The Most Famous Filipino American Rock Musicians

The music created by Filipino musicians is similar to that one created by other rock musicians, but it can’t be called shallow minded. The songs of Filipino bands are authentic and you can understand their lyrics easily. Some of the Filipino rock musicians were born or moved to the US to have more opportunities. In this short review, we’re going to give some insights into their backgrounds and current projects.

James Baluyut

James Baluyut is a US famous singer, record producer and rock guitarist from Filipino origin. Baluyut was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1972. He is one of the famous filipinos who is the lead guitarist, the primary singer for Versus. Baluyut also produced recordings for Mark Robinson, The Naysayer, Whysall Lane and The Missing Planes. His brother, Richard Baluyut, is also a singer for Versus. Richard Baluyut is also famous in the US. He is one of the filipino male singers who reached success in the US. However, this country is rich for other filipino male singers.

Noah Bernardo

Noah Bernardo is known as rhythm guitarist and the drummer who is active since 1992. His fans call him “Wuv”.   He plays in different genres including nu metal, Christian metal, rap metal, alternative metal, and reggae. He recently announced that he is going to handle drum duties for StillWell. Some members of his family are also involved in creating music: his father is the owner of Rescue Records and his second cousin, Sonny Sandoval, is the frontman of P.O.D.

Jerome Fontamillas

Jerome Fontamillas is one of the famous Filipino singers playing industrial and alternative rock born in California, in 1967. He played keyboards, guitar, and other instruments in several bands. Fontamillas is also in a list of well-known filipino singers and a back vocalist in Switchfoot – he released seven albums with them. He adds the notes of Filipino songs when singing.

Fontamillas started his first tour with Switchfoot in 2000. Shortly after, in 2003, he became an official member of this band. In 2003, the band released its odious album The Beautiful Letdown which made Switchfoot famous. Fontamillas is a producer for the following projects: The Echoing Green, Velvet Blue Music, and I Predict a Clone.

Lowell George 

Like many other Filipino celebrities in the US, Lowell George was born in California. He is known in the US as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, and record producer. He is the oldest one among Filipino rock stars who are, unfortunately, dead. Lowell started his career as a vocalist in the band he formed by himself and funded by his father. Further, played sessions in cooperation with Barbara Keith, Happy End’s, John Cale, Harry Nilsson to name a few. George is often associated with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention as he played in this band as a rhythm guitarist. He was also a lead vocalist in it.

Christopher Guanlao

Guanlao is a drummer of Silversun Pickups which is an alternative rock band known among Filipino people living in Los Angeles. He joined the band in 2002 and won a lot of fans by his head-banging stage presence. Silversun Pickups released their debut album in 2005 followed by four others in 2006 (Carnavas), 2009(Swoon), 2012 (Neck of the Woods) and 2015 (Better Nature). Guanlao inspires and energizes the band with his percussions.

Kirk Hammett

Probably, many of you will be surprised because Kirk Hammett, a lead guitarist, and songwriter for Metallica, also has Filipina roots. Before this, he created a band called Exodus. Hammett occupies the 11th place among other 100 outstanding guitarists in the list of Rolling Stones. He was also ranked #15 among 100 greatest metal guitarists in the book of Joel Mclever. Despite Hammett isn’t a bright representative of Filipino music, he actively cooperates with other rock bands including Septic Death and Orbital, takes part in creating tracks and voicing cartoons (The Simpsons).

Anthony Improgo

Metro Station is a well-known pop-rock band in the US and Anthony Improgo is a drummer for this band. The band locates in Los Angeles. Improgo joined the band when they released the single Seventeen Forever. Before Metro Station, he played drums for On The Speakers and Eskimohunter.