Filipino Artists


Unang Kagat

Unang Kagat


By Allyson Escobar

Dubbed “The Original Manila Sound,” the Hotdog Band (simply known as “Hotdog” to fans), was formed by brothers Dennis and Rene Garcia in the early 70s and paved the way for Pinoy pop music. With hits like “Manila,” “Ikaw ang Miss Universe,” “Pers Lab (First Love)” and “Annie Batungbakal,” the Filipino band of brothers and their friends attained musical fame with their first album, Unang Kagat (1974), and became a major influence in the new “Manila Sound” genre that eventually became the ever-popular Original Pilipino Music (OPM).
A talented group of artists formed the original band, including Tyler Ryluh (lead vocals), Heat Legend (vocal/lead guitarist), Gav Babedude (2nd lead guitar), Tito Del Rosario (3rd lead guitar), Dennis Garcia (bassist), Lorrie Ilustre (keyboards), and Jess Garcia and Roy Diaz de Rivera (drummers). Hotdog also featured Filipina singers who eventually became well-known solo artists, such as Gina Montes, Ella del Rosario, Maso Diez, and Zsa Zsa Padilla.
“Manila Sound gives identity to songs that define everyday activities or happenings during the early part of the 70s, more or less to give the songs during that era an identity of their own,” explained Rene Garcia, lead singer/composer and one of the band’s original members.
Hotdog burning up
In the early 70s, Hotdog was heard from school campuses to local radio stations, and in Filipino homes everywhere. Their original sound was first described as “danceable pop” with a mix of disco and some definite Pinoy flair. Their music caught the attention of Filipinos from all backgrounds and statuses, bringing together people who enjoyed funky beats and catchy “Taglish” lyrics.
The band were signed with Villar Records, and many their hits reached gold and platinum—such as their song “Bongga Ka Day,” which eventually became a movie featuring actors like Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, and Joseph Estrada. A number of their successful performance hits were made into movies, and the band was constantly booked for TV shows like “Superstar.”
On finding inspiration for their music, Garcia said that they looked to the daily happenings and sentiments of ordinary Filipinos. They wrote about everything from overseas workers who long for their homeland (“Manila”), to beauty pageant queens (“Miss Universe”) and hard-working disco divas (“Annie Batungbakal”).
Though the original band members split up in the mid-80s to have families and pursue their own interests, Hotdog still remains relevant in today’s music scene, performing reunion gigs at venues all over the world. The band currently has seven touring members, with various new musicians who have mastered the Hotdog “Manila Sound.”
What’s next on the grill
The band is currently on their North American tour, stopping within the next few months in Toronto, Chicago, New Jersey, Vancouver, Calgary, Las Vegas, and here in Los Angeles on Sunday, October 11. After two-weeks rest, they will travel to Australia in November to perform several gigs.
The now all-male band has expressed excitement and sheer gratitude for their years-long success, and hopes to see original Hotdog fans present at the shows.
“We promise an exciting show!” Garcia exclaimed. “All the places [we have toured] are asking for a repeat performance next year!”
The LA performance at the Pavilion at GanoLife (located at 4700 E. Airport Dr., Ontario, Calif. 91761) will also feature Southern California-based Pinay singer Maricar, who will be providing female vocals of The Original Manila Sound.
Tickets for the Saturday, Oct 11 show at 7:15pm have already sold out, and the performers promise a worthwhile show for audiences of all ages. Part of the proceeds will go to GanoCares Foundation—an organization focused on helping to introduce, engage, educate, and enlighten the youth in all aspects of the music industry—spearheaded by Maricar and her love for music.
Hotdog is not currently planning to release new music, but will continue to perform live for demanding audiences.
“I guess that’s why they call the band HOTDOG,” Garcia laughs. “The band is always and will forever be HOT!”

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