Rene Garcia, co-founder of the Hotdog band, acclaimed composer, guitarist and vocalist, breathed his last early in the evening of Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018. He was 65 years old. The loss left Filipino music stunned. No more will his distinctive, fun time kind of singing be heard again. Six months later, it is still difficult to imagine hearing Manila or Bongga Ka Day without Rene’s vocals.
But such is life and all that remains now is for us to remember Rene and all that he was and what he accomplished. And that is what Hotdog intends to do. There will be a very special concert celebrating Rene’s life and music on the evening of Wednesday, March 27 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura, BGC. It is titled Hotdog Minus 1. Minus 1 because it will be the group’s first major performance without Rene.
The audience on that evening will be treated to the Hotdog songs that have endeared themselves to several generations of music lovers and which have instilled pride in the hearts of many Filipinos. Hotdog, after all, turned local music on its ear when it presented original songs as modern pop but with a true Filipino sensibility. The band led by the Garcia brothers, Dennis and the late Rene, made Filipino music pop very acceptable to the colonial-minded music buyers of the ‘70s.
Hotdog members through the years and the very talented present line-up topbill the show. So grab your tickets now and be ready for a rocking evening. As anybody who has ever attended a Hotdog concert will tell you, the band really rocks and gets everybody dancing and happy about the great music and the memories these bring.
Think Manila, Bongga Ka Day, Ikaw Ang Miss Universe Ng Buhay Ko, Annie Batungbakal, Behhh Buti Nga, O Lumapit Ka, Langit Na Naman, Ikaw Pa Rin, Bandang Pinoy, Sabado Nights, Rewind, Bitin Sa ‘yo, Dying To Tell You and many others. And not to forget the show will feature almost all of the female singers who were part of Hotdog and privileged to sing the classics Pers Lab and Panaginip.
But that is not all, Dennis, who is the prime mover of the event, has a really nice surprise for everybody. Hotdog Minus 1 will have a very special guest in the person of Boy Camara in his very first singing stint in a really long time. Some of you, readers, may ask, who is Boy Camara?
Who indeed is Boy Camara? I am sure the name rings a bell long and loud for all those who remember the music scene at the University of the Philippines back in the ‘70s, where Boy was the reigning singing heartthrob. The same goes, too, for those who recall the music scene of the time when the hangouts were either Rino’s or the Flames and Boy was the lead vocalist for bands like Chosen Few, Birth of the Cool and the Afterbirth.
Best of all, Boy played the title role in the first-ever local production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, with if I remember right, Maya Valdez as Mary Magdalene. The run of the show was so successful that it is still often talked about in theater circles. And Boy, who legend says originally wanted to be Judas, was perfect in the role. In fact, whenever his name comes up, the first association that comes to mind among Pinoys is Jesus Christ Superstar.
I wonder if Boy will join Hotdog in performing some originals. That would be nice. You see, Boy belongs to an earlier time, during which singers sang only foreign hits. He made very good covers of songs by The Beatles, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Don McLean and others but I have yet to hear him do originals. This is said not to degrade or demean his accomplishments in any way. That was the way things were during that time. The best and the most popular singers only sang foreign hits. Until Hotdog came along and changed Filipino music.
Find out how the change happened in Hotdog Minus 1, A Tribute Concert for Rene Garcia on March 27 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Bandang Pinoy Cooperative, which is dedicated to help old musicians with pressing health and financial issues.