Discover hidden Pinoy rock gem in Brain Salad on vinyl

Rick Olivares

Posted at Jun 06 2022 06:48 AM | Updated as of Jun 06 2022 06:57 AM

With Backspacer Records putting out Brain Salad on vinyl, the album – pictured here with frontman Basti Artadi – is on its second life and will be introduced to a new generation of fans. Courtesy Backspacer Records
With Backspacer Records putting out Brain Salad on vinyl, the album – pictured here with frontman Basti Artadi – is on its second life and will be introduced to a new generation of fans. Courtesy Backspacer Records

Basti Artadi walked into Backspacer Records. Thirty years since this eminent rock and roll frontman burst onto the scene with Wolfgang, he still has that swagger. 

“Now this … is a record store,” he exclaimed as he entered with a few choice expletives.

“You don’t understand the explosiveness inside of me,” he reasoned. “I didn’t think this day would come. It is a dream come true.”

Twenty-one years after its release, Artadi’s other band, Brain Salad, has gotten the vinyl treatment. 

“It’s my first vinyl record,” he gushed like a kid inside a toy store. 

Brain Salad’s one and only release on compact disc and cassette was with members of Razorback – guitarist David Aguirre, bassist Louie Talan, and drummer Brian Velasco.

“This was recorded during a year when I went for everything,” Artadi said. “With Wolfgang, we did ‘Acoustica’ and ‘Black Mantra’.”

“In our minds, we thought it would be a hit,” he admitted. “But it was overlooked.”

Brain Salad came out during a strong year for Filipino rock music – Slapshock’s “Headtrip,” Itchyworms’ “Little Monsters Under the Bed,” Cynthia Alexander’s “Rippingyarns,” Sandwich’s “4-Track Mind,” Barbie’s Cradle’s self-titled debut, Imago’s “Probably Not, But Most Definitely,” Battery’s self-titled debut, and Badburn’s “Bound by Blood” to name a few. Not to mention Wolfgang’s “Black Mantra.”

With Backspacer Records putting out Brain Salad on vinyl, the album is on its second life and will be introduced to a new generation of fans.

Artadi hopes that Brain Salad will follow the footsteps of the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds,” “the Velvet Underground and “Nico, or the Stooges’ self-titled debut album to name a few. All three were initial flops when they first came out. They gathered steam much later and became even more influential. 

“Brain Salad” found a life of its own and was passed on from one fan to another.

The album is an underrated gem. For starters, it sounds nothing like the members’ mother bands Wolfgang and Razorback. It’s a pensive amalgam of A Perfect Circle, Soundgarden, and southern California rock with a Filipino flavor.

Remastered by sound engineer extraordinaire Shinji Tanaka, the vinyl release gives off a more full and richer sound. 

Louie Talan’s bass is more pronounced and if you never really paid attention to his work, you’d come away saying that he’s one of our best.

When you listen to Brian Velasco’s stick work, you have to appreciate how measured he is. He doesn’t overdo his drumming by beating the skins to death. 

And in an era where guitar solos are pretty much non-existent save for throwbacks like Greta Van Fleet or the Strokes, you remember why Aguirre is one of our best axemen. 

As for Artadi, welcome to a Mega Mix of vocal work that he unveiled during Wolfgang’s “Acoustica.”

The re-release of Brain Salad is a bittersweet one. Some of the musicians involved in its making are no longer with us. 

Jun Lopito lent his guitar on “Anyone in a Daydream” but made a huge and lasting impression on the band that Artadi recounts every moment with such clarity that it will surely bring a tear to one’s eye.

And of course, there is the untimely and shocking loss of Velasco two years ago. The surviving members of Brain Salad pay tribute to one of Pinoy Rock’s best drummers on the obi strip. 

“If Wally Gonzales were here during the album’s making, he would have been a part of this,” offered Artadi.

“I told Dave Aguirre, ‘This is really big for us especially with Brian leaving us,’” Basti summed up. “We enjoyed every moment making this album. It was a great experience. Everything just aligned at the right time.”

And now, the stars have aligned once more; 21 years later as Brain Salad’s one and only album gets its second lease on life. 

If this is your first time to give it a listen, it will be worth the wait and new discovery.

Brain Salad can be purchased from Backspacer Records (go to their Facebook page or their website backspacerrecords.com).