Who doesn’t remember the iconic Zarbo! The Canadian Pop-Rock band, Zarbo, consisting of the three exceptionally, Alexander Zarbo, a bassist, singer, and songwriter, Derek Sharp, a rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and Greg Anzelc, a drummer and singer that was formed in the 80s, known for their unique music and extraordinary vocals. 

But alas, the band members parted ways sooner than their fans expected, leaving them just a few tracks to enjoy. Here’s the exciting news for every Zarbo-fan, the band is revived, and is returning with more amazing tracks with a new line up, for everyone to sing along to!

How the band was formed is actually quite a fateful story. Alexander Paul Vella-Zarb, nicknamed Zarbo, was born in St. Thomas, Ontario. Sibling to three brothers and one sister, Alexander grew up around the Kent County District, with his parents, who were both Maltese immigrants. 

Even as a child, Alexander genuinely loved music. Not just that, he was exceptionally talented as well. Alexander 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. Realizing that his true passion was pursuing music, he went on the road and started travelling from coast to coast when he turned 16 and began playing in different Canadian bars with different cover bands. He carried the practice on for several years until, in the late 70s, he enrolled at Humber College to study Jazz. 

Later, Alexander joined a band, Penguin, which included drummer, Rob Falco, and guitarist Richard Chycki. (Richard is now credited for being the studio sound engineer for the Canadian rock band Rush on their latest 5 LPS!) He called himself Krazno, which made the trio marquee billing as easy as Krazno-Falco-Zarbo. Somewhere at the same time, Derek Sharp was serving as the guitarist front man of a warm-up band called Lerxt.

Derek and Alexander met when 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, concluding to disband from their current bands, and start a new band together. Derek brought on board his friend, Greg Anzelc, and the three formed a pop-rock band, “Zarbo.”  

Alexander Zarbo was the primary songwriter at the time, so the band agreed on the name Zarbo. The lead vocalist, Alex, took charge of the group, Derek Sharp worked his exceptional guitar playing skills, and Greg Anzelc worked his incredible drumming skills.

The band started working on improving their skills instantly. They spent countless weeks and 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 rumor has it she refreshed Alex’s memory when he forgot his own lyrics during concert performances! 

Soon, Zarbo began playing locally at classic music venues like the El Mocambo, Branko’s, Cameo Lounge (Hotel Isabella), Larry’s Hideaway, Horseshoe Tavern, and several others. This helped the band earn a lane of fans across the country. 
 Zarbo was motivated to create an album, and they started recording 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 there.  The album was released in 1985 under the name “A-Z Collection.” Although this seems an ambitious fete, the album turned out to be far beyond expectations from what 18 hours of recording time on 8 songs can normally produce. The band had the magical ability of playing and harmonizing together and resulting in catchy grooves and addictive melodies.

A-Z Collection didn’t just get the name from Alexander Zarbo’s initials, the cover was a depiction 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 and simplest time spent as kids. 

Soon, 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.

It was when the band started to work for the release of the bed tracks of “Fool Man” that the plans of releasing singles, and collaboration on songwriting for the second album, were abandoned since the members decided to part ways. 

Alex Zarbo continued to write new material for future albums, which are still yet to be released. He also founded the “Stargate Sound & Light Inc.,” an A/V production company in the G.T.A. The drummer, Greg, continued being a drummer with several Toronto jazz ensembles, playing with top local artists like Lorne Lofsky. He also founded his own drum manufacturing company, “The Grove Factor Drum Company.” 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 his own music.
But Zarbo is back with a storm! Remastered versions of the tracks from their 1985 8-song LP, “A-Z Collection” including ‘Save Your Money’ and ‘Correction In Direction,’ are scheduled for release in June 2020 throughout all the major worldwide social streaming services. The songs, Getting To The Point, Oh Momentum, and the title track to A-Z are also to be released in their updated and remastered form before the end of 2020. The iconic trio has also decided to release the EDM version of Get Up and Dance in late July 2020. 

Alex Zarbo, amongst many of his tracks, has also written a song for all fans, 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 is titled ‘Hindsight Is 20/20 One.’ Alexander Zarbo says, “The song will really hit home when applied to the COVID-19 world pandemic.”
The good news is not over yet! 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!