Back in the 80s, trends were different. From fashion, movies, celebrity stars, to popular food dishes, everything had its own charm, which, to this day, is remembered with genuine fondness. The 80s had their own looks, and feels, most importantly, their own sounds.
From Durran Durran, The Eurythmics, Tears for Fears, The Clash, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and The Rolling Stones, the 80s blessed the world with an endless list of bands, each known for producing something unique and magical, and creating a stream of fans as the years went by.
Well, for all Zarbo fans, there’s huge news!
Starting in the early 1980s, the Zarbo Band, that had disbanded, is set to create magic in the pop-rock industry, once again, with a new line-up that will be disclosed by the founding member, Alex Zarbo.
How the Canadian Pop-Rock band gained recognition is known far and beyond, but how the band came into formation is known by a few. Before “Zarbo,” the pop-rock trio, became a band, its members were independently performing in two different Toronto-based musical groups.
Alexander Zarbo, a bassist, singer, and songwriter and Derek Sharp rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter, were performing with music groups, including Penguin and Lerxt. Alexander Zarbo met Derek Sharp while playing at a local concert, both in separate bands performing until that one fateful night…
Alexander Zarbo, born Alexander Paul Vella-Zarb, took his nickname ‘Zarbo’ from his last name. Alex first opened his eyes in St. Thomas, Ontario. His parents were both Maltese immigrants, who raised the child in Kent County District, with his three brothers and one sister.
Alex had always been a music enthusiast and started learning to play different instruments. 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.
Taking the music dream forward, Zarbo went on the road and started travelling from coast to coast when he turned 16. For several years, he used to play in Canadian bars with different cover bands. Three years later, he attended Humber College in the late 70s to study Jazz.
Soon after, Zarbo started playing in a band called 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 L.Ps. Rich called himself Krazno, which made the trio marquee billing as easy as Krazno-Falco-Zarbo!
It was the early 80s, when Alex Zarbo was performing with Penguin, and Derek Sharp was the guitarist front man for the warm-up band called Lerxt. Both of them were playing at the same bar, but for different bands. After an acute discussion, the two decided to form a band together.
The band had a lead vocalist and a guitarist with the blank space only of a drummer. Finally, the two music artists met Greg Anzlec, and together, the trio started a pop-rock band, “Zarbo.” The lead vocalist, Alex, took charge of the band, Derek Sharp added tunes with his exceptional guitar playing skills, and Greg Anzelc added beats to the trio with his incredible drumming skills.
Within a few months, the pop-rock band started to gain popularity across the country. The pop-rock trios played locally at classic music venues like the El Mocambo, Branko’s, Cameo Lounge (Hotel Isabella), Larry’s Hideaway, Horseshoe Tavern, and several others. With each performance, the band started to earn a huge fan base.
It wasn’t long before the band had earned a whole lot of fame in the Canadian music industry, and the trio began working on their first L.P. The power pop-rock trio spent a total of 18 hours At Kensington Sound recording studio with engineer Mike Alyanak, while recording 8 songs, live off the floor and mixed the entire album there. 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, based on a theme of 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 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 travelling off into infinity represents the happy times and simplest times of life spent as kids.
The first album received an overwhelmingly positive from both pop music enthusiasts and rock music fans, increasing the band’s fan following. L.P.’s songs had hints of Pop Rock, which was widely admired by fans of both the genres, making Zarbo one of the best pop-rock bands in Canada.
After the success of the album, the band began working 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 loved even more than the album, receiving accolades and moderate airplay on radio stations like CHUM FM and its subsidiaries.
Soon, the band set them to work on the release for their second album release which included, “Fool Man,” the first ballad single for their hopeful album. However, things had started to go downhill and as of today, those tracks are still, yet to be released. The band started disbanding, each deciding to bid farewell to the band’s journey.
As of today, the lead vocalist of the band, Alex Vella-Zarb, founded the “Stargate Sound & Light Inc.,” an A/V production company in the G.T.A. He also writes and produces music. 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 Anzlec, continued being a drummer with several Toronto jazz ensembles and founded his own drum manufacturing company, “The Grove Factor Drum Company.”
Along with the band members, the fans too, said their goodbyes to the band. But here’s the good news for all those Zarbo fans. Zarbo is being revived by the founder, Alex Zarbo. The new members’ line up will be announced soon, along with the schedule of performance dates and their new second release in 2022.