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Starz

They had it all -- songs that managed to be both rocking yet melodic (think a merger of Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, and Kiss), a hunk of a frontman, a pyro-heavy stage show the featured lots of shooting sparks, the same management as Kiss -- but for whatever reason, Starz just didn't hit the big time. The group's roots can be traced back to the early-'70s pop band Looking Glass, which scored a number one hit single, "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" in 1972. And it was Looking Glass' rhythm section that would be transplanted to Starz -- bassist Peter Sweval and drummer Jeff Grob (who went under the colorful name Joe. X. Dube upon becoming a member of Starz) -- who were joined by guitarists Richie Ranno and Brendan Harkin, as well as singer Michael Lee Smith (brother of '70s teen heartthrob Rex Smith). Signed to Capitol Records, the label issued the self-titled debut from Starz in 1976, followed by Violation in 1977, Attention Shoppers! in 1978, and Coliseum Rock in 1979. Along the way, the group issued their share of arena-worthy anthems ("Detroit Girls," "Violation"), had some close calls with songs that should have been hit singles ( "Cherry Baby," "Sing It, Shout It"), opened for the era's biggest bands (Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Rush), and Ranno even guested on Gene Simmons' 1978 solo album. But Starz just didn't translate to the masses, and by 1980, they were kaput. In the wake of their split, the group retained a sizable cult following, as quite a few hair metal acts later in the decade were quite vocal about their Starz fandom (Poison, Cinderella, Bon Jovi). A steady stream of releases from the vault appeared -- especially after the launch of the official Starz website -- including a live set recorded in 1978 that has been reissued several times over the years, Live in Louisville, which offers proof that Starz could easily stand alongside the era's big boys of rock (despite including some of the most ridiculous stage raps you'll ever hear on a live recording). The early 21st century saw all of the group's studio albums remastered and reissued via Rykodisc, which resulted in Starz reuniting for live shows -- something they've sporadically done ever since. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Great band. Gene Simmons found them. He's pretty picky? Oh van Halen too.
Saw then live also they are the s*** the single most underrated band outside of Mott the Hoople in the history of rock and roll. ..
Grreat song luv this band
Love this band very underestimat e d saw them back in 78 in Hoboken New Jersey don't know why they didn't make it
No way.. are they still documents..R e a l l y . If so please hook me up to when and where. clean1j63@ya h o o . c o m No fakes or flakes please only real rockers . You know old school
Wish they would some shows out west Az or Cal.
truly one of the best rock bands ever and glad to see their music still alive and going! think i was the only girl in hs to own their albums, boyfriend's family owned station and i grabbed the demo along with many other great talent that never received their due accolades. music holds up 30+ years later!! come see us in washington state!
milosdad
Bob Seger, Starz and Legs Diamond on April 8, 1976 San Antonio, Texas.
starz great band SUBWAY TERROR!
My favorite band of the 70's. Actually one of my all time favs. Should have been great!
salinc
STARZ will be playing at Mexicali in Teaneck, New Jersey this May 4th
karendale7
I love STARZ--the vocals, hooks, all of it!
johnd1682
WWW.STARZCEN T R A L . C O M . check out their website alot of stuff on Yoe tube also
danov22001
They are a great live act!
Richie Ranno still plays in North Jersey regularly -well worth the drive
i just descovered these guys a few years ago..always a big kiss fan and loved angel...thes e guys rock and yes should have been way bigger.
One of the greatest rock bands ever,what a shame not many people ever heard of them.
blakelasvega s
top 10 bands ever!!!!!! so so so under-rated! ! !
Violation - Awesome beginning to end!
tonypiesco
Coliseum ROCK, is one of my top 10 of all time!!! Do your ears a favor and check it out! As a teenager It has pleanty of both Sex Drugs and Rock and roll. Every tune GREAT. Just like April Wines first Glance
milo i saw rex with nugent and foreigner--- - f a b u l o u s - - - i had 2 albums

one was entitled"whe r e do we go from here"--i think

the other was just called 'rex"--one of the most exciting bands i ever saw

next thing i know he is singing pop on broadway
milosdad
Really good live band. Lucky enough to see them several times. Each of their records had some quality rock tunes that blasted well at parties.
I had a poster of these guys on my wall in 6th grade. About two years ago, I got a phone number from I think their website and called to order a reissue. So after talking for a little bit with the "order taker",it dawned on me that that I was talking to Richie Ranno the guitar player. How cool is that?
shoulda been huge saw them live in 78 i think opening 4 styx pull the plug was a highlight
milosdad
Michael Smith's brother, REx had band called Rex that also rocked. Does anyone know the name of the album they put out. I think they had a song or album called "Red". (Not the Sammy Hagar song.) Rex used to jump on a trampoline while singing. Lucky enough to have seen Starz on April 8, 1976 with Bob Seger and Legs Diamond.
ONE OF THE MOST UNDERRATED BANDS OF ITS TIME !!!!!! GREAT GUITAR HARMONIES !!!!!! SMITH WAS A VERY GOOD LEAD SINGER !!!!!
In his prime smith had one of the best voices goin
merc10
starz is still playing but u have to go to new jersey to see them
kjacela
Yea there could have been a little more effort on the Bio.
I Haven' t heard a Starz record that wasn't good. The biography is ridiculous, you can get more info on the albums cover, I hope the guy is not paid for crap like this
Right on ranman151,at t e n t i o n shoppers,pro b a b l y the best from the boys;every song rocks!really .
ranman151
Are the Starz still touring? Loved x-ray specks & pulled the plug
VIOLATION was the greatest. How come we only ever hear Coliseum Rock on here? The band was amazing. The years listed on the discgraphy are incorrect. 1st 2 releases were 1976 and Shoppers was 1977.
Saw them last year in Detroit. Still sound GREAT!
indoorairpro
Saw them at CBGB's one night , they blew the house down
fact is if you know Starz you were probably too young and having too much fun
BRILLIANT 70's ROCK band that not NEARLY enough people were made privy to.
And they still sound great.
Great band not many people know about!

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