Most people remember John Rendez as the companion or rumored boyfriend of Superstar Nora Aunor. An avid follower of the local hip-hop scene in the 1990s would know that John is the guy behind the song “Everybody Sayaw,” and the rap album “Metal Dog.”
Now, 18 years after releasing his maiden rap record which achieved modest success, the 41-year-old actor-rapper is back, “picking up where I left off.” At the press launch of his new album, “Metal Dog: There Can Only Be One (PolyEast Records),” John said he was giving show biz another shot with Nora as her manager.
“More than being her friend, I want to be recognized as a real artist,” John told the Inquirer. “I want to contribute to the local talent pool.”
Disgruntled and burned out, John cut short his music career in 1995. In 2001, he used his real name, John Robert Porter Jr., and came out with a revivals album, “Crossroads”—an unlikely follow-up to his angst-filled, all-original debut offering.
“I’m taking things more seriously,” said John, whose sound and style had been likened by fans to that of Everlast of the American hip-hop group House of Pain, as well as Rage Against the Machine.
His new album has 11 tracks, which include some of his older works, such as “Metal Dog” and “Coming to a Theater Near You,” as well as fresh compositions like “Under the Ground,” “No More Music By the Suckers,” and the carrier single, “There Can Only Be One.”
Asked about his career plans, John said in jest: “World domination!”
His comeback announcement came on the heels of the success of Nora and her film, “Thy Womb,” in international film fests. Given the timing, one might say that John was riding on the Superstar’s fame. That was not the case, he insisted. “I respect her too much to do that.”
Observers even suspect that John has been a bad influence on Nora. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, he insisted.
“I feel like I’ve been appointed by a higher power to be Ate Guy’s guardian. I watch over her and make her laugh,” he said. “I was there for her during her lowest and darkest days. I protected her from bad people. I may be outspoken and hot-tempered, but I’m a good person.”
John related that he first met Nora in 1991 in Subway disco in Manila where he used to work as a DJ. “She was with (film director) Elwood Perez; they were looking for someone to play a role in a movie they were doing, ‘The Real Life of Pacita M.’ There was a man who was rude to Ate Guy. I asked if she wanted me to beat him up. That was the start of me being her guardian.”
Their friendship led people to think that John and Nora were in a romantic relationship. John maintained there was “no such thing.” He mused that they might have been “brothers and sisters” in their past lives. “I feel we’ve always known each other. We’re friends, nothing more.”
They bickered like children sometimes, he confessed. “We’re like a dragon and a dog. Ate Guy’s the dragon, of course,” he said, laughing.
John revealed that he’s been separated from his former live-in partner for 10 years now. He has a 16-year-old daughter, Anna Cain (from Anakin Skywalker of “Star Wars”), who stays with her grandmother in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Was his closeness to Nora the reason for his failed relationship? “Not really,” John said. Though he did tell his partner, he said, that “if she couldn’t respect my friends, especially Ate Guy, we couldn’t stay together.”
John finds Nora kind, generous and selfless; that’s why he’s ecstatic about the 59-year-old actress’ career resurgence.
“She’s the best,” he said. “She’s the queen!”