Ely Buendia on the Mongols: 'This Is Group Effort.'

Manila Bulletin, December 4, 2003 | Go to article overview

Ely Buendia on the Mongols: 'This Is Group Effort.'


Byline: JOJO P. PANALIGAN

The term reinvention in the world of music has assumed a shallow meaning of late. Pop stars that use it mindlessly whenever they change stylists are to be faulted.

Fortunately, Ely Buendia is no pop star. And he still wears the same clothes.

This we found out when we attended the recent press launch of The Mongols (for which Ely acts as front man).

Garbed in the requisite t-shirt and jeans ensemble of a rock icon yet camera shy as ever, Ely has the same from-the-streets persona that contributed much to his former bands rise to the top in the 90s.

All familiarity ends there, however. As far as the music of The Mongols go, its clear that this is not the Ely of Ang Huling El Bimbo, Pare Ko, and With A Smile super fame. Gone are the radio-friendly chords of the past in lieu of sinister sonic riffs. Tongue-in-cheek narratives for lyrics, on the other hand, are replaced by surreal one-liners that evoke the dream pop feel of early 90s acts.

Indeed, Ely is writing a new resume by reinventing himself in the truest sense of the word.

This is group effort, Ely begins. The Mongols is not Ely Buendia with a back-up band. I, for one, wouldnt have allowed that to happen kasi I know I am not cut out to become a solo act. The sound is different from everything all of us have done in the past because we wanted it that way. Para walang bagahe.

Which is quite an achievement considering that it wouldve been easier to cull from formula as other members of The Mongols came from heavy weight bands, too. Guitarist Jerome J. Astro Velasco is formerly of the Teeth, bassist Yan Yuzon did session work for the likes of Brown Beat All-Star, and drummer Bogs Boga Man Jugo pounded skins for indie band Daydream Cycle.

To further distance himself from past glories, Ely adopted an alias: Jesus Dizzy Ventura.

I got the name from a French singer named Jesse Ventura. Dizzy is parang Binisaya na prefix ng names ng radio stations, he explains semi-seriously.

The name of the band, meanwhile, was another source of inspiration. According to Ely, he came up with it when he ran into some Mongolian lamas while visiting the Museum of Natural History in New York.

I then researched on The Mongols and found out they were this Asian tribe that conquered most of the world in the 12th century during the time of Genghis Khan. …

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