PIZKATZ is a Rock Ska band from Tacloban that spans nearly a decade of rockin’ and bangin’. Their name comes from the original Waray-waray cuss word. The band’s overall sound is an amalgam of Ska, Punk, and Grebo Rock. Their members include Alex Risos (Vocals), Jasper Cabrera (Vocals), Lemuel Acerden (Vocals), Derek Delgado (Guitars), Marti Ruiz (Guitars), Jon Castillo (Bass), and Andy Verona (Drums).
Pizkatz started around 2009 during a National Skimboarding Competition in Tanauan. It evolved from the band Dreadspot (A great Tacloban Reggae Band) and the posse that surrounded the original group. Alex, Lemuel, and Jasper stormed the spotlight as frontmen and propelled the group into a new direction. Hence, Pizkatz was born.
Jasper Cabrera is one of Pizkatz’s spunky frontmen. He’s mainly been influenced by Metal bands, namely Sepultura and Pantera. Much Like his intense growls onstage, his costume is a yellow tiger — and that has been his iconic identity ever since joining the band. It’s probably the first thing you’d notice onstage but he figures nobody would know it was him.
Alex Risos is dressed as a skeleton in black overalls, almost like the Cobra Kai baddies in Karate Kid (1980). His influences are bands like Slayer, Overkill, Danzig, Tool, Rage Against The Machine, etc. He’d been a vocalist for some metal bands back in the 90s but most prominent of them was the band Kulkug (an awesome Alternative Metal band). Now, he’s proud to be one of the frontmen for Pizkatz.
Lemuel Acerden is also one of Pizkatz’s awesome vocalists. Much like Alex and Jasper, he’d been with Dreadspot’s inner circle of friends for many years. He has currently been busy with work for the past year and has thus been unable to perform with the band. He also happens to be a cancer survivor and that’s part of the reason for his absence for over a long period.
Derek Delgado is the mastermind of the group. He’s been influenced by Reggae, Ska and some other Punk bands. He particularly credits 311, No Doubt, and Bob Marley. He mixes all of these various influences and merges them into the sound of Pizkatz. Derek started learning the guitar at 12 years old when he was still a seminarian at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo back in the 90s. He’s become an extraordinary guitarist since then. Curiously, he first helmed the drums when he joined a band during high school.
Marti Ruiz first picked up the guitar back in 2001. He took some piano lessons but he chose to be a guitarist primarily. He’s a remarkably gifted musician. Having been self-taught, he used to rewind a lot of his collection of album tapes excessively, thereby destroying them in the process — and that’s how he developed his musician’s ear. His first influences happened to be OPM, but he quickly accelerated to bands such as Incubus, Slipknot, Blink 182, Sum41, Limpbizkit, etc.
Jon Castillo first picked up the guitar when he was in 3rd grade. A couple of years later, he picked up the bass and joined a band; they were already competing in various school competitions at that time. Jon has been around the local scene as a bassist for various prominent bands. LSR, Black Sheep Alliance and Dreadspot are some of the prodigious groups on his belt. Some of his influences are Nirvana, Pearl Jam, STP, and Alice In Chains.
Andy Verona joined Pizkatz sometime around 2016. It’s worth noting that he also plays for other bands in the Tacloban Music scene. In fact, he probably has the most bands compared to other musicians. Considering that drummers are the most sought-after in Tacloban, it’s highly likely that he’s on top of that list. His early influences are mostly from the 90s like Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
For Pizkatz, writing compositions is absolute fun — especially when their songs are all about comedy, innuendo, and are sometimes a little raunchy. Derek composes most of their material. Alex also contributes to the song-writing process frequently when they’re on drinking sessions. In an interview with KBOXTV, they performed two of their originals and showed us the absolute meaning of fun in music as they wore their costumes.
HALA SIGE is a 60s-inspired song about skimboarding. It invokes some Surf Culture elements as well as aspects of Rancid and Sublime. MYMP is probably their most popular song, and not just because it’s danceable. It’s basically about disco raves and bars wherein people can’t help but bump and grind against other people’s… bumps.
Pizkatz is a band that can proudly say they’ve never had any bad experiences during their gigs. All of it was good, because they were having fun — and that’s the most important thing. They give their all, and they’ll continue to do so. They see themselves as having an album in (hopefully) the near future, and at the same time, still enjoying each and every moment of their performances.