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Sheila and the Insects

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ARTICLES ON STARTING YOUR OWN ROCK BAND
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Cebu music's golden age
Handuraw farewell
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The killing time
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Sex, drugs & rock 'n roll
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Mao caps and shaved heads
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The greener grass
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On band etiquette
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Official etymology/who's Sheila?
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The death of indie
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Addendum: recalculation
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Reason for being
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Ian Zafra mugged
Of chicken holes...
Eight
Doing Disco
Local, vocal, proud?
Killing the disco
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READ OPENING ENTRY
My most hated band

WHAT THEY SAY
ABOUT THE BAND

"I didn't like the name but it doesn't matter. They played great band music."
- Nina Araknida
Sunstar, Flip / September 15, 2002

"Few rock bands in town could stand at the crossroads of a dynamic and evolving music scene and knock down the high walls that divide music genres and audiences with as much success as Sheila and the Insects. "
- Ronald P. Villavelez
Yup!, Issue 1.03 / November 2001

"Sheila & The Insectsí music is new wave-influenced post-punk rock music that is considerably heavy yet still melodic "
- Cris O. Ramos Jr.
The Manila Times / May 31, 2003

"What does an indie band do with the oft-maligned mix of rock and new wave? In the case of Cebu-based Sheila and the Insects, plenty."
- Ganns Deen
PULP , PulpReviews / Issue 13, March 2001




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THIS MONTH'S LYRICS
Softly
Sheila and the Insects
Originally by Apo Hiking Society


:: Download SATI version ::
:: Original Apo version ::
Written by Jim Paredes

Softly, as the morning sun
Comes through my window pane
Thoughts come to me
Memories of you fill my mind and I smile

So gently, and my world transforms
Into a merry carousel
Turning me round
Bringing me back to the place where I found ...

You there, time could have stood still and then
We'd spend all our moments to share
The dreams that we've known sometime, somewhere

And as, we go through the days
Remembering the love we made
I know that you'll stay
Bringing me more than what mere words can say

I know, that time can stand still and then
We'd spend all our moments to share
The dreams that we've known sometime, somewhere.

I know, that time can stand still and then
We'd spend all our moments to share
The dreams that we've known sometime, somewhere.

Notes:
This song appears in the album The Best of Kami nAPO Muna 2CD+DVD.



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Tuesday, October 11, 2005
On Mao caps and shaved heads

I became a member of a band quite by accident. It wasnít some pre-pubescent fantasy that drove me to pick up an electric guitar. When I was a kid, my standard answer to the query what do you want to be when youíd grow up was that I wanted to be a scientist. I actually remember fantasizing boiling colored chemicals in my own basement lab with a multi-armed robot as an assistant. Please donít laugh.

I think it was all some freakish twist of fate that I ended up where I am: the lead vocalist for Sheila and the Insects.

Point of fact, when I was invited by Ian to join the band, the first and only band I had ever been part of until now, I couldnít sing shit and I couldnít play the guitar to save my life. I remember back then, I had somehow managed to learn the harmonica albeit crudely but that was it. The singing I did if you could call it that, was merely a weak offshoot of the vocalization exercises in grade school music class where the only motivation to sing well and on key was to avoid catching the teacherís attention. I never did master the scales then but I did become very proficient at lip-syncing.

In short, I had little talent nor potential to speak of if at all. The only reason, I learned much later, why Ian thought I should front his band was because he thought I was tall enough. Simply put, he just didnít want his 6 foot lanky frame to stand out too much on stage. Probably a minor motivation was that he thought I had the right voice quality he was looking for: baritone with good enough diction. Never mind that I had never picked up a microphone other than to deliver political speeches in campus. Never to sing.

And thatís another thing. As a very visible student leader, (I was the student council president in college) and student activist back then, I didnít exactly evoke Ďrock coolnessí. Imagine loose batik polo shirts and a Mao cap as part of my daily wardrobe. And donít get me started on my footwear then. If I was playing in a world music band, it would have been almost agreeable, yet far from it, we were actually playing covers of mostly British new wave acts. I was totally clueless. Worse, I didnít know it. Then again, isnít that what clueless means.

But I decided anyway that Iíd give it a try. I jammed and pretty much made a fool of myself and the band on our first few outings. On our early gigs, half the audience must have been snickering while the other half, probably couldnít figure out if we were serious or trying to be funny. I sucked, period, and I know this for a fact because I still have tapes of our old recordings. One of these days, Iím going to sneak out to the dirty kitchen and burn all of them once and for all lest they slip into the hands of blackmailers. Ah, but did we have fun back then. We all thought we were the greatest undiscovered band in the whole world. Yes we sucked and we hadnít a care in the world, and we stuck it out.

The years went by quickly enough. Along the way, I learned a few crude things about the workings of the guitar fretboard enough for me to construct chords, compose licks and, eventually, to write songs. Surprisingly, I also improved my singing slowly but surely enough that I worried less and less about flying tomatoes. False or otherwise, my confidence grew.

Now, years later, we have a fourth album available in stores all over the Philippines. Our songs are being played on radio and our videos are in rotation in music channels. Weíre not rich but believe it or not, we actually have fans now. I guess I turned out ok.

Maybe in the end, it was the right attitude that made all the difference. No matter how much we sucked, we never did quit. Back then, it wasnít about making a hit song or showing off killer guitar moves on stage. It was all just about having a good time. It still is for us. I think thatís why weíve lasted this long. 13 years in the same band is a long time, right?

Now, is there a lesson in all this? There could be. Hereís my take on all this: Life turns up so many unexpected junctions down the road. You make a left and you could end up in a rock band; or you make a right and you could end up the president of the republic. But rather than doing the right thing for the wrong reason and becoming a politician, isnít it better to do the wrong thing for the right reason to end up a musician?

Posted at 12:47 am by bisoy

pimpSis
October 14, 2005   07:32 AM PDT
 
height is the main criteria when ian recruits for band members-- if the rest of the band is way shorter than he is, there is a greater likelihood that a photographer misses his head during photo-shoots (yup, we know he is vain like that).

'soy you did sing run-samson-run and 'inspector mills' in our classroom in gradeschool! ngyahahhahahaahahaha. and there i was, wishing i'd be a rockstar (didn't occur to me one needs to sing or play an instrument)-- and now here i am, a scientist of sorts.

good to know you're back JAI!!! yey!!
ian zafra
October 14, 2005   04:11 AM PDT
 
hahaha! funny prozacstinator. i would've been a bass player myself. i like bass better than my axe right now but i got the role by circumstance. unfortunately it stuck. by the way, Jai's back!
prozacstinator
October 12, 2005   08:54 PM PDT
 
ehehe... all i fantasized when i was younger was to be a kick-ass bass player. i love guitars, but guitars dont love me. most of the time i feel rather helpless w/o an instrument at hand when we perform. and being "not visually stimulating" makes me feel uneasy as the lead vocals. nakikita ko kasi mga female lead ang gaganda't HOT! tapos ako, ewwww... scary!(wala share lang)
ian zafra
October 12, 2005   11:27 AM PDT
 
yes and no... yes it's the band THE END that prompted us to change our name to Sheila and the Insects. and No because it's a different band having the same name as our previous.
ken
October 12, 2005   06:07 AM PDT
 
hey, question...about the band (The End) you were refering to in the previous post, was it the alt/punk band in the mid-90's...i like that band..though their songs were underplayed there in Bcol back in H.S days..
ken
October 12, 2005   06:01 AM PDT
 
wow...cge i'll just hunt for one..thanx..i think you sound punk/new wave based-modern rock!!!astig..good luck!!!
ian zafra
October 12, 2005   04:34 AM PDT
 
hello, ken. i think it's also sold in record stores in manila.
ken
October 12, 2005   04:30 AM PDT
 
guys, where can i buy the re-issued Manipulator album?
 

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