ZARBO, THE BAND STORY, WHERE THEY WENT AND WHERE THEY ARE
Over the years, there have been so many bands who ruled the music world and yet disbanded at the hands of fate. From The Clash, Guns N’ Roses, The Beatles, ABBA, and many others who were once a part of their bands separated their ways, with their fans hoping that they would soon reunite and give them the closure they need.
Well… A bit of good news for all the Zarbo fans. The Power Pop Rock Musical band is set to rock the world once again, thanks to the founding member, Alex Zarbo, with a new line up that will be announced in 2021!
Starting in the early 1980s, the Canadian Pop-Rock band, Zarbo, comprising of the three superstars; Alexander Zarbo, a bassist, singer, and songwriter, Derek Sharp rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and Greg Anzelc, a drummer and singer.
Zarbo has been re-established in the pop-rock music scene, to give their fans some super cool tracks after they have been waiting for so long!
THE BAND STORY
Before the three could have started a band together, the members were in separate bands. After the other bands disbanded, they decided it was time to get together and start something new. The story of how the band members united is quite coincidental!
Alexander Paul Vella-Zarb was born in St. Thomas, Ontario, on July 21, 1961. He was given aickname ‘Zarbo’ by his peers. Born in a family of three brothers and one sister, Alexander grew up around the Kent County District, with his parents, who were both Maltese immigrants.
Growing up, Alex had a fondness for music, and he showed great talent, too. He was only eight years old when he played harmonica on National TV London CFPL on the show, Junior Talent Hour with the host, Hamish the Saint Bernard dog. Alexander went on the road circuit and started travelling from coast to coast when he turned 16 and began playing in different Canadian bars with several different cover bands. He carried the practice on for several years until, in the late 70s, he enrolled at Humber College to study Jazz.
During the time, Alexander joined a band, Penguin, which included drummer, Rob Falco, and guitarist Richard Chycki, who is now credited for being the studio sound engineer for the Canadian rock band Rush on their latest 5 LPs Rich called himself Krazno, which made the trio marquee billing as easy as Krazno-Falco-Zarbo. At the same time, somewhere, Derek Sharp was part of a warm-up band called Lerxt, serving as the guitarist frontman.
That is when fate came into play, and Penguin and Lerxt, both performed at a concert venue. Lerxt had the opening act while Penguin was the headliner, and after the concert was over, Alexander and Derek met and talked, reaching a conclusion to leave their respective bands and form a band together.
The band had an extraordinary lead vocalist, an exceptionally talented guitarist but no drummer. Fortunately for them, Derek had a friend, Greg Anzelc, who agreed on joining them. Finally, the three formed a pop-rock band, “Zarbo.” Alexander Zarbo was the primary song writer at the time, so the band took on the name Zarbo. The lead vocalist, Alex, took charge of the band, Derek Sharp added his exceptional guitar playing skills, and Greg Anzelc added solid beats to the trio with his incredible drumming skills.
The trio dedicated hundreds of hours practicing in Derek’s mother’s basement for several weeks when other spots were not available. Because of that, Derek’s mom remembered every single lyric of the song, and she refreshed Alex’s memory when he forgot his own lyrics during concert performances!
The pop-rock trio started playing locally at classic music venues like the El Mocambo, Branko’s, Cameo Lounge (Hotel Isabella), Larry’s Hideaway, Horseshoe Tavern, to mention only a few. With the increase in admirers across the country, Zarbo began working on their first L.P. They spent a total of 18 hours in the studio recording 8 songs, live off the floor and mixed the entire album after. The album was released in 1985 under the name, “A-Z Collection.”
Seemingly, the name of the album consists of the initials of Alex Zarbo, but the cover symbolized a much deeper meaning, depicting life from start to end. The underlying theme of the album, according to Alex Zarbo, was “when an individual comes to the fork in the road at any point in their life, the best choice is always the simplest and happiest choice.” The starting begins before birth, as depicted by the baby fetus superimposed in the setting sun. The ending is illustrated by the superimposed tombstone. The toy train superimposed on the tracks traveling off into Infinity represents the happy and simpler times spent as kids.
Soon thereafter with the influence of growth in popularity, the band decided on releasing their first single. It was early in 1986 when the band released its 45 R.P.M. single “Get Up and Dance.” The single was appreciated more than the album, receiving accolades and moderate airplay on radio stations like CHUM FM and its’ subsidiaries.
WHERE THEY WENT
The band started working on recording new material for their 2nd release which included the bed tracks of “Fool Man”. However, the inevitable fall had started to approach them. The plans of releasing singles, and collaboration on songwriting for the second album, were left hanging since the band didn’t make it that far.
The band split up because of individual interests in pursuing different musical directions. Alex Zarbo continued to write new material for future albums, which are still yet to be released. He also founded “Stargate Sound & Light Inc.,” a successful A/V production company in the G.T.A.
The guitarist, Derek Sharp, got married to a Canadian Rock singer and songwriter, Sass Jordan, and later joined “The Guess Who,” as the lead singer, still continuing to write music.
The drummer, Greg, continued being a drummer with several Toronto jazz ensembles, playing with top local artist, including jazz legend, Lorne Lofsky. He also founded his own drum manufacturing company, “The Grove Factor Drum Company.”
WHERE THEY ARE
As of this year, the founding member, Alex Zarbo has decided it is time for the rebirth of the Zarbo Band, due to an increase in popularity on Spotify and other streaming media. The band will be re-releasing, two more remastered tracks, ‘Save Your Money’ and ‘Correction In Direction,’ which are scheduled for release in June 2020 throughout all the major worldwide social streaming services.
The remaining three songs from the band’s 1985, A-Z Collection L.P. are also set to be released in their updated and remastered form before the end of 2020. The songs are the title track A to Z, Getting To The Point, and Oh Momentum.
In late July 2020, the Electro-remix of Get Up and Dance will hit the airwaves along with the streaming world. Another single, scheduled to be released in 2021, ‘Hindsight Is 20/20 One’, is a song written by Alexander Zarbo, describing the aftereffect of any crisis or dilemma in life which we pass through, being so much easier to relate to and resolve “having known then what we know now.” The song, as per the singer himself, “will really hit home when applied to the COVID-19 world pandemic.”
Following the release of the second Zarbo album, the band will also be announcing their touring dates, with the new Zarbo line up of musicians also to be announced officially at that time!