APO Marks 40

PNS — AS one of the country’s music icons, the APO Hiking Society is incomparable as they’ve managed to stay together even after 39 years. “It’s really quite a record,” says Danny Javier proudly. “And it lasted that long because of our deep friendship.

In the course of our careers, we have recorded a total of 26 albums and performed in hundreds of successful concerts all over the world, we being the first Pinoy group to perform at the main hall of the prestigious Carnegie Music Hall in New York City. We were able to do movies, TV shows. You name it, we’ve tried it.”

They will now have their concert, “APO of the Philippines,” at the Araneta Coliseum on September 20, to mark the start of their year-long celebration of their 40th anniversary. “It will be a musical journey. We’ll take the audience on a special trip with the unforgettable songs that we’ve recorded like ‘Pumapatak ang Ulan,’ ‘Batambata Ka Pa,’ ‘Awit ng Barkada,’ ‘Ewan,’ ‘Nakapagtataka,’ ‘Panalangin’ and many more. Maraming nagbo-volunteer to be our guests in the concert so we won’t announce anymore who they are. Basta it’ll be an evening of fun as we jam with some of our best friends in the music industry.”

Is it true they had a hard time getting sponsors because a lot of companies prefer to help the numerous foreign artists who come to do shows here? “I’m not sure about that but all I can say is that karamihan sa mga ini-import nila, matatandang artists na wala nang career sa sarili nilang bansa at mas mura pa ang talent fee kaysa sa amin. One deplorable thing here now is the TV culture na young stars, sinosyota ng TV executives then mina-manage pa sila, so it’s now the TV industry that controls even our singers.”

What can he say to the two albums where younger bands made new versions of their hit songs? “I salute and respect their artistry, tulad ng ginawa ng Kamikazee sa ‘Do Bi Doo’ na naging hard rock. Ang ganda ng version nila and their vocalist, si Jay, kautak ko ‘yon at para ko ‘yung bansot na kapatid.”

Danny is now also a bonsai artist and he will have an exhibit of his own bonsai collection at SM Megamall next year. He has four kids. Justine is the eldest and now works as an executive producer of Charo Santos at ABS-CBN. Next is Julienne, a teacher, followed by two boys, Jobim, a college student who has his own band, Milagro, where he is the vocalist and rhythm guitarist, and Jamael, a high school junior.

Danny says Tony Gloria is now also doing a documentary on the APO while Ricky Lee is writing the book for a musical that will use the hit songs of APO, like what “Mamma Mia” did to ABBA songs.