[Content warning: This story mentions events of violence against women.]
This article has been updated to reflect the statements of Eraserheads members Ely Buendia and Raymund Marasigan on the issue.
Eraserheads frontman Ely Buendia and drummer Raymund Marasigan have released individual statements on the domestic violence allegations against guitarist Marcus Adoro.
Ely commented on the issue through his manager Dianne Ventura, who spoke with ANCX on Sept. 21. Marcus resolving his issues was one of Ely’s “non-negotiable conditions” before saying yes to performing at the upcoming Eraserheads reunion concert. “This was promised by Marcus’s management,” Dianne said.
“We do not condone abuse that is absolute,” she stated. “We acknowledge the pain and suffering of the parties involved and we seek accountability.” Ely’s camp wishes for peace and would not want to “get in the way” of a possible reconciliation.
Meanwhile, Raymund addressed Marcus in an interview with Bandwagon on Sept. 20. “If you’re my friend, seek me out, we can talk about it privately,” he said. “Publicly on social media, any statement can be misconstrued. Nobody wins.”
He added, “I hope the issue between the parties gets resolved soon. I really want to respect the privacy of those involved, and sincerely hope they all find peace of heart and mind.”
Filipino rock band Eraserheads raised not just generations of musicians, but generations, period. This is why it’s no surprise that a reunion show has remained a unanimous request that frequently resurfaces online.
Ever since disbanding in 2002, Eraserheads members have been on the receiving end of listeners’ nostalgia for their edgy brand of alt-rock music. While they did have “Final Set,” their jam-packed 2009 reunion concert, fans seemed to have never accepted anything as “last,” as evidenced by the online noise that bursts with every crumb of interaction among the members. And recently, we did receive more than hints.
After Eraserheads’ Ely Buendia, Raymund Marasigan, Buddy Zabala, and Marcus Adoro posted the same photo of a cryptic inverted letter “E”—alluding to the band’s logo—on their respective Instagram accounts four days ago, we finally got an official announcement of a reunion concert on Sept. 12, which is slated for Dec. 22. But a big question mark is plotted in between posts of excitement: Why is guitarist Marcus Adoro, an alleged abuser, still included?
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The abuse accusations
In case you missed it, the collective question on the internet stems from painful revelations made in 2019 by Marcus’s daughter, singer Syd Hartha, and ex-partner, actress Barbara Ruaro. Both their accounts point to domestic violence allegedly at the hands of Adoro.
On her social media pages, Syd talked about someone named “Makoy” and disclosed how she had longed to feel the presence of her estranged father, and also to get to know her other family members. But when she finally had the chance to spend time with him, she discovered the dark answers to her questions.
“Sa halos isang taong madalas ko siyang nakakausap at nakakasama, nabigyan na ng kasagutan lahat ng bitbit kong katanungan noon. Hinding hindi ko makakalimutan iba’t ibang klase ng abuso na dinanas ko sa kanya. Kaya pala ako nilalayo ng nanay ko at iba pang mga kamag-anak ko sa kanya. Kaya pala.”
(In the almost one year that I spent talking to and being with him, I finally got the answers to the questions I had long been carrying. I will never ever forget the various forms of abuse that I experienced from him. So that is why my mother and other relatives kept me away from him. That is why).
According to her, she tried to see the good in him and believed he could still change. But after losing important people in her life because of Makoy, she made efforts to keep her distance from him.
She revealed that he physically abused her not just once. He would hit her head on the wall, even in front of her friends or if her mom wasn’t looking.
In a string of screenshots, Syd divulged disturbing conversations with what appears to be Makoy. In one chat, he said that that she will be raped, and that she wouldn’t do anything about it because it’s shameful. He added that even if she were to be gang-banged, she would leave it at that and might even “invite” those who did it to her so it’d happen again. A separate screenshot reveals a death threat over blocking him on social media.
Syd also shared a snippet from a conversation with Barbara on Instagram DMs where they expressed fear for their safety. On her own socials in the same year, Barbara posted photos of herself bruised in different parts of her body. “This happened to me yesterday, on top of other cuts, bruises, and almost a year of psychological manipulation, done by someone I loved and cared for deeply,” she said in one of her Instagram posts. “I experienced all sorts of abuse under the hand of a narcissistic man.”
While she didn’t name her abuser, Barbara revealed in a separate now-deleted post that “Marcus Adoro abused us.” She also said that his camp had been asking her to delete her posts pointing to the allegations, as these affect the musician’s work.
What fans actually want
Ever since the reunion show announcement, a lot of folks online—conflicted Eraserheads fans included—have tried to bring this serious matter to everyone’s attention again. Tweets refusing to acknowledge Marcus as part of the band have popped up, and many have been calling for him to be replaced in the show. All of these are valid sentiments.
As much as I wanna be excited about the alleged comeback, it’s also very disappointing na parang nagkalimutan na lang sa nangyari kay Marcus Adoro considering pati sarili niyang anak na si Syd Hartha ay naging vocal about the history of abuse.
— Celina (@maybeitsceline) September 18, 2022
Stop being blinded just because we love them as a band. Marcus Adoro is CLEARLY an abuser who doesn’t deserve the limelight anymore. Malala ang pinagdaanan ng anak nya under him just for us to sweep everything under the rug because he’s a member of a band we love.
— Bea 💖 #NeverAgain (@btrzkji) September 19, 2022
I know we’re all excited about our favorite local band reuniting, but are we just gonna ignore the fact that announcements were made without any of them acknowledging that one of their members has been physically and verbally abusive towards his daughter and ex-partner? 🧐
— Ashley A.⁷ 🌈🦔 (@ashleyp3rdiem) September 19, 2022
See, this isn’t a matter of “throwing hate” just for the heck of it nor a convenient place to say, “I just enjoy their music; I don’t care about their personal lives.” Although the discourse on separating art from the artist is still an ongoing debate, this shouldn’t be an excuse to set aside cases involving violence against women.
With women coming forward with allegations as grave as these, is it really the time to use ’90s nostalgia as a free pass for someone famous with unresolved issues?
In the midst of posts and tweets that raise awareness on this issue, Syd and Barbara expressed their gratitude to everyone who has refused to forget.
Sweeping this under the rug is telling of how we treat people of prominence versus minorities—like women. Should idolatry be pushed at the possible expense of victims’ feelings? Or worse, the invalidation of their experiences?
We all want to enjoy this reunion. I, an Eraserheads fan ever since my teens, definitely know the feeling. But this should remind us that there is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed first. After all, with how recent events have unfolded, especially concerning our own history, we know how the act of forgetting—topped with fanaticism—can be dangerous.
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Photos (L to R) from Eraserheads’ members Instagram posts and the official reunion concert poster