Yes, I know that the Philippine's arguably best music act in the past decade and a half hasn't broken up - its backbone only walked away.
Rivermaya's lineup has consisted of many changes over the years (four different guitar players, for instance) but Rico Blanco, up until two months ago, remained. Drummer Mark Escueta barely missed the birth of Rivermaya (he was part of the second line-up) and while he can now claim to be the longest bandmember standing, it was Blanco who saw Rivermaya take its very first steps. He was also largely responsible for the band's repertoire as the chief composer/lyricist, spawning out hits that will undoubtbly leave marks in the Filipino music scene.
And by most accounts, isn't the identity of a rock band formed largely by the kind of music it produces - regardless if the music is being written by songwriters record companies hire or by one lone man who is part of the group? In Rivermaya's case, it was Blanco who defined what Rivermaya was about. In the second half of the band's tenure, he became an even more dominant presence when he took over the vocals from "Bamboo" Mañalac.
Management tried to ease rumours of the band breaking up by saying that "No one member is greater than the whole." I couldn't disagree more. With a new vocalist and someone else taking over the reins of songwriting, Rivermaya will simply never be the same band as it was before.
At this point, you may be wondering if this is more a tribute to Rivermaya or rather, Rico Blanco. No, it's still about Rivermaya. The real tribute comes later in the form of album reviews starting with their 1994 debut Rivermaya.
In the meantime, though, I had to explain why I thought a tribute was warranted for a band that still remains.