Venerable guitarist and songwriter Gary Perez still rocks at 65
By WAKU SAUNAR
Lean and mean at 65. That’s Gary Perez nowadays.
The brains behind classic Pinoy Rock hits “Bonggahan,” “Laguna,” “Sayawan,” and “Tao” among countless others, Gary has kept his body in tip-top shape, spending hours in the gym regularly and doing away with eating pork.
Gary proudly says living healthy is one of the best decisions he has made in his life.
“It gives me a high unlike any other,” he says.
He started tinkering with the guitar at an early age, buying his first – a Lumanog-made acoustic – in Raon when he was 10 years old.
The first song he learned to play? The Animal’s “House of the Rising Sun.”
Gary started performing professionally at age 11, going on to fly to Vietnam at 13 playing for US Troops stationed there alongside the Catipon Brothers – Danny, Lelet, and Daniel.
He cites Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page,and John Mclaughlin as musical heroes and fellow guitar great Resty Fabunan of Maria Cafra as “teacher.”
“Takot ako ‘dun (Resty) kuya at teacher ko ‘yun,” he says with a laugh.
After being embroiled in a lengthy legal debacle with Sampaguita over royalties, is he now wiser?
“Well, I hold on to my faith and trust in God. Sampaguita will definitely not get me to heaven,” he says.
Biggest lesson learned?
“Life is not a game and love is the answer.”
Gary is also a former member of Anakbayan, for which he wrote the memorable “Pagbabalik ng Kwago.”
The guitarist says all his songs are based on real-life experiences.
So far, he is not planning on recording a follow-up to his solo album “Originalz.”
In fact, Gary admits he is now considering retirement.
“After what happened from the Pepe Smith Rockfest, parang ayoko na,” he says. “Not unless big concerts guarantee 100 percent full payment.”
As advice to aspiring musicians, Gary says “practice” and “get serious.”
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