs the help of fans and friends.  Find out how you can help support the effort by clicking on this link.

Color it Red's Artiste Connect Site

I'll definitely be helping out.  Throughout the years, this band has ALWAYS left me with a smile on my face and this little post is for them.  

Also, if you happen to be reading this post the same day, they're playing tonight at Tiendesitas.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The biggest temptation for me lately at the start of the day is the SNOOZE button.  It takes so much to conquer it.  So much that I press it twice before I actually get up.

Something has to change but while things haven't, it's still that inner struggle.  Between the numbing comfort of the darkness behind the eyelids and getting up, standing up, dragging one foot out of the other to face the day.

Left, right, left, right and out the door.  The daily battle.

If Johnny Depp were in the bed with me than obviously, I'd surrender.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hug Therapy

Six weeks ago, I decided to act like Atlas and carry weight of the world on my shoulders.   I became heavy, enclosed and gray and gloomy like the weather.

I've made several attempts to soothe my soul.  I've started reading some Deepak Chopra and I tried a yoga class.  Today, after the strapped the world on my backpack and headed out to do errands, I went over to exchange packages with a friend.  The exchange was meant to take only a few minutes as I had a cab waiting.

Our items (a letter opener from her and a keychain from me) changed hands but right before I left, she gave me a HUG.  It was quite unexpected and most welcome.  She started off by saying something about knowing I've been having a tough go of it of late.

That one hug has turned my day around.  I've smiled more today, I've worried less about my problems, I've had time to think about commitments our charity group made to the Silahis ng Kalusugan kids and work out a lunch my friend Cris is sponsoring at the White Cross.

I don't know if there are any scientific studies on the hug, but now I'm beginning to think random, genuine hugs have an incredible amount of power.  Hugs are capable of conveying so many things--I miss you, it is good to see you again, thank you, I understand.  

(Of course, there are also other types of hugs that say, "Hey, I really like touching you" but that is another story)

Hugs are magical and some of them can burst out with so much magic and positivity you just want to give a few out because it can't be contained.  Hugs are easy and healing.  And it's great to be reminded of that.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Keith Richards In My Passenger Seat (A review of the LIFE Audibook)

Even without knowing Keith Richards' book, LIFE has topped the New York Times' Bestseller List or continues to rank high on the Amazon lists, the man, his craft and milieu fascinate me so much, I eagerly awaited its release date--October 26th, 2010.  I held out until Christmas last year to get myself the perfect Christmas present:  the LIFE audio book.  Narrated by one of Keith Richard's good friends, Mr. Johnny Depp and rock musician Joe Hurley. 

The audio book comes in a set of 20 discs--19 of them tell the story while one contains pdf files.  I perpetually had those discs in my car and while I had that book playing, I did not mind the traffic one bit.  During those days when I'd be driving myself and I'd be listening, it would honestly feel like Keith was in the car with me, telling me stories of his life.   Anecdote after anecdote, I never would want him to end.  I would often arrive at my destination and go, "just one more track" and stay in the car a bit longer.

As far as rock memoirs go, this one stands a head and shoulders above so much of the clutter.  A good number of them basically tell the rudimentary tale of that rise to fame, the copious drugs, adulation and women, an internal downfall of sorts followed by redemption:  quitting the drugs and possibly finding that one woman that makes you want to be a better person--yeah I've read a few.  LIFE is exceptionally intelligent, beautiful and brilliant.  Richards takes us to his childhood--an only child growing up in Dartford, to his discovery of music via his mother and grandfather, Gus who encouraged him learn how to play "Malaguena"--"If you can play Malaguena, you can play anything."

From there we go to the struggling early days with Mick and Brian, to his absolute love of the blues.  How for extended periods of time, it would be nothing but the blues playing in that apartment the group shared.  While I have never attempted to play the guitar, I nevertheless enjoyed all the stories he had about getting creating certain sounds or getting a certain riff down, about "open G tuning."  He talks about it with so much passion, it is immediately obvious how much he adores his craft, how much he adores everything that goes with the creation of music.  He tells the story of how he wrote the song "Satisfaction" and how most of the time, the simplest of set ups mixed with creative ingenuity and serendipitous magic can produce greatest of music.

Keith has stories of the road, of being a first time father to his son Marlon, of the scrapes and accidents he's been involved in, of his Bentley, "Blue Lena," of his time in Jamaica where he continues to have a home and where he met the group now known as the "Wingless Angels," his friendship with musicians like Graham Parker and John Lennon, his court cases and how New Music Express kept naming him the rock star most likely to die for a period of ten years. These are just tales off the top of my head.  

One likewise gains insight into the love-hate relationship between him and Mick Jagger.  However, through all the violent fights, squabbles, and disagreements they continue, as one writer put it, to be "brothers."  The Rolling Stones are still The Rolling Stones.

Richards has a clever and colorful way of speaking and this is put out there wonderfully by Depp and Hurley.  Richards' voice however starts and ends the book.  LIFE, the audio book, is a true gem.  I almost hated having to wrap it up.  God bless you, Keith.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It’s great when an act or artist you’ve loved decades ago performs on stage not as a nostalgia act but as someone who continues to be creative, prolific, productive, magnetic, exciting and inspiring.

I first heard the work of Chris Cornell close to 20 years ago when some guys decided to cover “Outshined,” at the original Club Dredd along Timog Avenue.  It turned out it was by a Seattle band called Soundgarden, off their album “Badmotorfinger.”

Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, Chris embarked on a solo career and produced the excellent “Euphoria Morning,” later on (2001) he joined former members of “Rage Against the Machine” to form Audioslave.  Audioslave disbands in 2007, he goes back to his solo career and in 2010, he reunites with Soundgarden. 

It is worth mentioning, Cornell also was a part of a project band calld Temple of the Dog with Soundgarden and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder.  They came out with the album Temple of the Dog in 1991, one of my favorite albums of all time.

I’ve loved his work as a musician, vocalist and most especially as a lyricist.  So, it comes as no surprise an out and out fan girl from Manila would be through the roof getting an opportunity to watch Mr. Cornell perform at one of the stops for his 2011 Songbook Tour.

The Songbook Tour is an acoustic set, which includes work across the board from his solo career, Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden and Audioslave.  He did, however, start and end his show with covers—Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

He did a lot of my favorites—Audioslave’s “Be Yourself,” Temple of the Dog’s “All Night Thing” and “Sunshower” from the Great Expectations soundtrack and Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.”  The crowd loved and sang along to “Black Hole Sun” (Soundgarden), “Hunger Strike” (Temple of the Dog), “Doesn’t Remind Me of Anything” (Audioslave) and “Better Man” (Pearl Jam cover).

Mr. Cornell’s acoustic shows play at venues with capacities hovering at 1,000 to 1,500.  This means he can get really intimate with the audience.  He responds to comments, shout outs and questions he can hear.  He also can tell stories tailor fit to the crowd, location and mood.

It also means a fan girl can come up close and feel like she’s watching one of her musician friends play in Manila.  Except that I don’t get to say “hi” and ask what’s happening after the show.  Pity

The show started on time and lasted for a solid two hours and 20 minutes. 

Mr. Cornell played the song “Say Hello To Heaven” which is farewell song of sorts for a friend who has shuffled off this mortal coil.  However, being right up front, as close as I could get made me feel like I had a taste of heaven too.


1. Redemption Song (Bob Marley cover)
2. Be Yourself (Audioslave) - my favorite Audioslave song
3. Ground Zero
4. Can't Change Me (solo)
5. As Hope and Promise Fades - first time I heard this one
6. Call Me A Dog (Temple of the Dog)
7. Fell on Black Days (Soundgarden)
8. Burden in My Hand (Soundgarden)
9. I am the Highway (Audioslave) - I love the lyrics "I am not your rolling wheels / I am a highway / I am not your carpet ride /
I am the sky
10. State Trooper - first time I heard that one, kind of bluesy
11. Thank You (Led Zeppelin)
12. When I'm Down - first time I heard that one too
13. Seasons - from the Singles soundtrack
14. Sunshower (solo from Great Expectations Soundtrack)
15.. All Night Thing (Temple of the Dog)
16. Man of Golden Words - first time I heard that one
17. Say Hello to Heaven (Temple of the Dog)
18. Billie Jean (MJ)
19. Preaching the End of the World (solo)
20. Like A Stone (Audioslave) "In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently / I'll wait for you there / like a stone"
21. Doesn't Remind Me (Audioslave)
22. Wide Awake
23. Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
24. Hunger Strike (Temple of the Dog)
25. Better Man (Pearl Jam)
26. Imagine (John Lennon)

Chris Cornell ended his Songbook tour last week tours with Soundgarden in July.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tales Off the Grid Part 1: Life Outside Facebook

In my attempt to annihilate termites, clean out and reorganize my home (a project I suspect will go on until June), I have fallen off the grid.

I have enjoyed days and weeks without Facebook.  As a result:

1.  I was on time for all my meetings and on schedule for all my errands.
2.  I had more time to sleep.
3.  I was more productive.
4.  I watched Californication and Audioslave:  Live in Cuba.

5.  Didn't get stressed by all these events.  The most horrid of which is the "Who has viewed your profile" event.

I kind of like life outside Facebook.  There's a lot of Chris Cornell to be enjoyed.

Friday, March 18, 2011


"Going off the grid." In extreme terms, it means living independently of electricity and the consumption / burning of fossil fuels.  In easier terms, it means getting off the social network and ditching the mobile phone, even for a while.

It's ironic that I'm going on the grid to talk about going off the grid.

Lately, I've turned into a flake (which is not me), an impulsive decision maker and an overloaded washing machine.

Not long ago, I made a more conscious effort to actually FOCUS and really listen to people, including myself.  Then bit by bit--my idea of connection turned into saying yes to everything and throwing myself into a blender of moments.

Back in the day, people had to write notes and send them out to get everyone together for a social or business gathering.  Today, ten minutes on the grid gets me fully booked 'til "Pi" day 3/14/15.  

In so many ways I think my physical space is reflecting my mental space.  A lot of things need to get thrown out.  I need to be me again and not some sleepless bunny hopping  from one moment to the next.

After all, let us remember the first word in the Pixies' classic "Where is My Mind?" is the word STOP.

Where Is My Mind? (original and 2 cover versions)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I really liked that prior two their two Sunday night sets at the Esplanade in Singapore, Razorback had a Q and A session for fans and Mosaic Festival attendees who were hearing the band's music for the first time.  This is a very satisfying thing for the inner geek.

Not to mention they had it at a place called The Library which houses archives of music and film.  Nothing like hearing them discuss the band's history, craft and future plans.

For instance, the inner geek was delighted to hear about the Razorback action figures and Razorback comic book again. 

Also, there was talk of possibly emerging out of an egg (ref: Spinal Tap, Lady Gaga) for an upcoming show.

The two sets were amazing.  The band and the audience was stoked, happy and connecting.  Full house, a lovely, breezy Sunday night, ice cream and noodles all within reach, and a night sky illuminated by modern architecture.  I was supposed to return to Manila today but was really happy to catch this, say hello to the boys and take my boy to his first Razorback show.  

I also picked a Pirates of the Caribbean and Rango fridge magnet from a movie memorabilia store nearby and ate about four servings of bananas dipped in chocolate and nuts.  

A most excellent Sunday night.  


If you're an FB contact, the full album is here:


Big Night Out, Day 2:  March 12, Singapore Indoor Stadium

It was a joy to FINALLY watch Slash perform, who is on Time Magazine's 10 Best Electric Guitar Players of All Time and Gigwise's 50 Greatest Guitarists Ever.  It was pretty predictable he would knock my socks (with penguin designs) off.

But, Myles Kennedy, I've been hiding under a rock.  I did not really know him from a bar of soap named Adam (yes, shame on me) he was quite the performer--great voice, and great connection with the audience.  Same goes for rhythm guitarist Bobby Schneck (aka Garth from Wayne's World?), bassist Todd Kerns (he did a few songs and looked great with the black shirt, black pants and jet black long hair thing going) and drummer Brent Fitz.

The best thing about these guys, apart from the obvious talent, was they were all about the audience and making a connection with them.

Spank me now for just getting Slash's 2010 album featuring not just Myles Kennedy but Chris Cornell (insert a deeply heaved sigh here), Ian Astbury, Ozzy Osbourne, Fergie, Lemmy, Iggy Pop and Dave Grohl among others.

Going back to making a connection with the audience, their last song was "Paradise City" and Mr. Kennedy kept singing to me "Oh won't you please take me home."  Dude, I waited for you after the show so I could!  

Finally, this from Slash's Facebook post:  Killer show in Singapore. What an amazing mix of demographics. All different ages & ethnicities. They fn' rock here. Iii|; )'


1.  Ghost
2.  Mean Bone (Slash's Snakepit)
3.  Back From Cali
4.  Been There Lately (Slash's Snakepit)
5.  Nightrain (Guns and Roses)
6.  Rocket Queen (Guns and Roses)
7.  Civil War (Guns and Roses)
8.  Nothing to Say
9.  Starlight 
10.  Beautiful Dangerous
11.  Doctor Alibi
12.  Jizz Da Pit (Slash's Snakepit)
13.  Just Like Anything (Slash's Snakepit)
14.  My Michelle (Guns and Roses)
15.  Guitar Solo / Godfather Theme
16.  Sweet Child O' Mine (Guns and Roses)
17.  Rise Today (Alter Bridge)
18. Slither (Velvet Revolver)

19. By the Sword
20. Mr. Brownstone (Guns and Roses)
21. Paradise City (Guns and Roses)

Courtesy of