The band ArtStart, which became a top attraction in the local club circuit in the 1990s, has reunited to play gigs, original member-drummer Mar Dizon confirmed to the Inquirer.
Dizon said today’s incarnation of ArtStart is a side project he had thought of doing, after asking the band’s original frontman, singer-guitarist Pido Lalimarmo, and saxophonist Ronald Tomas of their availability, before proceeding to recruit new members: Color It Red’s Cooky Chua, Black Cows’ Bolichie Suzara, and premier jazz keyboardist and leader of his own band, Henry Katindig.
The earliest lineup of ArtStart, which included Dizon, Lalimarmo, keyboardist Elhmir Saison and bassist Sonny Tolentino, was formed at Birdland in Quezon City, said Dizon.
The band added Tomas and percussionist Manuel Lantan to complete the lineup that went on to play regularly at Hyatt Hotel’s Calesa Bar, after Dizon’s former band, Side A, ended its residency at the hotel.
Dizon pointed out that ArtStart wanted to sound different from Side A, so the decision was to instead do covers of Earth, Wind and Fire, James Taylor and Stephen Bishop, which Lalilmarmo was good at.
ArtStart was at its peak as a regular band at Versomina when it added a female lead singer, Ella Mae Saison. The band would later record its own album.
The newly reformed ArtStart will have its debut gig on Feb. 16 in Lucena and is expected to play in Metro Manila by March. /atm