INTERVIEW: Meet Edwin the man behind American pomade company Pomps Not Dead

pomps not dead

INTERVIEW | Pomps Not Dead

Talk about making dreams come true…Edwin is a Pinoy punk rocker who started a new chapter of his life in the US in late 90’s after leaving his home the Philippines. In just a few short years time he learned the art of brewing pomade and by chance, began supplying pomade to his childhood punk rock heroes – Face To Face.

pomps not dead

Here’s the photo of Chad of Face to Face promoting Pomps Not Dead:

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As we were looking through this photo and that emotional post, we decided that this would be a cool story to put up on Unite Asia. We hit up Edwin with a few questions! Enjoy reading how one of our own is out there in the US doing his thing! And clearly, doing it well!

So Edwin, gives us out here a little background of your journey. You’re originally from the Philippines – how’d you end up in Houston?
So I was born in Cebu, then went to elementary school in Manila. Then went back home to Cebu for highschool and college. During my third year in college, my biological dad petitioned me for immigrant status so I took it. I left for the States in 1997. First I lived in Vegas for 8 years or so and I met Cathy, my wife (she’s also Filipino), her family lived in Florida so we moved there for a bit. Then decided to try another state. Rooby (who was from the Philippines) lived in Houston at the time and told us that rent is cheap and there are tons of jobs. So we packed up and moved here! I’ve been here since 2010.

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Edwin with wife Cathy

Wow man! What a journey and I’m sure a mountain full of experiences. If you think back to when you first arrived in 1997 – what were some of the first experiences that you faced as a fresh new immigrant from the Philippines in the US?
Yeah man it was surreal. I really didn’t expect to live here in the States. When I processed the papers I only had 2 months til it expired. I needed to do it before my 21st birthday. So it was an experience. The thing that I really remember was walking down to the baggage claim in LAX and seeing a huge pic of Bill Clinton. I dunno why that stuck with me but I guess it was at that point that I realized my life was gonna be different. When my brothers picked me up from LA we drove about 4 hours to Vegas on Christmas Eve. It was so weird. The air was cold. My lips were chapped. I missed my family back home but this was gonna be my life now.

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Edwin with Zac and Aaron of Bane

While you were in the Philippines you already had the punk rock bug correct? So what was your first things that you HAD to see or do when you got to the States?
My brothers brought me to the mall. It was huge. People were tall hahaha. It was a normal mall, but one store stood out. Good Guys. It was a record store! It was like heaven. hahaha. All the bands I wanted were there. Back in the Philippines we had to order it through a catalog and wait a few months. But every thing was there. As I scoped the area more I found 2 record stores outside the mall. These were more legit ones. I forgot the names but it was where I found out about local venues and shows.

What was the very first show you saw? What was that experience walking into the venue?
Very first show was Face to Face, Hepcat, Rev Horton Heat and Madness (it was the Madness farewell tour). I still have the ticket!

So how crazy is that that your very FIRST show Face to Face is now the same band that is rockin your product man? Tell us about that and how it all came together.
Yeah man, it is amazing. I was really stoked about going to that show. Face to Face man! My heroes. So the crowd was mixed. When Hepcat played rudies were moonstompin. All dressed up with their suits. When Face to Face played all the punk kids took the floor. This was my first time seeing them live, they had their hair all pomped (well except for the drummer, he had dreads), they wore buttoned down bowling shirts. It was so cool! I realized you don’t have to dress a certain way to play in a punk rock band. That stuck with me. Then after a few years, I started greasing up as well.

Then for some reason I found this group on facebook called Addicted to Pomade. These guys were into the greaser lifestyle, religiously wearing pomade. So I joined and made friends with a bunch of them. A bunch of them made pomade as well. One pomade that really inspired me was DR. RUBINS. When I tried their pomade, it was unreal. I was just using murrays and dax at the time. So this new pomade smelled better, felt nicer in my hair.

Once I started brewing pomade I had a bunch of friends who showed me the ropes: Mike from Black Jack Pomade and Gabe from Grave Robbers Union. It was so cool of them to show me how this was all done. After a few years, Weigner (member of Filipino hardcore bands Shrapnel/Thought/Gardo) jokingly spammed the Face to Face FB page with Pomps Not Dead and Danny Thompson (the drummer) saw it and messaged me about it. I told em I was a huge fan and that was it! They played Houston, they invited me backstage, I met everyone and gave em my products.

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Doug Carrion of Descendents/Dag Nasty

That’s amazing…and such a typical punk rock thing to take place because no matter how “big” a certain punk or hardcore band is, they remain approachable! It’s also kinda funny how punk rockers always look out for each – good lookin’ out Weigner!
Yeah totally! Such cool guys. Cathy and I went to the triple crown shows last year. They played 3 nights, and everynight they hung out with fans. It was just amazing.

So for those of us not in the know – what exactly is the process of creating pomade?
It’s basically cooking. You have your main ingredients and add ons to give it flavor. So you just melt your waxes then add your oil and fragrance. It really isn’t hard, the only tricky part is coming up with the recipe. It took me about six months to perfect the original Pomps Not Dead.

Where did the name come from and what does it mean?
Pomps Not Dead was actually coined by my friend Ryan Alcazar. At first I was gonna name it Guapo Pomade but another company beat me to it. So he suggested pomps not dead. It’s a play on words from the Exploited song Punk’s Not Dead. I omitted the apostrophe coz I thought it looked cooler. Having a punk background, it just sounded right. The themes of pomades I make are all punk/ hc influenced and very significant to me.

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Cool man! Let the world know where they can pick up your product if they’re interested in getting it!
Well besides messaging me directly on our FB page:

We also have distros in:

Thailand, and Malaysia.

I’m pretty good at responding and I’d refer them to a distro near them.

pomps not dead

Besides running Pomps Not Dead, Edwin also plays bass in hardcore band called FLM: is an underground Asian music news website created for the sole purpose of supporting our own world. We support all bands and genres HOWEVER we do not support nor have any sympathy for homophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric in lyrical content or band material. UNITE ASIA!