Greyhoundz 19th Anniversary

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At one of Greyhoundz previous gigs, while the band was setting up, Reg was staring at his hand. I wondered what he was staring at, so I looked too. He saw me and showed the thick callus at the base of his thumb. It was from years of performing. “20 years ba naman eh,” He said. 20 years of holding the microphone.

The band may have celebrated 19 years, but all of them have played a bit longer than that.

They’re one year short of their 20th Anniversary, definitely a milestone that should be celebrated. Yet I find myself looking back more on the band’s history. That’s a whole 19 years of what made them what they are today, wishing I snuck out to gigs instead of preferring to go to party at clubs. It would have been a real trip if I had gone and saw this all unfold. The years I missed out on hit me hard, especially when I saw the shirt design they released this time.

Avenido – Rubio – Brillantes – Cudal – Avenido.

CUDAL.

I always look at this photo hanging on Niño’s wall. It was Greyhoundz’ 1st album launch at Mars in Makati, with Audie jumping in mid-air. Yes Audie jumps, way before he broke his ankle from an accident. There was one other member who was a stranger to me, I keep asking how could I love this band and not know this person?

I felt like I knew Allen somehow, from their stories, and the craziest stories happened when Allen was still alive.

How they stole hotel room towels in Cebu only to surrender it all at the main lobby saying, “Ay akala namin free,” the band said.

To thrashing hotel rooms, throwing stuff out the window, including a failed attempt at throwing the TV out, forgetting it was plugged in so it fell to the floor. Fortunately it did not break, but they ended up watching TV sideways.

The wildest story I heard was when Allen swam in the hotel swimming pool butt naked while Korean tourists were shocked at the sight of a longhaired naked guy while they had their breakfast buffet.

Leave it to Razorback manager Pat Pulumbarit, who was Greyhoundz’ manager back then to babysit the band. So it was apt that Razorback was there, apart from the fact that they’re one of Greyhoundz influences. Kevin Roy also jammed during that first album launch in Mars and he didn’t sing well because Greyhoundz were playing in a different key.

“Anong key nyo?” Kevin asked.

“Key of key,” Audie said.

Monkey!

It was then declared that Kevin was the band’s first victim of “Key of key.” Those who jam with Greyhoundz know about this.

Despite some of Allen’s photos, I could never memorize what he looked like. Allen was merely an idea, like a really colorful fictional character in a book who appears when the story starts to drag.

If he was here maybe I could only grasp the idea that there’d be two Audies in the band. A cowboy to say the least that to replace him would be a disservice, as the band said he had always been there at the most crucial moments in their career.

When band was looking for a vocalist, everyone said, “Si Reg kaya?”

Allen said, “HUH? Ba’t yon?”

Tj recalls that moment so distinctly it was hard not to laugh about, “Nakukulitan nga kami sa kanya eh, sino tong kalbong maligalig?”

After Allen died, he had a lot of moments he made himself felt… Like how the band would randomly see a yellow butterfly in the oddest places… Like Niño seeing him in this peripheral vision during a gig amidst the smoke and the blinking lights. He saw him while his eyes stung from sweat at the spot where Allen would have stood if he had still played.

I wish I had met him, but I think I already have. In that spot that’ll always be there, in the same place it has always been — in all of them.

One bandmate short of a band, one year short of a major milestone.

19.

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