Spotlight on Wolfgang
No other band has rocked as hard as these guys on stage. They are the cream of the crop when it comes to hard rock ! Ever since I first heard “Natutulog Kong Mundo” being played in the cassette player of our car many years ago, when I was still in grade school, it opened for me a whole new world of undertsanding of and appreciation for local rock.
At first, I thought that “Wolfgang” was a foreign band because at the time and at my very young age, it was my first time to hear local music that good. Their music sounded to me like a steam engine approaching that only got faster and faster, harder and harder, and closer and closer… it got the “blood pumping and the head bopping”!
I have always believed that the music of Wolfgang wasn’t only meant for our local shores but also for the international market as well. They were and still are that impressive. I have always considered Wolfgang to be the Pinoy version of Metallica. So much drive, so much desire, so much talent among the four members and they are truly one of a kind!
Sure, there were other hard rock acts at the time of their rise to prominence. But they were just so different and it was as if they were performing at a different level which catapulted them to fame. For years. I would still listen to my old Wolfgang records. I still have their album titled: “Semenelin” in cassete form and the compilation album “Volume” and their subsequent releases like “Villains” and their newest release entitled: ” Ang Bagong Dugo sa Lumang Ugat”. The latter is still available in record stores nationwide.
Quite often, I see Basti Artadi and Manuel Legarda around in the village or the nearby mall. As a kid, I would get a kick out of just being able to say “Hi” to them and to ask a quick question or two. And the feeling I would get from them is that they are appreciative of their fans. And from my own standpoint as a fan, they really have nothing more to prove at this stage of their careers.
They are Wolfgang! They cannot be compared to any other bands locally because their name alone puts them immediately in a league of their own. Now, after years of of listening to their music, chance encounters with them, indivdually, and just wishing that I could finally be in the position to interview these guys, I finally got the chance last night, January 11, 2013 before the start of their set at “The Grills” in the South area.
Here is my interview with Basti Artadi of Wolfgang:
INQ: Did you guys ever imagine that you would be still performing, doing gigs, interntational events, and releasing records till now?
Basti Artadi: No. It was never something that we went into this. We never thought like that. We never thought… We were always a “One day, …” type of thing. You know, “hope for the best” kind of… like of … That. And we have really been blessed . So, you know… Thank God for that, man. I am really blessed and lucky !
INQ: Who thought of the band’s name ? Is there any significance behind it ?
Basti Artadi: Well, it started as a joke. It was done by… we didn’t have any names and we were tossing names back and forth. We never had a good one, and it was Dave Aguirre who finally just came up and he said” Man, why don’t you call yourselves Wolfpack?” And I guess it was ‘tongue-in-cheek’ sort of, because he was kinda joking because of Wolf , uhmm.. and we were like, “Hmmm… ” you know, because of the whole look thing, but because we thought of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , and all of that. Yeah. And there! Most importantly was the way it flew or flowed off the tongue. It sounded good. It sounded it would be easy to remember, you know. So, there! That’s how we picked the name.
INQ: Starting out in the 90’s, did you guys have a favorite venue to perform at ?
Basti Artadi: Uhm, well we started out in “Weekends Live” which was great. And “Kalye” was always great. Uhm… so, there! I would say that, uhm, there were so many, and starting out in the 90’s, we really didn’t care. We were just happy to play and to play wherever we could play. So, you know, there! But our homebase was “Weekends Live”. So, it was always good to go back there because it was like… you know, our home and “Kalye” was like our second home. Because Razorback was there and we go there just to watch them. So, whenever we get the chance to play there, it would be great.
INQ: How different was the crowd in the 90’s compared to the present time ?
Basti Artadi: Well, now everbody sings. Well, a lot of people sing along with us. Uhmm… back in the 90’s, since we were starting out, you know … our songs… they really didnt know our songs that well. So, there! Man, its like crazy. People are singing, and doing all that stuff. A lot of it is just listening now, you know. But aside from that, it’s really not much of a difference. They are all great.
INQ: Who composes most of the songs? Is it a group effort, or is everyone assigned his own responsibilities in the band?
Basti Artadi: Well, the way we usually start out is… Manuel would come in with a riff, he’ll play something and everybody would just build on it. And then, I have lyrics that I complile… all these lyrics from all these things I have written… and I find the lyric or I would find the lyric that would match best to the music that they are putting together. But in the studio, a lot of it is taliking. Like… “Why don’t we do this?” , “Why dont we do that?”… it’s very open.
INQ: What was the band’s first hit and how did it feel to hear that song being played in the radio and that song becoming a crowd favorite?
Basti Artadi: A very undescribable feeling is hearing your song for the first time on the radio was…you can’t put it to words really how you feel inside when you hear it. Our first one would be, I think it was “Natutulog…” was the first one that started the ball rolling and that was awesome! I mean… when we heard it and it kept getting airplay, you know, which is a sign it is doing well. That was just great! It was phenomenal! And you hear the crowd singing it back at you for the first time… while you are playing it on stage… is something else. It was really, really an undescribable feeling and then we released “Halik Ni Hudas” and everything just went up like a step more than “Natutulog…” was doing. It was even crazier. I think “Natutulog…” started it, but “Halik…” turned the fire up to 20!
INQ: What does being in this band mean to you?
Basti Artadi: Well, its everything. It’s half my life practically, you know. It’s not half my life, it’s more than half my life. Well, kinda half, almost half my life. Well, yeah, it’s everything…it’s what I grew up with, it’s what kept me going. It’s what feeds my children, it’s everything.
INQ: To all those who have children, do your kids listen to the songs of “Wolfgang” and are they also musically inclined?
Basti Artadi: I don’t know, they are only 2 years old. So, I don’t know if they are musically inclined yet. They listen to it, they hear… you know, when they hear me practicing. Or like in the room, when I’m singing in my little office thingy. Uhmm.. you know, they bop their heads up and down and all of that, you know. So, I dont know if they are musically inclined or not. But I do hope they are.
INQ: What is the most endearing quality of each band member ? What do you like the most?
Basti Artadi: What I like about this band, and the individuals, is that we’re all in this for the band. you know. We know nobody’s got an ego. Nodody thinks they are better than the other one. Uhmm.. and everybody just works for what the band needs to do and we do what we have to do for the band and for each other, of course. I think that is one of the greatest things. It’s also what kept us together so long, its the fact that there’s no egos. No one thinks they are the s***. And all of that ! You really have to get along with each other because you’re with each other a lot of the time.
INQ: If you could think of the legacy of “Wolfgang” to OPM and not only to local rock, what would it be?
Basti Artadi: Ohh s*** , man ! Uhmm… Well, I would like to be remembered… I would like our legacy as a band that… you know, we uhmm… We put out good music, thought-provoking music. Uhmm… I mean, there…! The legacy will definitely be the music. That’s definitely it! It’s going to be the music. Hopefully, the music is one that is inspiring, is thought provoking, you know… that is not run-of-the-mill, everyday stuff , that you would hear, you know. If you want something that is not like anything else, then listen to our s***! You know, hopefully that would be it. And hopefully, the young ones still pick up on it long time even after we’re gone.
INQ: Did you guys ever imagine that you would this “big” and one of the most recognized and beloved bands in our country?
Basti Artadi: No. It’s like the… it’s like a reverse question, it’s like… No, we never thought like that. But we hoped, of course… you’re like hoping, but we… None of us imagined it would be like this…
INQ: What motivates and inspires the band to make original music?
Basti Artadi: Yeah.. Its our identity, that’s… that’s why we got into music. Not just to play music. Not just to play other people’s music. But to play our own music and express ourselves and.. You know, we started out as kids, man! And the number one thing you wanna do when you’re a kid is release all that s*** you got going inside right so… That’s it! That’s why we started writing music. That’s why we still write music.
INQ: Do you guys see yourselves performing 10 years from now ?
Basti Artadi: Yeah, why not? I dont see an end to it. Not right now.
INQ: If you could choose to perform with any band, active or inactive, local or foreign, which band would that be?
Basti Artadi: S*** … Maiden! So that I can just watch them again. Pearl Jam … I would love to f****** play with Pearl Jam. Uhmmm… I dont know. Megadeath, anyone f***!
INQ: If you could relive any moment or specific event as a band, which would that be ?
Basti Artadi: “Alive” 20… uuhh.. the first reunion concert “Alive”… 2010 I think, it was. No. it was 2007. That was in 2007. That show was awesome ! Ahh.. Cebu, Sinulog back in 90 something. That was a great moment, too! Uhmm…
INQ: Is there any unforgettable or funny moment you experienced while performing?
Basti Artadi: There so many, man! Uhmm.. I had a snake thrown at me one time. And we played in places where there were riots! And we didn’t know how to get out of the place. You know, it’s just one of the things going when you play in a Rock N’ Roll band, man! There’s so much, you know… stuff that goes on that is solid. Uhmm… it’s really hard to just mention one.
INQ: What does Wolfgang mean to you ? What does it stand for?
Basti Artadi: It would be memories, Wow! I would probably flashback like hell to all the stuff . Yeah!
Like I said earlier, it’s everything to me right now. So, you know, it’s going to be everything to me then, too! Not naman more than my kids or my wife. But you know what I mean.
INQ: Are there any gigs that you wish to promote ? Any international events?
Basti Artadi: We’re going to play in Singapore… on Feb. 3. We’re going to be doing that with Razorback. We’re going to be playing in Qatar and Dubai on the 7th and the 8th (Febuary). Dubai on the 7th. Qatar on the 8th. And wherever we are, if you guys see our name on some place or hear about it, go watch!
INQ: What is your message to your loyal fans who have supported you for the last 20 years?
Basti Artadi: Thank you so much! I have nothing to… no other words to say…I can’t describe the feeling but you guys are the best! and I know how lucky I am that you guys like our music and you support us ! Thank you so much for that!
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.