Chickoy Pura has been a musician all his life. Starting out as a folk singer in Manila’s university belt in the 1970s, he became lead singer of The Jerks—a band that drew a cult following among the post-Pinoy Rock crowd in the ’80s.
From the band’s original lineup that included guitarists Jun Lopito and Nitoy Adriano, bassist Boy Matriano and drummer Flor Mendoza, The Jerks underwent several personnel changes but continued playing regularly in bars and countless gigs, earning a reputation as one of the country’s best rock groups.
In his prime, Pura moved like Mick Jagger and sang with the conviction of Joe Strummer.
Pura joined songwriting workshops mentored by the likes of Gary Granada, which led to the creation and recording of “Reklamo Nang Reklamo,” “Sayaw sa Bubog,” “Rage,” among other socially relevant tunes in two Jerks albums.
In the ’90s and 2000s, Pura was fronting The Jerks as a trio. It seemed the band, led by its hardworking singer-songwriter, would live forever.
Things were fine until a few years ago, when Pura appeared bloated and reddish, like he was suffering from a mysterious ailment. His wife and manager Monet Pura said he had been medicating with steroids, which explained his weight gain.
Last month, there were cryptic posts on Pura’s Facebook page, where he expressed gratitude to friends for their concern about his health.
I asked Mrs. Pura what her husband was suffering from.
“T-Cell lymphoma,” she said. It’s a rare type of cancer that attacks the skin, and is treated via chemotherapy.
But she said Pura would rather try alternative methods. Even then, it would mean entailing heavy expenses.
‘One For Chickoy’
That’s why there are two coming benefit gigs that Pura’s colleagues and friends have organized for him:
“One For Chickoy,” Aug. 17, Conspiracy Garden Café, with live performances by Bayang Barrios, Cooky Chua, Gary Granada, Noel Cabangon, and the artworks of Reb Belleza. Tickets at P500 each; showtime is at 9 p.m.
“Awit Para Kay Chickoy,” Aug. 24, My Brother’s Mustache, starring Lolita Carbon; Cooky Chua; Bayang Barrios; Brixio and Dwight; Toto Sorioso; Bobby, Joey, Boy & Wally; Lester and Cynthia; Corky, Kiko & Rene; Albert de Pano; Bong Baybay; Hans Manapat; Noli Aurillo; Mon Espia; and Noel Cabangon. Walk-in fee at P800; showtime at 8 p.m.
For a few hundred pesos, help Chickoy Pura fight cancer.