Saturday, December 27, 2008

Crude Oz’s songs ring with sincerity

By Noelani Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:50:00 12/06/2008

Filed Under: Music, Entertainment (general)

MANILA, Philippines—Listening to the music being played on the radio these days can often be painful, mind-numbing—or both! Once in a while, however, you stumble across something that’s fresh and original, that sounds like it was actually produced by thinking, breathing individuals, not some faceless corporate droids.

If you’ve been tuning in to NU107 in recent months, you’ve probably heard of Crude Oz, whose music is pop rock as it was meant to be—sometimes silly, often catchy, and always real. Two of their songs, “Nasaan Ka?” and “Invisible Chains,” have both been named Track of the Week this year, and for good reason.

Crude Oz may be new to the scene, but they have a much better grasp of songwriting than many of today’s more well-known bands. The songs they have released thus far have been catchy as all get-out, with well thought-out lyrics and melodies that stay in your head for days.


Formed last year, Crude Oz is Deo Cruz (guitar and vocals), Paolo Vivas (drums), Bjorn Manalo (guitar) and Lenin Lara (bass). The band has slowly been making itself heard across the metro over the past year or so, playing gigs in venues like Purple Haze, RJ Bar, 6 Underground, Freedom Bar, Club Dredd, Kublai’s and 9mile. They’ve recently finished recording their first album, “Straightjacket,” which they plan to distribute for free.

“It’s our answer to piracy,” they explain. “You can’t pirate something that’s free!” Plus, they just want to be heard by as many people as possible. The group is passionate about their music in a way that only new bands can be, and this is something that comes through in their playing and in their songs.

“A lot of musicians try to be different,” shares frontman Cruz, who’s also the band’s chief songwriter. “I’m not one of them. The music that I make is the result of emotions and experiences that I felt when I made the songs. Sometimes, it may sound original, sometimes it may sound like someone else—it doesn’t matter to me.”

Pop rock numbers

The foremost element that makes them stand out are the songs themselves. “Straightjacket” contains solid pop rock numbers that have been crafted with care. While the production may not be as smooth and glossy as those of other, more popular (and well-funded) groups, the hooks are more than plentiful, and each song rings with sincerity.

The boys are still rough around the edges, and they’re still in the process of exploring their musical identity, but all this is nothing that time and practice can’t remedy. They already have the raw talent that, with luck, will soon have people wanting to pay for their CDs.

“Straightjacket” is scheduled for launching early next year, but you can already listen to (and download) Crude Oz’s music at and

Monday, August 11, 2008

of last song syndrome and fx music

ride a bus, jeep, fx or taxi and chances are they have music on board. walk around and you'll see people with headsets connected to their cell phones with FM tuners. mp3 players are a hit among young and old yuppies today, they sport their whatever ipods or a generic mp3 player wherever they go. bottomline is that pinoys are music lovers.

the pinoy majority also commute to work or school and most of the time ride with a music loving driver. chances are that the driver is tuned in to one of metro manila's most cheesiest radio stations. i know about the redundancy, its just that i cant express enough in words about how cheesy it is.

every morning when i ride a bus to work, i am caught in the same situation. i hear the same beats, mostly ripped off or sampled from some past hit and then some comedian does the vocals of a repeating line taken from commercial. worst thing is that you just cant get the chorus out of your head. that's last song syndrome. it disturbs me a lot because when i walk down the megamall parking lot going to our office at emerald ave., i keep on smiling because this stupid hook (cutie cute cute) just keeps repeating inside my head. luckily if i have tons of work to do, i'll forget about it in an hour. if im not so lucky, then i'll be hearing that same song over and over until i catch my next bus home. then i hear it again. yes the drivers all tune in to one radio station.

to add more anxiety, listener's get bombarded by plugs like 'kailangan pa bang imemorize yan' followed by the most irritating laugh you'll ever hear. then jocks do their thing, speaking while laughing at the same time even when there's no joke. then more novelty music till your ears bleed. i lovingly call this as fx music.

comedians, steroid-pumped boy groups, scantily-clad girl groups, they're not the only ones who dominate fx music. there was a period in philippine music history when the songs were sung by wailing divas. who could forget songs entitled 'aray' with a generic 3/4 waltz beat coming from a synthesizer. the lyrics and titles usually have double meaning to generate appeal to the 'masa'. they were successful, i cant argue about that but thank goodness you can no longer hear them over the radio. i swear if i ever hear those kinds of songs again, i'd shiver and die on the spot.

hmmm you think im an elitist right? well, no, im just being honest. i dont think novelty songs are amusing. irritating, yes. it sure ruins my early morning. i once flagged down an fx but after opening the door and hear a novelty song blasting over the speakers, that aint right. i just said to the driver that i forgot something and let him drive away. one time at taft avenue, i was one of the 3 passengers of a jeep going to pedro gil. the driver was looking for a radio station to listen to. one of the passengers reacted when he tuned in to a radio station i love to hate, not me. the passenger said in tagalog "mama kung wala ring magandang station patayin nyo na lang yung radyo!". my thoughts exactly.

fx music is an industry. amazingly, the composers of these productions make a terrific living out of common one-liners. are they legitimate musicians? well i guess so. they are creative, i give them that much, and rich, now how did that happen?

enough bashing, its sad that as an individual that you cant do anything about it. corporations earn millions from fx music so its here to stay. what more can i say? only in the philippines.

one more thing, i have a solution for last song syndrome caused by fx music:

1. buy a car. install a mega swash buckling audio system. burn your favorite mp3s to cd. listen to it as much as you want. simple right, no more last song syndrome for me.

2. if you dont have a budget to buy a car, get yourself an mp3 player and really good set of earphones. get the sony fontopia isolation plugs, nice sound and also blocks out ambient noise like whatever is playing on the jeep's speakers. =)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

what's up doc?

of course you know this means war!

this is just a teaser...more updates to follow =)

ey somebody edited my blog title...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

meet my new toy

brank spankin new pearl 14x3.5 free floating snare!

an early bday/xmas gift from the gf.

i originally wanted to get a chad smith sig but after testing it, found it to be too simple sounding. the chad sounds good but you get the same sound whether you tune it high, medium or low. the high tuning is exceptional but i find its consistency as its weakness. cant get a low fat warm tuning out of it no matter what.

i also tried the joey jordison, its a nice snare to. the sound is fat, full bodied and has a nice crack. it doesnt live up to the "power piccolo" description since it doesnt sound like a piccolo at all, it cant produce a high pitched crack common to real piccolos.

the free floater is the best compromise between the chad and joey. it cracks like the chad and has body like the joey. best of all, its the cheapest of the three! it managed to save me 6k more for the sensitone classic 2 i've been eyeing on

thanks to jp of yupangco for letting me test drive these fine snares =)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

bass drum practice pad

my vacation starts today and after waking up, not having breakfast yet and 1.5 hours in the AM, im already 90% complete on my new bass drum practice pedal.

i made it out of scrap 1/2 MDF from my drum molds. the beater impact zone is still clamped because i didnt have the right size of nails at the moment. i used shoe nails and lots and lots of glue to hold the piece together. actually, the glue bond will be stronger than if the pieces were just nailed together.

then my poor rubber drum mat got butchered, i needed a small piece of rubber to put on the beater impact zone so i took it out from one of the corners of my drum mat. i still need a small piece of 1/4" thick plywood to cut the pedal mounting plate thingy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

belated 1 year anniversary to me!

wow its been a year. time really does fly.

its been quite here lately. i've been busy, lots of IT projects here and there and then formed a band. plus im at the verge of leaving my work as libis and starting a new life as a makati boy at last (though i dont really like working in makati).

only 7 days to go and i will have my first vacation in 5 years. what better way to spend vacation than to build new stuff.

demn, i actually have to finish a pair of hoops...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

pinoydrums eb3

its been 4 days since the pinoydrums event and i still have a hangover. my ears are still ringing from bagets' powerful drum solo. i still havent put my cymbals back on my kit, no time to play anyway. still regret the fact that i dont own a camera and did not have one during the event.

being one of the organizers, man it was a gruesome day. leaving home at 10AM to pick up rommel and his tama superstars from valenzuela. ate brunch at wendy's sm while waiting for rommel. we met at past 11 then went to his house to pick up the drums. i realized i can fit a 22x18 kick drum on the backseat of a lancer (what a relief). then its on to penguin bar in malate.
it was sunday so there was no traffic on edsa. took 45 minutes to get to the venue. could have been there a lot faster but i was driving extra careful because of rommel's babies. i sure dont want them get beat up during the ride (but they did get quite a beating during the event).

when we got to penguin, i said to myself, "is this really penguin bar? why do they have pigeons as mascots?". we waited a few more minutes for sandy to arrive and then we set the kit up. after that we walked to 7-11 and grabbed something to eat. when we got back, jp was already there waiting and it was time to rearrange the chairs and the tables. the other rommell g., the host of the event, arrived with his gf sunshine. dennis started working on the name tags with the help of sunshine. a little later, ernest parked his pickup with bennii along with his monster kit. it was starting to rain so we had to get all of bennii's gear inside, he had a lot of gear and ernest, his brother and me got soaked up trying to bring in the last of the stands and all the cymbals.

it was a feast for every drummer's eyes to watch bennii set up his dw kit which is a 6-piece wrapped in marine white pearl. i think he brought a pearl metal snare. his cymbals, ooohh so shiny, love to hit it but never got the chance to. it took over an hour for bennii to finish up at the same time, rommell g. started working with the video crew. rommell g. interviewed bennii then bennii introduced his kit and obliged to do a short solo with stick twirling. next to be interviewed was rommel and talk about his superstars but got shy and let sandy do the honors. rommel g. proceeded interviewing all the organizing committee including yours truly, ha, mine was the shortest and senseless interview of the bunch (cant wait for the dvd, i hope they included that stupid interview).

drummers started coming in as early as 4pm. the guys started jamming and then a kid came in with his dad, anthony dio brought him over to bennii's kit and this little dude did a monster solo! everybody was watching him wail and flail his arms utilizing all the cymbals and drums. his name is arien pulumbarit, first time i saw him play was on mike mangini's clinic.

6pm, clinic time! five were invited to share and perform. first up was andre quimpo, an excellent speaker, he started his speech about the beginnings of pinoydrums and moved on to drumming and rudiments. later on he invited bennii to jam, well to be honest, they dont match up at all. i can barely here what andre was playing. aside from bennii having bigger cymbals, he also plays like john bonham = LOUD.

next on the hot seat was robert dela cruz of skychurch. this is the first time i met him and wasnt what i expected at all. he plays loud aggressive stuff but he's humble and a very cool. he played wickedly fast double bass. he used rommel's tama and i wish i could see the look on rommel's face when robert began his assault. add power and speed and what do you get? a moving bass drum. poor ernest, he was sitting beside the bass drum and he held it down all through out robert's performance. errrr i found robert's secret to playing fast double bass, gulp red horse beer before and during your performance ASTIG!

after that, it was anthony dio's clinic and he brought along the bassists from his band, ian tan. they covered groove playing, drummer/bassists relationship in the band and played 3 grooving tunes. well i wasnt paying attention to what dio was playing at the time because i was watching ian so i can steal some of his licks on the bass. sorry dio =)

i guess if franklin benitez cant do drums, he'll be a hit being a stand up comedian. his hour on the drums was very informative, full of wit and humor and yes technical drumming. he did a swiss triplet fill that i commonly hear rnb drummers do and it inspired me to practice rudiments again.

finally, mar dizon came on board with his band playing jazz standards. all i can say is WOW!. i stood outside the gate beside mar's kit or rather rommel's kit just to have a close encounter. watching mar do his thing is exciting and unpredictable. his dynamics and phrasing are too advanced for me to comprehend but still inspiring. cant take my eyes off or i might miss an interesting lick. later on robert dela cruz came and he was sharing stories with us (while watching mar).

it was jam all night long. i was too shy to join in the fun but it was nice to see the other guys have their turn on the drums.

then comes a surprise performance, past 12pm some guys walked in while we were having our very late dinner. bagets was with them, one of the baddest drummers around and i didnt think that he would play anymore. i was already too tired to care and was already outside the venue when i saw bagets stand up and walk up to bennii's kit. i ran inside to grab a seat, everybody else did the same. then there was silence and no movement, i think everybody held there breathe too. then thunder and lightning came from the dw kit. speechless. awe. what happened must be experienced rather than be put down in words for you to read. nobody took a video so to all the guys who left early, ITS YOUR LOSS BWAHAHAHAHA

well i got home 2:30AM after dropping off rommel and his kit. couldnt sleep, tired but still hyper from the inpiring performance of the drummers earlier. i put on the modern drummer 2005 dvd and started working on my swiss triplets...till zzzzzz