Buddy Zabala: From Eraserheads to The Dawn and more

by Nerisa Almo
Sep 27, 2007
Bass guitarist Buddy Zabala was happy when The Dawn members asked him to join their band. He said, "When [The Dawn] invited me to play bass for them, sabi ko, ‘Bakit hindi?!' I mean, it's a huge honor."

“Hindi ko maaalis yun, always being associated with the Heads [Eraserheads] dahil diyan ako galing, e,” said Buddy Zabala about how fans 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 feels about people who still think of him as a member of Eheads—the more popular name of Eraserheads—despite playing with The Dawn for almost three years already.

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

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

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

“I try not to kasi if I try too hard to pretend, if I try not to be myself, I try something 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 going to the band is coming up with a lot of good songs, it’s doing the live show properly. So, that in itself is a satisfaction na para sa akin.”

AFTER EHEADS, CAME THE DAWN. Buddy said it was a surprise for him when 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 play bass for them, sabi ko, ‘Bakit hind?!’ I mean, it’s a huge honor,” he narrated.

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

“One of the reasons why the [Eheads] was formed and decided 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 the radio, 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 of years, Buddy admitted that he is still going through some adjustments.

“More than two years of playing bass with The Dawn, hanggang ngayon I’m still going through adjustments. I think it’s true for any band, whether you’ve been invited to an established band or you’re coming out with a new band. It’s going to be one adjustment after another. It’ll never gonna stop.

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“That’s how music is made; at least that’s how I want to view it. That’s how creativity should be, you get so many egos, so many ideas, and you adjust. You compromise, you come up with something worth performing.”

Buddy narrated that he sometimes gets Eraserheads moments 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, di ba?”

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

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

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PUTTING UP A BAND.Among the four members of Eraserheads, it was only Buddy who did not create 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 I might, 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 I think it’s best.”

He also added that he’s not really a risk taker so he never planned to form his own band. Buddy explained, “I’ve never have enough reasons to take a risk kasi there’s so many bands 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 mate Raimund), I have some things I do on the side. For me, that’s way more than I than can handle.”

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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 nang gawin. It’s technically possible to do all those projects together with the advent of technology, di ba? Hindi ka puwedeng maglagare ng telephone at pager. Ngayon ite-text mo lang, ‘Hey nandiyan na ako in thirty mins.’ Technology has come a long way helping people realize their dreams.”

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

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

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He stated, “I love the fact na maraming musicians, so many aspiring musicians. Everybody has the capacity to join the band, they just have to decide, ‘I wanna join a band and I wanna 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 be the most skilled musician out there pero kapag hindi mo kasundo ang mga kasama mo, 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—how to play properly, how to play with the band, how to sound, and eventually what to look like para bumagay ka naman.”

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