23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2005
Two things make this remastered, reissued first album from '70s rockers Starz absolutely delightful:
1. I saw Starz in 1976. One of my first concerts. I loved their stage design, sound and songs.
2. I bought this album when it first came out and was enthralled with it then. I still am.
Even without the remastering, the sound on the first Starz album is meaty. Very bottom-heavy. Great bass lines and low-end riffs. Plus, the guitar tone is amazing. This is really a guitar-lovers guitar album.
I like every song, but my personal favorites come from "side one" of the album -- Detroit Girls, Live Wire, Tear It Down, Boys In Action and (She's Just A) Fallen Angel. Every song is fantastic. The riffs just jump out of the speakers.
For my money, this CD ranks up there with the best of the debut albums that I consider my all-time favorites (sharing this list are Montrose's first, the first Angel album, the first VanHalen album and the first Marillion album).
Now, on to the remastering and the extra tracks...
Nice. Sweet, in fact. The album sounded great when it was first released, but the remastering enhances every instrument -- including Michael Lee Smith's vocals.
The five extra tracks are demos and fascinating to hear.
Bottom line: If you've never heard Starz, but you love riff-laden music that you can rock out to, you should try this CD. It doesn't cost much, but the rewards from listening to it will be huge.
I whole heartily recommend the first Starz CD!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I'd actually give this album three and 1/2 stars. When I think of Starz, I tend to think of fun melodic music from the mid seventies. They opened for quite a few big bands in the their day and won over a still-faithful legion of fans.
Starz was never a big commercial success, but they did manage to put out five albums of material. Released in 1976, this is the band's first album. On this album are several songs that became staples in the band's live shows: "Detroit Girls," "Boys In Action," "Fallen Angel," and "Pull The Plug."
I recently bought a copy for myself since I missed the Metal Blade releases from the late 80's/early 90's (nice collector's items!), and am impressed with the sound quality. There could be some more information included with this release, but I'm not too picky; I'm just glad the album got to see the light of day again!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2005
Starz' debut was accompanied by a great deal of promotional hype from Capitol Records, and for once the hype was justified. Their live act always drew rave reviews, and the debut album delivered a solid underpinning for the group's foundation. However,Starz had yet to completely solidify their sound. That would happen with the next album, "Violation". In the meantime, "Starz" is a good, by the numbers hard rock album with a few standout cuts ("Night Crawler", "Monkey Business", Detroit Girls") and a bit of controversy ("Pull The Plug") thrown in for good measure. Four stars easily, and just shy of five star territory. Their best was one album away.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2005
I found this CD on accident. I was only 7 when this album came out. But to say that I missed out on this group is an understatement. I am from the West Coast, so we were not able to have exposure to Starz as the East Coast. This CD is awesome...I wished I could have been listening to this in 1976 instead of Wings or Elton John. Buy this CD!!!! You will not go wrong...Detroit Girls should have been a huge hit....
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2005
These guys were great. Saw them open for Styx and Peter Frampton back in the day. Had never heard of them before that time. Girlfriend at the time thought "Cool One" was da bomb. Take equal parts of Aerosmith, Kiss and Led Zep and stir, bake in a summer open air arena and viola, STARZ. Heavy, crunchy, poppy sounding hard rock. This record, VIOLATION and COLLISEUM ROCK are required listening. Infectious lyrics. You can't get them out of your head. Good remaster effort. HDCD encoding is a plus if you have a CDP that will decode it. No biggy if you don't. Crank it up and retro rock back to the 70's.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2006
Sometimes I like to look up and see what I can find on some of my favorite bands from the 70's and Starz being one of them. I was lucky enough to see the band play a few times around 77 and 78. Another band that took time for their fans!!!!!!!
I read through the many reviews of posted here on amazon and not sure if there is much that I can add, also great to see that there were so many out there that enjoyed the band and their music. I would recommend reading about each of the Starz cd's and listening to the sound files if available and deciding for yourself........ I remember I liked this cd so much and the logo as well, I even hand- made a stencil and made my own Starz shirt, I think I used some of that gold "glue on glitter" in a tube and had one of the first Starz shirts, before the band even had any if I remember right.
Lots of good songs on this cd, Pull the Plug being one of my favorites both on the LP/CD and live. All good rock songs from a band that deserved a lot more.........
I could go on trying to describe the music.......... too bad there are no sound files for this cd....... so you may just have to order it and take a chance. The remaining members have played a few shows during the past year or so and guitar player Richie Ranno continues to be active in the music business, you may even want to go over to starzcentral to get updated and see what Richie and the band are up to. Singer Michael Lee Smith also had a brother that had his own band and later ventured into Hollywood....... but this is about Starz!!!...So.... I highly recommend checking out the CD's and starzcentral. Not to be confused with the movie channel or another band from Europe that is using the name recently.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2009
I don't even know where to start with this album. Other then maybe Kiss "Alive" or Deep Purple's "Made In Japan", this IS my favorite hard rock album of all-time. PERIOD. This band is so good, so heavy, so nasty, so sexual and so much darn fun that all these years later, it still sounds as fresh and enjoyable as that fateful day back in 1976 when I picked this up purely because it had the greatest logo ever created. And man did it deliver.
First let me say that this (not Anvil!) is the story of a band that SHOULD have been as big as Kiss, Aerosmith and Ted Nugent. Managed by Bill Aucoin, Kiss's manager and promoted by Rock Steady Management, they came onto the scene with fire and attitude in their blood. Produced by Aerosmith legend Jack Douglas, this band put together a collection of hard rocking, guitar laiden, melody heavy, tunes that are a cross between Kiss's "Destroyer" and Aerosmith's "Rocks". Each song seemed to be better then the last and it doesn't let up until you are blown away.
So..what makes so great? Well, they are great song writers, great players, it is very well produced and yet original at the same time. This is the sound that Kiss WISHES they could have gotten on recordings like "Rock and Roll Over" and "Love Gun". The combination of teen sex driven lust and crushing guitars combine for a perfect combination of explosive and hostile music.
There isn't ONE bad track on this album. Not one. The duo of Richie Ranno and Brenden Harkin are just amazing. The riffs just never let up. Put this on with headphones and just listen to the inner play between the two of them. Amazing! Joe X Dube pounds away on the second largest drum kit of the era. (Only Neil Peart's Hemispheres kit was larger!) Pete Sweavel is very solid and provides an amazing low end punch! Then of course there is Michael Lee Smith. Yes is the brother of Rex Smith..but that is where the comparison end. Michael is Paul Stanley, Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler all mashed together and what comes out is a great thing to hear. His vocals are just edgy enough to cut but melodic enough to really hook you in.
Now I would be remissed if I didn't mention that they had the single greatest inner sleeve of any record I have ever owned. Bar none! And you Starz fans know what I am talking about! WOW that was sooo cool in 1976...heck...ANYTIME.
I am not going to go track by track...you listen for yourself. All I know is that this one record made probably the largest single impact on me as a musician and fan of hard rock as any record I have ever owned. And if you are one of those people who have heard about it and thought...yeah but how great can it be? Find out for yourself! This is a great, great recording and this was an amazing band!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2008
Starz was on the periphery of bands I listened to back in high school in the late 70's . They received no airplay on the southwestern Wyoming and Salt Lake City radio stations I listened to, so you kind of had to take a chance on the more obscure stuff like Starz. I did like the band logo! Back then, I only had the later Starz' "Coliseum Rock," which was okay, but not great by any stretch.
I recently decided to check out the earlier Starz efforts after seeing them on YouTube. I have to say I was not disappointed. What I found with this first effort was the genesis of a band that had a lot of potential. For some reason, it was not in the cards for these guys to have the fame and success of Kiss, the closest to them musically (IMO). They had the look, the attitude, and the songs. It just didn't happen. Like Head East, they ended up on the sidelines of fame.
This CD is like hard rock archaeology. I have read that bands like Motley Crue were inspired by Starz. You can certainly hear the pre-hair metal hooks, especially on "Detroit Girls," "Live Wire," and "Fallen Angel." The CD also has the demo cuts of these three songs, maybe from '75(?). I actually like this version of "Fallen Angel" better as it is harder edged, more raw.
Listening to this CD and comparing it to the heavily produced bands of the time like Foreigner, Boston, and maybe even Styx, it is clear that Starz recorded without a lot of production tricks. Maybe in the 70's, that roughness hurt them on the radio. Today, I find it appealing.
If you are an armchair hard rock historian like me, Starz is definitely worth checking out. If you like 70's rock, these guys are it.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2008
Great album. I always looked for new and unknown music my whole life, I found many gems. This is one of them. With better marketing...who knows, they minght not be so unknown. I have enjoyed this album for years-I had the sticker that came in the LP stuck on my 8-track case! Buy it.
The 1976 debut album from Starz is one of those great bands that somehow came inside of inches before missing the great brass ring, even though this and the follow-up album, "Violation," were as good as or better than the bulk of hard rock in the period. And having recently noted the passing of seventies Hard Rock Guru/Manager extraordinaire Bill Aucoin, it's also worth mentioning that he and his partner/lover Sean Delaney were the ones who discovered and nurtured Starz (then The Fallen Angels).
They pulled in production legend Jack Douglas and the band set about recording the kind of album they wanted to play along with Aerosmith's "Get Your Wings." They had a pair of hard-riffing guitarists (Richie Ranno and Brendan Harken) a Charismatic lead singer in Michael Lee Smith, a mad-cap mustachioed drummer in Joe X Dube and a solid bassist in Pete Sweval. They already had honed their live act to a point where they were the object of a bidding war, so when it was time to lay the tracks down, the only difference between the album and the demos here as bonus tracks is more weight to the sound and some judicious editing.
Arena ready rockers like "Boys In Action," "Detroit Girls" and "Live Wire" still sound as catchy then as in 1976, and their first attempt at a hit with "She's Just a Fallen Angel" was their attempt at a "Dream On" ballad. "Pull The Plug" was a faux-controversy-bait song that fantasized what Micheal Lee Smith would do if he was Karen Ann Quinlan's boyfriend. (Which got the predicted response from rock haters and defenders of decency everywhere; more press for the group.)
And like so many bands from that stable, they sported a killer logo. Rumor even has it that Kiss pressured Aucion to not sign Starz to Casablanca because they were worried about the competition (and causing a rift between Kiss, Casablanca and Aucoin, but made Ranno and Gene Simmons into admirers of each other - Ranno is one Simmons' solo album). "Starz" is a minor gem of 70's hard rock that, if you have admiration for any of the parties mentioned in this review, should make you happy.