I heard it on the radio this evening. Already a hothead because of Manila's horrible Saturday evening traffic, I turned into a tearful mess when I found this out:
"Dear friends, im leaving Sugarfree at the end of February. Please come to my final shows with them. Im grateful for your love and support." - Ebe Dancel
Just like the Eheads were the soundtrack of my high school days, Sugarfree has been the soundtrack of my life since my college thesis days. There were days that I'd sleep and wake up to the sound of Sa Wakas (2003) on loop on my laptop. Ang mga huling araw ko sa UP ay dumaan sa piling ng mga kantang Telepono, Mariposa, at Burnout.
Nung lumabas ang Dramachine (2004), halos kakasimula pa lang akong mag-gig nun, and I just landed my second (and current) job. The album made such an impression on me that I took to Friendster (yes, Friendster) and boldly messaged Jal and Ebe to let them know how much I appreciated the new songs. Di ko pa sila kilala nun - I was being the shameless fangirl. And the guys, being the nice people that they are, responded with appreciation, too.
Even after being blown away by their first two albums, Tala-arawan (2006) still came as a very pleasant surprise for me. Clearly, the guys were still at the top of their game. The album was so awesome for me, I was inspired to write a track by track review of it - something I don't think I ever did again for any other album.
Sugarfree's two 'orchestrated' major concerts are surrounded by some happy moments in my life. Sugarfree Live! (September 29, 2007) served as an anniversary/birthday date for Andrew and me; we had just celebrated 9 years of being together the day before, and I just celebrated my 27th birthday some two weeks prior. Dekada (August 28, 2009) was the same - an awesome anniversary/birthday date again for us (this time, it was Andrew who had just celebrated his birthday some two weeks before).
If Ebe's first album with Sugarfree served as my thesis soundtrack, his last album with them, Mornings and Airports (2009) served as my wedding planning soundtrack. I even considered using "Feels Like" during our reception entrance or AVP, but ended up using "Prom" (the live one with MSO) instead.
When NU signed off for the very last time last November, I braced myself for the next musical heartache I'd have to go through, and I worried that if it were Sugarfree that was next to go, it would hurt like hell all over again.
Knowing that the voice and heart behind most of their songs is leaving the band was heartbreaking. It makes it just a little less sad to know that the guys will still go on - Ebe as Ebe, and Sugarfree (Jal, Kaka, and ?) as Sugarfree. Mamimiss ko lang marining ang boses ni Ebe kasama ang bass ni Jal at drums ni Kaka/Mitch; mamimiss ko lang makita silang tatlo on the same stage sa gigs. Mitch left the band years back, and now Ebe is also moving on. Whatever it is Jal has in mind about the band, I wish him and Kaka the best.
And so, their music will live on. And yeah, these guys are sticking around. We'll just have to get used to not seeing them together anymore.
Sa Sugarfree, salamat sa patuloy niyong pagbigay ng kulay sa buhay sa mga nagmamahal sa inyo. Whatever else it is in store for the band, I'm sure to still be there to support you.
Kay Ebe, alam mo siguro kung gaano ko kamahal ang iyong musika. Alam kong hindi ka titigil sa paglikha ng mga kwento at kanta. At alam kong hindi rin ako titigil sa paghanga sa iyong talento. Ganun din sa iyo, whatever else is in store for you, I'll always be a supportive friend and fan :)