I Just Lost A Big Part Of Me

I’m devastated with the news I received today. My close friend who had been the most influential to my music died in his sleep.

Patrick introduced me to bands such as Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Warrant, Extreme, Nirvana, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Ugly Kid Joe and Filipino bands such as Eraserheads, The Dawn, After Image and Introvoys among others. Without him, I would not have been able to listen to these bands because I could not afford to buy the tapes. I was quite poor. I remember how we used to share the earphones of his Walkman, an ear each, until we drained the batteries. We probably shared earwax as well. While listening to a tape he would be rewinding another tape using a pen or pencil because he could not control his excitement to introduce me to other songs. You kids won’t understand this.

Patrick is a very generous guy. He must have realised that I was digging GNR that he gave me two of their best albums: Appetite for Destruction and Use Your Illusion II. I felt a bit embarassed because although I now owned the tapes, I didn’t have a player so we ended up listening to them with the usual earwax sharing method. It took me a while to save enough money to buy my own portable player. Every time I run out of batteries I will have to borrow his player because it would take me a while to save enough to buy a new set of batts. Sometimes, I will room hop in the dorm to find rich kids who have tape players. Such was life back then. 🙂

It didn’t take long before we started forming our own band. Pat played the keyboards but later on transitioned to playing the drums. I played the guitar and we had other classmates join us to complete the group. We managed to play a few gigs in school. Our band must have influenced the entire school because the teachers decided to start introducing guitar lessons during music classes. This wasn’t in the normal curriculum at all. I often got invited to show up us a guest and talk about guitar playing in other classes. It was fun.

Our school band culminated with it’s most ambitious project ever: our graduation song. With the help of other talented classmates we composed our original song and recorded it in a real studio. It was my first time to be in a recording studio and that was an experience that I would never forget. Patrick played the drums. If I remember correctly, he did his part in just two takes. We actually planned to play live but decided that it was too risky. It turned out to be the right decision because when we sang our grad song, we were already crying even before we finished the first verse. There was no way that the band would have pulled that one live.

Pat and I parted ways in college although we planned to go to Ateneo de Manila together. Pat already reserved an apartment along Katipunan Avenue for the two of us because he was sure that I was going to Ateneo. My family was poor so even with my full scholarship in Ateneo I could not afford the living expenses. I ended up in a public university, the University of the Philippines which wasn’t too far away from Ateneo. Pat would frequently visit me in the cheap dormitory and we played songs along the driveway with my borrowed guitar.

At one point, Pat picked me up and brought me to Club Dredd which was one of the most popular venues for live gigs back then. That was my first time ever and the last time to enter Dredd until it closed down. Both of us went home deaf that night.

I formed my own band in UP and Pat joined a popular reggae band. He played keyboards and he even invited me to one of their rehearsals. He sounded very pro that night, far from what we were during high school. I envied him.

The last time I met Patrick was April of 2011 when I visited the Philippines. To my surprise, he gave me a rare CD of one of my favourite oldies band, the Electromaniacs. I was over the moon! I did not expect that at all. As far as I know, the only time we ever listened to that band was when I was trying really hard to play their songs on guitar back in high school. How could he have remembered something from more than fifteen years ago!!! As I have said, Patrick was just full of surprises.

It’s quite sad that I will never see you again my good friend. Gone too soon my favourite Intsik. My music will never be the same again. I already miss you damn it!!! Spin another tape for me once you find your favourite spot in heaven.

I’ll have to stop here ‘coz my iPad is now filled with tears 😦

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