In June 2016, news of Basti Artadi’s medical condition exploded on social media. The frontman of the now-defunct ‘90s rock band Wolfgang confessed he had a benign facial tumor that affected his facial movement and needed an operation to address his condition.
After earning enough funds for the procedure, Basti went to San Francisco to have it performed in January this year.
He remains thankful to those who helped him through the ordeal. In an interview with InterAksyon during “A Rock Out For All Ages,” Dr. Martens’ 57th Anniversary celebration at the Bratpack store in Greenbelt 5, Basti shared how fans and friends in the industry expressed genuine concern.
“I sold a lot of shirts, and a lot of people came out and bought those. Thanks to them—a lot! I also put on a show and a concert in December with A-Team, my Management. And they were the ones who pushed me to do this and told me, ‘C’mon let’s do this, it will be good for you.’ So I did it. We put on the show and all the proceeds, after expenses of course, all the proceeds they gave to me to help me out with my operation. Thanks to them and all who helped me. My hospital bill was like $200,000. It’s not a joke.”
Basti returned to the Philippines in late February. While he appears to have recovered from the operation, he is careful not to wear himself out. His acoustic set at the Dr. Martens party was actually his first gig after the surgery.
“I’m good. And I’ve just been taking it easy first. I started working maybe two or three days ago. And the doctor says it will get stronger as time passes. I’m just working to get back to top form,” was Basti’s reply when asked about his current condition.
“I’m just taking things baby steps. I’m not actively going out looking right now because…To tell you the truth I’m totally winded from that (referring to performance) and I shouldn’t be, I should be normal. Wala pa sa kondisyon.”
“If gigs come, sure I’ll say yes or no depending on the gig. When I get to the point where it’s ‘this is it!’ I’ll jump in, full throttle,” he added.
A Wolfgang reunion isn’t something fans can expect anytime soon. Basti says he hasn’t spoken to his former bandmates since last year. He is, however, excited about his recording project with a new band.
He talks about the project earnestly. “We’re putting the finishing touches on this new album with this band I’m with called Plan of Fools, which is very, very exciting. There’s no music like this in the Philippines.”
“It’s a whole new musical experience, we dip into country. There are so many layers. Everybody who’s heard it, has been like—and I’m not tooting my own horn—has been like, wowed. There are so many things going on. When you listen to a song you’ll hear this, when you listen to another song you’ll hear these…we have violin, we have banjo…It’s totally different from the other things I’ve worked on. Totally different.”
Plan of Fools is an eight-piece in which Basti is joined by Louie Talan of Razorback, Bea Lao of General Luna, and Rommel dela Cruz of Freestyle and Barbie’s Cradle, among others.
Basti, who played the title role in the local production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and St. Jimmy in “American Idiot,” is also open to performing in musicals again.
“Musicals are always gonna be there. If something happens and the planets align again, there’s a great musical or somebody asks me. Actually, at this point what it will take is probably just someone asking me, ‘Hey, you wanna do it?’ But yeah.”
Despite the need to be extra careful with his health and the possible physical demands of performing again, Basti is slowly but surely getting back into the music scene, fulfilling what he believes is his sole purpose.
“It’s what I do. I realized a long time ago I sing, that’s what I do. It’s what God put me on this planet to do. Tell stories through music and sing. So that’s what I’m gonna do,” he said in conclusion.
Basti will be performing at the Thirsty Barber in San Juan on Tuesday, May 9.
Watch his performance at “A Rock Out For All Ages” here: