90s frontmen Wency Cornejo and Medwin Marfil recall glory days

Wency Cornejo (right) of AfterImage and Medwin Marfil of True Faith recall glory days of the '90s. Medwin even narrated that he is the Medwin mentioned in the Eraserheads song "Kama Supra."



Every era in music has its own distinction that sets it apart from other periods, especially the current one. The '90s is special for possessing the classic touch that makes it a poignant, nostalgic experience for teenagers back then while youngsters of today keep up in appreciation.

It's not surprising seeing a millennial play an old Rivermaya hit or Yano's signature song "Banal Na Aso, Santong Kabayo." The young people still get it. We hear lots of young bands sound like alternative rock acts from the '90s.

Prolific hitmakers Wency Cornejo and Medwin Marfil, both '90s stalwarts serving as frontmen-chief songwriters for their respective famous bands, the now-defunct AfterImage and still-standing True Faith, respectively, have much to share about their heydays.

For one, Wency was then commissioned to write the song "Hanggang Ngayon" which became an anthem that gathered the best mainstream rock figures of that era--all for commemorating the centennial of the Katipunan-fueled revolt against Spain.

He looked back, "It was pretty much an honor for me to have been commissioned to write that specific song. I remember Raimund Marasigan [of Eraserheads] arranged that and we all recorded it Bahala Na gang-style."

Brandishing a wide grin, he narrated, "There was this particular photo that years later popped up and looking at it, it felt like for once, nagkasama-sama kami. Nasa picture na yun si Francis Magalona, Ely Buendia, Rico Blanco, Bamboo..."

Wency, the tunesmith behind AfterImage hits "Next In Line," "Tag-Ulan," "Mangarap Ka," among others, wanted to go on with the prominent names but just couldn't recall the others. Medwin, himself owner of a long list of hits as vocalist-songwriter, insisted he must have been on the photo.

The pen and voice behind hits like "Perfect," "Baliw," "Kung OK Lang Sa'Yo," and many more, Medwin was intriguingly immortalized on a track from Eraserheads' Cutterpillow album.

One line in the song "Kama Supra" goes, "Nang magyaya si Medwin kagabi sa kanila/Kami'y nagkantahan ng 'Muntik Nang Maabot Ang Langit.'"

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"That was such an honor," Medwin recalled, "There was a time when niyaya ko si Ely sa bahay namin on a Good Friday and nagkantahan kami. He had his then girlfriend and I was with my brother. 'Muntik Nang Maabot Ang Langit' was one of those songs we sang."

Now it can be said that Ely's expression of trying to reach heaven by stating the title of a True Faith ballad in his composition was more of a spiritual venture, not something that "Alapaap" seems to insinuate.

Having kept his band's brand intact for two decades, Medwin is in a good position to share his thoughts on how it was then. "There was a lot of individuality during our time. Kanya-kanya kaming sound. Wala masyadong distraction like mobile phones or Internet kaya the focus was really on the music. It was more organic and honest and there was a certain vibrancy to it."

He added, referencing the all-star recording he was in, "During our time there was a sense of community. Nowadays I don't feel it. There were rivalries like Afterimage and Introvoyz. But you know Wency and Paco are friends. I guess ang daming eksena kasi ngayon kaya the sense of community is different."

Wency, who expressed regret at the dissolution of
AfterImage, noted, "There was a hole I couldn't fill in after we disbanded.

"So my advice to young bands, do not disband."

But the disappointment at parting ways with his bandmates is partly brought because of the fun memories he had with them and as songwriter for the band.

He continued, "I collaborated a song called 'Defenseless' with our keyboard player and we recorded in one take. I wrote 'Habang May Buhay' sa iisang upuan lamang while it took me years to finish 'Tag-Ulan.'"

For "Habang May Buhay," he originally wanted to sing it with Color It Red's Cooky Chua. The collaboration wasn't allowed by some record contract technicality.

"Tag-Ulan," which appeared on the same album as with the tear-jerker, turned out to be his first and only attempt at writing a song using a piano; he always makes use of guitar.

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Interestingly, while most '90s teenagers would somehow brag having played "Tag-Ulan" on a guitar during class breaks, Wendy noted, "It's a little known fact that the intro guitar part which I thought of actually made use of a 'hammer.' Thus, all those boys strumming the song's intro on the key of D were playing it not that perfectly after all.

When asked to describe his songwriting process, Wency explained, "Title kaagad. That gives you an idea of what you want to say. I start with an idea or phrase and I jot it down."

He said he just wrote a phrase that says, "Revel in my exclusion/Rejoice in my dismay."

Both Wendy and Medwin will perform together and in separate spotlights at The 90s Live! set at The Theatre, Solaire Resort and Casino this Saturday, July 22, 8 pm.

According to the organizer, it will be a grand reunion and musical treat of music icons Wency Cornejo of AfterImage, Jett Pangan of The Dawn, Paco Arespacochaga of Introvoys, Cooky Chua of Color It Red, Medwin Marfil of True Faith, Dong Abay of Yano, Naldy Padilla of Orient Pearl, Perf De Castro of Rivermaya, and Lei Bautista of Prettier than Pink.

These vocalists, with Perf likely to showcase his prowess on guitar, are expected to sing their bands' respective hits.

The 90s Live! is said to be another of The Theatre at Solaire’s efforts to support and champion homegrown musical artists.

Solaire Entertainment Director Audie Gemora pointed out, “Foreign acts have dominated the local concert landscape the past decade or so. We are committed to bringing back the heyday of OPM by being a venue to the established as well as new artists.”

For ticket reservations to The 90s Live!, call TicketWorld at 891.9999.


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