INTERVIEW WITH JACK STARR

Hi Jack, how is life at the moment?
Hi to everyone at Livereviewer.com nice talking to you Ronald, in answer to the question life is good and I am enjoying the wonderful reaction to the new album

For the people living under a rock , can you tell us a little bit about Jack Starr’s Burning Starr?
Well it’s a band that plays power metal and is not ashamed of its past or of sounding like the albums we all grew up and in my case of sounding like the old albums that I made with Burning Starr so many years ago

 

The record got great reviews and the fans seems to love it. How do you feel about the album?
I have a great feeling every time I listen to Land of the Dead and I have not gotten tired of it so for me that is a good thing, I really believe that it is a great album and I hope that more and more people will hear it including people that have never heard of Burning Starr . I  hope we can reach them and they can say to themselves ‘ I like this and I want to hear more” or maybe they could say “ Who are these guys ,how come I never heard of them” I would like this album to gain converts I would love to see Burning Starr leave its cult status and become a very well known band and I hope this album can do it, There is a saying that “ From great struggle comes great art” and I can say that this album was very difficult to make and it involved seven recording studios, re recording many of the tracks and learning a lot about how to make an album that would appeal to a new generation of metal fans and for that I have to thank Bart Gabriel for his excellent production work and his vision of how this new Burning Starr album should sound.

Bart was able to bring us into a new world of big powerful sounds but without sacrificing the intensity and passion that Burning Starr albums are known for and with the help of Mariusz Pietka of MP studios he was able to make the most powerful album in the history of Burning Starr, Land of the Dead can hold its own with any album that is out today and what is important to me is that the sounds are honest, there is no fake drums or sampling ,even the amazing choirs that you hear in a song like “Twilight of the Gods“ was done by our very gifted singer Todd Micheal Hall

Many metal bands today use samples of choirs that can be programmed from a keyboard Burning Starr used a singer who knows how to layer his voice and create choir effects much in the same way as the late Freddy Mercury did on the Queen recordings, the chorus of “Never Again“ is breathtaking and once again Todd is layering his voice perfectly and this song is made even more amazing by the rock solid bass playing of Ned Meloni who is getting wonderful reviews for his bass playing and his sound, and of course I could not talk about Land of the Dead without mentioning  Kenny Earl aka Rhino whose drumming breathes power and might . When Rhino plays drums whether it be with Manowar or Burning Starr he plays with great skill and authority and gives the album a massive foundation on which to build on

 

If you compare Land of the Dead to Defiance it seems this time it’s more up tempo.
From where this decision?I think that there was a conscious decision to make Land of the Dead rock harder than the last album Defiance which some people thought was a little too controlled , On this album Ned and I wanted to unleash everyone, We wanted to hear Rhino play with more abandon and more fills and drum intros, we wanted Todd to sing more intense with more screams and emotion and more vocals even during lead solos in the way that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page would sometime trade off  in the middle of a song, This album features more songwriting input from everyone and Ned brought some great up tempo songs with him to the table and they were all used ,songs like “When Blood and Steel Collide“ and “Here We Are ,Warning Fire“ were all heavily embedded with the stamp of our bass player Ned who likes to play a lot of up tempo songs and so does Rhino so this ended up being the direction of the album and I am very happy that we went down that road

Land of the Dead got a great production, can you tell us a bit about how the recording went?
The production on Land of the Dead was done first with the tracking of the songs here in the U.S by Robert Barbour at his studio and by Rhino at his studio, and even before that in a small studio in Melbourne by Marcus, the lead guitar tracks were done at my home with Rhino bringing his recording equipment over, the drums were rerecorded first in one studio and then again at the Zone in Melbourne and around that time Bart started to oversee the production and the tracks were done again and finally mixed and mastered at MP studios in Poland and while all this was happening we were in touch with the boss of Limb Music who had very specific ideas on what he wanted to hear .Bart was able to take all the tracks from different studios and stir them in a big pot and make very delicious soup!!

The artwork from Land of Dead is very awesome, who is responsible for it?
Ken Kelly once again has shown the world that he is the master at this kind of art and for the cover of Land of the Dead, we feel that Ken has done an amazing job at bringing the story of Land of the Dead to life, when I was young I remember buying the album Rainbow Rising and looking at that cover for hours and hours while I listened to the great music of songs like Stargazer, I never imagined that one day this great artist would do an album cover for my band, I can truly say that it is a great honor and also I would like to say that Limb music has made a truly wonderful album package with a 16 page color booklet, filled with lyrics, thanks and a lot of information, this whole album is a very high quality release and I feel very proud to be a part of it

 

Rhino is pounding the drums on the record,  where did this collaboration started ?
The collaboration with Rhino started about five years ago, when we met both me and my bass player Ned were very impressed with his drumming when we saw him play with his previous band Holy Hell we talked to him and realized that we shared many of the same influences and even more important was the fact that he is a truly humble and down to earth guy who just happens to plays fantastic drums! We asked if he could help us lay some tracks down for a demo we were doing and it sounded so good that we asked him to do the whole album and five years later we are still working together and we are all good friends

Which band while being a kid made so much impression that you decided to play guitar?
I think that for me it would have to be hearing the first Led Zeppelin album or maybe an album by Ten Years After called Going Home, another great inspiration for me was the first solo album by Jeff Beck which is called Truth, I wanted to be able to make the sounds that Jeff made on that album

Which gear do you use?
I use ESP guitars and Marshall amps, I also use a Fender strat and Ned uses ESP basses as well

Jack you where in Virgin Steel, how do you look back at that period in your life?
Virgin Steele was a wonderful period in my life full of musical discovery and filled with the joy of creating metal anthems that have lasted even now thirty years later!! 

How is it to be back on stage now with Burning Starr?
It is a great feeling to be on stage with Burning Starr and see my band mates and know that they are next to me kicking ass and putting on a great show, they never let me down and I try to do the same because every show is important no matter how big or small the crowd we play like our lives depend on it because they do and this is the life we have chosen so we take it seriously  (but still have fun doing it )

Can we in Holland looking forward to a show in the near future?
Holland is one of the countries that has given our band great support and we are very grateful for this so of course when we come to Europe we will make every effort to come there and meet with our friends and supporters and let our metal brothers and sisters know that we could not be there without their help, our manager Bart Gabriel is talking to promoters in different countries we would like Holland to be one of the countries we play in.

Now that the record is out what else is down the pipeline for the band?
What is coming is playing the music from Land of the Dead live in concert and putting on great shows and starting work on the next album, we want to continue the great momentum that was started by Land of the Dead,  So thanks for letting me talk about the album and Keep the Metal Burning , Jack Starr 2012

LINKS:

 http://www.burningstarr.com
 http://www.jackstarr.com/

 

INTERVIEWER RONALD VAN DE BAAN 



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