Hello Me, Meet The Real Me: The Lorenzo Tanos Self-Interview

The interviewer…and the interview subject. DO NOT FUCKING ASK HIM WHEN THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN.

Donald Glover did it, so might as well jump the bandwagon weeks after the fact.

Alternately known as The Mad Tito, Notorious Tito E, and for a regrettable few years, Mr. Endshift Resign, Lorenzo Tanos is a middle-aged McLovin in a young man’s game. Or was a middle-aged McLovin in a young man’s game, our sincerest apologies to Christopher Mintz-Plasse. On November 3, 2021, he shocked absolutely no one by announcing his semi-retirement from music and effective departure from The Mox, citing various factors, including, but not limited to the feeling that he was slowly transforming into the Old Man Yelling at Cloud. But really, he felt that he had outgrown the local rock scene, because let’s face it: if you’re a Gen Z gig denizen, the last thing you want to see is some mediocre dad-aged drummer pounding away with at least a couple much younger guys.

Six months later, Lorenzo still feels the same. But with gigs starting up again and his former band, The Mox, finding extraordinary momentum with newcomers Raphael Orga on lead guitar and Justine Paul Casilang on drums joining holdovers Migz Llado (vocals/bass) and James Relativo (guitars/vocals), Lorenzo believes it’s about fucking time he keeps his “fans” updated. And there’s no better way to do this than to do the only kind of interview that won’t have him sweating bullets (see what he did there, and with the title) or wanting to run to the john and barf up his protein shake. And that…is a self-interview from his not-quite-palatial Imus, Cavite, residence, where Lorenzo discusses his soon-to-launch projects, not the least of these being the indie label Mad Tito Music, the label’s three confirmed would-be signees, his potential cover band(s), and just about anything else that only Lorenzo Tanos could think of in a Lorenzo Tanos self-interview.

Lorenzo Tanos: Mr. Tanos, I knew you’d come. But you’re about a fucking month late.

Lorenzo Tanos: Dude, “Endshift Resign” is so mid-2000s-to-early-2010s. Sorry I’m late, though. I had to see a human about a BoJack.

So, can I call you Enzo?

Only friends and family call me Enzo. Enzo was a man who didn’t know what he really wants. Enzo was a guy tailor-made for an Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell movie, but with Bobby Andrews in the lead role. Lorenzo is what they call me at my “real” job(s), and since I decided sometime last year that I want to come about as a more mature and professional version of the man-child I was for most of my [censored] years on this planet, I now bill myself professionally, and in all professional areas, as Lorenzo. But you’re me, I’m you, and we’re all good, so it doesn’t matter if you prefer Lorenzo or Enzo. [Takes a hit from his vape] Mmmm, peanut butter. Peanut butter vapes are fucking epic.

Still vaping up a storm, I see?

Trying to cut down, to be honest. Actually, I’ve been trying to go straight-edge for some time, but “trying” is the operative word. You know what works to curb drinking? Dinner before the booze session. Used to go drinking without dinner back when bars closed earlier than usual due to the panini, but that’s mostly a thing of the past now. Didn’t realize how much I missed it — it’s the only time I have extra rice these days. Have a nice, big dinner at home before the inuman sesh, and you’ll find yourself drinking and eating less outside. Helps in the body transformation journey, and saves money, too.

And how’s the body transformation journey?

Still a 5-foot-7-inch, 170-pounder with a dad bod. Which is better than being a 190-pounder with a Debold Sinas bod, as I was in mid-2020. Patience, my friend. I’m not trying to transform into a [don’t ask]-year-old version of Zac Efron. I’m just trying to look and feel as healthy as possible.

I guess you’re comfortable enough at this point. I mean, it isn’t like I’m some DJ or podcaster or TV host. So let’s get cracking with the first question. What has Lorenzo Tanos been up to in the six months since semi-retirement?

Work, man, work! Work is what really takes up most of my time. Been dating a bit after sitting out much of the pandy because Zoom dates don’t feel like real dates. I’m kinda having a senior moment here, but I think this is the longest period in which I’ve been single.

Care to share how things have been going on that front?

Dude, that’s a PEP- or YES-level question. MaJoHa yourself, and while you’re at it, go tell me how Ricci [Rivero] and Blythe [Andrea Brillantes] are doing.

Sorry about that, Lorenzo. But you mentioned Ricci Rivero, and that reminded me about that basketball stats website you mentioned in your semi-retirement announcement.

That’s the second priority right now, schedule-wise. See? I wanted to get you back on track with the questions. That’s why I mentioned the basketball con showbiz chismis. Basketball con showbiz? What the fuck, man? I’m beginning to sound like some alta boomer who talks about going to Shoemart! But yeah, I’m making good enough time with that website, and if all goes well, that bad boy’s going up this month in beta form, with complete stats from UAAP Season 84 and NCAA Season 97. Fuck, I forgot the PBA’s still a thing. Might as well include the most recent PBA season, too.

What about music? I guess that’s how many people still know you, as the late bloomer who ended up spending 25 years in the local rock scene with little success, but with a lot of memories.

Third priority, my good man. I mean, it could probably jump to second before you know it, but such is the life we live. So fucking fluid, especially with the ‘vid still kinda-sorta a thing and all the uncertainty leading up to our elections. But I’ve got big plans for Mad Tito Music. Big, fat, juicy plans.

You haven’t said much, if anything at all, about Mad Tito Music in your barely-updated blog.

Here’s the thing about Mad Tito, aside from the obvious Thanos reference. My forte has always been egghead matters, not creative stuff. I probably could have made a good music business guy had I followed the advice of certain friends and put some effort into it when I was in my 20s. But at this point, man, I’ve got a lot to learn about being a music business guy. I learned that the hard way during my brief time as The Mox’s de facto manager. Dude, I was way in over my fucking head. The last band I was in before The Mox was The Myopics, and that was like 2014, 2015. Spotify wasn’t really a thing yet. Now you’ve got far more people listening to streaming than traditional radio when it comes to rock music. So that’s something I hope to figure out, and fast. But I won’t be alone when the time comes to launch Mad Tito Music. I know someone who’s far more savvy and experienced with the marketing and people skills side of management, and y’all know the latter is my big-time Achilles heel. Comes with the Assburger territory. This potential business partner used to manage the band I had in 1999, 2000. Pest Control System. Heard of ‘em?

Yeah, I think so. Wasn’t that Tino Valentino’s band way before Cosmic Love and Tukar Sinati and his solo stuff?

Mismo. Anton Saldana [Tino Valentino’s real name] had another band after PCS, and after I failed my audition as their drummer, I offered to be their manager, and they accepted. But I ended up doing jack shit, and that’s frustrated me for years, man. Years. I still feel great remorse over doing diddly squat and going back to being a drummer. But I’m turning [redacted] years old in August. I’ve got to forge my legacy outside of writing and editing. The basketball website is one-half of it. Mad Tito Music is the other.

So what is Mad Tito Music, if you don’t mind me asking?

Indie label, management group, and production all in one. Kinda like Burger Records without the sexual deviants, and without the normalization of sexual deviance. I don’t know when exactly, but hopefully next month I can start rounding up interested and interesting bands, you know, bands that play niche music like garage rock, ‘90s-style lo-fi indie, shoegaze, riot grrrl, surf rock, stoner rock, psychedelia, ’60s revival kinda shit. Mad Tito Music is gonna be home to the Philippines’ hardest-working outsider bands, and if all goes well, it will be the realization of what might be my true potential all along as a person in the world of music.

Do you regret, or still regret the two decades and a half you spent as a journeyman musician?

I spent 25 years playing drums for various bands. That was probably 20 years too many, you know? But then again, if I hadn’t followed my passion, if I hadn’t let that passion drive me to keep pushing forward despite my lack of natural talent as a musician, I wouldn’t have been part of The Chenelins. Brokensauce. The Myopics. The Mox. So many other bands where I had some good times and recorded some great music, even if the drums could have been steadier, less plain-vanilla, flashier, or whatever. So to answer your question, I regret nothing at the end of the day. I don’t regret being the musical equivalent of [NBA power forward] Udonis Haslem, albeit with more “teams,” or should I say bands.

I heard you’ve been working on some stuff for Mad Tito Music.

If you mean songs performed by Lorenzo Tanos, you heard wrong, my friend. You probably may have heard of the Oxford Comma Mafia, a garage-punk band that got its name for the fact that sooooo many of these kids use the Oxford comma as if it was a fucking status symbol. I use it because it makes more sense grammatically. They use it because it makes them look more intellectual and hip. Fuck that.

The Oxford comma Mafia, if you should know, is led by the same guy behind the ’60s rock revival act Dexter’s House and the stoner/psychedelia act Giant Beige Avalanche, which are also confirmed Mad Tito signees. His name’s Keith N. Harter IV, and he’s a Fil-Foreigner from Gwyneth Chua country. Poblacion, Makati. He’s so beige that everyone there mistakes him for an afam…until they hear him speak fluent Tagalog.

Keith N. Harter IV. Isn’t that…

KH4 isn’t anybody you’ve heard about. But he’s a man who knows how to control his narrative.

Alright. Whatever then. I just can’t help but feel that I’ve heard that name before. Or some variation of the name. And that catchphrase.

Nope, you don’t know him. KH4 is KH4.

Alright, whatever you say. Do you feel any, pardon the Gen Z speak, FOMO now that gigs are resuming and you feel, in the words of Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, too old for that shit?

Not gonna lie, man, I kinda feel it sometimes. I think of the fact The Mox has a gig on Saturday and how I’m gonna be a spectator to all that going forward. But again, I don’t regret semi-retiring because it was something that was, at that point, long overdue. And I wish nothing but the best for The Mox and their new lineup.

I’ve heard Justine play the drums, and he’s pretty damn good. And Raphael? Dude’s advertised as a shredder. I haven’t played with a real shredder since Mando [Simbulan] of Brokensauce, whose migration to Canada kinda ended things for the band. Though we did try to push forward. But yeah. With Migz and James joined by the new guys, I’m confident The Mox will soar to much greater heights, and hopefully get signed by a big-name indie.

So tell me more about your departure from The Mox. Was it amicable?

Fuck yeah. Migz and James understood my decision, and they know that it was hard for me to keep on keeping on when, deep inside, I was feeling more and more like a liability due to my age, and losing interest in playing original music in front of audiences young enough to be my kids. I mean, there were times when I kinda snapped and said things out of anger, out of my frustration that I was such a fucking waffler. There were some occasional disagreements, but what band doesn’t disagree about things from time to time? At the end of the day, there was no fucking drama, and that’s more than I can say about some of the times I left my previous bands, or some of the instances in which my bands broke up.

You said you were going to stay on as a creative consultant and/or co-manager in the original November announcement, but made no mention of that when you made it “extra, extra official” on Facebook in March. What happened?

Migz told me that he has his own vision for what The Mox should sound like going forward, and honestly, if I still had a say, I would’ve been like, “make sure we still kinda sound garage-y. Contemporize, but keep the garage influence in there.” Migz wants The Mox to grow, and he did tell me as well a while back that he doesn’t want to be part of a niche act. He wants a more contemporary, evergreen sound, and if garage is evergreen, then my name’s Joe Biden. I totally respect where Migz is coming from, so it was kinda understood without either of us saying anything — the new Mox won’t have even a smidge of Lorenzo influence or control outside of the fact that some of the songs I composed for the band will remain in their repertoire. I retain credit on those songs, and I’m cool with that being my legacy with The Mox.

Garage is a very limiting genre. The Strokes did two albums of that shit before Julian Casablancas and company were like, “fuck this, we gotta evolve.” Same with Kings of Leon, though it took them a bit longer to move away from their roots. But The Black Pervs, I mean, The Black Lips, have kinda been recording the same old-school garage album with some nips and tucks for well over a decade, and it’s all good with me…all good except, of course, their singer’s disgusting actions toward female fans. Mad Tito Music caters to such bands musically, as we’re all about giving a voice to bands who specialize in unusual genres that may or may not be conducive to musical growth. It’s all about standing out, to be honest.

Have Mad Tito’s would-be bands actually recorded anything, even rough demos?

Oxford Comma Mafia has. The song’s called “Randall,” and it’s actually one of my leftovers from The Mox that we played in a few early gigs. Song’s not complete yet, but I promise y’all. That song fucking slaps. Pure garage-punk mayhem in less than two minutes.

What’s the song about?

The song’s about a fucking sociopath I used to be friends with. No empathy, no remorse, no moral compass, no qualms about getting women drunk, having sex with them, and leaving them high and dry. Fuck him.

Got any other deets regarding Mad Tito Music’s would-be signings and their songs?

Absolutely. Oxford Comma Mafia will be absorbing more Mox leftovers from my time with the band, including “Oh, Leave ‘Ya Jaded,” which is about dumbass influencers who get all the love from Gen Z kids despite not having any substance behind the beautiful face and hot body. The song used to be called “Affluencer” till I realized I like that play on words with Aunt Becky’s [Lori Loughlin from Full House] daughter’s name. Then there’s “The News,” which is about finding out on the news that someone you knew from way back, a friend, random acquaintance, or former classmate or workmate, is either dead or in trouble with the law. Happened to me quite a few times.

What about the infamous “September 16”? A little birdie told me that The Mox found it waaaayyyy too experimental and niche, even for Lorenzo standards.

Still a work in progress. Even I find it weird, and I wrote the damn song. I’m more excited about “Red-Eye Saturday Nights,” “My Tabitha,” and “The List,” which are the real bangers from Giant Beige Avalanche.

Did you name that band as well? What about the other one?

Yeah, I named them, too. Giant Beige Avalanche comes from a random snarky comment from [YouTube music nerd] Todd in the Shadows. He used it to describe that Peter Cetera and Amy Grant ballad that was a huge hit in 1987 — a “giant beige avalanche of suck.” But GBA’s sound, not GBA itself, does more shrooms and acid and smokes more weed than Peter Cetera and Amy Grant ever did. Wait a minute, did Amy Grant go through a druggy phase like the guys from Chicago? Nah, she’s too Christian for that shit.

Dexter’s House, meanwhile, was named after former PBA import Dexter “The Louse” Shouse, so nicknamed because he had a tendency of flying back to America without notifying his team. Also, it works well because it’s like two TV shows in one. It’s like Michael C. Hall and Hugh Laurie had a baby who grew up in the 1960s!

Tell me a bit about that latter band. About their sound, not about 1980s PBA or popular TV series.

Dexter’s House? They’re rarin’ to go as the Philippines’ hopeful answer to the band Panic! At the Disco fans want to burn in effigy. The Young Veins, featuring ex-Panic! guys Ryan Ross and Jon Walker. They split after just one album.

Anyway, Dexter’s House has a fun, early Beatles-style track called “DGAF.”

Like the Dua Lipa song?

No. That’s “IDGAF,” so she can’t sue me. The best part of it all is that the Dexter’s House song uses the chords D, G, A, and F. And it’s about not giving a fuck if people think your sound is dated and irrelevant. You know what? It could very well be the Mad Tito fight song.

Okay, I think I’m sensing a pattern here. You write for Dexter’s House, Oxford Comma Mafia, and Giant Beige Avalanche.

Yes.

All three bands are confirmed Mad Tito Music signings.

Yes.

All three bands are led by some guy named “Keith N. Harter IV,” or “KH4.”

Yes.

And none of those three bands will play gigs — all their songs will be uploaded to Spotify and other streaming services.

Yes.

And your point being?

Uh, no. Nothing, really. But you are going to sign bands that will play gigs on top of the Spotify album or EP releases, right?

Yes, absolutely. Since I have multiple potential partners in Mad Tito Music, a lot of the bridges will be crossed when we get there. But I can tell you this. Some bands will be studio-only. Most bands will also play gigs. And all bands will specialize in some kind of music that isn’t really prominent or relevant in today’s barely-existent rock scene.

Do you expect to earn any money from this endeavor?

You gotta be fucking kidding me. I expect my “real” job and my basketball website, assuming said website is a hit with the casuals despite its stats-geek target viewership, to subsidize Mad Tito Music for God knows how long. This project is just like the bands I was in before I semi-retired — passion comes first before any dreams of financial solvency. I may be the business and numbers guy, but I’m also realistic when it comes to the pesos and centavos side of things.

For years, you’ve been teasing plans to form a cover band. Care to share the latest on that front?

That might be something to look forward to around July or August, but I’m bringing Brokensauce back together.

Ooohhh, Brokensauce! [sings in a low, low voice] Wala pa ring Dahlia, pero madaming Market…

Dude, that was the worst Jonar [Sabilano, Brokensauce singer/bassist] impersonation I have ever heard.

Geez, sor-ry! You know I’m a terrible singer.

Yeah, it’s a sad fact of life. But this won’t be the Brokensauce you know from the late 2000s, early 2010s. We won’t be doing our own songs. We’re gonna be playing strictly ’90s covers, from the stuff we used to do during those ’90s nights. “Pennyroyal Tea” by Nirvana. “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins. “Got You (Where I Want You)” by The Flys. And all the ’90s rock crowd pleasers, from “Alive” [Pearl Jam] to “Far Behind” [Candlebox] and every “Interstate Love Song” [Stone Temple Pilots] in between. We’ve aged, our audiences from back in the day have aged, and we’re gonna give the rock-loving Titos and Titas of Manila what they want. Well, most of them, anyway.

I’ll have you know I’m planning to buy me some e-drums so I can get my mojo back as a drummer. It’s supposed to be like riding a bike, but how the hell would I know. I can’t ride a bike as a long-since-unathletic man of [I told you not to fucking ask] years old, and it’s been decades since I last knew how. That purchase has been almost 30 years in the making, and it’s about fucking time to make it. But it’s gonna be mainly for practice. Stress release. And so I could teach my future kids how to play, IF I decide to have kids.

And record some drum tracks for Mad Tito’s bands?

We shall see.

I thought you wanted to cover your ’90s indie faves, too? Pavement? Olivia Tremor Control? Dinosaur Jr.? Lush, probably with a female vocalist?

Oh, that would be a dream. I’m planning another cover band for that. But Brokensauce was always more about jangly sad bastard stuff and meat-and-potatoes ’90s-style rock, not lo-fi hipster throwbacks. And I can respect that. All that’s sure for now is that Jonar says he’ll be back. Mic [Narciso] looks to be back as well. We might add someone else, and I’m hoping it’s a guy with an old-school name. There are exceptions, but that’s often been my good luck charm — a band full of guys with nombre en Espanol, with one outlier who has a very common Western name. Miguel, Lorenzo, and James for The Mox’s power trio configuration. Jose Leonardo, Armando, Reynaldo, Lorenzo, and Michael for Brokensauce’s Big Five. I say Big Five because Rey [Domingo] left and was replaced by Mando and we were usually a four- or three-piece. Tomas Edison [Paguyo], Louie [Finlac], Lorenzo, and Charles [Castro] for The Chenelins. Kinda cheating it with Louie, which is his actual first name, but Louie could also be a nickname for Luis…

I think I got it.

Sorry, man. The Chenelins used to tease me a lot because I’ve been a La Sallian since high school, and they say La Sallians love explaining things.

Damn right about that.

Fuck yeah.

Last question.

Thank you, Sky Daddy. I mean, I would have bailed after the second question if this was anybody else, but thank you nonetheless, Good Dude Upstairs.

Any parting words for your fans, readers, or whatever you want to call them?

Be good to one another, vote wisely, mask up, don’t drink and drive, and if the Grab app tells you “sorry, our drivers are busy,” that’s the biggest bunch of bullshit this side of “Russell Westbrook will help LeBron James and Anthony Davis win another title for the Lakers.” Stay tuned to this space for more updates on Mad Tito Music, its bands, and the visionary leader of three of those bands, Keith N. Harter IV.

Who, if I’m not mistaken, is Childish Gambino to Lorenzo Tanos’ Donald Glover?

Fuck you, man, this interview is OVER. Get out of my house.

One, this interview is actually over. Two, as a certain Saraya-Jade Bevis once said, THIS IS MY HOUSE.

Touche.

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Writer and copy editor, ZergNet. Semi-retired drummer, digital musician, and songwriter. Super-hot sauce aficionado. NBA/NFL/UFC/WWE/AEW fan. He/him.

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Enzo Tanos

Writer and copy editor, ZergNet. Semi-retired drummer, digital musician, and songwriter. Super-hot sauce aficionado. NBA/NFL/UFC/WWE/AEW fan. He/him.