Punk legends Philippine Violators release 'Rarities' LP

Rick Olivares

Posted at Mar 05 2023 07:02 PM

Philippine Violators' 'Rarities' LP is available on vinyl
Philippine Violators' 'Rarities' LP is available on vinyl

Of punk bands that arose from the Twisted Red Cross era, none was more prolific in terms of recording than the Philippine Violators.

Incredibly, they have had at least one release per decade since their formation in the 1980s. 

The classic debut At Large! initially came out in 1987 with their original line up of Bong Espiritu on vocals, Jesus Espiritu on guitar and vocals, Seymour Estavillo on bass, and Noel Bañares on drums.

The 1990s saw them at their most prolific despite their lineup changes -- State of Confusion in 1991, Sikat Na Si Pedro and The Third Offense were both released in 1994, and Balanse was produced under the Tone Def banner in 1997.

The 20th anniversary offering, Volume 1: 1984-2004, was put out in 2004, and Noon at Ngayon in 2015.

Among their more popular songs are “Sikat na si Pedro”, “Lahat sa Tropa”, and “My Generation” to name a few. 

Now, in 2023, Rarities, the band’s second on vinyl is out (the other previous efforts were mostly on cassette and compact disc). Pressed in the United Kingdom, the independently released record features songs written more than a decade ago and were recorded and mastered before Jesus Espiritu migrated to England in 2011. 

“I would love to do more music with the Philippine Violators,” bared Jesus Francisco, the band’s creative force since Day One. “But I suffered a stroke that has left me unable to hold my guitar. So ‘Rarities’ is my swan song.”

The album is Espiritu’s last but not for the band that continues to perform to this day.

And for Espiritu, Rarities will be extra special.

“The record includes an interview conducted by (the late great DZRJ disc jockey) Howlin’ Dave,” disclosed Espiritu who salvaged everything from an old and beaten up TDK cassette.

“When Howlin’ Dave began playing punk rock music on DZRJ, that was life changing for me. I listened to the radio all the time hoping to hear new punk rock songs. I knew the music I wanted to play.”

With the arrival of punk and new wave, DZRJ-FM was able to bring in thousands and thousands of new listeners who did not have access to the burgeoning if not discordant sounds making their way across both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Espiritu, his brother Bong, and two other schoolmates at the Arellano University, formed the Philippine Violators. And their cassette debut on Twisted Red Cross was an angry and scathing diatribe against school, society, religion, police brutality, and well, growing up. 

Today, the band is going on strong (with only Bong Espiritu the original member still active), and Rarities is a good appetizer to what the band’s plans are for their 40th anniversary.

Philippine Violators fans may inquire about Rarities from Marilou Espiritu’s Facebook page.