The Real True Meaning of Eraserheads’ “Minsan”

You’ve probably read the news by now. The latest Eraserheads cheese to reach your feeds. That “Minsan” wasn’t really abut ‘them’. That ‘them’ were never really ‘friends’. And people are losing their minds, on Facebook and Twitter. Never had the time nor the interest to read most of the reactions. So, just like those who probably didn’t read the news article and just based their own emotional response to those catchy click-bait headlines and taken out of context tweets, I’m reacting to those reactions — like a reaction video to a reaction video. I’m not about to re-read all those tweets and whatnots in the comment section. I’m straight out jumping to a conclusion.

Now, there are two things to this ‘issue’. I didn’t really check the podcast because, well, read above. But based on the news article I read, this whole shebang was set into motion when Ely Buendia tried to explain the real true meaning behind the song “Minsan” and how the song’s sentimentality makes him cringe. But what most writers picked up for their headlines was the second thing — not the fact that the song wasn’t about them, but the reason why it wasn’t about them.

Well, I don’t have much left inside my tank today. And I don’t have the time to explain to you with a venn diagram the complex overlapping circles of friendship, passion, professionalism, etc. or the different levels of friendship. It’s not a simple yes or no, friends or not friends, love or hate. Why do people love to reduce everything to a false dichotomy? It’s complicated. But Facebook doesn’t have that kind of ‘status’ anymore.

Remember Orange & Lemons? They were friends. Then, they hated each other. Now, they’re friends again. And Buendia actually provided enough context to this friends vs. not friends thing. He said they weren’t like Itchyworks and Paworkya Ni Edgar. Wait, my boss is calling…

Still can’t get over what he said? Okay, they were friends. But not really close friends. Maybe not as close as Ely was to FrancisM. I dunno. According to Raymund during his Wasak interview, they were friends, but they didn’t hang out together. Hindi sila tropa, ‘di sila barkada. They weren’t like Pedicab or Sandwich.

Eraserheads back when they were not really friends.

That “Minsan” wasn’t really about ‘them’ doesn’t really surprise me. Well, there’s not much that surprises me anymore. Unless something comes up like, an ex-girlfriend calling or texting me in the middle of night to tell me she’s pregnant. Now, that would be surprising. But I digress. Here are some clues that ‘Minsan’ was actually about Ely’s ‘other’ friends. Found it from some online forums years ago. For some reasons, I saved it to my computer. I’m still searching which website I copied it from. This was posted by one of Ely’s friends.

nok nek, on Feb 7 2006, 04:39 PM, said:

I met Ely while studying at the University of the Philippines.  There were several of us who hung around together.  Ely, Manok (Ely’s roommate), Irl, Tano, Redel, Ogie, Chappy or Paeng (depending on who you were talking to at the time), Efren, Luci (short for Lucifer because we all thought he was the nth coming of the anti-Christ), Mondski and myself.  We all lived in Kalayaan Residence Hall, the freshmen dormitory at UP.  Everyone of us in the group, except Luci and Ogie, lived on the 3rd floor.  Yeah, we did a lot of drinking then and every night was isaw night because all they served at Kalayaan was tinolang itlog.  The isaw vendor across the street, wedged between the Coop and, I think, the street entrance to Area 1, let us drink liquor by his stand, mostly bilogs and flats because we did not have enough money for beer. We’d stay there until Kalayaan curfew (kind of an oxymoron isn’t it, Kalayaan and curfew) then I’d shove all of our leftover libations into my gym bag.  Ely, Tano and Paeng would distract Ate Elves ( the security guard ) while I passed through the main door so she would not notice the clanking sounds inside my bag.  Ely and the other guys would stick around the lobby cavorting with the females and generally making, pa-cute, until last bell rang and it was really time to retire for the night.

In truth the night, for us, was just beginning.  After bed check, we would all make our way towards Ely’s and Manok’s room towards the end of the hallway.  We drank whatever liquor we had left while listening to Ely and Luci play the guitar and sing songs by the Cure, U2, REM, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the like.  We engaged in useless banter and, sometimes, worthwhile discussions confronting the “Isko ng Bayan.”  For example, thoughful advocacy of how a big boob girl really was more appealing than a cute perky butt girl or vice versa; philosophical, if we thought that one person was an ahole, in all probability that person was an ahole;  physics, how the hell does one particular big boob girl keep from falling forward dragged by all that weight; literature, critiques of Cactus Jack’s vandal wars against NDF (we all thought that CJ was Ely), written and posted behind almost every bathroom stall door on the 3rd floor, etc. When we were bored, we simply pointed Efren’s binoculars towards the Yakal’s girls’ wing, the upperclassmen dormitory right across us, and were treated to shows quite like no other.  We stayed up all night most of the time.  Those nights are still vivid in my mind.    I left UP at the end of my sophomore year, 1989. As children, we were carefree and saw nothing as it really was.

Years later, I heard from Irl, he became a UP Concert Chorus member and toured the States with them, that Ely had made it big with a band.  Ely and I met in Chicago, where I lived, around 1998 when the Eraserheads toured the US.  I went to one of their scheduled autograph signings. We both had so much stories to tell. He had kept in touch with most of the guys.  I knew Ely as a friend and I was so happy for him.

As I left that meeting to pick up my then girlfriend from work, I turned my radio to the National Public Radio station.  I caught the last verses of a poetry reading which, looking back, I think reflects the times that the Eraserheads sang in their songs:

“I learned about life from life itself.
Love, I learned in a single kiss,
And could teach no one nothing.
Except that I have lived
With something in common among men,
In fighting with them
And in saying all their say in their songs.”

It seems that my friend has said what he’s had to say in songs and it has brought you all far more riches in life than troves of treasure.  For their songs remain in your heart and though they may be significant to each of us for different reasons, their significance derives from each of the lives that we have led and in each of its part that we have met.

My apologies for quite a lengthy post.  Be well.

Header image from here o.

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