By Icoy San Pedro
“Caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender…”
These deeply-branding lyrics of Jackson Browne’s classic, The Pretender will always ring true, as they voraciously describe every struggling artists’ contradictory yearnings: to either pursue and further their craft and love for their art, or to instead find a steady day job to support the family.
While it may be a rarity to be equally-successful at both, surely, many prosperous artists may not agree. Yet the internal battle as to what should take first priority is indeed real. And if that had been a market commodity, it would have come with the usual warning and disclaimer: results may vary.
In the limited degree that I have known him, from the early days at Horizon up to the present, his struggle, along with the rest of us, had been as true to the template from where, all throughout the ages, both artisans and artists had been hewn from.
From seeing him for the first time as the youthful lead guitarist frontman in one of Davao’s best ever rock bands during the 80s, who could play his Fender Stratocaster behind his head, to that smooth sessionist and musician for the Davao and Manila music scene’s local heroes, up to that Maldives troubadour, triumphant on his way home, Pio for many, had been the ultimate music man.
If I could briefly describe him in a few words, it would aptly be, ‘always in search of a jam’. Just the same, his three words for me, be they in emails, text or in person, had always been the same: “Jam ta Coy?” , as if jamming music were cure for a sweet tooth. Why, he even has millennials and budding guitarists such as some of my kin as avid fans.
Yet in spite all of that, and sadly up till the end, health issues and the fight to make ends meet, have both proven to be the daily adversaries for this journeyman and bluesman. Sometimes I think that, in the same way that we continually hone our skills at each of our respective art, the frequency and rate by which our old friends are going, are also making us more adept at our goodbyes. That’s gross I know, but I’m just jamming.