He was just misquoted. That’s what Itchyworms guitarist-vocalist Jugs Jugueta thinks about talks that Vice Ganda is leaving Showtime, where he has been a mainstay for 10 months.
The outspoken Jugs should know. He has been co-hosting the ABS-CBN morning variety show for quite some time now.
“It’s not true that Vice is leaving the show,” states Jugs. “What he said is that he doesn’t know when he will return to Showtime because he doesn’t know yet when he’ll take a break from it.”
Jugs doesn’t feel good about Vice’s — or anyone’s — absence from the show.
“Sino mang matanggal sa show, malaking mawawala,” he explains. He adds that this is because the hosts already have chemistry.
Still, he realizes no one is indispensable. The group, a newbie in the ways of showbiz, thinks the star system is no fool-proof guarantee of staying power.
“The show will go on, even if they take all of us out. The show is not about us, but the performances.”
Jugs performs with fellow band members Chino Singson (guitars and vocals), Jazz Nicolas (drums and vocals) and Kelvin Yu (bass and vocals) every Friday alongside Rocksteddy, on the show.
The regular appearances have given Itchyworms’ career a shot in the arm. Chino notes an upsurge in invites to perform in gigs and corporate shows.
Jazz recounts an incident when a traffic policeman accosted him on the road for “beating the red light.” Jazz’s repeated denials didn’t work. What ended the argument was Jazz’s admission that he’s part of the band the policeman admires so much in Showtime.
“It worked like magic,” Jazz recalls. “The policeman suddenly softened up and said, `Idol kita!”
Spurred on by this popularity, the band has just released its third album, Self-Titled under Sony Music Entertainment. The album, with its all-original tracks, is a shot in the arm for a music industry wallowing in a sea of covers.
Suplado Ka Pala sa Personal, the newest single off the album takes a humorous jab at “artists and famous personalities who seem one way in public and another in private.” The band came up with the song after they saw disappointed fans outside the studio telling the stars, “Suplado ka pala sa personal!”
The song’s video is frequently aired on MYX and Channel V.
The band is sure they’re not the object of the fans’ ire. Not when they make it a point to make friends with the studio audience.
“We don’t take ourselves seriously,” says Kelvin.
Besides, the band derives their songs from the common tao’s life. Their hit song, Beer, is as Pinoy as can be.
“People can identify with beer,” Jugs reasons out. “When you’re happy, you drink beer. When you’re sad, you drink beer. That’s why we think it’s a good theme for our song.”
Ironically, Jules, the song’s composer doesn’t drink beer.
“My tummy hurts when I take it,” he admits.
The other cuts go back to the basics as well: Penge Naman Ako N’yan, Bugbog-Sarado, Gusto Ko Lamang sa Buhay, and others.
The band members have been solid as a rock ever since they grouped together 14 years ago in the Ateneo de Manila college campus. Those were the days of Imago, Kamikazee, Sugarfree and Sandwich, when bands kowtowed to recording labels as their key to fame and fortune.
Internet and digital downloading were not even a glint in a music lover’s eyes. CDs and albums were making oodles of money for artists.
“Back then, recording companies dictated everything that was to come out in the CD,” recalls Jugs. Today, digital technology has sent album sales spiraling down, down, down.
“Anyone can make an album at home and you don’t need a label as well. My Space and the Internet can make you popular,” observes Jugs.
“That’s why we’re happy we got recognized before piracy and downloading became rampant.”
These twin problems will not keep Itchyworms from playing music, though. The sudden rise of solo artists left them practically jobless at one time. But they soldiered on.
“We know how it is to play for free, or for only a honorarium just to get the exposure we needed,” says Chino. But they never quit the game.
“That’s because we love what we’re doing,” Jazz reasons out.
They also have to be practical and have a fallback. And for that, they thank their college education. Chino has a day job, Kelvin owns a 7-11 store in Pasig and Jazz writes commercials
But music remains their one true love. It has kept them together — through thick and thin. Lately, it has even turned them into new hosts of JAM’s 88.3’ s Jam Sessions (aired every Sunday).
In between their new Sunday habit, the band will perform at People’s Park, Davao on Aug. 21; Rizal Technological University, Mandaluyong City, Aug. 27; Cagayan de Oro, Aug. 28; and the Awit Awards, Aug. 30.
It’s been a long way since their college days, when gigs were hard to come by, and their debut album contained purely English songs (“Coño kami ’non,” says Jugs).
Itchyworms is now reaping the fruits of its labor. Its music continues to play loud and clear to a generation of Internet and iPod lovers. And all because the band stuck to its guns, even when the battle seemed lost, and there was no other way to go but out.
Incoming search terms:
- beer itchyworms composer
- jugs itchyworms
- the big loser asia red