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Fundraiser for Pinoy Rock icon Wally Gonzalez

Pocholo Concepcion

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Pinoy Rock godfather Wally Gonzalez needs help.

The 71-year-old guitarist, a diabetic, suffered a stroke last week and his medical bills are mounting, according to his son John.

In a Facebook post on 22 January, John said that after the stroke, Wally has been “extremely weak and unable to move on his own. He is currently confined at Perpetual Help Hospital in Las Piñas and initial findings saw an onset of pneumonia”.

John said he launched an online fundraiser to help pay for his father’s medical expenses, which are expected to mount since Wally “isn’t well enough to be discharged. The cost has already ballooned to an extent that it has eaten up what budget we set aside for it.”

In 1968, Gonzalez, Edmond Fortuno, Sandy Tagarro, Bing Labrador and Alex Cruz formed the first incarnation of the Juan dela Cruz Band.

This original lineup of the band performed with the Manila Symphony Orchestra in a production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar starring Boy Camara at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on 3 and 4 September 1971.

That same year, a new lineup of Juan dela Cruz composed of Bobot Guerrero, Clifford Ho, Larry Martinez, Tony Rodriguez, and Gonzalez as band leader, released Up in Arms, arguably the first Pinoy Rock album since it contained original compositions.

 

‘Himig Natin’

Two years later, in 1973, the band, which, by then, comprised the power trio of Gonzalez on guitar, Mike Hanopol on bass, and Joey “Pepe” Smith on drums and alternating with Hanopol on vocals, released Himig Natin — whose title track became the anthem of a generation of music fans that formed the fan base of Pinoy Rock.

Gonzalez also released his own solo album which contained his most famous composition, “Wally’s Blues.”

After the breakup of Juan de la Cruz in the 1980s, Gonzalez worked as an executive in the shipping industry before returning to his passion as a musician.

He soldiered on and formed various bands with younger members which played regularly in clubs and bars around the metro.

Donations to Gonzalez’s medical bills can be made through John Gonzalez’s BPI account 3319 1927 69; GCash 0998 8839647; for other payment channels, message John Gonzalez directly on Facebook.

 

 

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