Unless you're living under a rock, you would know who the Eraserheads are. The four-member ensemble, consisting of Ely Buendia, Raymund Marasigan, Marcus Adoro, and Buddy Zabala, was formed in the era of cassette tapes but continues to make waves on streaming apps today.
The Filipino alternative rock band made headlines once again after they announced their upcoming reunion concert, titled "Huling El Bimbo," this week.
As you wait for their much-awaited comeback, PhilSTAR L!fe give you a glimpse of how E-Heads started and continue to soar in the music industry – from meeting in their college days in 1989 until they announced their concert that is set to happen in December 2022.
1989: The Prelude
The story of how Eraserheads was brought to life is similar to love stories we have heard or watched where two people cross paths and that moment became one of the turning points of their lives. In E-heads’ case, it is the band's former groups whom the universe fated to meet.
In 1989, two college bands at the University of the Philippines Diliman collided when Sunday School member Buendia, whose co-members became too unstable, posted an audition ad on the university's bulletin board. Subsequently, the Curfew, which is composed of freshmen students Marasigan, Adoro, and Zabala, auditioned and were eventually accepted.
After the audition, these two bands decided to become a new group which they named “Eraserheads” inspired by David Lynch’s horror film Eraserhead.
The newly formed student band made covers and play rounds of gigs at various local universities. Not long after, they realized that it is better if they will start writing their original music. This gave birth to one of their legendary songs entitled “Pare Ko” which gave them their first taste of mainstream success.
Then, in January 1991, the band recorded a nine-song demo tape and distributed it to record labels, clubs, and radio stations in the hopes that their music would be heard by the public. They were, however, turned down at every turn, with one recording label claiming that their tape was "not pop enough."
Thankfully, in May 1991, with the help of their Humanities professor and friend Robin Rivera, they re-recorded and mixed better versions of their demo tracks on a four-track DAT recorder. Then, they named this new demo ‘Pop-U!’ as a form of sarcastic response to those who shunned them.
Are you familiar with the hit songs “Walang Hiyang Pare Ko”, “Toyang”, "Tindahan ni Aling Nena", and “Ligaya”? Well, these are some of the featured songs on Eraserheads’ debut album called Ultraelectromagneticpop! which was first released in July 1993.
This album was released under BMG Records, which dropped 5,000 copies of the album. As the tracks "Ligaya," "Pare Ko," and "Toyang" dominated the charts, the album became a roaring success for E-heads. By the end of the year, BMG prosperously sold 300,00 copies of the album and Ultraelectromagneticpop! turned sextuple platinum.
A year after Ultraelectromagneticpop!’s release, Eraserheads swiftly dropped their follow-up album titled Circus in October 1994. Like Ultraelectromagneticpop!, several tracks in this album became smash hits that are still popular even to Pinoy Gen Zers. These legendary songs are "Kailan", "Magasin", "Alapaap" and "With a Smile.”
E-Heads also shared that this album is a portrayal of their lives since their successful debut, as Circus gives listeners a roller coaster of emotions with its songs that vary in style and mood – from ecstatic and uproarious to soft and gloomy.
Not long after, Circus became a staple in cassette players and home stereos with 20,000 copies sold nationwide, The album eventually became quintuple platinum with 200,000 copies sold.
“Kamukha mo si Paraluman, nung tayo ay bata pa…” Whatever generation you belong to, chances are high that you know this iconic line from Eraserhead's "Huling El Bimbo." This song is one of the hit tracks of E-Heads' third album titled Cutterpillow.
Cutterpillow was released in December 1995 and produced another batch of smash hits like “Overdrive”, “Huwag Mo Nang Itanong”, and “Ang Huling El Bimbo.” According to a report by GMA News, the album was certified 11x Platinum by the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI), with over 400,000 units sold in the country.
After the release of their top-selling album Cutterpillow, Eraserheads unlocked their fourth and Christmas album Fruitcake. This is the first and only album that Eraserheads recorded entirely in English.
1997: Sticker Happy
Released in September 1997, E-heads’ fifth studio album, Sticker Happy, is a fusion of diverse themes. For instance, in some of the tracks, the music begins with a vibrant melody that builds to a slow and hypnotic theme. Some of the famous tracks included in this album are “Spolarium”, “Kaliwete”, and “Hard to Believe”.
Known as Eraserheads' album with a more mature and somber tone, Natin99 is composed of another set of notable songs such as “Huwag Kang Matakot”, “Maselang Bahaghari”, “Salamin”, and “68 Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue.” The album’s name ‘Natin99’ is a wordplay of 1999 which is the year of its release.
2001: Carbon Stereoxide
The album before the goodbyes. Carbon Stereoxide is Eraserheads’ seventh and final album which was released in March 2021. Some said that this album might be a hint of the time when the four members had started to have musical differences and conflicts due to the heavy emotions or intense vibe that the tracks produced. Some of the hits included in this album are “Maskara”, “Hula”, and “How Far Will U Go.”
Stories, even how beautiful they are, have their endings. The band that had crossed paths during their college days back in 1989 officially split up in the year 2002. After Eraserheads' main vocalist and songwriter Ely Buendia quit the band, it was confirmed that the famous 90’s band disbanded.
In a May 2021 podcast, Buendia revealed that their reason for breaking up was that they weren't friends in the first place, unlike other OPM bands.
“I was kind of sick of fans saying 'you're friends, you shouldn't have [broken] up.' They made us feel bad and I was sick of that,” he said. "That's why we broke up. I mean we weren't Itchyworms, we weren't Parokya ni Edgar."
2008: The Reunion Concert
Finally, after their group’s 2002 break-up, the four band members reunited onstage in 2008. Unfortunately, the concert was cut short due to Buendia’s sudden chest pain that required him to be rushed to the hospital. Fans and the members themselves said that this reunion concert is “bitin” and wished to have a part two.
2009: The Final Set
In March 7, 2009, Eraserheads held its second reunion concert titled ‘The Final Set’ which, from the title itself, concluded their previous concert that was cut short. At that time, the band also announced that this would be their last performance as a group. The sold-out concert was attended by approximately 100,000 people at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.
2022: Huling El Bimbo Reunion Concert
View this post on Instagram
Fans were in euphoria as the legendary 90’s Filipino boyband Eraserheads officially announced on Monday, September 19, 2022, that they will be reunited again onstage for their ‘Huling El Bimbo’ concert on December 22 at the SMDC Festival Grounds. The group has yet to announce the show's details and ticket prices as of writing.