MANILA, Philippines -- It was supposed to be a wake.
It was, instead, a celebration of music, friendship and a life too early interrupted but well lived for all that.
Relatives, friends, fellow rockers, politicians – yes, politicians – fans and the simply curious flocked to the chapel in Mt. Carmel church in Quezon City where large black and white photographs of Karl Roy, frozen in the passion of life, surrounded the urn containing his ashes.
Karl Joseph Gregory S. Roy, who fronted alternative rock bands Advent Call, P.O.T and later Kapatid, died from cardiac arrest due to complications brought about by pneumonia. He was 43.
Outside the chapel, the irrepressible Papa Dom of Tropical Depression smokes a cigar as he talked to an old friend, InterAksyon infotech editor Jing Garcia, himself a musician … err, sound artist.
Papa Dom giggled as he recounted an anecdote about Karl Roy.
"We shared the same love for animals. He came knockin' on my door at 3 in the morning. “Nagpatulong siya dahil ‘yung ahas niya nakawala sa loob ng kotse (He was asking for help because his snake had gotten loose inside a car). It took us a few hours bago namin nahanap pero nakita din naming
(before we found it but find it we did)."
Entertainment journalist Claire Agbayani sat on a bench beside ex-The Dawn guitarist Francis Reyes as they swapped remembrances with old faces from the good old days of Club Dredd.
Later, Reyes was joined by The Dawn lead vocalist Jett Pangan. Followed by other Pinoy alternative rock staples Rico Blanco, Vin Dancel of Peryodiko, Reg Rubio of Greyhoundz, and original Kapatid members Nathan Azarcon, J-Hoon Balbuen, and Ira Cruz.
Inside the chapel, Karl’s family greeted with equal grace those who had come to share their grief as well as those who had come just to see what a rock icon’s wake was like.
Karl’s younger brother Kevin of Razorback was composed as he talked to fellow artists and friends, among them Basti Artadi of Wolfgang and Sandwich’s Lemon Marasigan, both greeted him with tight hugs.
“Since 12 up to 18, we were roommates, and (since) we’re brothers so nakita ko lahat, pati ang alam niya (I saw everything, including what he knew). It was hilarious but he taught me to how to be an individual, to be unique, to be your own person (even when we were) just kids,” he said.
As with most things, but perhaps more so with music, imitation is truly the highest form of flattery.
“Marami ng Karl Roy ngayon. Kanina me nakilala akong dalawang bata (There are now so many Karl Roys. Just earlier I met two kids) named after my brother,” Kevin said. But, of course, “isa lang ang Karl Roy, kapatid ko ‘yun (there is only one Karl Roy, my brother)," said the visibly proud sibling.
In one corner of the chapel, Karl’s mother, his wife Denna and daughter Arianna exchanged pleasantries with former Transportation secretary Oscar Orbos and other relatives.
In another, there was 80s Princess of Punk Delilah Aguilar, who came with her son Adam by another rock fixture, RJ rockjock the late Howlin' Dave.
"We asked him to come over to DZRJ (where) we had a meeting with top management, and we asked him to sing Fields of Gold (Sting) and Alive (Pearl Jam),” she recalled. “He had a wonderful and powerful voice, so every one was mesmerized, but as everyone got stoned, he was just laughing
in a corner because he made the best butterscotch brownies."
Former commecial model Angie Duarte, a friend of 25 years, described Karl as "kalog, masayahin (fun-loving, jolly), (an) excellent musician, at marunong magmahal (and he knew how to love).”
“We’re gonna miss him," she added wistfully.
And as memories of Karl Roy and his music continued to waft through the conversations, in the hallway leading to the chapel, people jostled to view photos and written tributes to the Pinoy Rock icon posted on a wall.
"That's Karl alright," one female fan said as she amusingly looked at a concert photo of Roy performing only with a towel wrapped around his waist.
"It's actually like we have an 'All Access' pass at the backstage of a rock concert," another fan quipped.