After weeks of speculation, it was finally confirmed that the legendary OPM rock band the Eraserheads will reunite for a one-night concert to be held at the CCP Open Grounds on August 30, 2008.
The band, composed of Ely Buendia, Buddy Zabala, Marcus Adoro, and Raimund Marasigan, were highly responsible for the resurgence of Pinoy rock music in the '90s. Armed with catchy hooks, street-smart lyrics, and uncanny pop sensibilities, the Eraserheads rose to critical and commercial prominence and was dubbed as the country's own version of The Beatles—a tag the quartet simultaneously scoffed at and cherished during their phenomenal reign.
Strained relationship among the band members unfortunately led the group to disband following frontman Ely Buendia's departure in 2002. Ely's resignation was relayed through his bandmates only through a text message citing the words, "It's graduation time."
LONG AND WINDING ROAD. Years after the band called it quits, the Eraserheads legacy grew exponentially with various tributes and accolades being accorded to the group through various art and pop culture media. At the same time, fans clamor for the band members to reunite grew steadily particularly after Ely survived a heart attack early last year.
Still, and despite all the noise created by old and new fans, the reality of a reunion was still remote. Even Buendia's near brush with mortality seem to do nothing to soften the singer-songwriter's firm resolve.
Some clues, however, seem to suggest that a reunion may finally happen earlier than expected. Last year, July 26, a special event dubbed as Eraser X was held at Saguijo Café in Makati featuring Raimund Marasigan and Buddy Zabala complemented by fellow musician friends playing an all Eraserheads set list.
A few months earlier, Raimund and Buddy together with former guitarist Marcus Adoro graced the book launching of Tikman ang Langit: An Anthology on the Eraserheads at Powerbooks in Greenbelt, Makati City. Ely opted to skip both events citing prior commitments as the culprit for his absences. Many, of course, believed that the enigmatic frontman was simply making an excuse so as not to offend the fans who were anxiously hoping for a reunion through any means possible.
Interestingly, Marcus, backed up by a band he wittingly named Markus Highway came out with an album under Warner Music Philippines. In an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) months before the launching of his new record, Marcus shared his desire to play or at least tour with his former bandmates new bands. He also said that his relationship with the three ex-members was okay and amicable.
But still, the big difference remains to be Ely Buendia. As evasive as he is when it comes to answering nagging questions about his glorious past as the main creative force of the "most influential" OPM band of all time, many observers took note that Buendia's current band, Pupil, was incorporating Eraserheads songs quite more frequently this year as compared to last year. There was even this rumor saying that Ely conducted a "secret gig" somewhere where he did a straight-out all Eraserheads number. The rumor was neither conformed nor denied by Ely's camp.
FORMING THE PUZZLE. For some time, cyberspace was inundated with news of an Eraserheads reunion. Recently, a blog site gradually showed sketchy little clues until it finally led to an inverted capital "E" image with the script "83008" written under the image. The figures, as it turned out, means August 30, 2008—the official date of the Eraserheads reunion concert after six years of not playing music together.
According to the reports, the four were swayed to once again play together after a "big company" tendered a huge offer. "Each member is said to be receiving a rather large sum—with estimates ranging from P2.5 million to P10 million apiece—in order to pull together for a 45 minute set," wrote music insider Jim Ayson at PhilMusic.com.
Last Friday, July 11, during the launching of Pedicab's second record at the Cubao Expo, words were flying that the company sponsoring the historic event is a "telecommunications" company. However, it was later revealed that a tobacco company—"quite possibly Marlboro," wrote Jim—was the brain behind the concert.
NOT REUNITING FOR GOOD. In a telephone interview with someone from Ely's camp, a source did mention that huge money was indeed involved though she downplayed the amount given by some of PEP's initial sources.
According to our source, the band, Ely in particular, relented because of the undying clamor pressed by the fans and not largely because of the money.
"Maybe it's a good way to finally close the chapter," our source, who requested anonymity, shared.
"The call for a reunion concert has been going on for a long time ever since they [Eraserheads] disbanded. Somehow this is bound to happen; it's just a matter kung kailan and who's going to sponsor. This is for all the fans and to celebrate na din the E-heads legacy. It'll be exciting and we're hoping that everybody would have a great time during the concert. Mas maganda nga sana kung nandoon lahat ng involved sa history ng band like the former managers."
Our source though stressed that the band won't re-form and that the concert is strictly a one day affair. Asked about the band members current relationship, she said that it is still the same although, "We'll see as this thing go along. I'm not really sure about Ely's feelings at this point. But his relationship with the two [Buddy and Marcus] was okay naman even before the reunion talks."
Again, we excitedly asked the possibility of the band reuniting for good. Perhaps the concert may finally lead the members to iron out their differences for good after seeing the amount of love and adulation they still enjoy from fans and fellow artists.
Pausing a little, our source heaved a sigh before saying, "I don't know. Honestly, I don't think that hugs and kisses would be exchanged during and after the concert. But still, who knows... at this point everything is still pretty much up in the air."