WHEN a band comes up with an album, very few can appreciate the blood and guts involved in pulling off such a task. Perhaps the regularity of bands coming up with new albums killed the novelty of the deed, especially here in the US, where everyone earns dollars and anybody can just go into a studio and tape whatever there is to be taped. Likewise, a lot of people buy computers with recording software and record their music themselves - D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) In the old days recording artists are often called, recording stars. Now, they are simply called recording artists. Sadly, the glitz and glamour that was once bestowed upon recording artists have tarnished due to the 'ordinariness' of the art of recording. Anybody can be a recording artist today. This is why The Kuwagos matter. The Kuwagos, the Bergenfield, NJ band that released their debut album, has put the shine back on the star and has taken D.I.Y to another level - the level of excellence. The recording of their debut is D.I.Y in the highest order. The songs were superbly written, the performances were impeccable, the recordings were well done, and the packing of the physical CD is that of commercial quality. Considering the fact that the hands that wrote and performed the songs were the same hands that put the cellophane shrink wrap around the CD case, it is just fitting to call The Kuwagos recording stars more than anything else. A lot of aspiring artists, with money, go for the big bucks studio but still manage to create a CD-full of crap. But the Kuwagos, with just about anything needed to come up with a good recording, managed to make a great one. The Kuwagos matter. For many reasons. Here are a few: They matter because they have put great song writing into D.I.Y. and proved that financial limitation is not a limitation at all. Likewise, they have proven once and for all that what really matters is not the million-dollar gear that records and manufactures the CD. It is the material that is inside the CD that counts. Who really cares that the guitar used in the great Kuwagos track 'Maynila' was an old classical guitar, with rusty strings, borrowed from a fellow artist named Binky Veloria? Who cares that the amp used to generate the massive opening riff of the album kicker 'Gusto Mo' was a tiny $50 practice amp? Who cares that it was the Kuwagos themselves who packaged their debut album using a makeshift shrink wrapper and laser printer? Nobody. As long as we feel our hearts warm up to the sentimental yearnings for our home country in 'Maynila',as long we get our legs moving to the irresistible groove of 'Gusto Mo', and as long as we continously look at the Kuwagos CD and marvel at how great the songs are, we could care less on how much money was spent on gear, recording, mastering and packaging. When good music plays, everybody listens. But when great music plays, everybody remembers. The Kuwagos will definitely be remembered. I suppose that the legacy that they want to impart to any aspiring Fil Am artist is this : If you do it yourselves, do it well. Do it real. And if that will not make The Kuwagos legitimate recording stars, I don't know what will.
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