MANILA, Philippines -- Pinoy rock pioneers Juan de la Cruz Band, composed of Joey “Pepe” Smith, Mike Hanopol and Wally Gonzales, are set to bring back their classic live sound when they perform at the Hard Rock Café in Makati on October 20, Saturday.
Their main repertoire will be to recreate for the first time “Supersessions,” a live album which they recorded in 1975 at the prime of their lives. Another first is that Nidez Aranzamendez, original sticksman on Supersessions, is in town to handle the drums for the Hard Rock show.
A surprise guest band, which will be announced during the concert proper, will open for the Pinoy rock legends. Rumors have it that the guest group was among the originators of OPM during the mid-‘70s.
Aranzamendez left for the US right after the recording of “Supersessions” to raise a family. He has his own band in America called The Islanders which plays covers of modern hits and OPM oldies.
He had the opportunity to jam with Hanopol when the “Laki sa Layaw Jeproks” hitmaker moved to the US in the ‘80s. In 2009, the original Juan de la Cruz trio and Nidez got together for the first “reunion” concert in the US.
The idea for a reunion concert in the Philippines started to gel a few years back but the possibility of bringing the trio together proved to be a major hurdle. Last September, the trio of Smith, Hanopol and Gonzles was in Singapore for a reunion concert
Today on their own, only Smith and Gonzales have music-related pursuits. Gonzales has his self-named covers band, where the members of all-girl band General Luna cut their rock and roll teeth.
Smith, of course, is a product endorser and once a mainstay of a reality TV show. There are plans for a three-city tour in the UK late this year although details are still sketchy
When not jamming with his Juan de la Cruz buddies, Hanopol is busy propagating the ideals of Messianic Judaism in the country. His congregation The House of Jesus The Living Bible has already fielded 25 trained recruits to organize “cells” ” in selected provinces in the Philippines.
Originally from The Downbeats before joining Juan de la Cruz, Aranzamende is excited and at the same time a bit anxious about the upcoming gig. He said, “It’s cool - relive the good times but I find it difficult to copy my own style back then. Sometimes I wonder if it was really me who played on ‘Supersessions’!
“I will eventually get the hang of it. The band has been sending me You Tube videos of the songs while I was in the US. I just have to be up to speed and of course given the years of playing those songs, I should be in the groove in no time at all,” he said.
The Hard Rock show will definitely ring a lot of bells among the generation of hippies and jeproks. The inclusion of newer materials from the early ‘80s like “Titser Enemy Number 1” should make the experience a total rocking package for the entire family.
The show starts at 8 p.m.