Tributes paid to Filipino blues rocker and Juan de la Cruz Band guitarist Wally Gonzalez, dead at 71

The OPM community mourns the loss of an iconic musician

Wally Gonzalez, guitarist and founding member of Filipino ’60s rock outfit Juan de la Cruz Band, has died. He was 71 years old.

His son John shared the news in a Facebook post today (July 23). He revealed that the famed bluesman died “peacefully in his sleep” this morning, but did not disclose further details of Gonzalez’s passing.

John added that their family are arranging a short wake for the late rock star after his cremation, per his last wishes.

Read his full post here:

My father Wally Gonzalez Full passed away peacefully in his sleep earlier this morning. To his friends in the music…

Posted by John Gonzalez on Thursday, July 22, 2021

Gonzalez is known as a founding member and guitarist of legendary rock band Juan de la Cruz Band. Throughout their career as a group, they released several hits such as ‘Laki Sa Layaw’, ‘Titser’s Enemi No. 1’ and ‘Himig Natin’.

In 1995, Gonzalez formed the band Wally and Friends with Dondi Ledesma, Wowie Posadas, Joonie Centeno and Armand Quimpo.

He also made a breakthrough with his solo work ‘Wally’s Blues’, an instrumental piece that is considered one of the most influential songs in Pinoy rock music.

Several OPM musicians have taken to social media to mourn the iconic guitarist, offering their condolences and sharing on the rock star’s influence in Philippine music. Ely Buendia, Jim Paredes, Gabby Alipe and Marc Abaya are some of the artists who have paid tribute.

Eraserheads drummer Raymund Marasigan remembered his experience learning the drums from Gonzalez, describing the stint as “a complete course on listening, feeling and improvisation.”

Cooky Chua also recalled the moments when he watched her group Color It Red perform and when she got to jam with the late musician.

See their tributes below.

kilig na kilig ako nuon tuwing manunuod ka ng set ng color it red. nung tumawag ka para pakantahin ako sa blues band mo,…

Posted by Cooky Chua on Thursday, July 22, 2021