Filed under: Philippines
For our second guest post here at Radiodiffusion Internasionaal, we have an entry by Greg McWhorter. Besides being a collector of records and ephemera, Greg founded Artifix Records – dubbed “the archaeologists of punk” by Johnny Stingray of The Controllers. Artifix Records mission is to reintroduce bands (a few I remember quite well) like The Bags, Catholic Discipline and White Flag to a new generation.
During the early 1960’s the instrumental bands reigned supreme throughout the Philippines club scene. Clubs with names like Wack-Wack, The Sky Room, Circuit, and Rufino Building Penthouse were host to events that featured these new instrumental groups. As mentioned in a prior post, these bands were heavily influenced by The Ventures and The Shadows and often did covers by those groups while working their own originals into their sets. The Hi-Jacks were no different, but perhaps were one of the more energetic of this new breed.
The Hi-Jacks started at the beginning of the 1960s and began releasing vinyl almost immediately. They were managed by Eddie Mesa, who was known as the Filipino Elvis. Mesa had huge success in a string of rock’n’roll records and movie appearances during the 1950s and 1960s. When he first managed the Hi-Jacks, the band mostly played and recorded covers of popular instrumental rock as well as their originals in the same vein. After The Beatles penetrated Asian radio in 1963, Mesa started using the band as his personal backing band for his recordings of Beatles songs and similar originals.
The band was fronted by Rudy “Nonoy” Jereza who played bass. Jereza is deceased now, which has prevented the band from doing reunions; although the other existing members rally around legendary Pinoy guitarist for the group, Ben Tesoro, to play sets of the group’s music at revivals. Other members throughout the years included Eddie Dizon on drums, Jesse Manahan on keyboard, Eddie Nicolas as a later vocalist (deceased), and Bert Buencamino as a second guitar. Buencamino was originally with The Moonstrucks during the 1960’s and joined the Hi-Jacks in the early 1970’s. The Hi-Jacks lasted until 1974.
Although the band released records on several different labels like Top Tunes, Alpha, and ANS; their first single was on the Dyna Records imprint. Dyna was the independent label that also broke other notable acts from the time like The Electromaniacs and Ramon Jacinto and the Riots.
Catalog number DN-7302 on Dyna Records, manufactured by Dyna Products, Ltd. in the Philippines. No release date listed.