Buddy Zabala: From Eraserheads to The Dawn and more

Bass guitarist Buddy Zabala washappy when The Dawn members asked him to join their band. He said, "When [The Dawn] invited me to playbass for them, sabi ko, ‘Bakit hindi?!' I mean, it's a huge honor."

“Hindi ko maaalis yun, always being associated with theHeads [Eraserheads] dahil diyan ako galing, e,” said Buddy Zabala about howfans still remember him as a member of the former band Eraserheads.

During the JB Music’s Musikhero pre-event auditions last September 24 at the Trinoma Mall, Buddy was asked how he feelsabout people who still think of him as a member of Eheads—the more popular name ofEraserheads—despite playing with The Dawn for almost three years already.

Buddy replied, “I’m glad that people still remember thatkasi ibig sabihin may ginawa kami, the [Eheads] did something before that madea mark. I think that’s what I’mfortunate to experience.”

He explained, “That’s all right kasi sa simula namanI could not picture myself with the [Eheads], e. Well, people are different and in the manner that people aredifferent, the end product is something unique because you get a mix ofdifferent people.”

The former Eheads member also said that he tries not toget affected by how people still associate him with his former band.

“I try notto kasi if I try too hard to pretend, if I try not to be myself, I trysomething I am not, to be somebody who they’re respecting… It’s not my problem. I can’t do that kasi I’m not like that,e. Yung expectations ko as far as goingto the band is coming up with a lot of good songs, it’s doing the live showproperly. So, that in itself is asatisfaction na para sa akin.”


AFTER EHEADS, CAME THE DAWN. Buddy said it was a surprise for himwhen the members of The Dawn asked him to play bass guitar for the group.“When Francis [Reyes], Jett [Pangan], and Junboy [Leonor] invited me to playbass for them, sabi ko, ‘Bakit hind?!’ I mean, it’s a huge honor,” he narrated.

Buddy also gave credit to his current band, which has beenan inspiration not only to him but also for Eraserheads.

“One of the reasons why the [Eheads] was formed anddecided to make original music, original songs, because of The Dawn. Second year high school pa lang,sophomore, junior high school kami, alam na namin iyan. We were listening to theradio, we knew ‘Enveloped Ideas,’ alam mo yun?Then, now I get to be invited with The Dawn.”

Although he had been with the band for a couple ofyears, Buddy admitted that he is still going through someadjustments.

“More than twoyears of playing bass with The Dawn, hanggang ngayon I’m still going throughadjustments. I think it’s true for anyband, whether you’ve been invited to an established band or you’re coming outwith a new band. It’s going to be oneadjustment after another. It’ll nevergonna stop.

“That’s how music is made; at least that’s how I want toview it. That’s how creativity shouldbe, you get so many egos, so many ideas, and you adjust. You compromise, you come up with somethingworth performing.”

Buddy narrated that he sometimes gets Eraserheadsmoments during their performances.


“I get that from everybody. I get it from the audience,”said Buddy. “Si Jett will sing ‘Pare Ko’in the middle of a song, si Kiko [Francis] will do an opening rip of ‘Alapaap’ in the middle of another song, diba?”

The bass guitarist said he always feelsflattered whenever he gets this kind of response from the audience and evenfrom his The Dawn band mates.

“I’m flattered kasi, di ba, I’m not supposed to get itanymore kasi the Heads are dead, wala na yung band, e. It’s not a performing band anymore but thesongs are there. Again, the songs stillmake a mark, e,” said Buddy.

PUTTING UP A BAND.Among the four members of Eraserheads, it was only Buddy who did notcreate a new band after they disbanded. Ely Buendia (vocalist/lead guitarist) had The Mongols then Pupil,Raimund Marasigan (drummer) is now associated with Sandwich, while Marcus Adoro(guitarist) also had his band named Markus Highway. Why didn’t Buddy think of forming his own band?

Buddy answered, “I always get that question a lot, ‘Buddy,bakit hindi ka kumanta? Bakit hindi magtayo ng sarili mong band?’ Ako, try as Imight, I can sing but hindi hinahanap ng katawan ko, e. It’s something that you crave. I am happy doing what I am now or what Ithink it’s best.”

He also added that he’s not really a risk taker so he neverplanned to form his own band. Buddyexplained, “I’ve never have enough reasons to take a risk kasi there’s so manybands coming up [for] me play bass for them.And I can’t do all that naman.Right now, I have The Dawn, I have Cambio (with former Eheads band mateRaimund), I have some things I do on the side. For me, that’s way more than I than can handle.”


Since he mentioned that he is also playing for other bands,wouldn’t there be a conflict with his schedule?

He replied, “Musicians have always had many bands. Ngayon lang nagkataon na pwede nanggawin. It’s technically possible to doall those projects together with the advent of technology, di ba? Hindi ka puwedeng maglagare ng telephone atpager. Ngayon ite-text mo lang, ‘Heynandiyan na ako in thirty mins.’ Technology has come a long way helping peoplerealize their dreams.”

Aside from playing bass guitar for the two bands, Buddy isalso busy producing albums and shows of fellow rock stars. “Most of my work right now is more of liveband performances, producing albums of rock bands. I’ve done Sandwich, Imago, a little 6Cycle Mind, Itchyworms,Sugarfree, Moonstar 88, mga ganun. I’mmore into production than performing,” he said.

TIPS FOR ROCKSTAR WANNABES. During the Musikhero event, a lotof musicians—bassists, guitarists, and drummers—came to audition for a spot inthe upcoming three-day Music Camp in Baguio on September 30. Buddy admitted that he was somehow overwhelmedby the result of the pre-event auditions.

He stated, “I love the fact na maraming musicians, so manyaspiring musicians. Everybody has thecapacity to join the band, they just have to decide, ‘I wanna join a band and Iwanna play with musicians,’ yun lang naman yun, e.”

If he could share some tips to these aspirants,Buddy would tell them, “More than anything else, dapat masayang kasama,madaling kausap. Dapat madaling kasama kasi pagsasama naman ang pagbabanda, e,it’s not just about skill. You can bethe most skilled musician out there pero kapag hindi mo kasundo ang mga kasamamo, what’s the point?


“Creativity is supposed to be a sharing, to better create[music] kasi may kasama kang ego, may kasama kang mind. And then you should know some of the basics—howto play properly, how to play with the band, how to sound, and eventually whatto look like para bumagay ka naman.”





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