After undergoing surgery in the United States in January to improve his mouth’s limited movement caused by a benign facial tumor, rock musician Basti Artadi has been slowly and steadily working his way back into the music scene.
“It went well. I can move my mouth better now, so that’s good. It’s still quite weird-looking, but I was told it would take another two years for [the muscles] to settle in fully,” said Basti, who has schwannoma—a benign nerve sheath tumor—near his seventh cranial nerve, which caused paralysis and slacking on the right side of his face.
“But, I’m not complaining. If my face stays the way it is, I’m good,” he said, adding that he now only needs to have an MRI scan every year to make sure that the tumor, which he has had since 2009, doesn’t grow any bigger.
“They can’t remove the tumor because it may actually cause more harm than good. We just need to keep monitoring it,” said the former vocalist of the 1990s heavy rock band, Wolfgang. “So knock on wood!”
Prior to the operation, he complained of quickly getting tired from singing and struggling to hit high notes. That seems to be getting better, too. “I haven’t tried some of the songs [that used to give me trouble] yet, but I should be fine,” said the singer-songwriter, who played his first gig this year in February.
A Wolfgang reunion remains to be seen, Basti admitted—he’s “not counting on it.” But he assured fans that new music will be on its way soon. He’s set to release an album later this year with Plan of Fools—a nine-man super band, which includes Louie Talan of Razorback and Bea Lao of General Luna.
It will be a country record. And not to toot his own horn, Basti said, but the songs they came up with are some of his career’s finest.
“Mark my words, it’s going to blow you away! I have worked on a lot of albums in the past, but what I did [with Plan of Fools] is some of the best music I have heard, recorded and performed. It has so many layers,” Basti said. “I’m very proud of it.”
More importantly, Basti enjoyed every second of the creative process. “I’m working with great musicians who simply love playing music, who are always smiling and happy to be doing it,” he said. “I love their company. After all the work, we hang out. We’re having a ball.”
He’s likewise putting together a new solo album—a follow up to “Everybody Knows That the Dice Are Loaded.”
“It’s going to have some 1980s influences, keyboards and all,” Basti said, adding that it could be his last full cohesive album, because opting for single releases is the name of the game in the industry these days.
“I’m very album-oriented when it comes to my music; I believe in having a whole story to tell. However, I don’t think I would be putting all the effort into doing one anymore. It’s now the era of singles,” Basti pointed out. “After the album, I will probably put out one song after another. Piecemeal. Music is simply no longer consumed the right way.”
On Oct. 20 at the Cuneta Astrodome, Basti will play in RockFord Production’s “Full Blast: Pinoy Super Bands” (call 8919999)—a one-night concert that features some of the country’s most iconic rock acts. Also in the roster are Juan dela Cruz, Lolita Carbon, The Youth, The Wuds, Razorback, Maria Cafra, Queso and Dong Abay.
“I can only hope to still sound as good as they do when I reach their age,” Basti said of the legends he’ll be performing with. “Every time we share the stage with talented people, it’s a blessing.”
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