I take pride in the fact that one of my friends in the field of rock journalism, the cool veteran Tony Maghirang, considers me a catalyst for his personal feat of finishing a novel. A year after my first novel came out in February 2021, his own debut, a Tagalog longform with a catchy title, Ang Kagilagilalas Na Makeup Artist, was published under his slightly tweaked name: TM Maghirang.
“Your insights on novel writing and your subtle encouragement set me on an odyssey to finish a 200-plus page novel,” Tony told me to my endless delight.
While I myself can boast quite a long list of artists whom I have interviewed and written about, here’s a guy whose first music article came out in the classic Jingle magazine five decades ago. He has profiled local and international artists, including German band Scorpions and Ian Gillan of Deep Purple. He’s one to tell you that music scenes come and go and he has survived them all, from the Manila Sound to whatever you call music nowadays.
Tony’s novel, published by Ukiyoto Publishing, the same publisher that put out my “Lust Regime” and “Rhythm & Bruise,” is kind of an icing on the cake for his rock-fueled, yet quietly introspective run. That icing is being celebrated by some brave souls on the Pinoy rock scene with a launch on April 22, 8:00 p.m. at Take Over Lounge in Xavierville Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
The artist lineup includes The Vultures Project, Hey Moonshine, The Mothercampers, and P.O.T, the band behind the classic remake “Yugyugan Na.” Par Satellite, brother of another seasoned music journalist-friend Edwin Sallan, will also provide music in his style.
According to Tony, he’s retired, and writing helps him “pass the time, especially during the pandemic when I completed my first nobela.”
Sure he was productive in letting the hours go by as he grinded 5,000 words a week during his novel writing period. Thanks to a rejected teleplay he penned in 2019, he had something to work with as the pandemic was dragging on, repurposing it to turn the story of Jules, who is rescued by a beauty salon owner and who ends up a make-up artist himself, into a novel. It was his first crack at writing something lengthier than his usual 750-word music reviews, which he humbly summed up as “just my opinion.” Boy did he come a long way from being told by an angry reader “to clean my ears with hydrochloric acid.”
I should admit that I’d rather forget my own share of bad experiences with artists of a certain attitude. But Tony prefers looking back at such with a hearty laugh, like a recording mistake left in the mix and even emphasized for its novelty.
“I encountered an Aussie duo who refused to be interviewed,” he said, in his inimitable smile. “I have attended shows including one New Moon concert in which I and my girlfriend then were the last to pass through the Rizal Coliseum gate before it closed. At least two people died in the ensuing crush of the crowd left behind the gate.”
No death is expected come Tony’s book launch. But the crashing sound of distorted guitars and devilish growls may serve as a barreling backdrop to some affectionate book signing by a vintage dude.