I am and will always be a fan of The Jerks, one of the original Filipino bands in the rock and blues genre.
Though they have been around since 1979, the Jerks have recorded only two albums since then. The first was a live performance record which was released under Backdoor Records in 1994, and the second (and the last so far) was a self-titled studio album recorded under Star Records in 1997. The second album received the “Best Album” award at the 1998 NU Rock Awards, while the song “Reklamo ng Reklamo” received the “Best Rock Song” award at the 1998 Katha Awards.
It was also in 1998 that I had the opportunity to listen to “Jerks” music. Nope it wasn’t the award winning record I was grooving with. I was listening, or rather watching a live performance. And it wasn’t a gig at the 70’s Bistro or any of the music bars that they regularly perform either. What I was watching was a live, lively, and rockin’ performance at an anti-VFA rally. Pumping-up the protest action, filling up our adrenaline and spirit in the campaign then against the ratification of the Visiting Forces Agreement.
We also had Chikoy Pura, The Jerks vocalists, sing an acoustic rendition of their song “Rage” at the founding assembly of the Agham-Youth (AY) in March 1999. AY is an organization of UP Diliman students advocating science and techhnology for the people. I was a founding member and officer of the organization. The band also performed at Agham-Youth’s sponsored concert in the weeklong Linggo ng Agham in 1999.
Today, the Jerks will be performing at the protest action at Roxas Blvd. Rockin’ and rollin’ against the VFA and Uncle Sam. A decade after the VFA’s ratification, the Filipino people has indeed more than enough reason to call for its abrogation.
I will also be at the protest action today. Not only because I am a “Jerks” fan, but also because I believe in what their music inspires us to do in this season of apathy and era of oppression. As Chikoy would put it simply in a song: rage with me!
In 2008, Probe Team featured The Jerks (and Datu’s Tribe too) in a documentary about bands in the “protest music” genre. You can watch part of it at the Probe Team website. At the end of this post are YouTube videos of the Jerks’ performing their songs at the 70’s Bistro. Have fun listening!