DID YOU KNOW?
The original Juan Dela Cruz Band, consisting of Wally Gonzalez (guitar), Sandy Tagarro (bass guitar), Edmund Fortuno (drums), Bing Labrador (organ), and Alex Cruz (saxophones & flute), was formed in 1970. (Source: PinoyClassicRock.com) They performed that year at the Antipolo Rock Festival (patterned after the legendary Woodstock Rock Festival of 1969) and was subsequently tapped as the featured rock band in tandem with the Manila Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Redentor Romero) for the Philippine production of the rock opera by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Consequent to his dramatic part as the Judas character in the rock opera production, Sandy Tagarro vacated his instrumentalist role in the group and was replaced by Clifford Ho as bass guitarist.
Upon the conclusion of the Jesus Christ Superstar production, Edmund Fortuno (aka "Bosyo"), Bing Labrador and Alex Cruz (with guitarist Vic Naldo and bassist Marlon Ilagan) formed a splinter group, Anakbayan which, together with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, performed for another major production run at the Cultural Center, the rock opera, Tommy by The Who.
The versatile Sandy Tagarro returned to the Juan Dela Cruz Band, as lead vocalist and replacing Fortuno as drummer; while Clifford Ho retained the bass chores. A musician from the Manila Symphony Orchestra (whom they had befriended in the Jesus Christ Superstar production), Romy Santos (flute/sax/clarinet), replaced Alex Cruz. Rene Segueco (organ/piano/vocal) was also recruited to replace Bing Labrador. In the wake of this major revamp, the Juan Dela Cruz Band recorded its first album in 1971, entitled Up in Arms, which was released by the Vicor Music Corporation under its Sunshine Records imprint. However, complications caused Sandy Tagarro to leave abruptly barely after concluding the Up In Arms recording sessions; not even to pose for the album photography. Consequently, the the group picture for 33-RPM Long Playing album's cover showed a different drummer (Bobot Guerrero), with Tagarro's name stricken off the personnel credits, other than for his mention as composer of one song ("Lady in White Satin"). Bobot Guerrero's entry as the new drummer of Juan Dela Cruz continued through the promotional run of the album and into various concerts and club stints.
The Up in Arms album was not a commercial success and had not been slated for reissue by Vicor Music Corporation. An unauthorized compact disc (albeit excellently remastered and packaged) of the record from Shadoks /Normal Music (Bonn, Germany) --supplemented by spurious bonus live tracks from another edition of the band-- is sold in online Internet shops. The original vinyl LP of Up In Arms is a highly sought artifact in rock aficionado circles. Wally Gonzales is showcased in this early effort as a progressive rock guitarist characteristic of the early '70s rock milieu. In several months, keyboardist Rene Sugueco had also left (briefly replaced by Larry Martinez), and bassist Clifford Ho (briefly replaced by Tony Rodriguez). It was during this transition phase that Joey Smith had recently returned to the Philippines from a successful sojourn in Japan, and tenuously assumed the vocalist's role, particularly for a botched rock musical adaptation of Erich Segal's Love Story at the Cultural Center in 1973.
The state of Juan Dela Cruz's gradual dissolution led Wally Gonzales to reconvene an all-new powerhouse trio, with Joey Smith (later a.k.a. "Pepe Smith") as singer-drummer-composer; and singer-bassist-composer Mike Hanopol. Smith and Hanopol have both collaborated in Tokyo with Japanese guitarist Shinki Chen in a "free-rock" trio setup called Speed, Glue & Shinki, which had released two enduring albums for Atlantic Records Japan. Music historian Julian Cope narrates in his book, Japrocksampler (Bloomsberry, 2007), that Shinki Chen had recruited Joey Smith (and later, Mike Hanopol) from a Filipino rock group called Zero History, which he found performing in Tokyo's mall district. (Wally Gonzales was the guitarist of Zero History.) The vibe of Speed, Glue & Shinky is noteworthy in the contributions by Smith and Hanopol for their initial Juan Dela Cruz collaboration, particularly in the stop-start heaviness of "Take You Home", "Blues Train", and the talking blues of "Rock & Roll Sa Ulan". The ensuing album by the iconic trio of Gonzales, Smith & Hanopol, and its masterly title track, Himig Natin (translated in English, "Our Hymn"), went on to become an unprecedented success in Manila's emergent counterculture and underground rock radio network.
"Himig Natin" arguably rallied the "Pinoy Rock" movement and validated its commercial potential. The social impact and innovations of the Juan Dela Cruz Band inadvertently became the catalyst for the inception of Original Pilipino Music and the viability for diverse, original and previously unformulated musical genres to emerge and thrive in the Philippines.
Indexed at Wikipedia.