Words by Joey Dizon


Sometimes the rock n’ roll dream isn’t all about the money, the fame and all the crazy shit that comes with it: there has always been artists and bands who were/are perfectly fine with making contributions to the both the scene and the great OPM songbook, all in the name of having fun creating music and performing live.


It’s safe to say that THE PIN-UP GIRLS were one of those bands. Emerging during the latter half of the 90s and braving the then-musical-landscape of nu metal and trendy pop radio-fare, the group – consisting of original members Mondo Castro (vocals/guitar), guitarist Pamela Aquino and bassist Jeng Tan (both formerly of riot grrrl outfit KELTSCROSS…), guitarist Ryan Nachura and the late Noel Garcia on drums – defied the odds stacked against them and managed to create a following that was uniquely their own. Originally formed out of their collective love for 80s new wave and groups like THE SMITHS, ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN and THE LOTUS EATERS, the outfit consistently played the bar circuit of the late 90s up to the first few years of the millennium. Both believers and practitioners of the D.I.Y. ethos, the band – after getting zero interest from record labels who were busy with a signing frenzy of artists who had a more commercial sound, held a garage sale and used the proceeds to record and produce their debut CD Hello Pain in 2001.


Listen to Hello Pain here:


The disc produced popular singles (“Withing Hour,” “Hello Pain,” “Ride Rocket Wild”) that ultimately made it on local radio and became live anthems for aficionados of the genre and loyal followers of the band. The years that followed, the band was able to release more albums, namely 2004’s Taste Test, 2006’s All Seats Are Taken and 2008’s Take On The Weakened Sky before going on radio silence, as key members moved out and became involved in various projects the following decade. The band went quiet.


Until recently.

It was Castro who broke the news publicly on social media: the famed debut album of The Pin-Ups (as they were affectionately nicknamed by their fans…) would be released on vinyl through Eikon Records.

Of course, PULP decided to have a bit of a chat with Castro.


PULP: It’s been quite a journey for the Pin Ups! What were your first thoughts when you realized Hello Pain was going to be released on vinyl?

Mon: To be “immortalized” on wax is a wonderful feeling! It’s hard not to get emotional about it: we released this back in 2001 with our own money plus a little help from family and friends… this a gift to those who bought the CD, came to the gigs, and streamed our songs… moreover, we hope to reach new ears with this record.


PULP: So how did the whole process get started? Did you, like… get a call and things just fell into place?

Mon: Rick Olivares, CEO of Eikon Records, and I have known each other for decades – and we came in contact again when I reached out and asked if he could write about The Mondo & LC Project – a recent group I formed with former REKLAMO guitarist and frontman LC De Leon… eventually he asked if The Pin-Ups would be interested to put out Hello Pain on vinyl, and of course, I said yes! Turns out, he had us on his list of possible bands to work-with all along…


PULP: What are your favorite moments and memories associated with Hello Pain?

Mon: Oh, tons! The songwriting process comes to mind: I started out giving lyrics to Jeng, Tan, Pam Aquino, and our then-producer Raimund Marasigan. Until I finally stepped out and composed “Quicksilver” on my own.

Also, we organized two garage sales at [the now defunct music bar] Mayrics to fund the album! Friends from the scene came out to support by buying our old clothes, books, CDs, tapes, and whatnot.

Furthermore, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention my sister Liesl, Sharon Fuentebella and Diether Ocampo for helping us finance Hello Pain. Amazing human beings!


PULP: Does this release mean that the band is going to be working on new music soon?

Mon: Yes! This little project ignited a renewed passion to write tunes… we have enough stuff to fill three albums now! Watch out for the new songs! They should be out early 2025…


PULP: So what else has kept you busy all this time, aside from the process of releasing Hello Pain on vinyl?

Mon: LC De Leon and I worked on a cover of Teenage Fanclub’s ” Genius Envy” for a compilation album that was released internationally last year, and I also have something brewing with Kitchie Nadal and Diego Mapa. Exciting times! PULP