❉ The glam band makes a triumphant return!
“I didn’t used to like the Hollywood Stars, I used to like the New York Dolls. Then I heard the Hollywood Stars play ‘Satisfaction.’ Now I wanna f**k ‘em.” — Iggy Pop
The Hollywood Stars, a group originally assembled by rock impresario Kim Fowley in 1973, have announced the first-time issue of a “lost album” recorded in 1976. Sound City arrives on CD and digital download via Burger Records on August 23, 2019. A month prior to the album release, the newly-reformed Hollywood Stars will headline the world famous Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, a venue at which the band was previously a top draw.
“We’re excited to be returning to the Whisky,” says Hollywood Stars vocalist Scott Phares. “It was where we played our first-ever ticketed concert in December, 1973. Our manager, Kim Fowley, really pushed the show so we ended up headlining and selling out the venue. For several years, the Whisky remained the Stars’ home base and we played for crowds that included John Lennon and Angie Bowie. We also backed up Iggy Pop on ‘Satisfaction’ when he crashed one of our shows.”
There have previously been three lineups of The Hollywood Stars. The newly-reformed 2019 version features Phares (vocals), Ruben De Fuentes (guitar) and Terry Rae (drums) from the original group, alongside Michael Rummans (bass) from the second roster. Chezz Monroe on rhythm guitar is a 21st century recruit to the ranks.
THE HOLLYWOOD STARS perform “All the Kids in the Street” at the Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles, November 2018
The original group (1973-1974) was managed by Fowley. He secured a deal for the band with Columbia Records and the Stars recorded their debut album at the height of the glam rock era. Due to management shuffles at Columbia, the album was shelved at the time but later surfaced in 2013 as Shine Like a Radio: The Great Lost 1974 Album (Last Summer/Light in the Attic). Upon its release, Record Collector Magazine bestowed the album five stars and called it “one of the most vital reissues of the year.”
Shine Like a Radio stands as an evocative encapsulation of the Hollywood glitter rock scene, crackling with the power pop drive of The Sweet and The Move, and the glam swagger of Cockney Rebel and Hunky Dory-era David Bowie. After the first lineup’s split in 1974, two of The Hollywood Stars’ compositions found major success with other artists of the era — “Escape” surfaced on Alice Cooper’s platinum-certified Welcome to My Nightmare (1975) while “King of the Night Time World” appeared on a pair of multiplatinum-selling albums by Kiss, Destroyer (1976) and Kiss Alive II (1977).
After a year-long hiatus, the Stars surfaced in their second version in 1976. Mark Anthony — the songwriter alongside Fowley of “Escape” and “King of the Night Time World” — rose in the ranks to become the group’s lead vocalist, as well as continue in his prior roles of rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter. Fowley introduced the band to Canadian musician/producer Neil Merryweather and time was booked at the famed Sound City Recording Studios in Van Nuys, CA to cut new material. The resulting sessions yielded ten tracks, including the power pop anthem “All the Kids on the Street” and the AOR-targeted “Sunrise on Sunset.” These ten tracks comprise the soon-to-be-issued Sound City album.
“Houdini of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Shotgun,” and the Merryweather version of “Escape” make their first-ever appearance on Sound City. “Too Hot to Handle” and “Habits” have only previously appeared as a limited edition 7” vinyl single issued by Australia’s Blank Records in 2017. The five remaining tracks are also appearing for the first time in their Merryweather versions, although they did appear in re-recorded form on the self-titled The Hollywood Stars album issued by Arista Records in 1977.
The band have always preferred the Merryweather mixes to what eventually appeared on the Arista LP and are keen to see them finally released. “Neil was a lot more into where we were coming from,” says Rae. “He was there mixing our live sound at The Starwood. Sound City is almost like a live set — all those songs were cut at the same time. In comparison, the production of the Arista album went on for a long time, and our power pop roots lost out to the type of syrupy string arrangements that were prevalent on major label albums at the time.”
The long-dormant Hollywood Stars reconvened for a one-night-only benefit concert on November 11, 2018, at The Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles. The audience was enraptured at the sight of this legendary band springing back to full-blown rock ‘n’ roll glory. The band themselves enjoyed the experience and have pledged to keep it going.
The remaining Stars are ascendant again.
❉ Sound City archival release arrives on CD and digital download via Burger Records on August 23; features the power pop classic “All the Kids on the Street”. Pre-order Sound City album: https://burgerrecords
❉ News source: Prime Mover PR.
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