Quite a number of well-known personalities have passed on since the beginning of 2019. Three of them have etched a mark to my life as a fangirl.
In a shocking development, Razorback drummer Brian Velasco took his own life on January 16, 2019. I have fond memories of Brian way back my bandstalker days from 2001 to 2005. As a regular of gigs during that era, I’ve rubbed elbows with Brian and the rest of Razorback practically on a regular basis. I’ve shared beers with some of their members until the wee hours of the morning. Looking back, it was Razorback who first believed in my skills as a photographer. I was just a beginner back then, taking photos of not just The Dawn but any band that took the stage in the gigs and events I went to. Kevin of Razorback loved the idea of having someone documenting their gigs the way I did for The Dawn. It came to a point when he would text me their gig schedule just so I could come and document it for them through my photos. This is why I was able to amass a number of pics of Razorback and their side bands – and naturally, Brian – throughout my stint as a band stalker, some of which I immortalized on the internet through this post that I made in February 2006 specifically about Brian Velasco.
Brian and I were not particularly close, but that memory of him greeting me first at a party even if we were never formally introduced to each other is one of those things that will be etched in my mind and heart forever.
A couple of days ago, another legend of OPM passed on: the one and only, Joey “Pepe” Smith.
Being in the Pinoy rock scene for almost five years, you can say that I’ve had several up-close moments with Mr. Rakenrol, himself. I didn’t get to meet him personally – you can pretty much guess why – but being a Pinoy rock fan within close proximity of a legend several times is certainly one for the books. Just witnessing him perform in the flesh is more than enough.
I now regret not seeing that gig Pepe Smith had with The Dawn in late 2017 at a bar in Bulacan.
Today, we receive news that one of the best vocalists in the world, Mr. James Ingram, has succumbed to brain cancer.
I had a close encounter with Mr. Ingram way back in 1997 (if I remember correctly). I was assigned to a special audit engagement at one of the government offices in Mandaluyong area. To get home, I passed by SM Megamall every day. In one of those days, James Ingram had an autograph signing session at Megamall. I’m not exactly an avid fan but James Ingram is James Ingram, so I quickly bought a copy of his album The Power of Great Music (in cassette at the time) and lined up to get it signed. I did have it signed, but not before witnessing what happened to the person before me. The woman had the guts to extend her hand to Mr. Ingram for a handshake, but his security people were quick to grab her arm and wave her off. I heard them saying something along the likes of, “oh hell no, you can’t do that” and they were talking with James about these fans trying to one up them as if they can get away with it. In my mind I was thinking, “dude, we can understand English around here.” Needless to say, when my turn came, I just handed him the tape to sign and walked out of there as fast as I could.
Yup, not a very good memory. But as I said, James Ingram is James Ingram. Not many people get that kind of up-close experience with an internationally renowned celebrity.
(Oh look at Agent P, not bitching and, instead, justifying an experience with a rude celebrity. What the heck just happened? I guess I’m just giving him a break, since he’s already passed on.)
Side note: Someone on Twitter said that at some point, all of us had an, “I did my best, but I guess my best wasn’t good enough” moment. For me and some of my Rain friends, it’s an “I did my VEST” moment. It’s quite funny reminiscing that at one point in our lives, we would listen to Just Once and think that it was James Ingram who was singing it all wrong.
Rest in Peace, Brian, Sir Pepe and Mr. Ingram. Thank you for the music.