Artist profile: The Youth
“Meron pa rin palang nakikinig sa amin’, says Robert Javier, bassist of The Youth. What was
supposed to be a one-night-only reunion gig, went on for over two years now, and there aren’t
any signs of slowing down. Since that fateful night in 2010 when Dodong Cruz, Robert Javier,
and Erap Carrasco went back again onstage as “The Youth”, the band was quick to get back
from where they left-off. They’ve been doing live gigs since, and now they have a new album, to
The Youth was founded in 1989 by frontman Dodong Cruz and drummer Erap Carrasco. After
some member line-up changes, the three-piece line-up composed of Cruz, Carrasco, and new
recruit Robert Javier, who was taken in as bass player in the year 1990, became the solid and
renowned music trinity. The Youth’s wry and dark sense of humor and absurdity was one of
the major forces that defined the Pinoy rock music scene in the 90s. Their 1994 major label
debut - "Album na Walang Pamagat" was a massive Platinum-selling success with a string of hit
singles like "Multo sa Paningin (Multong Bakla)," “Basura”, “Mukhang Pera, among others. That
same year, they also bagged Best New Artist Award from the NU Rock Awards.
And as how almost all band fairytale endings go, The Youth parted ways on a sour note. Javier
walked-out in the middle of a live gig, Cruz would sometimes refuse to sing or not show-up at
all...then would later re-surface with a solo album, then faded into obscurity for years.
Those ‘lost years’ behind the spotlight gave the individual band members space and time for
their personal pursuits. Robert Javier has always been in the music circles as album producer
for artists like Parokya Ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Gloc-9, Orange and Lemons, Tanya Markova,
The Oktaves, and many others. He also took on a day job as music buyer for a major record
store chain, and then he has been working as music researcher for long-running TV noontime
show, “Eat Bulaga”. Erap Carrasco went into the manufacturing business; while Dodong Cruz,
as Javier describes, “has always been a troubadour.”
The Youth’s lost years, so to speak remained a mystery to many, especially to their fans. Up
until GMA-7’s TV-reality program “Wish Ko Lang” featured Dodong Cruz, and his unspoken
wish to relive the glory days of The Youth. The show may or may not have been instrumental
in pushing them to get back onstage, but more than that, the renewed energy of music fans
seemed to be that invisible force that drove The Youth to get back to where they once belonged
---making great music together.
If you think “Pirata”, their new album is a result of their ‘getting back together’-- you’re wrong.
Songs from this album were shelved for about ten years ago or so. These songs were
unearthed from The Youth’s dead archives by Javier. Being the studio man, he worked, re-
worked on and polished it until this collection took form. With various gigs coming their way
left and right, this 14-track album is now ripe for the picking. Indeed, fans are still there for
the harvest. “Pirata” zoomed its way up mymusicstore.com.ph’s album charts -- landing at
the #3 spot on the first week of release, and is now perched at the #2 spot for two weeks in
a row. Their ‘unofficial’ first single “Laruan”, a video shot from their Tower of Doom sessions
has been getting unexpected substantial amount of views, without the benefit of any kind of
promotion. Asked how they describe the album -- “wala paring love songs”, Javier simply
states. As expected and as loved by their legions of fans, the album still stings, provokes,
pokes attention to the harsh ills of society. For sure, they’ll attract social flak from the so-
called ‘politically correct and the righteous’. Take for instance the album track entitled “The
Ngo Ngo Song”, sang by guest Ronnie Santiago -- this marks the first time that a ‘ngo ngo’ (a
person with a speech defect, speaking nasally) actually sang a full song in an album. Javier
shrugs it off and says “wala kaming pakialam...bahala kayo”. Inspite of scattered , to-each-his-
own recording sessions, “Pirata” is still a concept album. The songs seem disjointed, yet there
is that unexplainable intensity that binds them together.
If you think all is well again with The Youth? Still not quite. They’re not your typical band
members who are buddies on and off stage. Rehearsals are not even done and spoken
of; “may curse sa amin ang practice...pangit lumalabas talaga, hindi nagwo-work sa amin
talaga”. Javier describes their current situation as like “a headless chicken”, yet mysteriously
nag fo-form naman into place yung puzzle”, he quips. The fans clamored and the band says
they owe it to them --to give their fans the music they have long waited and hoped for. The
Youth would rather leave it at that. There may be more questions left unanswered or words left
unsaid, but they just let the music speak for itself.
“Pirata”, the album is now available for digital downloading at iTunes, mymusicstore.com.ph,
and other legit online music sites.