The highlight of Chito Miranda’s day is at 4 p.m. when he takes his two dogs out for a walk around the village where he lives with his heavily pregnant wife, Neri Naig.
He also likes to go out and pay the bills, ride his bike, then if inspiration hits, hang out with his guitar in an empty lot a few blocks from his house.
Life has significantly slowed down for the ultra charismatic frontman of the 23-year-strong rock band Parokya ni Edgar. But here’s the irony: he’s always preferred this provincial existence over the fast-paced one of his youth.
“You always want the opposite of what you have,” Chito says. “I always imagined that I would retire at the beach. Pero napansin ko na sa beach, mainit pala pag tumatagal. So naka-aircon din ako sa room habang hinihintay na lumamig sa labas. The novelty of the sun and sand, masarap lang pag bakasyon. But where I live now, you never get tired of the cool weather. And you have nothing to do here but ride your bike, walk the dogs, and do errands. Yun yung appeal sa akin: sobrang bagal ng buhay dito.”
Chito isn’t retired, however; not for a long time. In fact, Parokya ni Edgar is launching its ninth studio album—Pogi Years Old—this month. Coming five years after their last one, it’s packed with 21 new tracks, definitely worth the wait.
But today, Chito is more occupied with playing with his customized slingshot—with stainless steel ball bearings as projectiles, because rough pebbles are for amateurs. His other toys include a collection of guns, knives, axes, katanas, and vintage vinyl records. (Surviving the zombie apocalypse to the music of Diana Ross and Barbra Streisand? It’s something apparently only Chito appreciates.)
It’s something Parokya’s headbanging fans don’t see when they watch Chito do his thing. But, really they don’t need to look too closely. Once they watch him spew out his songs and listen to his jokes, they’ll realize that Chito is still the same fun-loving man-child who, at 17, first stepped up onstage with his friends to change Pinoy rock forever.
Do you realize that you have two generations of fans now? People your age who grew up with you, and their kids (if they had kids in their early 20s).
Sobrang nakakatuwa yon. When we play in high schools, ang feeling namin, parang 1999 pa rin. It’s always a pleasure to play for the kids. And then we’d see tweets na, “Hay nako, yung daddy ko nakikisabay sa akin makinig ng Parokya.” Ang saya.
Knowing that you have a multi-generational audience, do you adjust your jokes onstage to suit everyone?
We still try to make every show fun and pilyo. Pag gago yung banda, the parents and the kids will like it. Pero karamihan sa jokes namin, pang-tito na talaga kasi yun na yung mundo namin ngayon eh. Forty na ako, so yung experiences that we will talk about onstage are the experiences we’re going through now.
The kids must see you as vintage rock stars.
They see us as mga tito nilang makukulit who they’re excited to play with. Yung mga Sponge Cola, Urbandub, sila yung mga kaklase na cool. Kami yung mga tito o teacher na cool. As long as The Dawn and Side A are there, sila yung titingnan na matatanda. Kami nina Ely [Buendia] at Rico [Blanco] pa rin yung mga bata when The Dawn and Side A are around.
How have backstage activities changed for Parokya?
When we were kids, we all wanted to live on the edge. We were 17 years old then. Gusto namin maingay, magulo. We loved the attention and the girls. We’d get drunk and wasted, we’d mess up hotel rooms. On tour, we’d do everything na pwede namin gawin. People imagine that it’s still all party backstage at a Parokya gig. Pero ngayon, wala nang ganun. After gigs, babalik lang kami sa hotel and go to sleep.
Do you miss the chase back when you were young and free?
No. It’s normal for boys to chase after girls. But when you get older, your priorities change. Breasts become insignificant at some point. They're still fun to look at, but no longer worth the trouble.
Twenty-three years on, how have you evolved as an artist?
Hindi na ako masyadong bossy ngayon. Dati, gusto ko pag nag-re-recording ako, pag nag-mi-mix, nandun din sila kahit wala silang gagawin in that particular piece. Para equal amount of effort. But when we got older, I realized how stressful that was. Ngayon, darating na lang kami sa studio pag kailangan na kami. So wala ng stress.
Tell us about your new album.
Everybody thinks we’ve stopped recording. But really, we started recording this new album a month or two after we released our last album— five or six years ago. The single we just released—“Lagi Mong Tatandaan”— was recorded five years ago.
You’ll be a father in a month. Will you be a chill one?
Modesty aside, I think I’ll be a good father. I’ve always known how to take care of children, since ako yung youngest sa amin. Ako ang taga-palit ng diaper ng mga pamangkin ko, taga-burp. My kid will have a playmate in me. And as a husband? Mabait din ako. Tanungin niyo si Neri.
Can we look forward to 23 more years of Parokya?
Yes. There’s no danger of disbanding. If I’m going to keep doing this, I want to keep working with my bandmates. But if we do decide to stop, I’d rather we quit together as a band than to disband and continue doing gigs separately. Because once I quit, it will be because I want to get out of this lifestyle and just stay home with my family. But I won’t quit, because I’m still having fun.