In fine company
seventeen years on the scene, and The Blue Jean Junkies are tighter than ever. Despite numerous personnel changes and a few personal hiccups , Nino Mendoza (vocals, guitars), Nathan Manansala (guitars), Miggy Matute (bass), and Niko Dinglasan (drums)—the band’s lineup since 2008—are still rocking the scene and rolling with the times. The question is, can they keep up the pace? How is the band doing, especially with Nino’s return (from rehab)? Miggy: Now, we rehearse, we gig all the time. We talk every day, we see each other more often. As a result, I guess we’re tighter as a band. Nathan: Nagkaroon ng break between 2012 to 2014. Parang one gig in three months, tapos hindi man lang nagyayayaan. sometimes we'd gig without practicing, we didn’t make plans that would stretch for more than a week. Niko: There’s more direction now. What has become of rock and roll from the time the group was founded? Niko: Konti lang ngayon yung rock and roll spirit, kumbaga people are playing it safe. Konti lang yung may edge... Nathan: ...yung element of danger! That’s why we need guns 'N’ Roses back! Ha ha! I think rock and roll as I know it is still around, but the bands that play with that kind of spirit aren’t so popular anymore. The music business tends to focus on what’s in right now. If anything, the sound itself has evolved massively through the years. Nino: Definitely growing, definitely more complex. Rock and roll is an attitude... First it’s fun, which becomes work that you can’t live without. you say rock should be simple. Do you think technology did good or bad to the music? Miggy: Feeling ko both. For one, there’s great music out there that exists, by artists who don’t want to perform live. But we get to enjoy their music because they share online. Negatives include pag pumunta ka ng concert, lahat naka-cellphone na, which I think takes away from the experience. People enjoy music differently now. Nino: Yeah, before it used to be mosh, and people just like got stoned. Or when Robert Plant of led Zeppelin would sing, girls would just hold their tits, like ‘Uhhh!’ They would get turned on! Nathan: I think the big pro with technology is that you’re able to push the music further now. Back then, there’s a lot of stuff in your head that you can’t do because you need a big studio. Now, you can just download the software and do it yourself at home. Pero yung downside is—and you see it everywhere—medyo nawala yung drive for musicianship. Is it a good time to start a band? Miggy: There’s hundreds of bands in hundreds of places. Every night, may tao sa gig. Maybe there’s only a handful that can survive a full-time career as a musician, but that doesn’t mean those who cannot don’t have a career cut out for them. Nathan: I guess the business might be on a low point, but yung scene itself, buhay.