Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More questions from email

Q: It’s nice to know of someone with such as passion for music and sports. Do you listen to anything outside rock music?
Rick: Yes, lots of genres – except for country music. Hearing that makes me violent. Hahaha. You’ve been warned. I love old stuff – I have all these Ella Fitzgerald and Gershwin Songbooks. Burt Bacharach albums. Glenn Miller. Music from a bygone era. I think it’s beautiful. There’s an innocence to it not heard in anything today. I’ve got lots of jazz stuff. On rare occasions I wasn’t at the East End catching all these alt and indie acts, I was at Washington Square listening to jazz and blues.

Q: You said you were in several bands, did you ever sing?
Rick: No. I was always and still am painfully shy about it. I can be given massive doses of confidence and I’d still sing back up but never lead. The closest I’ve done that was singing solo in church once because most of my choir mates didn’t show up so there only two of us – one to play the guitar and me to sing. God. That was embarrassing. Thankfully, hindi ako pumiyok. But I did one time during a retreat in our batch at the Salt and Light for Christ Catholic Community (at Santuario de San Antonio). Have a hard time sustaining the high notes. Hahahaha. Kaya I’d rather not sing. Maybe kaya if I do it all the time. Like I said, I’m shy about that. We didn’t live there but that’s where I was active for a while especially in the Outreach Ministry. I would be the one to arrange our songs when we’d perform during services or events. It was fun and I loved doing that. But that is something of the past. I’d rather do things from the back. Believe it or not, I’m still shy about a lot of things. I remember during our Freshman Night, I was one of the eight hosts and in my stage fright, I forgot the punchline to the joke. Gawd. Kakahiya. When I remembered I ran up to the stage and said it. Half the crowd laughed. Half booed. Hahahahaha.

After school, we’d practice at the Yamaha Studios in Greenhills or in this place along Roces Avenue were the landlady would always tell us to tone down the noise. Gawd, that old hag. Nag pa-rent ka pa ng jamming studio.

Man, those were the days! I tried wearing my hair long. Hahahaha. Isn’t that a ridiculous thought? I have pictures of myself with my hair really long. Hahahahaha. I even have this picture of me with actor Thomas Jane (of Punisher fame) and Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada and I look some refugee from My Chemical Romance. Hahahaha. I’ll never post that but if you ask me I can show it to you on my laptop. Hahahaha.

My dad was President of the Philippine Association of the Record Industry for more than two decades and that sort of explains how I got into music. We’d go everywhere from clubs at five star hotels to rock joints in Olongapo. I’ll never forget when we went to this club in Gapo by the name of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Their tag line was – Where we will rock your balls off. Hahaha. Then Mayor Dick Gordon who is a good friend of my pop would show us around but he couldn’t stand the loud stuff.

So I was surrounded with bands and music folk. It was common to find members of APO Hiking Society, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Jose Mari Chan, and many others at home.

Some memorable local shows – watching the Eraserheads in UP when no one knew about them. I thought they sucked. Hahahaha. They weren’t that polished yet and sounded terrible. The first time I ever saw heard Sugar Hiccup I was hanging outside Club Dredd with Buwi Meneses of Parokya ni Edgar when I heard someone hitting those high notes in a cover version of the Sundays’ “Here’s Where the Story Ends.” That was my introduction to Melody del Mundo and instantly became a fan of Sugar Hiccup. I later caught them at 70’s Bistro with Czandro Pollack singing all of Melody’s lines and he hit those high notes better! Imagine that.

When my brother’s band won the Battle of the Bands in UP, I was ecstatic. They were known as Usok and the Red Hot Chili Peppers heavily influenced them. Seeing they play at Dredd I was a proud kuya.

At that time I was busy bringing in Parokya and Datu’s Tribe to recording contracts. I did get to play one song at Dredd when there was a jam session of a bunch of us. That’s about it. End of career.

And Tropical Depression, Color It Red, Yano, Put3ska, I loved those bands and still have all the CDs.

I never continued that life because I really did not have the attitude for it. Strict ang parents ko. Hahahaha.

Q: You like a lot of sports and write about them. What is your favorite sport?
Rick: Football. My teams are Ateneo, Liverpool, the defunct New York Cosmos, Juventus, Barcelona, and France.

Q: You must have quite a collection of sports memorabilia and items. Is this correct?
Rick: Well, if defining a collection as having loads of books, mags, jerseys, and dvds – then yes. But actual items? A signed boxing glove with the autographs of Manny Pacquiao, Brian Viloria, and Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista, a football signed by all the Azkals that played in Panaad two years ago, a signed Yankees jersey of Jason Giambi, a poster with all the sigs of the 1998 Chicago Bulls, and a baseball that was fouled off by Alex Rodriguez… that’s it.

Q: Outside watching live games, what should sports fans experience? And what other sports events would you like to experience?
Rick: I think this is a tough one to answer because everyone has different tastes and favorite sports. But I have to admit that I was frightened when I went to Mexico. I was on Def Con alert at all times. We went to watch Mexican wrestling and that was an experience. Got by on pidgin Spanish. It helped that my friend Jorge is from Mexico.

An NFL tailgate party is something else. Watching European football on TV you can see how noisy, rowdy, or boisterous it can get. But when you see it live… Ateneo-La Salle cannot hold a candle to it by even a mile.

Having said that, I’m still hoping to watch Liverpool in Anfield, Barcelona at Camp Nou, Real Madrid at the Bernabeu (my friend Ish has been able to watch on several occasions and always has good seats), the Olympics – the Marathon, Men’s Basketball Finals, and track and field events. The FIFA World Cup of course. Watch Ana Ivanovic. Yeah.

Q: What in your opinion is the weakness of the sports scene here?
Rick: I think we’re too Westernized to think that our country can support a huge sports scene. Truth of the matter is we are not. It was only in the last 15 years where youth programs started to get big. We’re now big on starting them young but it cannot be seen as a career for most because there simply is no money in it.

Q: You’re not that big a fan of the PBA. Why so?
Rick: I used to say that it’s hard to follow the league because free agency, Fil-Ams and Fil-Shams, and too many SMC teams. Now… wag ko na lang sabihin. Basta. Fishy.

I do watch occasionally. Rare do I finish a game. I don’t follow it as religiously as the UAAP, NBA, EPL and other major football leagues, MLB, NHL, and NFL. I watch the V-League even more.

I’m not saying that it’s bad. It’s just not my cup of tea anymore. And that’s a bad analogy because I’m not a tea drinker. Hahahaha

I will follow the fortunes of Ginebra San Miguel this conference though.

Q: Aren’t you a die-hard Ginebra fan?
Rick: I was until the throat-slitting incident. It gradually declined and I started to root for Red Bull when they had Kerby, Rico, Davonn, Mick, Junthy etc. When management was selling its players I was disappointed then followed San Miguel. I was all set to give Siot Tanquincen props but then Game 7 of last conference happened. In the words of a veteran sports scribe, “We’ve been taken for a ride.”

Q: You’ve been writing about a lot of school teams but hardly do anything for La Salle. Do you hate them?
Rick: I do write about them from time to time. Maybe more when they change their coaching staff. But I’d rather that they keep their staff. Keep them I say. Please.

Q: Who are the best college basketball players you’ve ever seen?
Rick: That’s a lot. Hard to distill that into a small list. But from the time I’ve been watching here is a list: Allan Caidic, Jerry Codinera, Pido Jarencio, Jun Reyes, Danny Francisco, Jun Limpot, Johnny Abarrientos, Vic Pablo, I loved Bal David’s game with UST, Danny Ildefonso, Marlou Aquino (he had great games versus Limpot), Richie Ticzon, Mac Cardona, Mike Cortez, LA Tenorio, Arwind Santos, Jervy Cruz, and Chris Tiu to name a few. Dami eh. I’m sure sa list ko sobrang kulang.

Meron ka pang Bong Ravena. First year pa lang niya eh ang galing na talaga. He was pretty much unstoppable.

Q: What are some of your memorable UAAP moments?
Rick: Obviously the championships. But non-championship stuff:
- Vince Hizon scoring 44 points versus La Salle in a losing effort and Jun Limpot was asked what he thought of the Ateneo scoring machine and the DLSU center blurted out, “putangina ang galing!” That was hilarious!
- Marlou Aquino and Jun Limpot going against one another in the latter’s final year. It was a dunk fest on one another. La Salle won that if I am not mistaken.
- NU’s Cris Bolado putting back an Ateneo missed shot in Ateneo’s basket.
- UST going undefeated. 14-0. In the second round match between Ateneo and UST, Blue Eagles coach Baby Dalupan fell asleep on the bench during a Tigers blowout.
- Benjie Paras running out from the shaded area to block Romanito Roa’s three-point attempt. That said a lot about UP’s ’86 title.
- Kenneth Duremdes taking off from past the free throw line for a jam off a feed by Marlou Aquino at the post. The game was at the Blue Eagle Gym.
- The first time LA Tenorio executed that reverse corkscrew layup of his.
- Paolo Bugia dunking on Ronald Tubid, Paul Artadi, and one more UE Red Warrior. He missed the and-one.
- Pido and Allan shooting the daylights out of the Loyola Center.
- And the rumbles.
- That last UE-Ateneo game of 1986 were five of us Ateneans in the stands and on the floor at halftime with 5 La Sallians (3 of them were from the AHS). We got a standing ovation from both benches. Guidon photog Joseph Nocos snapped pictures of that. Five guys in blue and five guys in green. It was done again several times more but let's not anymore, okay?

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