MANILA -- The lead up to 1986 was tumultuous with the political upheaval that gripped the nation.
The new year was barely a few days old when Filipino punk band Betrayed dropped their independently produced and self-titled album on cassette. Fans of the growing punk and underground scene already knew of Betrayed’s incendiary shows so there was some expectation.
“There were no venues for punk bands during those days,” recalled guitarist Buddy Trinidad, the band’s longest serving member. “All rock bands use to play at Shakey’s. We did our fair share of gigs at Shakey’s too. The only gigs we played were the ones organized by Tommy Tanchanco of Chaos.”
Word of Betrayed were spread by fans of the burgeoning underground punk scene or via Jingle magazine. As did the album’s cover that reprinted a racy cover of a tabloid that featured then sex kitten Vivian Velez.
“The album cover is an actual front page of the newspaper,” bared Trinidad “Manny (Pagsuyuin, the band’s drummer longest serving drummer who joined the band in 1984) came into practice one day and said 'Ito na 'yung album cover natin.'"
And that was that.
"Betrayed," the album, was more than a cosmetic attraction.
The cassette released under the band’s own DMZ Records featured on one side the old songs from the first local incarnation of Betrayed that featured vocalist Eddie Siojo, drummer David Reyes (who was replaced by Carl Avecilla in Christmas of 1983), bassist Chris Carire, and Trinidad.
The second side featured songs from its more well-known line-up of vocalist Dominic Gamboa (who went on to form Tropical Depression several years later), bassist Boyet Miguel from Ethnic Faces, Pagsuyuin, and Trinidad.
“I saw Domeng perform with his band Absolute Zero (with his former classmates from the Ateneo Grade School), and I thought they were pretty good,” said Trinidad. “When I met Eddie (at the University of the Philippines), he was totally into punk and introduced me to a lot of bands from New York City (where Eddie was from and where he formed an early version of Betrayed with American bandmates). “Domeng was more into punk bands from England. It didn’t matter where the bands were from. We were more interested in their sound that geographical location.”
“I was always looking to play aggressive music I can sink myself into,” pointed out Eddie. “Betrayed, although rooted in punk rock, was a hardcore band from its inception.”
“In the summer of 1983, my classmate, David Reyes, and I started learning covers of the Clash, the Rolling Stones, the Romantics, the Rezillos, and the Sex Pistols to name a few,” shared Trinidad. “Then we met Eddie who told us that he could play bass for us. We started practicing and played our first gig as ‘Jump Boys.’ It was after that gig where we wanted to write our own music. Eddie presented us with the music of his band in New York that was called ’Betrayed.’ He said that if he wanted to play those songs, we should call ourselves, ‘Betrayed.’"
Trinidad and Reyes agreed and the band was formally born.
After five months, Siojo decided to concentrate on singing so his fellow New Yorker Chris Carire came on board to play bass. Reyes moved to the United States in Christmas of 1983 and Avecilla stepped in to man the drum kit.
The new punk band’s influences included the Sex Pistols, the Damned, the Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, the Jam, the Buzzcocks, Generation X, Minor Threat, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Dead Boys, and the Ramones.
Betrayed began plying the punk and hardcore circuit along with other bands who went on to released albums – Third World Chaos, Wuds, College, Sex Militants, and George Imbecile and the Idiots.
“During the time we were recording the album, we were approached by the dad of Jack Sikat (of Ocean Zoo and Ethnic Faces) to be on his label (Insect Records),” elucidated Trinidad. “Tommy Tanchangco also approached us to be on Twisted Red Cross.”
Two songs from Betrayed -- “Urban Assault” and “Betrayed By You” -- appeared in the very first Twisted Red Cross release, "Rescue Ladders and Human Barricade," in 1985. But when the "Betrayed" album was done, the band chose to release it independently.
“We were friends of both so as not to pick sides, we decided to put up our own label called it DMZ Records,” revealed Trinidad.
"Betrayed," the cassette, was sold in stores like Khumbmela, Apple Picker, and during the band’s live shows. The band also received their only radio airplay on DZRJ-FM (most notably during the show of the late disc jockey, Howlin’ Dave).
The band put out its second album, "Betrayed Again," in 1996 on BMG Records with Siojo back for lead vocal duties (Trinidad took over the microphone in 2001). With their third album, "Why Must Everything Involve Politics?," the band returned to its independent roots.
“The music is from my ‘angry youth days,'” said businessman Arnie Sison who saw the band during the '80s. “The band and its music were very influential. And that cover kicks up a wave of nostalgia.”
Eric Guillermo, who published Jingle magazine back in the day and heavily championed the local music scene, said, “The Pinoy punk scene was extensively featured in Jingle. Betrayed, one of the forerunners of the genre, had loyal followers. Pinoy Rock groups had their glory decade of the 1970s so it was proper for a new breed of punk rockers to emerge in the languid local rock scene in the 1980s. Betrayed kept the rock and roll flames burning.”