The Dawn is a Filipino rock band which first achieved commercial success during the late 1980s in the Philippines. The band broke up in 1995 with lead vocalist Jett Pangan forming another band, the Jett Pangan Group. The Dawn reunited in late 1999. The Dawn is considered the "longest-lived and most prolific rock band in the Philippines".
The Dawn was formed in 1985 by Teddy Diaz (vocals and guitars), JB Leonor (drums) and Clay Luna (bass). The band's name was derived from a portrait of the Holy Spirit that symbolized the dawn of a new day (probably found in a book given by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit to Teddy Diaz, as well as a crucifix which Teddy also received from the same sisterhood), called The Dawning of the Holy Spirit. Diaz, Leonor and Luna initially wanted a female vocalist; but in the course of their search, Jett Pangan auditioned and got the trio's unanimous nod. The quartet began performing in clubs and eventually recorded a demo of a song entitled "Enveloped Ideas", a copy of which they submitted to DWXB 102.7, a now-defunct Metro Manila-based FM radio station that played alternative rock and new wave music. It topped the radio station's charts in 1986, helping the group gain a cult following. While The Dawn was in search of a major record label, Luna left the band to immigrate to the US. Carlos "Caloy" Balcells, bass player of another Filipino group, the Cicada Band, soon replaced him. In 1986, The Dawn signed with OctoArts International (now PolyEast Records Philippines) and, the next summer, released their eponymous debut album, which gained commercial success. Many critics felt that The Dawn would fill the void left behind by the Juan de la Cruz Band when their music slowly faded in the 1980s. Heavily influenced by the new wave genre of the 1980s, "Enveloped Ideas" is distinct for its introductory operatic vocals a la Klaus Nomi.
At the height of their popularity, and just weeks after the release of their second album I Stand With You, containing the title track, "Magtanim Ay 'Di Biro" and "Love (Will Set Us Free)", after that, Diaz was stabbed to death in front of his girlfriend's house on August 21, 1988 by two men allegedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Despite the demise of Diaz, his influence is still felt among many guitarists today and he has become a legend among many Filipino musicians. The Dawn still considers Diaz to be the band's driving force to this day.
The band continued to play, at one time employing the services of a masked guitarist (nicknamed "Zorro" by some fans - is actually rock guitar virtuoso Noel Mendez who will eventually form the band HAYP) in the absence of a permanent guitar player. Atsushi Matsuura, a Japanese guitarist who had earlier released a solo album in the Philippines under Ivory Records, took on lead guitar duties in January 1989 as the band released Beyond the Bend. Matsuura was featured on the music video of "Salamat".
He was later replaced by Francis Reyes, former Afterimage guitarist, who was also a disc jockey at NU-107, a local alternative rock radio station. Reyes also happened to be Diaz's close friend. Classically trained session keyboardist Millette Saldajeno also joined the band in 1990 but was later replaced by Isidore Fernandez in 1992.
In 1995, the band went their separate ways due to Pangan's desire to move on with another career. Pangan then formed the Jett Pangan Group.
The 1997 reunion at the ULTRA brought the band back on-stage and, for the first time, the band employed two guitarists: Matsuura and Reyes. They did another reunion show at the now defunct ABG's along Pasong Tamo, while they were discussing a comeback release through Sony Music Philippines (now Sony BMG Music Philippines). In 2000 they reunited with both Francis Reyes and Atsushi Matsuura on guitars and performed on GMA Networks' 2000 Global Millennium Day Broadcast in Ayala Avenue in Makati City. That year, they also recorded Prodigal Sun, an album that, much like the parable of the Prodigal Son, symbolized their return to the music scene.
2001 saw the band actively engaged in the live circuit, embarking on an 8-city US tour and were in New York City when 9/11 turned the World Trade Center into ground zero. In 2004, Carlos Balcells left the band in order to perform his duties as city councilor in his native Talisay City, Negros Occidental. Wolfgang's bass player Mon Legaspi took his place in the band. A few months later, the band once again parted with Matsuura and returned to being a quartet.
In 2004, the band released Harapin (Filipino, "To Face"), featuring singles such as Tulad ng Dati ("Just Like Before") and Laging Narito ("Always Here"). In late 2005, bass player Mon Legaspi amicably left the band to pursue other projects and was replaced by Buddy Zabala, formerly of The Eraserheads. Around this time, The Dawn also contributed to the Apo Hiking Society tribute album kami nAPO muna with a cover of Bawat Bata ("Every Child"). In 2006, an independent film based on the band's history was released. Tulad Ng Dati (Just Like Before, as entitled in the Pusan International Film Festival) won Best Editing, Best Sound, and Best Picture in the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. It was also the country's entry to the Hawaii International Film Festival. The Dawn's 20th anniversary album, a two-disc set of the same title was released in October of the same year. Disc one contains re-recordings of their hits through the years and the carrier single Ang Iyong Paalam ("Your Farewell"), while disc two contains videos, including rare footage of Teddy Diaz doing a guitar solo. In October 2006, "Enveloped Ideas" was voted as the greatest new wave song of all time by the listeners of DWXB-FM, which was revived on the Internet with its original DJs broadcasting from Manila. In October 2008, The Dawn launched their tenth studio album, The Later Half of Day, their first album in two years since the last released in 2006. It featured Jazz re-arrangements of their old songs. In July 2009, the band launched their eleventh studio album, Sound The Alarm. The album features The Dawn's latest guitarist Kenneth Ilagan, formerly of True Faith and Rivermaya. Francis Reyes, who had been with the band for the last 18 years, left after what Jett Pangan called a "hard meeting". Pangan also went on to state that Reyes was welcome to rejoin the band.
In 2013, Pangan recalls, "I think I'm gonna write more songs".
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license