BASS players who happen to sing and write songs are few and far in between. Count The Youth’s Robert Javier among them.
We caught up with Robert recently and we found out he is now busy doing production work for popular noontime show “Eat Bulaga.”
He also teaches songwriting at the Meridian International.
Not that he has quit the group.
According to Robert, he is still very much part of The Youth.
“I’m actually looking forward to playing 30 more years with them,” he says.
In any case, The Youth will be releasing new music this year, just in time for the 25th anniversary of their groundbreaking debut “Album Na Walang Pamagat.”
Sadly, guitarist-vocalist Alfredo “Dodong” Cruz will not be part of the ride.
Robert would rather not discuss the whys and hows of Dodong’s departure but he is happy to share they found a replacement in Marquel “Macmac” Martin.
Of course, Joseph “Erap” Carrasco, will still be hitting the skins for the band.
“Since I first heard of the Beatles, Velvet Underground, Joy Division and some punk/new wave classics, I never turned my back on music,” says Robert, a multi-instrumentalist who also plays guitar, drums, and a little keyboard. He is entirely self-taught.
About their classic hits, he says, “’Yung ‘Multong Bakla’ is a very misunderstood song. It has nothing to do with homosexuality at all. Ang ‘Anak Ka Ng Ina Mo’ is basically about addiction in all its forms, shapes, and sizes, while ‘Laruan,’ ‘Kapag Nagunaw Ang Mundo,’ and ‘Tao Po’ deals with the obstacles and challenges musicians encounter on their way.”
Robert credits The The and some obscure New Wave tune as inspirations in coming up with his memorable bass line in “Multong Bakla” as with “Takbo.”
Asked what he thinks of today’s music scene, Javier quoted the title of a popular Celine Dion, “It’s All Coming Back To Me.”
“Not taking anything from the new set of musicians, but I bet some of them will agree the most innovative elements in today’s music were already heard decades ago…Déjà vu.”
As for bass guitars, Javier prefers to play 4-string variants. “I use the 5 or 6 whenever I jam or borrow from others who are on the same bill as us,” he says.
“When it comes to bass effects & stuff, I’ve done it all, tried them all. From having my bass wired with keychains to cellphone oscillation to having a doubleneck that nearly gave me scoliosis,” he adds.
According to Robert, The Youth has no practice routine. “May sumpa sa amin ang practice. We always play worse than when we haven’t practice at all,” he says.
With today’s technology wide and open, Javier encourages aspiring musicians to try to experiment and absorb what’s around them but at the same time, avoid copying others. “Just be yourself,” Robert says. (WAKU SAUNAR)