DENNIS Garcia, the co-founder and bass guitarist of the iconic OPM band Hotdog that pioneered the popular Manila Sound, passed away last Saturday night.
The sad news was confirmed by his youngest daughter, Isa Garcia, on social media: “For those of you who knew my father, it grieves me to inform you all that he passed away tonight. Our grief at his sudden passing is infinite and now so is he. Thank you for being with us through this difficult time.”
Garcia died of renal failure; he was 69.
Rene, who was Hotdog’s vocalist and lead guitarist and who co-founded Hotdog with Dennis, died in 2018 due to cardiac arrest.
Dennis last made a public statement last December after Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte criticized the use of the Hotdog song “Manila” as the Philippine contingent was parading on stage during the 30th SEA Games opening ceremony at the Philippine Arena last November 30 last year. The feisty and outspoken daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte said that inclusivity should have been considered, referring to the song’s lyrics that only highlighted Manila and not the entire country.
Shortly thereafter, the musician shared his friend’s post about the song on his Facebook page: “Dennis and Rene wrote the song while they were OFWs. Dennis, on one of his engagements as a Creative Director somewhere around Asia, penned the lyrics to the melody and they recorded it together – probably in one incarnation of Dennis’ personal studios, when they were home together.
“The song resonated so much with generations of Filipinos some thirty plus years ago till now and it’s evolved into an anthem of sorts specially for those homebound on a PAL plane flying from Dubai, Heathrow, JFW or any other part of the world where they fly to and return. It is this setting that drew into the hearts and minds of the participants, the legendary athletes present in the parade, and mostly the audience that got them to their feet, singing and dancing while the song was playing over and over again, until the parade was over.”
Dennis clarified that he shared the Facebook post of his Cebuano friend Pancho Alvarez who wanted to trace back how he and his brother Rene came together to write about the song and not as a response to Mayor Duterte’s criticism.
Hotdog, also known as Hotdog Band, was formed by Rene and Dennis together with singer Ella de Rosario and two other original members Ramon Torralba (second lead guitarist), Tito del Rosario (third lead guitarist), Lorrie Ilustre (keyboards), and Jess Garcia and Roy Diaz (drummers).
The band is known for their hit songs “Beh, Buti Nga,” “Annie Batungbakal,” “Manila,” and “Bongga Ka Day!” which was made into a movie starring superstar Nora Aunor. They are credited for pioneering the “Manila Sound” in the 70s that eventually became what we know now as Original Pilipino Music (OPM).
The wake of Dennis is at Chapel 6 at Heritage Park in Taguig City. The date of his interment has yet to be announced.