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Itchyworms are a Filipino Pop and Alternative Rock band from Manila. They are best known for a string of hit singles from 2005 to 2010, including “Beer,” “Penge Naman Ako N’yan,” and “Akin Ka Nalang.”
Itchyworms are also recognized for having a solid lineup. The original members Jugs Jugueta, Chino Singson, Kelvin Yu, and Jazz Nicolas continue to record and perform live together after almost two decades since the band’s formation.
Itchyworms’ longtime drummer Jazz Nicolas plays bass for Boldstar, a Rock band where Chino Singson’s brother Echo Singson is the lead guitarist. Nicolas was a session keyboardist for Eraserheads from 2008-2009.
Itchyworms have defied the stereotypical mold of bands who sing in Tagalog. Without releasing ballads or resorting to slapstick, they managed to consistently please their fanbase with mid-tempo rock songs that have a sense of humor. The Itchyworms’ trademark can be best encapsulated by a combination of memorable choruses, vocal melodies, and infectious hooks reminiscent of Classic Rock bands.
With 20 years of performing under their belts, Itchyworms are among a select few Filipino Rock bands with a sizable videography and a large discography that includes four studio albums and two EPs.
Itchyworms returned to writing and recording songs in English and Tagalog for their latest album in 2013.
ItchyWorms Album and Songlist
Happy Birthday EP (2001)
1. Happy Birthday
Little Monsters Under Your Bed (2001)
1. Mellow Carousel
2. Happy House
3. Coffee in the Gobi
6. Caveman Do
7. Isang Umaatikabong Kaldero Ng Mananakop
8. I Found You
9. Kung Bakit Ganyan Si Baby Ngayon
10. Happy Birthday
11. HaBerdugo Ng Bulacan (Bakal at Karne)
15. Find And Seek
16. Angry Mob (12 Itch Remix)
18. Not Much
20. At The Tapa Bar
22. Sphrgle’s Lullabye
And The Worm Jumped Over The Moon EP (2003)
Noontime Show (2005)
1. Patnubay Ng Magulang
2. Theme from Noontime Show
3. Ka’ Tol
5. Contestant Number One
6. Akin Ka Nalang
8. Balde o Salapi
10. One Ball
11. Love Team
12. Wala Nang Pwede Magmahal Sa ‘Yo (Stalker Song)
13. Mister Love
14. Everybody Thinks You’re Crazy
15. Falling Star
16. Soap O Pera
1. Penge Naman Ako N’yan
2. Bugbog Sarado
3. Gusto Ko Lamang Sa Buhay
4. Sino Ka Nga Ba?
5. Nahuli Mo Na Ba Ako?
6. Freak-out, Baby
7. Suplado Ka Pala Sa Personal
8. Isang Alfrescong Takip-Silim Sa Café Francois
9. Pataasan Ng Weewee
10. Tuksyude! Tuksyude! Tuksyude!
11. Steady Lang Tayo
12. Awitin Para Sa Mga Nagmumuni-muni
13. Sana Naniwala Sa ‘Yo
15. Misis Fely Nimfa Ang Pangalan
16. Para Sa Pinaka Matangkad Na Tao Sa Buong Mundo
After All This Time (2013)
2.After All This Time
4.Gliding in an Azure Reverie
7.Huwag na sana ‘kong gumising na mag-isa
8.My Jolly Old Buddy
10.Lost In Space With Rey Langit
Appears in the Following Compilation Album:
Kami Napo Muna - Apo Tribute Album (2008)
1. Awit Ng Barkada (Apo Hiking Society cover)
Itchyworms’ formation dates to 1996 when childhood friends Jugs Juguete and Jazz Nicolas started playing music together while in high school. The original lineup was completed soon after with Chino Singson on lead guitars and Kelvin Yu on bass.
To date, the only former member of Itchyworms, bassist Hadrian “Haji” Cruz,” was in the band for a brief period during its inception and long before the first Itchyworms recording. He was soon replaced by Kelvin Yu.
Since the late 1990s Juguete and Nicolas were the main songwriters, with additional input from Singson and Yu.
According to Kerwin Rosete, their longtime manager, the members of Itchyworms only agreed to form a band to join the Ateneo Musician’s Pool (AMP). The AMP’s meeting place was the Ateneo Zen Garden whose trees were populated by hairy caterpillars, colloquially known as higad. This allegedly inspired the quartet’s choice of band name, Itchyworms.
Raised on the Classic Rock albums of their parents and soaking up the wave of Alternative Rock that defined the late 1990s, Itchyworms’ identity as a Filipino Rock band was partly shaped by New Wave and Hard Rock from the 1980s.
The last piece of their musical foundation was the seminal local Rock band Eraserheads along with a large pool of OPM artists. Both Jugueta and Nicolas have publicly declared their artistic debt to Eraserheads as an inspiration and role model.
By 2001 Itchyworms self-released their first one-song EP, Happy Birthday. Later that year they debuted with Little Monsters Under Your Bed via the now defunct Neo Records Inc, a subsidiary of Viva Records.
Interestingly, Neo Records was also the label for The Mongols, the post-Eraserheads band of Ely Buendia who released one album, Buddha’s Pest, in 2005.
Little Monsters Under Your Bed was a minor success for the quartet. Although it didn’t lead to significant airplay, the album’s merits established Itchyworms as an exciting new Pinoy Rock band. Before 2001 ended they were already recognized at the NU107 Rock Awards as “Best New Artist.”
The band’s connection with the Eraserheads would have a major contribution to Itchyworms’ success after their debut album. Former Eraserhead members Buddy Zabala and Raimund Marasigan co-produced Itchyworms’ Noontime Show album via Universal Records.
Noontime Show’s commercial success ushered Itchyworms’ musical peak and marked the beginning of their collaborative work with the advertising industry. To date, Itchyworms singles have been used by multiple consumer brands, who sometimes commissioned original songs from the band.
Noontime Show spawned several hit singles and a series of music videos that showcased the band’s sentimentality and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. The song “Beer” off of Noontime Show is arguably their most successful single to date.
The follow-up album Self-Titled was equally successful. The Itchyworms merely continued in the same vein as Noontime Show albeit with a different label (Sony BMG). Both albums established Itchyworms’ reputation as a radio friendly OPM band that can be depended on to produce memorable and catchy songs, even when they dabble in styles and genres, like the disco-themed single and music video “Frek-out, Baby” from Self-Titled.
Self-Titled’s promotion led to numerous music videos that included the band’s trademark humor, i.e. “Penge Naman Ako N’yan,” and non-serious approach to depicting emotional topics, the latter quality best seen on the music video for “Misis Fely Nimfa Ang Pangalan.”
With the success of Self-Titled Itchyworms reached a point where touring was a major part of the band’s schedule, with regional shows being booked as often as twice a week.
The period following Self-Titled’s release involved another instance of close collaboration between Itchyworms and Eraserheads. In 2008 Itchyworms drummer Nicolas filled in as a live keyboardist for the Eraserheads reunion concerts.
The band’s mainstream appeal would lead to Itchyworms’ first shows abroad, including a concert in Dubai in 2012. The members of Itchyworms would also branch into different activities. From mid-2010 until 2014 Jugueta and bassist Kelvin Yu hosted Jam Sessions with Jugs & Kel, a weekly radio program for Jam 88.3.
For singer-guitarist Jugueta in particular, his relative fame as a frontman helped his transition as a media personality. In 2009 he became a co-host of the noontime variety program It’s Showtime in ABS-CBN, a day job he continues until the present.
The interim until their latest album saw Itchyworms’ relationship with SMART Talk ‘N Text, a cellular service provider, blossom. This happened because Sony Music Philippines couldn’t sustain operations and closed down in 2012. Itchyworms teamed up with Talk ‘N Text as a partner while the band took full creative control of their upcoming album. The finished recording featured cover art by Christiana Jade “CJ” de Silva.
By 2013 Talk ‘N Text was the sole distributor of their latest album After All This Time, offering it to subscribers for free whenever they bought Php300 worth of cell phone load. Most of After All This Time’s promotion was carried out using social media and music streaming sites. Another strategy was to partner with Viber, the P2P phone service, for the local release of Itchyworms stickers.
Almost a year after its release, Jugueta claimed After All This Time was a concept album about an astronaut stranded on the Moon who witnesses a nuclear war on Earth.
Itchyworms released the music video for “Rainy Day,” their second single off of After All This Time, in mid-2014.
When not busy with their music and concerts, each member of the Itchyworms support themselves financially. Jugueta is a host for ABS-CBN. Singson is a programmer. Yu runs a 7-11 franchise. Nicolas is a songwriter in the advertising industry.
Itchyworms continued touring throughout 2014 and headlined the Ginebra San Miguel Ginuman Festival in Northern Luzon and the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival in Mindanao. Itchyworms are scheduled to play live in Dubai on November, 2015.
Since their formation in 1996 Itchyworms have consistently stood by their influences—mainly Classic Rock from the 1960s with touches of New Wave and Hard Rock from the 1980s.
All members of the Itchyworms are fans of The Beatles. Their collective tutelage in Classick Rock helped shape the band’s sound, which recalls artists like The Beach Boys, The Kinks, Bee Gees, and even Pink Floyd. The band personally cite The Beatles, The Police, Eric Clapton, Superdrag, Guns n Roses, and Matthew Sweet as major influences.
Despite their unmistakable sound each Itchyworms album is different from its predecessor. Even their radio friendly singles are unique for their stories and themes that often deal with emotions and frustrations in a quirky, lighthearted tone.
Their debut album Little Monsters Under Your Bed remains their most experimental release to date, with an enormous track list and an eclectic collection of songs. Without the benefit of heavy promotion, their debut did lay the groundwork for Itchyworms’ transition to mainstream success, with lighthearted and whimsical songs that were still catchy.
Itchyworms crossed over to the mainstream with their sophomore LP Noontime Show. Hit singles like “Beer” and “Akin Ka Nalang” received massive amounts of airplay. The success of Noontime Show led to their 2008 LP Self-Titled, which was heavily promoted by MCA Universal.
The period from Noontime Show until Self-Titled was the band’s musical and commercial peak.
Several years would pass before Itchyworms returned to the studio. In 2013, the band partnered with a telco to distribute their upcoming fourth album After All This Time, which featured songs in English.
Itchyworms also participated in Tower of Doom studios’ Tower Sessions video series, performing “Ayokong Tumanda” and released another music video a year later, “Rainy Day.”
Awards and Recognition
NU107 Rock Awards 2001
Winner Best New Artist
NU107 Rock Awards 2006
Winner Album of the Year
Music Videos and Other Media
Official Music Videos
Little Monsters Under Your Bed
Akin Ka Nalang
Penge Naman Ako N'yan
Suplado Ka Pala Sa Personal
Gusto Ko Lamang Sa Buhay
Misis Fely Nimfa Ang Pangalan
After All This Time
After All This Time
Huwag Na Sana 'Kong Gumising Mag-isa
All photos sourced from: