Remembering Reckless Imprudence (Part 1)

Reckless Imprudence - Trial Trendy - Carlo YbanezRECKLESS IMPRUDENCE was an all-lawyer rock band active in the Philippine underground music scene from 2005 to 2009. Being the bassist thereof, I consider myself very fortunate to have been part of this group. The band was composed not only of great lawyers and musicians but also of wonderful human beings.

This is our story.


 THE CONCEPTUALIZATION

The band, or at least the idea thereof, was born in Ateneo Law School during the late 1990s. Back then, I was also in a band, along with some of my law school classmates. As we were all about to graduate from law school, we agreed that, even after we became lawyers, we would never give up playing. As in most things, however, life got in the way and, after law school, there was the bar examinations.  Then, there was the agonizing ordeal of being a Junior Associate in a litigation firm and so on. There was just simply no time for music.

Fast forward to 2005. Having spent four years in the legal practice, I have mostly adjusted to the tough life of Junior Associate.  It was time to return to the arms of my first love — music. Most of my law school band mates, however, have totally given up on playing and have concentrated on their respective legal professions. There was, however, one exception – “Big Daddy” Karl Castillo.

The two of us then set out to form this new band, which we will later on call Reckless Imprudence.


 THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS

A band is simply a group of people playing together. Thus, to know Reckless Imprudence, there is a need to know its members. I plan to write separate articles about the interesting individuals who make up the band. For now, these simple introductions will suffice:

RCKLS-2BIG DADDY KARL was our lead vocalist. He sings with a resonant and gruff Jim-Morrison-inspired voice. On stage, he does not only perform but he also engages the audience with his witty sense of humor and his unique antics. Karl is also the lyricist of the band.  Thru Reckless Imprudence’s original compositions, he tells stories about sex, drugs and death. He is a damn good litigator and presently a Partner in the law firm of Fortun Narvasa and Salazar.

RCKLS-6My name is CARLO YBANEZ. My dilemma back then was in choosing the instrument that I was going to play for this band. Back in law school, I was a drummer. But before that, I had been a bassist for other bands ever since high school. It took some time for me to realize that I loved the groove more than the beat. Hence, I became the bassist of Reckless Imprudence. For more information about me and my music, please refer to the “About Page” of this website.

RCKLS-9When we were forming the band, Karl introduced me to one of his officemates in the law firm of Fortun Narvasa and Salazar. KEN BUCU, a wicked, riff-oriented, glam-rock-inspired guitar player, was Reckless Imprudence’s original lead guitarist. He would later on create the main riffs for the band’s biggest hit song — “Sex, Drugs at Rakenrol”. He is presently living abroad, in the U.S.A.  He took the New York City bar examinations and is now working there as a lawyer.

RCKLS-10BAYAN QUINIONES, another one of Karl’s office mates back then, was Reckless Imprudence’s rhythm guitarist. He was our “secret weapon”. Though he does not look it, he was definitely the most talented, most creative and the most musically versed among all of Reckless Imprudence’s members. He would later on write most of our songs. He had since left his original law firm and had formed is own.

He is presently a Partner in the law firm of Berberabe Santos and Quiniones.

RCKLS-11The fifth member of the group was yet another officemate of Karl’s at that time. When we were forming the band, DEN PLOFINO had absolutely no stage experience. He, however, had a remarkable talent for playing the keyboards. At one time, he contemplated on becoming a priest. At present, however, he still works for the opposite side of the fence.

He is currently connected with the National Power Corporation (“NAPOCOR”) as one of its lawyers.

RCKLS-12JERI BANTA was Reckless Imprudence‘s drummer. Although, he was more of a jazz player than a rock musician, his unique style added a different twist to our rock-oriented genre. He inserted his jazz drumming style to our original compositions.  He is a tax lawyer.  At the time we formed Reckless Imprudence, he was connected with the accounting firm KPMG. However, at present he is working for the legal department of the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

RCKLS-14There was then a debate on whether or not to have a female vocalist in the group. But after Jerry introduced us to his officemate COOCOO BASALLO, we knew we had to have her in the band. Looking at this pretty girl, you would probably think she sings in a piano bar or in a hotel. But she is a rock star at heart. With influences such as No Doubt and B-52s, she gave a fun and light addition to our gigs. And of course, she drew out several male groupies. Coocoo is also a tax lawyer.

These were the original members of Reckless Imprudence.


THE NAME

It is obvious where we got our name. We wanted one that would immediately identify us as an all-lawyer rock band. The members suggested several legally-related terms such as “Republic Act”, “Dura Lex Sed Lex” and “Beyond Reasonable Doubt”. But we finally agreed on Reckless Imprudence. It was just sounded legalistic and badass at the same time.


THE MUSIC

Reckless Imprudence was originally a cover band, singing songs from the Doors, the Beatles, the Cure, Bon Jovi, the Commitments, The B-52s, No Doubt and whomever we thought felt like playing at that time. We played anything under the all-encompassing genre of rock, whether it was classic, pop, glam, grunge, new wave or whatever else.

Our music, however, would drastically change later on.


THE DEBUT

One day, I was chatting with a friend who organized events for a living – Rhona Agtay from E-Mage Events. When I mentioned to her that we had recently formed an all-lawyer band, she said that she knew someone who was organizing a mini rock concert.  She said that she could get us a spot in this event. The person she was talking about happened to be the Notorious Romeo Lee.

During the 90s and early 2000s, Romeo Lee was famous for his wild antics as a rock singer. And, when I say wild, I mean WILD.  But he was likewise famous for organizing great rock concerts. So when Rhona mentioned that we were going to play in a mini concert organized by the Notorious Romeo Lee, we were definitely excited.

RCKLS-16The gig was scheduled on September 15, 2005 at Mag.Net Café in Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City. We were going to play with Romeo Lee and a few other bands. We would be going up on stage at around 10:00 p.m. but as early as 6:00 p.m., the place was already jam-packed. We would like to think that word got around; that the novelty of an all-lawyer rock band caught people’s attention. The truth, however, is that we encouraged (or some would say “coerced”) our law school classmates, friends and family members to watch our first gig.

If my memory serves me right, I believe we played around 5 songs. I was pleasantly surprised at how the gig turned out. Honestly speaking, I was a little nervous. It wasn’t because we were not prepared.  It was mostly because we never played together on stage before. I was worried that we didn’t yet have the chemistry needed to smoothly pull off a gig. Furthermore, I was also worried about some of my band mates’ lack of stage experience. At least 3 of the 7 members were stage virgins.

But it seems that I didn’t have anything to worry about. Ken and Karl were natural stage performers. They weren’t only confortable on stage but they played like they owned the place. And although Jeri, Den, Bayan and Coocoo still lacked the rock star stage presence, they played flawlessly in their own little musically-constructed worlds.

Our first gig couldn’t have been more perfect. As soon as I got down from stage, I knew that this was the start of something really great.


THE RECKLESS LIFESTYLE

After our debut, everything fell into place.

A few days after that gig, we were back at the rehearsal studio, learning new cover songs. We kept in touch every day. During those times, everyone had ideas. We exchanged thoughts on what to play, where to play, what to wear, how to perform on stage and stuff like that. We kept at least two days of the week vacant for band practice. On those days, and the day after that, we did not schedule client meetings or court hearings.

For my part, every time we had a scheduled rehearsal, I would be excited for the whole day. I could not even focus on work. On those days, I would just be spending time practicing on my own or going to Karl’s office to jam.

Back then, Reckless Imprudence was not just our band, it became our lifestyle.

At that time, word already got around that there was this new all-lawyer band. We got invited to a few gigs. Mostly, we played at parties for law firms or lawyers’ groups. We likewise organized a few gigs of our own.

Indeed, Reckless Imprudence was getting noticed, especially in the legal community. We were beginning to live the rock and roll life.  We were all fired up. We all felt a surge of excitement about the future of the band.

It lasted for about five months.


 

TO BE CONTINUED HERE.

Don Carlo Ybanez

Don Carlo Ybanez

A lawyer, musician, photographer and entrepreneur (among other things). He passionately writes about the law, music, travel, fashion and life in general.

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