Wency’s takeaway from the ’90s music scene
I fondly call Wency Cornejo “Mr. Malone.” That came about when we were in Dubai, with True Faith for their concert because he kept looking for a certain scent—the Joe Malone perfume. I get a kick out of coining pet names for friends who are dear to me. And Wency is one of them. It’s always a delight being around him. Wency talks sense, yet he’s also game for some silly fun.
Aside from being kindred spirits, Wency and I have something else in common. Our mothers are both “superwomen.” Stepping out of their shadow is no easy task. But Wency has come into his own. He’s proven that there’s more to him than being the son of veteran broadcast journalist Mel Tiangco.
To kick off 2020, Wency (of Afterimage) is mounting a concert, featuring him, Jett Pangan (The Dawn), Dong Abay (Yano) and Basti Artadi (Wolfgang) aptly called “‘90s Frontmen Acousticized.” It will be on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 8 p.m. at the Music Museum. Join them and recapture the cool ‘90s vibe. As Wency’s signature song “Habang May Buhay” goes, he will keep singing his heart out to take his audience where they want to go.
Here’s my chat with Wency:
What made you decide to produce “’90s Frontmen Acousticized”?
It was supposed to be a regular show in the ‘90s series of concerts I’ve been producing the past years, with Cooky Chua as the lone female performer, but she couldn’t do it coz she already planned a vacation on the dates of the show, so we were left with four guys.
It dawned on me to go on with just us and call it “Frontmen” since we are/were all the lead vocalists of our respective bands. The idea was quite intriguing to me because it gave me an instant theme for the show. It’s exciting because never have the four of us been on the same stage at once. For a change, we will be doing acoustic versions of our hit songs. It’ll be rock and roll in a more intimate setting.
What makes the ’90s OPM scene different from the way it is today? I think it would be arrogant of me to say that music was better during our time, but I am extremely proud to have come from an era highly regarded as a golden age for Filipino band music. I’ve always believed that each generation of musicians offers something different to the audience. I am quite ecstatic that OPM is thriving at the moment.
How do you handle creative differences with Basti, Dong and Jett? Truth be told, we have not had any major creative difference so far. Let’s see once we get to actual rehearsals (laughs).
What makes this particular collaboration work? I can sum it up with two words: mutual respect. And it’s not just with the Frontmen. It applies to most of the ’90s artists I have worked with. I guess we have become mature enough to let egos take a back seat. What’s a misconception about “living the rock star life”? That discipline is not needed. Even Mick Jagger at 76 years old still trains and maintains a rigid schedule to be able to perform at peak levels.
What matters more to you, lyrics or melody? It depends on what it is you want to achieve with a song. A catchy melody with inane lyrics (think “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”) can make you famous, but pair a beautiful melody with thought-provoking words (think “Yesterday”), then you become legendary.
What advice of your mom do you find hard to follow? Stop smoking (laughs). But I’m using a smoking cessation device at the moment, so let’s see where that goes.
In what ways are you and your mom alike and different? We’re both quite stern when it comes to work. The biggest difference is, she is so “masinop,” while I’m sort of a scatterbrain. She loves dogs. I’m a cat person. We both love steak. She doesn’t like pasta, but loves pancit. I don’t like pancit, but could live on pasta. I’m a bit of a techie, while she’s technologically challenged. The list could go on and on.
What’s your take on lip-synching? It serves a purpose. We used to do it all the time during TV promos for our singles back in the day when shows didn’t have live setups for bands. Nowadays, it’s quite the norm to do everything live.
If you would compose a song about your life story, what would the title be? This is a very thought-provoking question. I think I would write an entire series of musicals, rather than just one song because I don’t think a single song can encompass everything I have experienced in my 50-plus years on this plane of existence. INQ
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