Side A revives music that defines itself as a pop group
Side A Band original members (standing, from left) Joey Benin, Naldy Gonzalez, Rodel Gonzalez, Pido Lalimarmo, with (seated, from left) Kelly Badon and Mar Dizon
STAR/ File

Side A revives music that defines itself as a pop group

Leah Salterio (The Philippine Star) - October 8, 2020 - 12:00am

Who would have thought that the original six members of Side A Band would reunite more than 30 years after they ignited the local music scene to record a re-imagined version of Side A Redux: First Album

Not the members and certainly not their fans, as well. It started with a mere throwback Facebook post of Side A’s lead singer, Rodel Gonzalez, of the group’s stint at the Rumors night haunt where they used to perform in the ‘80s. Drummer Mar Dizon subsequently thought about a virtual reunion for the members.

One thing led to another and before the group members — joined by keyboardist Naldy Gonzalez, singer Pido Lalimarmo, bassist Joey Benin and lead guitarist Kelly Badon — realized it, they all easily agreed to a virtual recording session at this time of the pandemic. To record again the original songs in Side A’s debut album, released back in 1989.

Side A was formed in 1985 and they released their debut album back in 1989.

Mar, who initiated the reunion and prompted everyone to come together, attests it was not hard to get the group back again. He credits today’s technology that makes everything possible for them to record again. “No one was ever thinking that we could all be together again and work again,” Mar said. “When we brought up the reunion, everyone was immediately receptive. We all worked together to make everything possible.”

Side A Redux will contain the original songs in Side A’s debut album. So far, the group has finished recording three classics, Rodel’s Di Pa Huli, Joey’s Eva Marie and Pido’s Windows of Our Soul.

Side A Redux 2020: Recording again their original songs amid the pandemic are (clockwise from top) Joey, Kelly, Pido, Naldy, Mar and Rodel.

“If we’re lucky, we’ll even do a couple of originals,” Rodel granted. “That’s the plan. Yes, I do write, as well, but not as good as the other guys like Joey and Pido. The group is still in the process of recording the other songs. We also have plans to include new, original songs in the line-up.”

It was in 1985, when Rodel formed Side A with his younger brother, Naldy and Mar, along with three other original members — Joey, Kelly and Pido. “Rodel and I came from Singapore, where we performed with FM Band in 1984,” Mar shared. “When we returned to the Philippines, we thought of forming Side A in 1985.”

Even Joey, who left the local entertainment scene back in 2007 and settled in Silay, Negros Occidental, was inevitably pulled out of his semi-retirement to work on the Side A Redux release. It was his composition, Eva Marie, a song he wrote for his wife, Bing, whose real name is Eva Marie, that pushed Side A to record its debut album.

“I was not yet married when I wrote the song back in 1988,” Joey disclosed. “I recorded it with the band. We gave it to DJs who very kindly played it on radio. We had no plans to record Eva Marie officially. We just approached DJs who played it on radio. Mar did not even use real drums, but only used a drum machine. Umugong ang song sa radio, that’s why we decided to come out with an album.”

Joey attested they were all immediately excited when they got together again for Side A Redux. Not one even had second thoughts about giving his nod. All of them were easily convinced to come together and record again.

Rodel, who has been based in the US for nearly two decades now, left Side A back in 1991 when he got married. He was in Hawaii from 2002 to 2007, then moved to California (Los Angeles) from 2007 to 2016. He is now residing in Winter Garden, Florida, a short drive away from Orlando. He works as a licensed artist for Disney Fine Art and holds a Lucas Films license.

Side A Redux continues the band’s legacy three decades later and revives the music that defines the stellar pop group. The collection will carry other old classics like Heart for Another Love, Still A Mystery and Love That Was, all penned by Naldy Gonzalez; Why Can’t You Love Me Anymore by Mon Espia; Forever Stay by Dingdong Eduque; and two more songs, Love Will Find a Way and Still A Mystery, written by Rodel.

Aside from the originals, Mar informs they need to add new songs to the list every month. Side A Redux is the band’s project with Patreon, a crowd-funding format where one needs to sign up and be a member of the Side A community.

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