Ten years ago, back when Shamrock vocalist Marc Tupaz was just starting to feel his way into the music industry and trying to set up his own band, his close friend Wency Cornejo advised him to stop singing—and that he should study more about music, or there was no point doing it at all.
“Wency has always been tough, and his criticism always shook me. But it made me want to do better and strive harder,” Marc said in a recent interview with Inquirer. “It was harsh, but it was also the most valuable piece of advice he had given me.”
Added Marc: “I wanted to prove him wrong.”
He did exactly that, three years later, when Wency—once popularly known as the front man of the pop-rock band After Image—heard him singing a track from Shamrock’s debut album, “Are You Serious,” live on radio.
“He called me, and said, ‘Was that really you?” Marc recalled. “He couldn’t believe it.”
After releasing three albums, the four-member Shamrock—composed of Marc (vocals), Sam Santos (bass), Harald Huyssen (drums) and Nico Capistrano (guitars)—felt it was the right time to pay tribute to its “greatest influence and mentor.” The band has come out with “Legacy” (Viva Records), an all-covers CD that features some of the biggest hits Wency had written in his career.
“We wanted to surprise him, and see what he thinks of our take on his songs,” Marc said. But more than that, the band also wanted to spread the word that Wency deserves to be called an icon for his contributions to the local music scene, especially during Afterimage’s peak in the early 1990s.
The 10-track album includes classic youth anthems such as “Mangarap Ka,” “Tag-Araw,” “Tag-Ulan” and “Next In Line.” Other songs plucked from Wency’s 82-song discography are “Finding It Hard to Breathe,” “Musikero,” “Walang Hanggan,” “Habang May Buhay,” “Bai” and “Magpakailanman.”
Though the songs pretty much retained their original vibe, Shamrock put its own spin into them by incorporating louder and edgier guitars. Songs like “Mangarap Ka” and “Tag-Araw” sound more robust. “Magpakailanman” feels more upbeat. And in “Bai,” a rap section is included near the song’s end.
But the band’s version of “Walang Hanggan” is probably its best. Instead of the wistful piano and strings that accompanied the original, Shamrock has a warmer and intimate acoustic version. Marc’s vocals, which sounds eerily similar to Wency’s, mix well with Cooky Chua’s raspy tone.
Drummer Harald Huyssen said that the band’s strength in arranging was its flexibility. “We adapt pretty well to doing revivals because we don’t force the preconceptions we have about the songs,” he explained. “We work organically. We let the material define the arrangement.”
He added: “We didn’t want to just update Wency’s songs; we wanted to do something completely different. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is to let our music speak to the people. If we could do that in this album, then our job’s done.”
Asked if he’s interested to collaborate with Wency on a new project, Marc said, laughing: “That would be interesting. (But) he’s too much of a dictator, and that won’t work! We’re not going to be writing songs with Wency—it’s going to be Wency writing the songs for us!”
The band owes a chunk of its success to composing or lending its existing songs as themes of various drama series on GMA7, such as “Sana” and “Nandito Lang Ako” (“Captain Barbell”) and “Hold On” (“Jumong”). The band’s members admitted that their presence wasn’t as strong on music videos, and that was something they were looking forward to working on in the future.
As for Shamrock’s future plans, Marc said that “they’ll go wherever their compositions take them.”
But one thing’s for sure, he added: “We won’t change our sound just to follow trends.”