One of the bands that sprang out of contemporary Filipino music's second golden age, the 1990s, was The Breed. It was notorious for Manny Amador's ear-splitting guitar volume, and remarkable for its signature song "Black Mercedes Benz" as sung by frontman Charlie Ysmael.
The Breed faded from memory before the '90s ended, Amador died years later, and Ysmael reinvented himself as TV news reader (RPN 9), radio DJ (NU 107, and earlier on DZRJ-AM), and again as singer in various bands in the hotel circuit, notably The Spirit of' 67.
So it felt like a real blast from the past when, in recent weeks, Ysmael began appearing on Facebook posts performing in clubs around the city, still fronting The Breed but with new band members.
As it turned out, Ysmael reformed The Breed by name and rounded up his choice of new band mates to record a new album that was released in late 2022, and which just wrapped up a promotional tour in select venues including 19 East, 70s Bistro, and The Roadhouse.
ANCX had an online chat with Ysmael about his bringing back The Breed sound after 25 years.
You’re back fronting The Breed. What happened between the years it had been inactive to the present?
The Breed disbanded in early 1998. I went on to perform different genres, from pop to soul (very short-lived), to swing (with a horn section) to classic rock, and then with The Spirit of '67, where I stayed for 13 years until 2018. I was experimenting with different band lineups until Covid-19 brought all entertainment to a grinding halt. That was when I decided to resurrect The Breed.
The bar tours are to promote a new album. When was it recorded, who played in it, and how would you compare it to previous Breed releases?
The new album, Against the Light of Day, was written, recorded, and mixed at the height of the pandemic, October 2020, until about May 2022. It was released in November 2022. The musicians who played in the album were Paolo Blaquera (lead guitar, backup vocals), Gerard de Dios (bass), Jay Alviar (drums), and yours truly (lead vocals, guitar).
Compared to the previous albums, I would say we did our best to capture the Breed's signature sound and lyrical themes.
The Breed had been known for its loud-playing guitarist Manny Amador. What were your fondest memories of him as a band mate?
My fondest memories of Manny were his electrifying performances on stage, which infected the entire band positively. The energy we sparked as a band is unmatched to this day. He also loved cracking jokes. We laughed all the time when off-stage.
Why is Breed bassist Johnny Besa not in the current lineup?
Johnny is currently in another band (Pigdog) with former Breed drummer Miguel Ortigas. They have their own gigs, so Johnny had to decline rejoining The Breed.
What can Breed fans look forward to in the new album?
They can look forward to hearing the sound they loved about the band, hard driving, with a lot of punch. It's straightforward hard rock. It's a sound you don't hear much anymore.
[Against the Light of Day can be accessed on all major online platforms like Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, etc.]